Tag: "WCAR"

Friday, May 2, 2014

| May 2, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Movers and Shakers to Tackle Radio’s “Big Picture” at Talkers New York 2014.  In what has become a popular tradition at TALKERS conferences, a diverse group of industry heavyweights will tackle radio’s “big picture” in a panel session covering industry economics, technology, changing business models, programming challenges and trends, the relationship between talk and music radio, and radio’s role as a first responder during emergencies among other key subjects.  Panelists include (in alphabetical order):  Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Langmyer, VP news/talk programming Journal Broadcast Group and VP/GM, Milwaukee radio operations; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; Mike McVay, SVP, programming, Cumulus MediaHoward B. Price, director business continuity and crisis management, ABC News.  The session will be introduced by rising talk star Dana Loesch, KFTK, St. Louis and Radio America; moderated by Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; and sponsored by ABC News Radio.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This session is always a crowd pleaser at our conferences with lots of valuable take-aways.  Its free-wheeling, quick pace touches upon a wide variety of the broad-strokes themes that run throughout today’s radio concerns.”  Talkers New York 2014 takes place on Friday, June 20 at the historic India House on Hanover Square in the heart of NYC’s historic financial district.  More than 65 industry leaders are scheduled to speak.  It is on the verge of a sellout with registrations only open to professionals working in the radio and associated media industries. Registrations ($249) are only booked over the phone with credit card.  Call 413-565-5413.  For more up-to-the-minute agenda and sponsorship information, please click here.

kleinaaronAaron Klein Show Moves to ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in NYC.  After four years airing on Sunday evenings on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York, the Tel Aviv-based “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program debuts on Salem Communications-owned crosstown news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” Sunday, May 4.  In a press release, Salem says the Klein show “deals with the hotbed of Muslim extremists, and how they are trying to bring down the state of Israel.”  Klein exited WABC when the station made the decision to focus on locally driven programming.  Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “After years of competing with Aaron Klein and his program on WABC we now have grabbed him to join our new and re-vamped lineup on ‘AM 970 The Answer.’  I have had so many people ask me if we could bring Aaron over to our station and it is a pleasure to do so.  He fits our station and our attitude just fine, and I can’t wait to see what he is going to break next.”  Klein comments, “I am thrilled to be joining Salem Radio and ‘AM 970 The Answer’ to bring energetic, news-driven, live talk radio to the Sunday night lineup.  Together, we will prove there is a major audience for weekend talk radio if the content is compelling enough.”

worldbeatdaily logoTalk Hosts Lynn Woolley and Ben Barrack Debut News/Talk Site.  KTEM, Temple-Killeen, Texas-based talk media personalities Lynn Woolley and Ben Barrack announce their collaboration on a new national website called “The World Beat” at www.WBDaily.com.  The duo say “the new site will feature material from the Lynn Woolley show (also heard on KBBW, Waco; KWBC, Navasota, Texas; KCRS, Midland, Texas; and KVOP, Plainview, Texas) and the Ben Barrack Show (heard Sunday mornings on KTEM), but will not be devoted to any specific talk show.  WBDaily will feature cutting-edge opinion on national stories, often with a Texas flavor and occasional breaking news stories.  In fact, WBDaily will be a great source for show prep.”

wcar logoMichigan Family Sues Sima Birach, Jr. in Case Involving Sports Talk WCAR, Livonia.  A Michigan family is suing Sima Birach, Jr. claiming the operator of sports talk WCAR, Livonia, Michigan (suburban Detroit) bilked them out of almost $1 million.  The Detroit News reports that the station is leased to Birach, Jr. by his father (for $1 a year) whose Birach Broadcasting operates 23 stations in 14 states.  Sima Birach, Sr. tells the paper his son has no right to sell anything but commercial time.  He also says he’s been sued as the result of bad business decisions made by his son in the past and adds, “He’s been involved with some shysters before.  He’s 37-years old.  What am I going to do?”  The family suing Birach, Jr. is Drago and Jadranka Mihajlovski and their son Zive.  The trio allege they gave Birach, Jr. $500,000 on August 12, 2012, for a 10% interest in the station and on October 9, 2012, they say they invested $450,000 more for an additional 15% share in the station.  Their attorney says they were promised $50,000-per-year lifetime jobs as well and that after a few pay periods, the money stopped coming in and Birach, Jr. told them they had no interest in the station and their investment would not be returned.

ramseydaverachelRamsey-Cruze Book Debuts at #1.  The latest book by financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey – this time with his daughter Rachel Cruze – is called Smart Money Smart Kids (Lampo Press 2014) and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list (week ending 4/26) for “Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous.”   The book is promoted as providing “practical steps parents can take to teach their kids about money basics like working, spending, saving and giving, as well as how to deal with bigger challenges such as avoiding debt, paying for college and battling discontentment.”

radioioRadioIO and Bubba the Love Sponge Team Up for Digital Delivery.  Nationally syndicated, Tampa-based morning drive talk host Bubba the Love Sponge and RadioIO agree to terms on a deal that will allow the latter to continue to deliver Bubba the Love Sponge and his shows exclusively over the Internet on Bubba Army Radio through December 31, 2016.  RadioIO will have the exclusivebubba right to distribute archived and newly produced internet-only content of the Bubba Radio Network over the internet and the non-exclusive right to broadcast the Bubba the Love Sponge show live.  RadioIO will pay periodic fees based on subscription and advertising revenue received by the company relating to the Bubba programming.  In addition to the daily Bubba show, other programming consists of “Bubba Army Radio Uncensored,” “The Shannon Burke Show,” “Dangerous Conversations with Scott Ledger,” and a daily specialty show.  Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show is heard on formats including: hot talk, country, rock, classic hits and sports talk.

townsquare logoKJOC, Quad Cities Returns to Sports Talk.  After an 11-year period airing non-sports content (including the most recent format using Scott Shannon’s True Oldies Channel), Townsquare Media’s KJOC, Davenport flips to sports talk as “ESPN 1170.”  The Quad Cities Times reports station operations manager Darren Pitra saying, “We looked at a variety of things, but the decision was to go with ESPN.”  The station will carry the entire ESPN Radio lineup plus Chicago Cubs baseball and Iowa State football and basketball.  Pitra says of local sports talk, “It’s not something that’s completely [out of the realm of possibility] down the road.”

