Alpha Media to Buy WFTL and WMEN in Palm Beaches. This deal brings two spoken-word formatted AMs into Alpha Media’s West Palm Beach station group, joining current holdings adult contemporary WEAT “Sunny 107.9” and hot AC WRMF. News/talk WFTL, West Palm Beach and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach are being sold by Mark Jorgenson’s ACM JCE IV B, LLC to Alpha for $ 2 million. Jorgenson’s firm acquired the stations from James Crystal in a 2015 bankruptcy auction. Alpha begins operating the two stations under an LMA until closing.
Westwood One and Entercom Partner to Syndicate ‘Beyond Reality Radio.’ Last August, Entercom launched the “Beyond Reality Radio” program across a number of its news/talk stations. Now, the company is partnering with Westwood One to put the program into national syndication. “Beyond Reality Radio” airs weeknights live from 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am ET and is co-hosted by Jason Hawes, co-founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society and the creator and star of Syfy’s hit “Ghost Hunters,” and JV Johnson, a long-time paranormal investigator and former publisher and editor of TAPS’ ParaMagazine. Entercom stations airing the show include: KJCE, Austin; WRKO, Boston; WBEN, Buffalo; KEZW, Denver; WSKY, Gainesville; WYRD, Greenville; WBZU/WKZN/WILK, Wilkes-Barre; KMBZ, Kansas City; WWL, New Orleans; WBT, Charlotte; and KNSS, Wichita. Westwood One will roll out syndication to stations nationwide and represent ad sales as it launches on March 6.
TALKERS News Notes. In the Triangle market, Capitol Broadcasting’s sports talk WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” and its affiliate digital platform WRALsportsfan.com partners with contributor Lauren Brownlow to present a special, eight-episode podcast investigating the “supernatural history” of North Carolina State University and the legendary “curse” that haunts Wolfpack Nation. Brownlow says, “Growing up in North Carolina and covering the area teams for over a decade, I’ve long been fascinated with the dedication of NC State fans in spite of a recent string of bad luck, which contrasts sharply with a rich and successful overall athletic history. When I learned about the recently conceived concept of ‘NC State Stuff – What can go wrong for NC State will go wrong,’ and that it had a name, I knew I had to learn more about it. I’ve never believed in it, but I kept an open mind going into this podcast and wanted to figure out, once and for all, if there’s anything to it.”…..Entertainment consulting firm Paragon Media Strategies names Michelle Conrad as social+mobile+digital consultant. Paragon CEO Mike Henry said, “It’s great to add a true Millennial to Paragon’s consulting ranks. Michelle Conrad is a native digital user and lifelong social media explorer. Michelle brings hands-on experience working with entertainment brands, including ABC, Nickelodeon and GoPro. She is uniquely suited to ensure that the social, mobile and digital experience is completely in synch with the overall brand experience.”…..Westwood One reports the results of a Nielsen study it commissioned to examine the return on investment for advertisers using WW1’s coverage of NFL football and NCAA basketball play-by-play. WW1 says some of the key findings of the study include that, 1) radio elevated key brand perceptions. For example, those exposed to Westwood One’s NCAA basketball audio were 37% more likely to indicate the motorcycle manufacturer was the brand for people like them versus those who were not exposed to the campaign; 2) the radio campaign had significant advertiser recall among key demographics for the brand. Among those who have ever owned a motorcycle, those exposed to Westwood One’s NCAA basketball audio were 72% more likely to recall the brand’s ads; and 3) radio had a stunning impact on every stage of the purchase funnel, including purchase intent: Compared to those who had not heard the campaign, those exposed to the radio campaign had a 63% increase in plans to purchase the brand. See more of the results in WW1 chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard’s blog post here…..The Radio Advertising Bureau names 17-year RAB staffer Tiffiney Wyatt to the newly created position, business development & insights associate. At the same time, joining the membership team at the RAB is Rita Landells.
