“Olbermann, You Blew it!” Those are the word of TALKERS columnist Mona “The Lip” Lipschitz as she castigates former Current TV talent Keith Olbermann for his messy exit from Current and his mega-million dollar suit against the fledgling network. Lipschitz calls Olbermann out stating, “At least Al Gore is attempting to widen the commercial media platform available to progressive talkers in this country, not to mention sign you to a big fat friggin’ contract with enough dough that could keep countless of the families you claim to be so concerned about under their roofs and fed through this economic and political crisis.” Read more of Lipschitz’s searing analysis of the Olbermann-Current blow-up here.
Dallas Talk Radio Institution Mark Davis at Contract Loggerheads with Cumulus Media. WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk radio host Mark Davis writes on his blog that his status with the Cumulus Media-owned news/talk station is “not departure, but impasse.” He confirms his contract with the station has expired and he has been off the air all this week – his contract expired last Friday – as a result of his and the company’s inability to come to terms on a new deal. Cumulus Media is not responding to requests for comment. Davis hosts the late morning program between AM drive and Rush Limbaugh’s midday show. Cumulus operates both WBAP-AM/FM and news/talk KLIF in the market and industry watchers are wondering how the debut of Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee program will affect the programming on the stations. One would assume Cumulus wants to see Huckabee’s show in a major market like Dallas although WBAP carries Limbaugh – aired live at the same time as the new Huckabee show – and it’s not clear how much time is left on the Premiere Networks program’s contract with WBAP. Mark Davis, with WBAP since 1994, also writes a weekly column for the Dallas Morning News and appears on local TV on “Inside Texas Politics” on WFAA-TV and KDFW-TV.
Les Brown Exits KFWB, Los Angeles. Motivational speaker Les Brown has exited his role with KFWB, Los Angeles after a little more than a year on the air. Program director Andy Ludlum confirms his exit to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan. “Les Brown came to us and said he wanted to leave his KFWB show when his contractual term expired at the end of March. While Les has enjoyed his role as host of one the nation’s only positive radio shows, he’s been feeling his calling is beyond that of a local radio show host. He is being asked by number of companies and organizations to re-energize his role as an international motivational speaker and Les has come to the conclusion that is a better route to the national and international stage he has in mind. There may be more media in his future but he’s thinking national syndication rather than local radio.” Brown’s program aired from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and the station has extended Dave Ramsey’s show by one hour and is beginning its PM drive news programming an hour earlier to make up the difference.
Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Deals with Controversy as Staffers Sign Governor Walker Recall Petition. Journal Broadcasting is acting swiftly to quell the controversy over some of its news staffers having signed the petition to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Journal issued a statement that says: “TODAY’S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ discovered that several members of our staff signed the recall petitions for Governor Walker. Some of those employees play a role in our news gathering and editorial process. Several of them also work on-air: One at TODAY’S TMJ4; four at Newsradio 620 WTMJ. We want you to know that we consider this a serious issue. We are in the process of dealing with it internally. Our reputation of being a fair and unbiased news source is of paramount importance to both TODAY’S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ. We expect anyone involved in the production of news to avoid situations that could compromise our integrity. We don’t allow news employees to sign nomination papers for candidates, display yard signs or take part in a political campaign. However, many employees told us that they felt signing the recall petition was not a political act, but instead felt it was similar to casting a vote. WTMJ does not agree and we want to assure you, our listeners, that we are taking measures to make sure all of our reporting is fair, balanced and to ensure something like this does not happen again.”
Tom Leykis Fans Crash Website as Talk Icon Debuts Internet Program. Tom Leykis got back behind the microphone for the first time in more than three years after CBS Radio blew up his old home base of KLSX-FM, Los Angeles. This time Leykis is broadcasting via the internet on his longtime blowmeuptom.com domain and the response from Leykis fans was enough to crash the servers during its debut broadcast on Monday, April 2. Leykis e-mails the OC Register’s Gary Lycan to report, “It was amazing. Fortunately, each 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show repeats until the next one airs. The easiest, fastest solution to listen right away is to go to TuneIn.com and search for ‘Leykis.’”