costa logoDino Costa Digital Platform to Debut Monday.  As TALKERS reported last month, former longtime SiriusXM sports talk personality Dino Costa is going the entrepreneurial road with his sports talk program and making it available via a digital platform on a subscription model.  Costa says the show will be accessible from anycostadino computer or mobile device and offer visitors access to a variety of digital and written news and commentary, including a live, three-hour video broadcast each weekday; pre-recorded interviews with today’s sports leaders and newsmakers; behind-the-scenes features; and exclusive news articles covering the top sports stories making headlines each week.  Costa says, “The new Dino Costa show is something that will redefine sports-based commentary and opinion, and I’m delighted to be back to serve as the conduit for a sports radio crowd across North America that is extremely frustrated with the meager sports talk offerings of today.  Our platform allows for the most refreshingly candid commentaries available.  We have no partnerships with leagues, officials, or any alliances that will prevent us from delivering the most unequivocal and straightforward opinion and views on a regular and consistent basis.  The era of corporate-driven news media is more than a huge problem that people of all walks are contending with these days.  We are the radical departure from this awful status quo…I cannot wait to get going.”   Emanating from Costa’s Cheyenne studios, his talk show airs live daily at 4:00 pm ET.

beard awardWABC, New York to Cover 2014 James Beard Awards.  When the 24th James Beard Awards are handed out on Monday, May 5, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York will provide coverage of the festivities.  The James Beard Awards recognize excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education in the United States.  They were established in 1990.  This year’s ceremonies will take place at New York’s Lincoln Center.  WABC says that starting today, listeners can watch video interviews with some of New York’s top chef’s including Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony and Betony’s Bryce Shuman.  Also, 77 WABC chats with Food Network host and James Beard Award emcee Ted Allen about the importance of the awards to New York and the country.  Monday, 77 WABC will provide live streaming coverage of the awards presentation from New York’s Lincoln Center.

sutherlandrachelOdds & Sods.  A programming and branding change takes place at Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis as the station becomes “ESPN 790 AM” and adds ESPN Radio programming.  It is keeping the CBS Sports Radio-syndicated Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson morning drive show…..Rachel Sutherland  – most recently with Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – joins Fox News Radio to serve as a reporter based in Washington.  Sutherland has also worked with TRN as an anchor for America’s Radio News Network and for Metro Networks in DC…..CBS RADIO’s sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT in Philly in conjunction with the Philadelphia Phillies’ “Phillies Charities” are offering fans a chance to win cool up-close-and-personal Phillies prizes like a kid’s sleepover in the Phillies Clubhouse, playing a video game on PhanaVision against A.J. Burnett, enjoying lunch with Ryne Sandberg in his office, or having a private hitting clinic with Chase Utley.  It’s called the “Phantastic Auction” on phillies.com and runs today through May 15.  Proceeds from the auction benefit Phillies Charities.  Last year’s event raised $129,000.

edisonresearchEdison Research Offers ‘Moms & Media’ Webinar.  Extracting more data from its Infinite Dial 2104 research study, Edison Research is presenting a free webinar on May 8 at 2:00 pm ET titled “Moms and Media 2014: Mobile Is a Must.”  Edison says, “Moms are the target for most readers’ radio stations.  And for those moms, mobile has become a priority over the last 12 months.”  The presentation “features fresh tracking data about social networking, mobile device ownership, and simultaneous media consumption.  The report highlights how moms are adapting radio to make it more suitable to their mobile lifestyle.”  See more info here.

americaweekendlogoTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Envision Networks program “America Weekend” is added to the program schedule at WRJN, Racine, Wisconsin (Milwaukee market)…..BizTalkRadio programming is added to WWWE, Atlanta as the station picks up the following shows: “Investor’s Edge,” “Executive Leaders Radio,” “Speak Up and Stay Alive,” “Equity Strategies” and the weekend show “Animals Today.”

Sterling-Clippers Controversy/Race Relations Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 28-May 2.  The recorded racist rant by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, his subsequent lifetime ban from the NBA and talk of race relations in the U.S. were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the weak economic growth report and its effect on the Obama Administration’s image.  Following at #3 was speculation about candidates in the 2016 presidential race and the possible outcome of this year’s mid-term elections, and at #4 was President Obama’s Asia trip.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Coasting to Victory Outside the Mainstream

| July 30, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

LOS ANGELES — Summon up the term “theater-of-the-mind” and hardcore historians of the medium will instantly link it to what many consider one of radio’s authentic seminal points.  In fact, roughly three months from now, that benchmark event will celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Rewind the clock to Halloween 1938, when a then-23-year-old Orson Welles and The Mercury Theater terrified America with “The War of the Worlds.”

Albeit that some classified the adaptation of an alien invasion as a tremendous hoax or fraud, it was inarguably compelling radio.

In its own way, such theater – or mystery – of the mind surfaces nightly on Premiere Radio’s four-hour (1:00am – 5:00am, Eastern Time) “Coast To Coast AM,” overseen with graceful aplomb by the tremendously eloquent George Noory.

Read More

Monday, July 22, 2013

| July 22, 2013

bauerletomWBEN, Buffalo to Flip Programming.  Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN will move late morning talk show host Tom Bauerle to the PM drive slot currently held by Buffalo market legend Sandy Beach and Beach will shift to the late morning show.  Both personalities have been in their current time slots for long periods – Bauerle for the past 11 years after moving to WBEN from the company’s sister sports talk station WGR.  The change is expected to take place at the end of July.

lonsberrybobHow to Be a Talk Show Host.  In a candid, tell-it-like-it-is piece posted today (7/22) WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse talk star and TALKERS columnist Bob Lonsberry draws upon his vast experience and presents a point-by-point tutorial on how to be a talk show host…or at least how to be a GOOD one.  He basically breaks it down to five steps: 1) ignore anyone who tries to tell you how to be a talk show host; 2) focus on listeners; 3) don’t suck; 4) remember that callers are only a tool; 5) stand for something; and 6) get out of the studio. To read all the juicy details, please click here.