Trump’s Travel Ban Battle, North Korea Missile Incident/Trump Security Questions, Michael Flynn Under Fire-Resignation, California Dam Concerns, ‘SNL’ Trump Sketches, Tumultuous GOP Town Halls, and Sunday’s Grammy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13). The court battles over his original travel ban and potential new executive travel orders from President Donald Trump and related protests over his perceived anti-immigration stance; North Korea’s weekend test of an ICBM and related questions about presidential and national security after Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe learned of and discussed the matter in the Mar-A-Lago dining room; National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn resigns after ongoing questions about his improper communications with Russian diplomats; the status of a Northern California dam spillway as it threatens the residences of some 200,000 evacuees; the flap over the series of Trump Administration spoofs aired on “Saturday Night Live”; the raucous town hall receptions some GOP lawmakers are receiving in their districts; and Sunday night’s Grammy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Music radio pro Zakk Babb stays in the Entercom family in his new position as afternoon drive personality and imaging director for CHR WZPL, Indianapolis. Babb has been hosting evenings at Entercom’s hot AC WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” – a position he’ll continue to hold as he’ll voice track the show from Indy…..Due to his ongoing cancer treatment, John Thomas is stepping away from his SVP of programming role at iHeartMedia’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster in which he oversees programming at news/talk WHYN-AM, hot AC WHYN-FM, and country WRNX. In a Facebook post, Thomas writes, “After a lot of prayer, weighing the pros & cons and deep soul-searching – I’ve decided to resign from my position @ iHeart in order to FOCUS 100% on my HEALTH! Over the course of the next several weeks – I’ll be transitioning in order to put myself in the BEST possible position to benefit from the clinical trial that I started a few weeks back.”…..Cumulus Media announces that the nationally syndicated Kidd Kraddick show – starring Kellie Rasberry, Big Al Mack, J-Si Chavez and Jenna Owens – is the new morning program on its CHR KBIU, Lake Charles “HOT 103.3.”…..In the Lafayette, Louisiana market, programming pro Tyrone Davis exits Delta Media’s urban contemporary KFXZ “Z105.9” where he’d been serving as program director and music director. His duties will be assumed by operations manager Erik Tobias.
Reports: Chris Carlin to Co-Host Afternoons with Ike Reese at WIP, Philadelphia. According to media reports in Philly.com and the New York Daily News, longtime Big Apple sports media figure Chris Carlin is being hired to co-host the afternoon drive show at CBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia alongside Ike Reese. Philly.com reports that WIP would neither confirm nor deny that Carlin is joining the station. The site also calls the hire “an odd choice” given that Carlin has been a longtime New York sports media personality. Many in the industry would agree that Philadelphia is a market where sports fans like their talk hosts to be natives. Currently, Carlin works for SportsNet New York hosting the “Loud Mouths” show. Carlin served as producer for WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa for six years and handled sports update duties on WFAN’s “Imus in the Morning” program for a while. He is currently the voice of Rutgers football.
Nielsen Audio Releases Round Three of October 2016 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of October 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The October 2016 survey period covered September 8 (the first game of the NFL season) – October 5. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
The Presidential Race, U.S. House and Senate Races, Megyn Kelly-Newt Gingrich Segment, ObamaCare Premium Increases, Russian Military Build-Up, the World Series, and NFL action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/26). The presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the contests for U.S. House and Senate seats and control of Congress; the heated Fox News Channel segment between Megyn Kelly and Newt Gingrich; the criticism of the Affordable Care Act as premiums are set to rise by double digits; concerns over a new Cold War as Russia continues its military build-up and posturing; the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians; and NFL Action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Coverage of Election 2016 from ABC News Radio will begin November 8 at 7:00 pm ET and run through at least 1:00 am ET. ABC News correspondents Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor coverage with “World News Tonight” Saturday anchor and senior national correspondent Cecilia Vega and correspondents Brad Mielke and Cheri Preston reporting from the Hillary Clinton campaign headquarters and “World News Tonight” Sunday anchor Tom Llamas and correspondents Alex Stone and Mark Remillard reporting from the Donald Trump campaign headquarters. Joining them will be correspondents Richard Davies from the ABC News Decision Desk, Stephanie Ramos from Washington, DC, Jim Ryan from Nevada, and Ryan Burrow from Florida. Political director Rick Klein, deputy political director Shushannah Walshe, and contributors Steve Roberts and Trey Hardin will provide political analysis…..CBS Radio News’ Cami McCormick was the only American radio reporter travelling with Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Brussels and broke the news that Carter ordered the suspension of all efforts to collect reimbursements from affected California National Guard members. McCormick covers the State and Defense Departments for CBS Radio News…..CBS RADIO and Simon & Schuster are launching “The Paper Donkey Podcast,” a conversation between writers and editors about their work, the page and process, moderated by Victoria Taylor and available on the company’s Play.it platform. The weekly 45-min show is the second collaboration between CBS RADIO and Simon & Schuster.
Ramsey Presenting EntreLeadership Master Series in Nashville. Back at the Ramsey Solutions headquarters in Nashville, nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey (pictured above) is presenting his EntreLeadership Master Series this week. Tomorrow (10/28), he’ll broadcast a special “EntreLeadership theme hour” as part of the event. The hour will focus on leadership and business questions from callers, e-mails and event attendees. At EntreLeadership Master Series, Ramsey and his team condense more than 20 years of business and leadership wisdom into a seven-day event. Business owners and leaders who attend walk away with practical ideas that can improve their communication, organization, team culture, finances, negotiating and selling skills, marketing, advertising, and ability to make tough decisions.