SiriusXM Signs Multi-Year Deal with Major League Baseball to Broadcast Games. MLB has had a deal with the original XM Satellite Radio since its inception. This new contract allows MLB games to be heard via the SiriusXM Internet Radio App, via SiriusXM.com and, for satellite radio listeners who have the XM Satellite service. Major League Baseball Advanced Media senior vice president Kenny Gersh states, “SiriusXM has been a valuable partner in connecting its subscribers with the tradition of baseball on the radio and this agreement adds an important distribution platform, alongside our own products including Gameday Audio and At Bat, for fans to enjoy listening to the radio broadcasts of Major League Baseball games via the internet.”
ESPN’s Mike & Mike to Broadcast from World Champion St. Louis Cardinals’ Home Opener. ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will broadcast the national radio and cable TV simulcast of their morning drive program live from Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Friday, April 13. Local affiliate, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WXOS-FM, St Louis – 101 ESPN – will be holding a listener contest in conjunction with the special “Mike & Mike” broadcast so that local fans can be a part of the television and radio broadcast. This intimate broadcast is not open to the public; however, five lucky 101 ESPN listeners can win a pair of VIP passes to attend this event by entering to win at the station’s website.
WZIM-FM, Bloomington, Illinois Flips to Sports. Zimmer/Great Plains Media drops classic hits on WZIM-FM (licensed to Lexington, Illinois) and uses programming from Fox Sports Radio Network plus Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome. That station also will air Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox baseball and plans to carry Indianapolis Colts football. Robert Rees is serving as program director for the station.
“Afternoon Constitutional” Show Features Local GOP Debate Series. The WCHV, Charlottesville, Virginia-based “Afternoon Constitutional” program – hosted by Joe Thomas and syndicated regionally – is airing weekly shows on Mondays beginning April 9 through that state’s GOP primary in June featuring candidates for U.S. Senate. Thomas tells TALKERS magazine, the show is called “4 Your Approval” and the four candidates for the Senate nomination (former Governor and Senator George Allen, former TEA Party chair Jamie Radtke, General Assembly Delegate Bob Marshall and former radio show host and bishop E.W. Jackson) will answer a four-question gauntlet from himself, co-host Nikki Lewis and listener submissions. Thomas states, “We have a difficult choice but we believe that honest competition will bring forth the best candidate for our listeners.”
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Campaign Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM Weekly Chart. The Republican primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week of April 2-6, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 was the Supreme Court’s review of President Obama’s Patient Accessibility and Affordable Care Act. At #3 was the federal budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan and at #4 was skyrocketing gas prices. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts adds Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show…..Dr. Daliah Wachs gets her daily program added to WFAS-FM, Bronxville, New York…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” picks up KPUA, Hilo, Hawaii…..WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann joins WGUN, Atlanta…..Ed Schultz is added to Rivers Radio’s WGUN, Atlanta…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” is added to the program lineup at WZFG, Fargo; KEUN, Eunice, Louisiana; and KMAM/KMOE-FM, Butler, Missouri.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Prepares to Celebrate 90th Anniversary on April 10. If you think you’ve been reading about a lot of 90th anniversaries here at TALKERS lately, it’s not your imagination. The government handed out a lot of radio licenses in 1922 when the popular new commercial medium was really taking off. Greater Media’s WBT signed on April 10, 1922 from its original studio location in a chicken coop behind the Charlotte Country Club. The station has claimed to be the second commercial station in the country and the first in the Southeast. The accompanying photo seen here is one of the station’s first control boards. There is a cool video presentation on the history of WBT at the station’s website here.