wmca logoKevin McCullough to Host Daily Local Talk Show on WMCA, New York.  Salem Communications announces talk media pro and digital entrepreneur Kevin McCullough will begin hosting a daily one-hour talk show on Christian teaching-formatted WMCA, New York on August 5.  Salem states this is a return to WMCA for McCullough who has also been heard on the company’s KKLA, Los Angeles and WMBI and WYLL in Chicago. mcculloughkevin Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “Kevin has proven to be one of the true up-and-coming voices in Christian talk radio and we are delighted he will be able to join our team.  His afternoon program will be live and local, tackling issues of concern going on locally and in the world with a Christian world view.”  In a statement, Salem says McCullough’s program will include discussion with local ministers about their concerns and how our listeners can relate to and understand major world events in a biblical perspective.  “The addition of Kevin will allow WMCA to truly reflect the attitude of the city we serve, and be more responsive to community concerns,” according to WMCA vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley.  McCullough continues his talk programs produced and syndicated via his own XtreMEDIA.

nbcsportsradio logoNBC Sports Radio Network Lands WCAR, Detroit as Affiliate; Move Adds Fuel to Greater Media Sports Talk Flip.  Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Detroit is the newest affiliate for the NBC Sports-Dial Global sports talk radio initiative branded NBC Sports Talk Radio.  From the sound of the press release it appears the station will carry most if not all of the network’s programming in addition to NFL games distributed by Dial Global.  WCAR had been an ESPN Radio affiliate and this move strengthens the suspicions that ESPN will find a partner in Greater Media which is strongly rumored to be prepared to flip AC WMGC, Detroit “Today’s 105.1” to sports talk in August.

wgrdproducerjoe‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ Gets Media Attention for ‘Homeless Vet’ Sting.  When WGRD, Grand Rapids-based, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated morning show “Free Beer & Hot Wings” heard about panhandlers posing as homeless veterans to gain sympathy and earn more money, they sent Producer Joe to a corner in Grand Rapids where a panhandler named Rudy was doing just that.  In fact, Rudy had admitted to local TV station WZZM that he was not a veteran.  According to AllMichigan.com, and as you can see in the WGRD photo here, Producer Joe showed up where Rudy was panhandling sporting a cardboard sign reading “Liar,” causing Rudy to ride off on a mountain bike.  Producer Joe came back to the location the next day and “panhandled” to raise $1,085 for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.  WGRD matched the funds and $2,170 was donated to the home.

herskovitzalThe Dismal State of the Radio Remote.  According to radio sales and marketing maven Al HerskovitzTALKERS columnist and president of H&H Communications, the age old programming/sales tool known as the “remote” – which has fallen on hard times — still has the potential to be a winner in the sports talk genre.  The remote on-location broadcast was once a staple in the sales rep’s arsenal.  It almost has disappeared from the airwaves, particularly from talk radio — and for logical reasons, too.  The strength of the talk format comes from the right and left, pro and con, political and social issues topics.  A remote could possibly generate a partisan flash mob that might trash Charlie’s Auto Parts and Car Wash.  That’s the last thing “good ole Charlie” would want.  This is aside from the currently popular radio rows which are not commercially sponsored events for stations or programs and not meant to draw crowds to the location.  In a new column posted today (7/22) Herskovitz breaks down the challenges that must be overcome and cites opportunities still ripe for exploitation in doing remotes.  To read it, please click here.

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz Commentary Added to Arkansas Talk Station.  Boston-based talk radio personality Jeff Katz’s “The Katz Commentary” is heard three times daily on WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts.  Now, Katz gets his daily feature added to the program schedule in Central Arkansas on Saline River Media’s news/talk KEWI, Benton.  Katz says, “I am thrilled that the voice of Central Arkansas will be adding ‘The Katz Commentary’ to its great lineup.  I’m working hard on my Razorback yell, as well.”

nationalradiotalentsystem logoRadio Talent Institute Begins Today.  The “intensive, 10-day event,” organized by Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System in cooperation with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and Western Kentucky University kicks off the Radio Talent Institute at the school today.  The Institute begins with opening comments from WKU President Gary Ransdell; Dean David Lee of Potter College, WKU; and director of journalism and broadcasting, WKU, Dr. Loup Langton, along with Rick McCue from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and WBKO TV.  Former broadcaster, now assistant professor at WKU, Dick Taylor will moderate the event.  Sixteen students from the region have been accepted into this year’s Institute. Those students will hear from 36 radio professionals, including Bud Walters, president/owner of the Cromwell Group, Nashville; Steve Newberry, president/CEO, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Glasgow; Christine Hillard, president/COO of Forever Communications, Bowling Green; with Ed Henson of Henson Media, Louisville, opening the institute with “Getting in, Becoming an Entrepreneur.”  Also instructing during the event are: Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media leading a session on “On Air, Developing Your Voice, Your Style…You”; Morning Mouth publisher Don Anthony who will deliver “How to Get a Good Job”; plus news/talk radio sessions by WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and WKU public radio morning host, reporter and producer Joseph Corcoran.  This is the second Radio Talent Institute of the summer and Vallie states, “These students are starting their careers in radio, and we are developing the next generation of broadcasters.  The students come with enthusiasm and passion for the business, and it’s very impressive how industry professionals sacrifice their time to come to the campus to teach sessions and give back to the industry.”

Odds & Sods.  Matt Dery exits CBS Radio’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit where he was afternoon sports anchor on the Valenti & Foster program after the station did not renew his contract…..Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco renews its deal with IMG College to carry University of California football play-by-play and adds Men’s basketball games to the five-year deal.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

| September 20, 2012

NAB/RAB Radio Show Addresses Variety of Industry Issues.  Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).  The event opened yesterday and runs until Friday afternoon.  The annual conference began with an overview of its mission presented by NAB CEO Gordon Smith who trumpeted radio’s role as “first informers” in the all-too-familiar cases of natural disasters and emergencies.  Smith appealed to radio broadcasters to unify as “one voice” in dealing with Congress; expressed opposition to any pending or future “performance tax” levied on radio; and called for the industry to continue pressuring wireless companies to activate radio chips on smartphones.  RAB CEO Erica Farber also addressed the crowd, encouraging radio broadcasters to present agencies and advertisers with more than just traditional spot campaigns.  One of the biggest concerns of attendees reflected on the floor and at the sessions is an industry-wide debate over the pros and cons of terrestrial radio streaming.  There is clearly a difference of views held on the subject of streaming by radio mega-groups Clear Channel and CBS  which basically represents a schism that runs throughout the industry  as well as on the issue of paying artists and labels royalties,  CBS head Les Moonves stated, “The idea that we have to pay them to put their music on our radio stations is absurd.”  On the other hand, CC, which is about to present its giant iHeartRadio Music Festival this weekend, entered a royalty deal with the Big Machine Label Group.