Dave Ramsey Smart Money Tour Hits Boston. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey brought his 2016 Smart Money tour to the sold-out Lowell Memorial Auditorium last night (9/29). Ramsey and local affiliate WRKO worked to promote the event. Entercom New England VP and market manager Phil Zachary says, “The timing of Dave’s visit to Greater Boston could not be better. While many candidates are politicizing the challenges of America’s working middle class, Dave deploys a program of proven techniques and positive motivation that ensures everyone in attendance will come away with an improved outlook on life. I just can’t think of a more uplifting experience to offer WRKO listeners.” Pictured here are (from l-r): radio consultant Holland Cooke, Ramsey, and Zachary.
AdAge and iHeartRadio Partner for Marketing Podcast. The new program is titled “Tagline” and will be available via the iHeartRadio digital platform and AdAge.com. iHeartMedia chairman Bob Pittman announced the collaborative effort at an Advertising Week VIP event. A press release says, “‘Tagline’ will give listeners an insider’s perspective on what the world that influences pop culture is really all about. The new podcast series will air twice a month on iHeartRadio and Advertising Age and feature a rotating series of the most talented and entertaining people in the business, tackling everything from the most pressing questions to the most annoying trends. The content and the participants will evolve organically as each episode concludes with this week’s Tagline host tagging the next guests via an unprompted phone call.” AdAge publisher Josh Golden comments, “Every day, people in the marketing community are whispering about what’s happened and what’s next – and now ‘Tagline’ will let people all across the industry listen to those otherwise private conversations. Our audience wants to hear about the real conversations, frustrations, insights and resolutions that happen in the conference rooms late at night and this partnership with iHeart will expose exactly that.” The first season will launch in November and include 24 podcasts and special edition episodes corresponding with select industry events.
Mike Francesa Confirms End of WFAN Show at Contract’s End. Once again, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa has told his listeners that he will be leaving CBS RADIO’s WFAN after his contract ends on December 15 of 2017. This is not the first time he’s addressed the matter but, obviously, things can change. However, according to the New York Daily News, Francesa reiterated that he’ll leave CBS RADIO but that he also promised the station he won’t spend a lot of time talking about it. Where will he go? Sounds like he doesn’t know right now. The Daily News reports he says, “I’m very open to different things. In broad strokes I have been contacted by some broadcast entities about what I would do. I won’t be going to satellite, it’s just not something I want to do. I have a few things that do interest me, that’s not one of them. It has nothing to do with Dog [Chris Russo] being there. I wish Dog well there, I know he signed a new contract, so congratulations on that, but it’s not going to have anything to do with me.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of September 2016 PPM Data. The fourth of four rounds of September 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The September 2016 survey period covered August 11 through September 7. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Cop Shootings and Train Crash Among Top Talk Stories Behind the Presidential Race for Week of September 26-30. Once again, the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week was the presidential race, highlighted by Monday’s debate. At #2 this week was the police killing of a black man in El Cajon, California and the aftermath of the Charlotte shooting and protests. Coming in at #3 was the New Jersey train crash, followed by the Syria civil war and the related U.S.-Russia tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
The Yappy Tour Rolls On. Former radio talk show producer-turned-author Bernadette Duncan recently brought her “Yappy Tour” to the massive Western Massachusetts audience of classic rocker WAQY-FM, Springfield “Rock 102” by appearing as a guest on the very popular “Bax & O’Brien” morning talk show to discuss her buzz-worthy book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books, 2016). The book recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Above, Duncan (c) is pictured with hosts John O’Brien (l) and Mike “Bax” Baxendale (r). Duncan’s national “Yappy Tour” will roll on through the remainder of the year. She has already appeared on more than 25 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
WGN, Chicago Renews Steve Cochran Through 2020. This is the latest in a series of contract renewals at Tribune’s news/talker WGN Radio. Morning drive host Steve Cochran’s pact with the station is extended through 2020. Station VP of content and programming Todd Manley says, “Steve makes it look easy with his affable brand of intelligence, but nobody works harder to gather and share the stories Chicagoans care about. He’s got the raw talent and work ethic we need for many years to come.” The Cochran morning show team includes co-anchor and reporter Andrea Darlas, news by Steve Grzanich, sports by Dave Eanet and traffic by Mary Van De Velde. Last week, the station made public new deals for afternoon drive star Roe Conn and, on Friday, an extension for programmer Manley. Cochran worked at WGN from 2000 through 2010 when he was let go. He rejoined WGN in 2013. In a story this morning by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cochran speaks glowingly about the new regime at WGN – and rather frankly about the one that fired him. You can read Feder’s piece here.