WOR Looking to Launch New Evening Show in 2012. Pardon the mixed fruit metaphor, but plum talk show jobs like this don’t come up that often in the Big Apple as WOR tips TALKERS to its plans to fill 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm with a new show at the beginning of the year. According to program director Scott Lakefield, the legendary station is completely open to all ideas as it looks to bring in someone or something new to fill that cool two-hour slice of its evening schedule. Lakefield tells TALKERS that the timing of the move is being designed to coincide with forthcoming changes at the end of the year in the business relationship between Dial Global and Philadelphia-based talker Michael Smerconish whose syndicated program is currently in that slot. Lakefield points out that in keeping with the station’s present direction of focusing on locally-originated talent with a broad-based political/social agenda, the station would most-likely hire a non-syndicated talent such as it offers in morning drive with John Gambling and the recent addition of former New York Governor David Paterson in afternoons. “We are very encouraged by the response we are getting with these shows and feel that the station is filling a real programming void in New York news/talk radio programming.” Meantime, in light of this development, TALKERS checked with Dial Global to ascertain the status of the syndicated Michael Smerconish program learning that the changes ahead will simply pertain to the production and ownership of the successful show and not to its continuation as a syndicated offering in the new year. According to Dial Global vice president Amy Bolton, “It’s moving from a Dial Global-owned product to being a repped product owned by an outside producer. We hope to announce the details shortly. But it is all good. In essence, nothing changes as we would still handle ad sales, affiliate sales and distribution.” Michael Smerconish is a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred and generally recognized as not only being the leading news/talk talent in Philadelphia but one of the hottest rising stars on the national talk media scene.
Clear Channel to Restructure Management in Medium and Small Markets. Scuttlebutt in the industry that Clear Channel’s regional managers meetings in Atlanta would reveal some sort of management reorganization plan appears to be true and, though concrete details are still few, it appears the company will be employing more regional market managers to oversee its medium and small markets. Sources close to the story indicate that each regional market manager will oversee anywhere between 10 and 15 markets in order to give each manager less to focus on than the current system which has fewer regional vice presidents responsible for many stations. The new setup reportedly also includes a programmer to assist each regional market manager. What this means for local talent and local programmers remains to be seen however, it would not be unusual to see some sort of programming consolidation where management feels it can contain costs without harming the on-air product.
WTKK-FM, Boston Expands Morning Simulcast with Regional Cable News Channel. Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston shaves an hour off the Jim Braude and Margery Eagan-hosted morning drive show and adds another hour of its audio simulcast of New England Cable Network’s “NECN Morning News” program to the schedule. The Braude and Eagan show now begins at 7:00 am. WTKK-FM has been airing NECN’s “First Thing in the Morning” starting at 4:30 am followed by the “NECN Morning News” show from 5:00 am to 6:00 am. Program director Grace Blazer says they added the additional hour due to positive listener response. “Commuting New Englanders now have found a whole new way to start the day. 96.9 FM’s expanding commitment to local and breaking news, traffic, and weather followed by Jim and Margery’s perspective, live audience interaction, and real time attention to topical issues creates a listening experience not available anywhere else. This seamless integration of content created by NECN and 96.9 FM represents the next generation of news and information delivered over multiple platforms for the benefit of listeners in a ‘right now’ world. Greater Media Boston is proud to be a part of this innovation that will benefit its advertisers, listeners and the communities we serve.”
Monticello Media Helps Bring Concert to Region for Earthquake Benefit. WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia PD and morning drive host Joe Thomas tells TALKERS his station and sister country outlet WCYK-FM spearheaded a drive that culminated with the town of Louisa, Virginia winning a nationwide competition for a free Alan Jackson concert to benefit families whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the August 28 earthquake. Thomas says, “It was an overwhelming response. Since FEMA turned Governor McDonnell down, I’m glad Louisa and all of Central Virginia was able to do something to help our own.”
GOP Debate/Cain’s 999 Plan, Iran Assassination Plot Allegations, ‘Occupy’ Protests, and Obama’s Jobs Bill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12). The GOP candidates debate and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan,’ the allegations of an Iran-sponsored assassination plot, the ‘Occupy’ protests and the status of President Obama’s jobs creation legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey’s Book Tour/Live Events Continue to Draw. Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey’s continuing bus tour of the country to promote his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011), drew 750 fans to this book signing in Katy, Texas on October 7 with metro affiliate KSEV, Houston a partner in the event. The next day, Ramsey attracted about 8,000 listeners to his “Total Money Makeover Live” program at Houston’s Reliant Arena in Houston.