Overheard at the Radio Show.  Longtime radio programmer, station owner and consutant Clark Smidt has an ear to the ground at the Radio Show sharing some gathered comments for RadioInfo readers:

“PPM has redirected programming.  40+ adult numbers is where the money is.”

 Dave Van Dyke, Radiate Media

“The news that local radio is working and making money needs to hit Wall Street for the bankers to hear about it.”

- Media broker, Ralph Meador

“Listeners are most interested in what to invest in and refinancing their homes.” 

-  Syndicated financial personality, Barry Armstrong,    .

“We’ve done well mixing live local shows with paid programs.”

-  Kurt Carberry, president, Carter Broadcasting, WCRN, Worcester

“The deals are starting to reappear but financing is still tight. I’m seeing 8 x BCF.”

-  Richard Kozacko, Media broker

“We’re doing very well with local talk shows.  Remotes are giving us great community access and support.”

- Edward Perry, owner WATD, Marshfield, MA

“Throughout the entire downturn, we’ve been up each year.  It’s because we’re local.  However, political on radio isn’t a big factor, so far.”

- Larry Adams, controller, Mahaffey Enterprises, Springfield, MO

“So far political is a disappointment; it’s on TV.  We deliver with eight stations serving our market.”

- Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications, Portland, ME

“We continue to do well because we’re local and we take care of our people.  We might not do the 35-40% margin that some other companies want, but our people are important to us.”

- Bill Baldwin, EVP, Hall Communications

“The audience comes to us to hear the new hits.  We use YouTube and sales research to determine the playlist.  But, listeners also come to us for local fun and personality.  Plus, we have a marching band and a rock band!”

- Julie Hein, general manager, KZIA, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

TRN’s Mark Masters Announces the Formation of The Organization of Independent Radio Syndicators, Networks, Journalists and New Media Companies.  With Talk Radio Network chief operating officer William Crawford named the founding president, he offers this statement on the formation of the organization: “Today, I am proud to announce a new non-profit organization designed to assist the community of independent radio syndicators, networks, journalists and new media companies. We have discovered an amazing kinship with most everyone we have spoken with about the issues this organization addresses.  When the idea for creating this organization was finally floated about, the response was so overwhelmingly positive that we have molded the attached Mission Statement and Statement of Purpose out of the very input of the independents we have spoken with. The main purpose of the organization is to provide educational information and other support to its membership.”  In part, the newly formed organization lists as its statement of purpose: 1) To embrace, support and assist (when and where possible) any legitimate producer of independently syndicated programming, radio network creating independent programming and independent news organization or new media company creating such programming (This item one does not encompass financing or financial support, as this is a non-profit and not a financing or equity operation); 2) To abide at all times with and support the laws of the constitution of the United States of America; 3) Within this organization, we will establish a university program to provide education to aspiring on-air talent, investigative journalists, independent syndicators, network executives, new media creatives and sales representation firms; 4) The future for independent syndicators, networks, new media companies and the sales companies that will represent them must be that healthy competition will always continue to expand the marketplace of ideas, so that the human mind can be challenged to new heights of personal development, innovation, creativity and accomplishment; 5) To use the full power of this membership to prosecute anti-competitive acts, fomented by those less ethical than our members, and see that such corporations and/or individuals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  This is a portion of the statement of goals.  To find out more about this organization, its website is www.independentradiosyndicators.org.

WCAR, Detroit “ESPN 1090” Names Mark Wilson OM, Evening Host.  Birach Broadcasting brings Detroit radio and TV personality aboard to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm sports talk program and serve as the station’s program director and operations manager.  Wilson will manage the station’s continuing transition from a talk outlet to its recent flip to sports as an ESPN affiliate.  He says, “We already have two of the most talented personalities in the history of Detroit sports radio.  Damon ‘The Dog’ Perry has a proven track record locally and nationally; he’s wild!  Art Regner is known far and wide as the Red Wings hockey guru on top of being one of the most outspoken voices in Michigan sports talk.”  Additionally, owner Sima Birach, Jr. says the company is building new studios in suburban Bingham Farms.  He states, “We’re very excited to have Mark on board.  He’s a veteran guy who has been in Detroit radio and TV for years and won awards doing it.  Mark is already making a big difference.”

Dial Global and the NFL Extend Radio Play-by-Play Deal.  The National Football League has been a partner with Dial Global going back to the late 1980s when Westwood One (merged with Dial Global a year ago) began syndicating the league’s games to radio stations.  Now, the two sides agree to a contract extension that will have Dial Global as the exclusive radio partner through the 2017 season.  NFL SVP of broadcasting and media operations Howard Katz says, “We are excited to continue partnering with Dial Global to offer our fans NFL play-by-play radio broadcasts.  With Dial Global’s national affiliate base, every fan across the country will have access to all prime time and Thanksgiving games.”

NY State Broadcasters Association Announces HoF Class of 2012.  The 2012 class of the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame will be inducted at a ceremony in New York City on November 1.  This year’s inductees include radio personalities Scott Shannon and Joan Hamburg.  Shannon is one half of the “Scott & Todd in the Morning Show” on WPLJ, New York.  In addition to serving as PD at WPLJ, he also programs “The True Oldies Channel,” a nationally syndicated radio network operated by Cumulus Media Networks and heard on 60 broadcast stations in the U.S.  Joan Hamburg hosts the midday show on WOR, New York.  She began her radio career broadcasting consumer segments on the long-running “Rambling with Gambling” morning show on WOR before eventually earning her own show.   Highlights from her show are combined to create a two-hour nationally syndicated weekend show.  Hamburg is known for broadcasting from “remote locations” in the community, including Sardi’s, The Hamptons, Canyon Ranch and the Villages in Florida.  With her daughter, Liz, Joan is part of the first mother-daughter radio team in the country.  This year’s other inductees are: Mike Wallace, CBS News and co-editor of 60 Minutes; Len Berman, TV sports broadcaster; Jackie Robinson, TV anchor/reporter; and Rich Funke, TV anchor/reporter.