Melissa Harrison Named AM Co-Anchor at KRLD, Dallas. News pro Melissa Harrison becomes part of the KRLD Morning News alongside Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, beginning Friday, July 1. Harrison has most recently been working as a freelance reporter for KXAS-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth. She formerly worked as a television news reporter in New York, Birmingham, Jackson, Waco, and Abilene. KRLD director of news and programming Paul Mann says, “Melissa’s extensive journalism experience will further strengthen the award-winning KRLD news team. As with co-anchors Mike Rogers and Scott Sams, Melissa’s roots run deep in North Texas and she is passionate about our community.”
‘Brexit’ Vote/Financial Markets Activity, The Presidential Race, SCOTUS Immigration Ruling, Coming SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, Sacramento Rally Violence, and MLB Action and Copa America Final Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the reactions by the world’s financial markets; the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton plus the hiring of former Trump aid Corey Lewandowski by CNN; the effects of the recent Supreme Court ruling halting President Obama’s immigration executive orders; this week’s expected ruling by the Supreme Court on Texas’ abortion laws; the violent clash of protestors at a ‘white power’ rally in Sacramento; and MLB action and the Copa America soccer final were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Radio personality Anthony Cumia has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges – third-degree assault and a charge of blocking someone’s breathing – related to an incident with his then-girlfriend in December of 2015. Cumia – former partner of Gregg “Opie” Hughes on both SiriusXM and AM/FM radio – currently hosts an internet talk program. Newsday is reporting that Cumia must complete six months of outpatient alcohol abuse treatment and a six-month batterer’s intervention program. Upon completion of those programs, he can get the charges reduced to non-criminal harassment counts…..Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tips TALKERS magazine that Chicago media writer Robert Feder is celebrating his 36th year in the business of covering radio and television in the Windy City. Tradup and Feder recently shared a lunch in Chicago where Tradup was once president and general manager of news/talk WLS-AM…..SiriusXM is offering comprehensive live coverage of The Championships, Wimbledon 2016 beginning today through the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10. The broadcasts are airing courtesy of rightsholder ESPN Audio…..Audio content aggregator TuneIn is now offering Scripps-owned Newsy’s daily news reporting. TuneIn premium subscribers can access two weekly podcasts focused on politics — “Newsy Politics” — and culture — “Givin’ Takes” – plus three daily podcasts focused on U.S. and world news; tech, science and health; and current events…..Alpha Media’s Salina, Kansas news/talker KSAL-AM “NewsRadio 1150” collects two honors in the 2016 Salina Journal Reader’s Choice Awards. KSAL was named “Favorite Radio Station.” KSAL personality Clarke Sanders was chosen “Favorite Radio Host.” Fellow staffers Rich Alexander and Mike Hammett were finalists in the host category. Alpha Salina market manager Bob Protzman says, “We’re very proud of Alpha Media’s representation in the 2016 Salina Journal Reader’s Choice Awards. Once again, ‘News Radio 1150’ KSAL takes ‘Favorite Radio Station’ showing that AM radio is alive and well – all it takes is quality local programming.”
BIA Kelsey Releases State of Radio Industry Report. As part of its state of the radio industry report, BIA Kelsey releases “The Position of Local Radio Stations: Trends for 2016 & Beyond.” Using data from Nielsen Audio, Edison Research, Miller Kaplan, and more, the study looks at AM/FM radio’s reach and revenue over the past five years and projects where radio is likely to be five years down the road. It notes recent industry-wide dips in local station revenue. “We believe local radio stations will be able to turn around this negative over-the-air revenue growth slightly. As long as the economy maintains moderate growth in the next few years, we expect total radio advertising to grow in the 1.0 % to 1.25 % CAGR range.” The BIA Kelsey study also points to digital and live events as pieces of the radio revenue pie that have helped AM/FM survive spot sales declines that will continue to be crucial to radio’s bottom line in the years ahead.
iHeartMedia and Creditors Still at Odds Over Asset Shift. According to a report from Bloomberg, iHeartMedia and a number of its creditors have broken off talks to try to resolve the rancor over iHeartMedia’s shift of 100 million shares of Clear Channel Outdoor to a new subsidiary called Broader Media. Creditors including D. E. Shaw, Canyon Capital, Franklin Advisers and Franklin Mutual sued iHeartMedia over the move claiming that it violates the debt covenants. iHeartMedia argues that’s not the case and the move is designed to allow the company to deal more effectively with its $20 billion in debt. iHeartMedia told a Texas judge that if the creditors’ bond defaults are allowed to proceed, it would cause as much as $15 billion of the company’s debt to come due quickly and that would force the company into bankruptcy protection. The creditors argue that is not what they are trying to accomplish. iHeartMedia SVP and treasurer Brian Coleman says the company’s maneuvers are part of its Project Indigo, a long-term strategy designed to allow it to study ways to deal with its debt.