Rick & Bubba Morning Show Gets TNN Simulcast.  The Birmingham, Alabama-based nationally syndicated Rick & Bubba morning show announces it will have a TV simulcast on cable’s TNN beginning November 1.  TNN will air the program live Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 11:00 am, a two-hour Saturday morning version of the show and a one-hour “best-of” each evening from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET.  Rick Burgess’ and Bill “Bubba” Bussey’s program is heard on about 60 radio affiliates nationally.

Dennis Miller Emcees Mitt Romney Event.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller will emcee “An Evening with Governor Mitt Romney” this Saturday evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.  Miller says, “I’m introducing Romney this Saturday and then voting for him on November 6.”

 

 

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $200,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney.  More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including almost 30 sportscasters, athletes, and actors.  The BFoA reports $200,000 was raised to help assist broadcasters in need.  The charity expects to disburse some $700,000 in aid this year.  In the photo seen here are some of the celebrity participants (from l-r):  Don Dahler, WCBS-2 TV; Rachel Grant, actress; Dana Tyler, WCBS-2; Selanee Henderson, LPGA Futures; Nisha Sadekar, LPGA, All-American Collegian; Coach Michael Woodson, NY Knicks; Seema Sadekar, LPGA Futures; John Schriffen, ABC News Network anchor; Herb Williams,  New York Knicks; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-2; Jeremy Schaap, ESPN; Michael Gargiulo, WNBC-TV; CJ Papa, SportsNet anchor, Fios 1 news anchor; Jim Thompson, Broadcasters Foundation; Amani Toomer, Dial Global-NBC Sports Radio Network; Ann Liguori, WFAN; Jack Mulcahy, actor; Rick Cerone, New York Yankees; Deb Placey, NY Islanders Host; Duke Castiglione, FOX- 5; Sean McDonough, ESPN, ABC Sports; Anita Marks, WFAN; Jim Spanarkel, CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports; Nick Buoniconti, NFL Hall-of-Famer; Jim Todd, New York Knicks assistant coach; Bill Raftery, CBS Sports; Tina Cervasio, MSG – NY Knicks & NY Red Bulls Host; Chad Cascadden, NY Jets; Bobby Carpenter, NJ Devils; Scott Knight, Knight Quality Media; and Phil Lombardo, Broadcasters Foundation.

Romney 47% Issue, ObamaCare Effects, Presidential Race Polls, Anti-America Protests in Muslim World, Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Analysis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19).  The campaign effect of Mitt Romney’s “47% dependent on government” comments; the effects ObamaCare will have when fully implemented; the polls in the presidential race; continued anti-America protests in the Muslim world; and the analysis of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

| June 13, 2012

10 Things You Need to Know About Live Endorsements.  The live endorsement is one of the most powerful advertising vehicles talk radio has to offer. But KTRH, Houston talk show host and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Michael Berry writes that advertisers and sales personnel too often force the talent into making mistakes that undermine its effectiveness. For starters, Berry says that forcing the talent to work with a script takes away from his or her ability to put the message in unique terms. The best way is to have the talent use the good or service and like it. “We can sell what we like because then it’s not ‘selling.’ It’s simply sharing what we like, and it’s what we do. Make sure your endorser understands you, the individual who owns the business.” Read Michael Berry’s 10 points about live endorsements here.

WYD Media Management Announces Formation of Sister Firm for Affiliate Sales and Marketing.  WYD Media founder Ron Hartenbaum states the formation of WYM Media Management LLC will serve the purpose of handling the affiliate marketing strategies for its planned expansion of new talk programming. “WYM is a natural expansion of the business. WYD manages and produces programming, while WYM will focus on multiple platform distribution of that product.” Industry pro Liz Laud joins the company as the first affiliate sales and marketing associate. Hartenbaum says, “Liz is an accomplished industry veteran whose track record from Westwood One, Jones Radio and Dial Global speaks for itself. We are absolutely ecstatic with Liz on the team as WYM’s first affiliate sales & marketing associate.” WYD Media Management has been a key figure in the growth of talk shows such as the “The Stephanie Miller Show,” “The Thom Hartmann Program” and “The Michael Smerconish Show.” Ron Hartenbaum has also worked with numerous highly successful talk talent including Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager, Neal Boortz, Mike Malloy, Clark Howard, Mike Gallagher, and “Ring of Fire” with Sam Seder, Mike Papantonio and Robert Kennedy Jr. WYM Media will be based in New York and Los Angeles and is expected to announce new programming shortly. Liz Laud says, “This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in new, fun, informative, and entertaining long form programming and to participate in the growth of WYD as a key player in national radio programming.” She can be contacted at Lizlaud@mac.com or 310-625-9753.

Former San Diego Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Joins U-T San Diego TV Initiative.  The San Diego newspaper U-T San Diego – formerly known as the Union-Tribune – is developing TV programming for cable and the web and one of its first efforts is a roundtable program designed to discuss San Diego topics. Scott Kaplan (pictured here at left), who most recently worked hosting the AM drive sports talk show at XEPRS, San Diego, is part of the cast alongside Amber Mesker (c) and Billy Ray Smith (r). U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch is quoted in the U-T saying, “We’re going to be, every moment of the day, talking about San Diego. We realize that we have a very valuable asset and that is unique, exclusive content that is hyper-local and all about San Diego — from sports to business to the news.” U-T San Diego was purchased by hotelier Doug Manchester in November of 2011 and so far has spent $3 million constructing a professional studio and hiring about a dozen of the 50 people it will need to operate the station.

Mike Scott Named OM/PD at WCAR, Detroit.  Mike Scott previously served as assistant program director and midday host at CBS Radio‘s country WYCD-FM, Detroit. He recently left the market to take the programmer’s post at KZKX-FM, Lincoln, Nebraska but exited that position after just four months. Now, he returns to the Motor City market as operations manager and program director of Birach Broadcasting‘s sports talk WCAR, Livonia, Michigan.

Comrex Corporation’s STAC VIP Gains Skype Certification; Paves Way for Hi-Fi Skype Calls on Talk Radio.  The engineers at Comrex Corporation are celebrating the fact that their Comrex STAC VIP VoIP Call Management Systems has passed qualification by Skype to allow it to process Skype calls alongside all other calls for radio call-in shows. This certification means the STAC VIP meets the guidelines to be called “Plugged into Skype” and can carry the Skype logo. What it means to radio talk shows is the ability to have one unit that processes calls from numerous formats – including Legacy POTS, ISDN, VoIP, IP-based PBX systems and now Skype – into the call screener and control unit and onto the radio. Skype provides “studio quality” sound for users. Comrex technical director Tom Hartnett states, “Skype support was an important factor in development of the VIP product. Skype, by its nature, carries very high-fidelity audio when being used between Skype clients. Skype support means stations that use STAC-VIP for their call-ins can take wideband calls from anyone who has Skype installed on their PC or smartphone.”

Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Featured on TALKERS TV.  Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber – currently heard in national syndication via Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk – was honored at the recent New York City edition of the TALKERS New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7 with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” During the event, Farber found time to sit down in front of the Talkers camera and speak about his craft and his career. View the video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Independently syndicated talk show host Leslie Marshall is named one of the Top 50 Fabulous Women by Pasadena, California’s THE Magazine. The publication recognizes Marshall for her charity work to build schools and provide education, especially for girls in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, through various charities such as “Shine For Humanity.” She was also recognized for using her talk show to bring people together on issues and to raise awareness of human suffering worldwide in order to change it…..KNX, Los Angeles continues its Business Breakfast series with a June 22 event dedicated to creating a winning culture in the workplace. “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Motek moderates a discussion that includes: Chester Elton, co-author of the New York Times bestseller All In; G.J. Hart, the chief executive officer and president of California Pizza Kitchen; Jodi Walker, president of Success Alliances; and Yvonne Trupiano, director of talent acquisitions at Avis Budget Group…..Michigan-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels broadcasts his morning drive radio and TV show (heard on WDTW, Detroit; WTKG, Grand Rapids; and seen on Fox 47 TV in Lansing) from Kennebunkport, Maine today, the day after former President George H.W. Bush‘s 88th birthday party. Shiels will interview Bush family and friends at the Cape Arundel Golf Club where the former president’s charity is holding a golf outing…..Tampa-based talk host Bubba the Love Sponge‘s charitable foundation is assisting local mother Christine Dean in paying for her trip to Los Angeles this summer to take part in a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Children’s Cancer Research. Gary Kompothecras – founder of the attorney and doctor referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY – heard Dean on Bubba’s program talking about her child’s leukemia diagnosis and her desire to go to L.A. for the event. He donated the $1,000 necessary to make the trip.

Sports Talker Dan Sileo Addresses Power of the NFL in Shaping its Coverage. WQAM, Miami afternoon drive talk host Dan Sileo writes about the problem sports talk hosts – and sports journalists – face covering the mighty National Football League, especially in light of controversies such as the recent Saints bounty case in which several players received suspensions. Read his column here.

Attorney General Eric Holder Under Fire, 2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Texas Beating Death and Los Angeles Kings Win Stanley Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/12).  Republican scrutiny of Attorney General Eric Holder in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; the 2012 presidential campaign; testimony from alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case; the beating death of an alleged child molester in Texas; and the Los Angeles Kings’ first franchise Stanley Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Beasley Las Vegas Helps Raise $165k for Children’s Miracle Network.  That’s KDWN, Las Vegas-based talk host and physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (r) appearing at the recent radiothon interviewing an unnamed guest. Dr. Wachs reports to TALKERS that Beasley Broadcast Group‘s Las Vegas stations partnered with St. Rose Dominican Hospitals for the cause and brought in $165,000 for the Children’s Miracle Networka foundation raising money for specialized medical equipment, family needs, and more for pediatric patients.

Friday, February 24, 2012

| February 24, 2012

Big Promotion for John Hogan; Exec Moves Up to Chairman and CEO for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Clear Channel Media Holdings continues to express its confidence in the man who was promoted from COO to president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 after the departure of Randy Michaels.  In announcing John Hogan’s promotion and contract extension through 2015, the company touts Hogan’s record of developing the creative and successful integration of sales, promotional and programming initiatives across multiple platforms.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “Under John’s strong leadership and vision, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has integrated the company’s assets so that it is today the leading media and entertainment company in the U.S. with a greater reach than any other radio or television outlet.  It provides a one-of-a-kind national platform for partners in addition to the powerful local activation market by market and demo by demo.”  Hogan says, “I am pleased and honored to be named to this position, which is a clear endorsement of the soundness of our strategy, the value of our assets, and the depth of the incredible team we are building here.  I appreciate the energy and vision that Bob Pittman has brought to the organization and look forward to pursuing with Bob the vision we share as we continue to push the boundaries of the definition of entertainment, giving our audience what they want now and in the future.”

Bill Thomas Out as Market Manager at Cumulus Birmingham.  Cumulus Media Group regional manager John Walker is set to oversee the Birmingham cluster in addition to his responsibility for the Huntsville stations after the departure of Bill Thomas.  There’s no reason to believe that the ongoing legal battle between WJOX-FM, Birmingham personality Paul Finebaum and the company is the sole reason for Thomas’ exit but the possibility exists that Thomas’ role in how the situation was handled could have been a factor.  Remember that Finebaum claims he was strong-armed by Thomas into signing a contract amendment that was less beneficial to him.  That set the legal wheels in motion that includes Cumulus’ recent decision to countersue Finebaum claiming he violated his contract by engaging in negotiations with a competitor and sharing confidential company information.

Journal Broadcast Group Reports Positive Q4; Slight Uptick for 2011.  On the strength of increasing automotive in the fourth quarter of 2011, Journal Broadcast Group reports a revenue increase of 2.3%.  For the entire year, Journal’s revenue rose 1.6% on $70.4 million compared to 2010.  While those numbers aren’t staggering, they beat the negative reports that had become so common over the past few years.  Interestingly, unlike many other radio groups, Journal notes the fourth quarter of 2011 was its best quarter.