The Panama Papers, The Presidential Race/Wisconsin Primary, Iran Arms Shipment Case, North Korean Nuke Threats, Tennessee Bible Bill, and NCAA Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/4). The so-called “Panama Papers” that reportedly link numerous world leaders to schemes to hide wealth in off-shore accounts; the activities of the candidates for president and today’s Wisconsin primary; the capture of illegal arms being shipped by Iran; the threats of nuclear attacks by North Korea; the controversial Tennessee bill that makes the Bible the official state book; and Monday evening’s NCAA Men’s Basketball championship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Eric Zane Lands at Sports WBBL, Grand Rapids. After exiting the nationally syndicated “Free Beer and Hot Wings” show based at Townsquare Media’s rock WGRD, Grand Rapids, Eric Zane has landed the morning show gig at Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports talk WBBL, effective April 7. Zane officially left the show in mid-February after being absent from the program without explanation. It appears Zane’s departure was the result of a contract dispute. Now, he’ll compete in the Grand Rapids market directly with his former co-hosts Gregg “Free Beer” Daniels and Chris “Hot Wings” Michels. The “Free Beer and Hot Wings” show is syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks.
Lineup at ‘Altitude Sports’ in Denver to Launch on Friday. The newest sports talk radio station in the Denver market will officially launch on Friday, April 8 – the home opener day for the Colorado Rockies. Much of the news about Stan Kroenke-owned KRWZ, Denver (recently purchased from Entercom) is not really news as it’s been rumored and reported in the Denver media for some time. Here’s the lineup: Josh Dover hosts “The Morning Lineup” from 6:00 am to 7:00 am; the morning show will feature Tom Helmer, Lauren Gardner (an Altitude TV reporter), and former Denver Nuggets star Scott Hastings. Middays will be hosted by Vic Lombardi and Kyle Keefe. The station will also carry play-by-play of the NBA’s Nuggets, the NHL’s Avalanche; the MLS’ Colorado Rapids; and the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth.
Odds & Sods. There’s been a morning show and midday program re-build at CBS RADIO’s KHTK, Sacramento. Carmichael Dave is now joined by Kayte Christensen and former midday host Nate Goodyear. In middays, Jason Ross is partnered up with newcomers Ken Rudolph and Damien Barling. Jay Johnson joins the station as executive producer…..Long Nine Inc.-owned news/talk WMAY, Springfield, Illinois adds an FM translator to its broadcast with the addition of W234CC, Sherman, Illinois at 94.7 FM.
Dr. Toni Grant Dead at 72. The cause of death is unknown at this time, but the Los Angeles Times is reporting that former radio talk show host and psychologist Dr. Toni Grant died in Beverly Hills on March 27. Grant’s radio career was launched on KABC, Los Angeles in 1975 in the overnight daypart. Her show eventually moved across town to KFI. It went into syndication and at its height was heard on some 180 affiliates. She was off the air from 1990 to 1997 when she re-entered the business. She last worked on air at KABC in 2001. Read the Times’ obit here.
Cool Job Opportunity. “PowerTalk 1360 and 1280” is searching for a local talk show host for afternoon drive in California’s Central Valley. Applicants must have spoken-word experience. General necessities include a passionate, opinionated, outspoken, larger-than-life personality with decidedly conservative values, obsession for news, politics, pop culture, and sports. The ideal candidate will bring an intuitive understanding of the unique values, morals and issues of the California Central Valley and be in sync with those values and perspectives. You must have the ability to speak to the audience as one of them; put a voice to their thoughts and beliefs…much more important than professional polish or experience. In a perfect world you have spent time working in the Central Valley but you don’t have to presently live in the Modesto/Stockton area. You will fully embrace the role of a LOCAL personality: specifically address and engage the LOCAL community issues, organizations, and interests, capitalize on endorsement opportunities, serve as station ambassador, be visible at all community functions, spearhead station and cluster community outreach. You must understand and dedicate your performance to the bottom line: your goals are ratings and unique visitors. See required skills and submit resume and demo here.
Alpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.
WFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radio flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).
Hyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and he brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Baldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will immediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”
Four More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).
Louisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on a regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).
Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than two weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.
BTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26. Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4. 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 magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
BFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognition includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.
Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.
Cool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles. TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070: news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”
CBS RADIO Announces Sales Management Appointments for Chicago Stations. Director of sales Mark Day was let go from the CBS RADIO Chicago cluster in early January (at the same time market manager Rod Zimmerman exited) and now the company is announcing its new sales managers. Paul Agase is named director of music sales, and John Cravens is the director of news and sports sales. SVP and market manager Tim Pohlman says, “I am extremely excited to have two senior veterans in the market lead our sales efforts with the great brands of CBS RADIO Chicago. Paul and John have been leaders in the Chicago market for many years. Their solid relationships with partners, clients, and our internal team will be key to growing our revenue in the years ahead.” Agase (who was promoted from within) will oversee sales operations for the market’s music stations – WBBM-FM (CHR ), WJMK-FM (classic hits), WUSN-FM (country), and WXRT-FM (triple A) – while Cravens (former crosstown sports WMVP DOS) will manage sales efforts for WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM (all-news), WSCR-AM (sports talk), and sports play-by-play sales for both the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs.
Presidential Race, Apple vs FBI, Immigration Policy, Scalia Replacement, ISIS Threatens Zuckerberg and Dorsey, Syrian Conflict-Russian Military Build-Up, and Oscars Boycott Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24). The primary elections and the activities of the candidates for president; the controversy over Apple’s refusal to hack the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists; the immigration and refugee policies of the U.S. government; the scenarios for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; the threats by ISIS against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey; the conflict in Syria and Russia’s military involvement there; Sunday’s Academy Awards and the planned boycott were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Academy Award-Nominated Screenwriter Leigh Savidge Launches ‘Straight Outta…The Podcast.’ Joining the PodcastOne platform is screenwriter Leigh Savidge, who is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film Straight Outta Compton. The podcast is based on the critically acclaimed film and involves Savidge focusing on “the inner culture of the hip hop world, from its inspirational roots, to top current-day artists. Leigh has spent years in the underground hip hop scene and will invite guests to share eye-witness accounts of rap’s most controversial and intriguing moments.” The series launches today with guest Alonso Williams, the NWA mentor who assisted the group with their first album. Original NWA member Arabian Prince joins Savidge next week, followed by a two-parter with Suge Knight’s ex-wife Sharitha Knight. PodcastOne EVP of content development Mike August states, “We are very excited to have one of the Oscar-nominated writers of Straight Outta Compton in the person of Leigh Savidge joining our PodcastOne family with never-before-heard interviews with the artists, producers and promoters that both created and drive the hip hop music business to this day.”
Radio One Q4 Report: TV Bails Out Radio. Although the company’s 2015 Q4 net revenue was basically flat (down 0.3%) and revenue from the cable television helped offset a down quarter for radio, president and CEO Alfred Liggins believes the radio side of Radio One is well positioned for 2016. “Overall, our radio advertising revenue was down 5.2% for the final quarter of 2015. We underperformed our markets in Atlanta, Baltimore and Houston, but outperformed in Washington DC. Our audience ratings have generally shown strong growth year-over-year, and I anticipate that we will monetize these audience gains in 2016. While our gross cable television advertising revenues were up by 11% for the quarter, the liability incurred due to under delivery against rate card meant that overall TV advertising revenue was down by 3.5% for the quarter. This was more than offset by the 27.5% increase in cable television affiliate fees. Management remains focused on turning around underperforming radio markets and advancing our digital and cross platform sales strategies. We have had a number of significant client successes with our One Solution cross-platform sales and marketing effort, and I expect that momentum to continue into 2016.” Other notable figures from the Q4 report include an operating loss of approximately $11.3 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015, compared to operating income of $19.4 million for the same period in 2014 and a net loss of approximately $24.3 million or $0.50 per share compared to $13.5 million or $0.28 per share, for the same period in 2014.
Kalman Named LSM at ’98.7 ESPN New York.’ Former WFAN, New York play-by-play- sales manager Steve Kalman is named local sales manager at ESPN O&O WEPN, New York. ESPN notes that Kalman spent more than a decade in the trade events business before moving into managing sports broadcast media sales. Kalman has managed broadcast play-by-play sales teams for the New York Mets, New York Giants and the New York Yankees.
Rally for ‘First Dude’ Hopeful. Former President Bill Clinton spoke at an Old Town Alexandria, Virginia rally yesterday (2/25) for Hillary Clinton at which hundreds of loyal supporters waited in line in the rain to attend. Pictured covering it for her various platforms is noted Washington, DC-based radio newswoman Lori Lundin (Washington Examiner, NPR and more) who hosts the experimental animal rights program “Vox Animali” for TalkersRadio. Lundin quickly turns to the TALKERS camera while the former Chief Executive addresses the crowd.