Phil Hendrie Ends Local KFI, Los Angles Saturday Show; Busy TV Schedule Cited.  Los Angeles-based radio and television talent Phil Hendrie tweets to fans he is ending his KFI, Los Angeles-only Saturday evening show after this weekend’s performance due to the increasing amount of TV work he’s getting combined with his nightly radio show syndicated by Talk Radio Network.  Radio trade AllAccess.com reports it has confirmed the news.  Hendrie is doing voice work on Fox Television’s “Napoleon Dynamite” and has upcoming work on Fox’s “New Girl.”  Hendrie thanks KFI program director Robin Bertolucci and the KFI staff for their help with the weekend show.

CBS Radio’s WQYK, Tampa Changes Midday Show.  “The King David Show” featuring Toby David and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King is off the air at CBS Radio’s 1010 Sports (WQYK), according to the Tampa Bay TimesTom Jones.  Jones reports that WQYK assistant program director Mike Pepper says the station is airing Yahoo! SportsTim Brando in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot for now but would like to fill that hole with a local show.  The station needs time to find the right show.  He didn’t rule out either David or King being part of the station in the future.  Toby David tells the paper, “I appreciated the time I worked with Shaun and have a great amount of respect for him.  I also enjoyed working at CBS Radio and have nothing but the utmost respect for those people and I hope to land on my feet locally.”

CCME Announces National Imaging Team.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment organizes the imaging of its radio formats under the Kelly Doherty-led National Programming Platforms group.  The function of this reorganization is to create 15 format-specific imaging coordinator positions and those experts will “produce and distribute compelling and diverse on-air promotional audio spots for Clear Channel’s National Programming initiatives, including format-specific creative efforts across iHeartRadio, Artist Integration Programs and large-scale contests and events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival.”  Doherty states, “This team includes the top producers in each format.  The talent, expertise and ingenuity that this new Imaging Team brings together is unmatched and I am excited to lead such a top-notch group.”  Scott Stanley is named news/talk imaging coordinator and Bob Schmidt is the sports imaging coordinator.

Thaddeus Matthews Off the Air at WPLX, Memphis After Court Ruling.  The case involving Memphis talk host Thaddeus Matthews and WPLX, Memphis owner William Pollack took another turn recently after Chancellor Arnold Goldin of the Shelby County Court denied an injunction Matthews had sought to continue broadcasting his program on WPLX.  Matthews made national news with a YouTube broadcast video of his on-air encounter with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergmann which ended with Matthews refusing to shake Bergmann’s hand because he didn’t want her “whiteness” to rub off on him.  According to The Commercial Appeal, last week’s court ruling revolved around a dispute over money owed by Matthews to Pollack.  Matthews leases the time from Pollack and the latter claims he’s owed in excess of $85,000 in fees.  Matthews disputes that figure and vows to continue his legal battle while broadcasting his program on the internet.

Rob Otto Joins WCAR, Livonia, Michigan in Sports Director Role.  Detroit sports media pro Rob Otto joins Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Livonia (west of Detroit) as sports director for the reformatted station positioned as ESPN 1090, according to Michiguide.com.  The site reports Otto “will also be tasked with providing local, on-air sports updates for WCAR and helping the station establish local programming and marketing.  He’ll also be moving his sports-related blog from MLive.com to ESPN 1090’s website at espn1090.com.”  Otto has worked in the Detroit market at WXYT-FM, WWJ, WDFN and WHMI-FM.

Opinion:  Talk Host Phil Valentine Says Prohibition of Ethnic References Reeks of Controlling the Language.  Nashville-based Dial Global syndicated talk host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer’s column (When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There, 2/23/12) that in this age of political correctness, what is said or written in the media – the ESPN/Jeremy Lin case is a great example – doesn’t have to actually be offensive, it just has to sound that way.  Read Phil’s column here.

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 20 – 24.  The GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  The primary and the issues surrounding the campaign that leads up to the November 5 general election were #1 for the fourth consecutive week.  Landing at #2 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  At #3 was rising gas prices at U.S. pumps and at #4 was the protest in Afghanistan over the desecration of Korans at a U.S. base.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio is published each week at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  See the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  Dial Global’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” picks up KFWB, Los Angeles for the 10:00 pm to 3:00 am slot…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” is added for the overnight slot at WPRO, Providence…..“Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds KPQ, Wenatchee, Washington and KPSF, Palm Springs – Money Radio 1200.

 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

| February 1, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI Ground Zero for Sports Radio This Week.  The annual American ritual that is the NFL’s championship game is more than just a sports broadcasting event and has been for many years.  But this year’s game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants is especially intriguing and is creating enormous content, revenue and positive imaging for the spoken-word stations taking part on a level that rivals and perhaps exceeds a national political convention.  Some 100 sports stations, talk stations and network programs are filling the radio row and broadcasting from Indianapolis this week.  CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York is promising to deliver more than 50 hours of coverage leading up to, during and after the game with hosts Mike Francesa, Boomer & Carton, Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts.  Entercom’s WEEI, Boston is similarly situated in Indy broadcasting most of its programs from the site including Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni and “The Big Show.”  Numerous sports talk stations from markets outside New England and New York broadcast from the site as are the networks – ESPN, Fox Sports Radio and others.  Sirius/XM Satellite Radio sports talk maverick Dino Costa is on the scene telling TALKERS, “You have no idea how much fun it is to be here and to be broadcasting from this amazing event.”  Dial Global has the national radio rights to the game (Giants and Patriots local rights carriers WFAN and WBZ-FM, respectively, can broadcast the game) and has cleared the game broadcast on more than 650 stations and has sold out the inventory.  Football is traditionally considered a television sport but football fans can’t always be near a television (or internet video feed) and that usually gives radio a healthy audience – as evidenced by Dial Global’s Edison Research-commissioned poll indicating more than 29 million Americans listened to at least a portion of the conference championship games this year.