Odds & Sods. Broadcasting from this week’s National Religious Broadcasters conference in Nashville is Salem Radio Network’s SRN News and Townhall.com. Both are originating morning drive newscasts from the event in addition to coverage of two separate presidential candidate forums which are being moderated by SRN’s Eric Metaxas…..The winner of Beasley Media Group’s “President’s Club Overall Winner” award for the calendar year 2015 is Beasley Tampa senior account manager Paige Grady. The President’s Club consists of Beasley sales executives, who are honored annually for their abilities to meet or exceed individual and market goals, attain accreditation from the Radio Advertising Bureau as Certified Radio Marketing Consultants (CRMC), and over-deliver their clients’ expectations on a daily basis. Each month throughout the year, one account executive from each of Beasley’s radio markets is named in the President’s Club. At the end of each year, every market names their winner based on overall performance. The individual with the highest ranking from this notable pool of top-performers is named Beasley’s “President’s Club Overall Winner” for the previous calendar year…..CBS RADIO reports its PPM market stations – as a whole – saw ratings performance increase comparing January 2016 PPM data to January 2015 numbers. The company says its stations “across 25 major markets posted a nearly 5% increase in listeners Persons 12+, reaching a total audience in excess of 45 million and an increase of more than two million over the prior year.” The biggest increases in audience in the top 10 markets were seen at KJKK-FM (Dallas, 48%), KLUV-FM (Dallas, 44%), KTWV-FM (Los Angeles, 44%), WIP-FM (Philadelphia, 32%), WIAD-FM (Washington, D.C., 31%) and WZGC-FM (Atlanta, 30%)…..This week, more than 500 local radio and television broadcasters gathered in Washington, DC for the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual State Leadership Conference. The event featured speeches from prominent policymakers on federal legislative and regulatory issues affecting the broadcast industry, and provided attendees an opportunity to meet with their legislators to discuss how local radio and TV stations serve their communities.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte is seeking a continuity and traffic assistant. Ideal characteristics for this position include: someone who enjoys analytics and puzzles, is innately curious, is meticulous with details, thrives in a fast-paced environment, works calmly and effectively under pressure, reacts quickly to meet tight deadlines, is diplomatic and determined with solid people skills. To apply, please email your cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org . You may also fax your information to 704-338-3079, attention: Sandra Szoke, director of sales, or mail to: Human Resources – WBT/WLNK Radio, ATTN: Continuity and Traffic Assistant, Greater Media Charlotte, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. EOE.
‘Talk Radio: The Big Picture’ Panel Coming Together for TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations. One of the traditional keynote events at the annual TALKERS magazine conference is the broad-strokes panel session titled, “Talk Radio: The Big Picture.” Moderated by Michael Harrison, the session addresses a cross-section of the most important issues facing the institution of spoken-word radio in America by tapping into the experience and insights of major players from various aspects of the field. Already booked for this year’s installment are (in alphabetical order): Vince Benedetto, president/CEO Bold Gold Media Group; Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency; Tom Langmyer, vice president & general manager, Milwaukee radio operations and vice president, news/talk/sports programming E.W. Scripps Company; Mike McVay, senior vice president/content & programming, Cumulus Media & Westwood One; Chris Oliviero, executive vice president programming, CBS Radio; and Joe Sciacca, editor-in-chief, Boston Herald & Boston Herald Radio. Additional panel sessions to be announced include “The Millennials and Media,” “The Podcasting Session,” “Generating Revenue in the Digital Era,” and “The Talk Rumble” among others. Stay tuned for more news about speakers and events. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place on Friday, May 20 between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY (near NYC). More details in the stories below.
Stellar Lineup Developing for TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations. More than 60 leading industry speakers will fill a power-packed day and evening of panel discussions, special presentations, keynote addresses, exhibits, social networking functions, meals and live broadcasts at the forthcoming 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The event kicks off bright and early at 8:00 am with the traditional “Breakfast with Hannity” opening social. It will conclude 12 hours later with a gala, early-evening reception on the university’s magnificent television soundstage. Already scheduled: Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity will be interviewed in a morning “Fireside Chat” conducted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and WFAN, New York sports talk titan Mike Francesa will follow his morning address with a live broadcast (with student participation) of his legendary five-and-a-half hour afternoon drive show via the state-of-the-art facilities of the university’s award-winning radio station. Pictured: Mike Francesa (l), Michael Harrison (c) and Sean Hannity (r). Located just outside of New York City, Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s most respected and influential breeding grounds of great broadcasters. The NAB honored WRHU-FM in 2015 with a Marconi Award as the first ever “student operated” non-commercial station of the year! Radio Hofstra University WRHU-FM is also currently ranked number one – best college radio station – by the Princeton Review. WRHU-FM also earned a Pinnacle Award – station of the year – from the CMA. Upon making the announcement of this year’s event, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “2016 marks a great leap forward in the rich and colorful history of this legendary conference. Tapping into the theme ‘Bridging the Generations’ TALKERS 2016 will intensely focus on talk radio’s successful and as seamless-as-possible transition into the digital era concentrating on attracting younger