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Shifts Network Programming; Adds PM Drive News Hour.  Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa brings market news and talk pro Dan Potter back to the station to host a 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm program called “The KRMG Afternoon News with Dan Potter.”  Program director Drew Anderssen says, “KRMG listeners have told us it’s more important than ever for us to give them more frequent news, weather and traffic reports on their way home from work.  So, we’re taking action to address those needs.”  The station is also shifting Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from a one-hour delay to their live air times of 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm CT respectively.  “With this change, listeners will now be able to hear what Rush and Sean have to say about events as they happen, not one hour later,” Anderssen states.  Dan Potter previously served as KRMG news director and morning news anchor before leaving the station in 2010 to attend to family matters.

Garrett Lewis Appointed to PD Post at KNST-AM/FM, Tucson.  Clear Channel Tucson ups morning drive host Garrett Lewis to the program director position, replacing former PD Chris Patyk.  Lewis – host of the “Morning Ritual” AM drive show since February of 2010 – signs a two-year deal to continue anchoring the morning show and stepping into the programmer’s role as well.  CC Tucson operations director Chris Pickett states, “Being able to keep Garrett is a big part of the evolution of KNST to FM.  His show has become must-listen radio and with his direction, I am confident that KNST will soar to new heights in the not-so-distant future.”

Current TV Enlists Guest Hosts for Ailing Keith Olbermann.  According to Mediaite, “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann’s chair is being filled by Bill Press and others while he recovers from a case of bronchitis.  Earlier, TALKERS reported that former New York Governor and CNN personality Eliot Spitzer was sitting in for Olbermann.  That was not correct as Bill Press has been hosting the show the past four nights.  However, Mediaite is reporting that Spitzer will host the program tonight (2/1).  Speculation is that Olbermann and Current TV have been butting heads lately – something founder Al Gore has publicly denied – and that Current TV may be testing the waters to see who might be a good fit for the network if Olbermann exits.

ESPN Radio Gets Back into the Detroit Metro on WCAR.  The Birach Broadcasting-owned station is licensed to Livonia, Michigan west of Detroit on the way to Ann Arbor.  Sima Birach, Jr. says, “Detroit is nationally recognized as one of the top three sports towns in America and we are ecstatic to bring the full force of the ESPN brand to Detroit’s loyal sports fans.  In addition to local programming which features some of Detroit’s iconic sports figures, we’re confident we’ll serve our listeners with the content they’ve been longing for.”  The station will carry the full lineup of ESPN Radio programming.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Puts ESPN Deportes on Chicago Translator.  The deal between Clear Channel and ESPN places the latter’s Spanish-language sports format on what has been a translator for Educational Media Foundation’s Christian WNKV-FM, Norco, Louisiana – we’re assuming EMF and CC have a deal for the latter to handle the programming.  According to ESPN, the 3-watt signal in Chicago at 95.7 FM covers “downtown Chicago and will also reach largely Hispanic/Latino neighborhood communities, including Cicero, Berwyn and Pilsen.”  ESPN Deportes Radio GM Oscar Ramos says, “This expansion is a milestone for the ESPN Deportes brand and yet another step forward in our effort to make ESPN Deportes Radio available to Hispanic sports fans nationwide.  We are thrilled with our agreement with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to bring our comprehensive programming to Chicago fans while also providing a great platform for advertisers.”

Thom Hartmann’s “Big Picture” TV Show Gets International Distribution.  Dial Global nationally syndicated progressive talk host Thom Hartmann produces a TV program called “The Big Picture” which is already distributed to Free Speech TV and RT America.  Now, RT International announces it will distribute Hartmann’s show to cable systems elsewhere including the UK and Europe, Africa, Australia and South America.  RT International states it has a reach into 100 countries containing a half-billion households.  Hartmann says, “This is such an important time, with a U.S. presidential election as important as any I can remember, a global financial crisis, and tensions in the Middle East seeming to rise once again.  I look forward to the opportunity to share my common-sense progressive views on these issues and more with viewers throughout the globe.”

Talk Host Phil Valentine’s Global Warming-Challenging Film Debuts.  Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine’s movie “An Inconsistent Truth” hit the theater in Nashville last weekend and grossed more than $20,000.  Valentine produced and stars in the film that challenges anthropogenic global warming with Phil taking the role of a conservative Michael Moore-type documentary host.  (The film was co-produced by Ann Cates and executive producers David Harper, Joseph Edwards and Michael Costanza.)  Valentine used the power of his talk show in Nashville to promote the movie and drew good crowds based on the one-weekend gross.  This kind of project is indicative of the kind of promotional power a good talk show host can have with a quality product like Valentine’s movie.  Valentine says he’s thrilled with the first weekend’s showing in Nashville.  “We thought we may have something but we had no idea the response would be this strong.  I’m speechless.”  Valentine and distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures are weighing their next move in distributing the movie across the country over the next couple of weeks.  Check out the trailer here.

Valerie Geller Consults PBS Documentary.  The president of Geller Media International, Valerie Geller – a leading talk radio consultant – participated as an advisor to the PBS documentary film “Daisy Bates – First Lady of Little Rock” airing nationally on PBS-TV stations tomorrow  night (2/2) and in New York City on February 5.  The Independent Documentary Series production tells the story of  Daisy Bates, a complex, unconventional, and largely forgotten heroine of the civil rights movement who led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.  In addition to being an informative slice of history, the film is a conversation starter bringing up a number of compelling and controversial questions. The “Little Rock Nine” faced unimaginable verbal abuse and threats to their very lives. Was it ethical for Bates’s NAACP to put children on the front lines of the desegregation battle — even if they volunteered to be there or chose to be there?  Geller tells TALKERS, “One of the joys of consulting work is the opportunity to help other people achieve their dreams. I’m honored to have had the chance to work with documentary producer Sharon La Cruise on her film.

Dave Vieser Exits WCHU-AM/FM, Ithaca Morning Show.  Management at the Saga Communications news/talk station tells CNYRadio.com that Dave Vieser left his APD and morning co-host role for personal reasons.  The move leaves program director/news director Geoff Dunn as solo host of the morning drive show but the station states on its website, “We are currently working on a transition plan for a new host of the program.  We will miss Dave, and wish him well.”

Florida GOP Primary, Syria Violence, Occupy DC, and Taliban-Pakistan Link Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31).  Mitt Romney’s victory over Newt Gingrich in the Florida primary, the ongoing violence in Syria, the Occupy DC movement that is clashing with authorities and the suspected link between the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s government were some of the most-talked-about stories in news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.