demos, broadening the format menu, modernizing political positioning, enhancing both journalistic and entertainment impact, incorporating all aspects of pop culture, understanding Millennials and the New Authenticity, creating a viable cross-platform presence, embracing the new technology, and of course, podcasting, podcasting and more podcasting.” Harrison adds, “This conference will be inter-generational. I cannot begin to express the level of excitement and pride we have in partnering this year with Hofstra University, its wonderfully dynamic Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and its famous radio station WRHU – clearly one of the greatest, heritage campus outlets in America. Their amazing, state-of-the-art resources will provide an exhilarating backdrop and platform for this gathering. As far as we are concerned, the future of talk media begins now!” The cost of a full registration is $299 per person with a special student rate of $249. An early bird registration rate of $249 will be in effect until 5:00 pm ET on Monday, February 29 unless the event sells out prior to that date. Registration is only open to professionals currently or recently (within one year) employed in media-related industries as well as students enrolled in accredited colleges or universities. Registration includes all sessions, presentations, exhibits, receptions, and tours as well as breakfast/lunch/refreshment and social networking activities. Registrations can only be taken over the phone (to verify qualifications) and paid for with a credit card. As in years past, for the sake of intimacy and productivity, attendance will be limited to 500 and TALKERS 2016 will be an early sellout. No registrations can be sold after that point. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable. To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413. Information about special local hotel discounts for attendees is detailed below. Agenda and speakers to be announced in the days and weeks ahead, leading up to the event. Register now!
Fantastic Group Rate Available at Long Island Marriott for TALKERS 2016. A limited number of rooms are still available for a limited amount of time for the nights of Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 at the fabulous Long Island Marriott hotel located near Hofstra University – the site of TALKERS 2016. To take advantage of the $169 per night rate, book as early as possible by clicking here or calling reservations at 1-800-228-9290 and telling the agent you are with the TALKERS event group.
WFAN Superstar Mike Francesa to Reprise Sports Talk Keynote Role at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations. In what has become the traditional opening one-two punch of the annual TALKERS conference, WFAN, New York sports talk personality Mike Francesa joins Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel titan Sean Hannity in delivering welcoming addresses at the forthcoming 19th annual TALKERS conference set for Friday, May, 20 on the campus of Hofstra University on Long Island. Francesa, who has occupied the #1 position on the annual TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio since its inception in 2012, will follow this up by broadcasting his five-and-a-half hour afternoon drive program live from the state-of-the-art studio at the school’s Marconi Award-winning campus station, WRHU. Upon making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Mike Francesa’s candid, ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ contributions to this conference over the years have proven to be of incalculable value to the attendees. With this year’s event having an enhanced ‘youth’ and ‘future of broadcasting’ orientation, his presence and live broadcast will take it to yet another level.” Francesa says, “It will be an honor to be part of TALKERS’ program at Hofstra. I have a lot of good friends at the university and look forward to bringing the program there. In these quickly changing times, there is a lot to discuss.” Radio Hofstra University director of operations John T. Mullen comments, “Mike Francesa has inspired countless sports talk broadcasters for decades. It is truly an honor to have him broadcast from Radio Hofstra University.” TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations is expected to be an early sellout. To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call TALKERS at 413-565-5413. Information about the special hotel discount at the Long Island Marriott can be found here.
Death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dominates Weekend News/Talk Radio. The unexpected death of 79-year-old Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia quickly became the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio over the weekend. For stations with local programming and/or live national shows, Scalia’s death spurred immediate talk by conservatives of how the nomination and confirmation of a new Supreme Court Justice can be pushed off until after the new president assumes office in a little less than a year and, for liberals, how President Obama must move forward to present a nominee who can be confirmed this year. Other topics discussed over the weekend included the activities of the candidates for president; the escalating military strikes in Syria, including Russia’s prominent role there; and President Obama’s proposed cuts to counter-terrorism programs, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WKRK, Cleveland’s Kevin Kiley Resigns from Sports Talker; Complains About Censorship. Sports talk radio personality Kevin Kiley announced on a guest appearance on WOIO-TV, Cleveland’s evening newscast on February 11 that he had resigned from sports talk outlet WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan,” back in November, effective at the end of this month. He stated his resignation was for reasons other than the backlash he received from corporate about his comments regarding the Buffalo Bills hiring the first female coach, but the threats to his job if he continued to talk about the matter further cemented his decision to resign. Kiley, co-host of the Kiley & Carman morning show on the station, stated last month on air that there is no way Kathryn Smith is more qualified than a man to do her coaching job with Buffalo and the comments brought him both support and condemnation. On his television appearance, Kiley stated, “I’ve never been censored. In 35 years, I’ve never been censored, and I shouldn’t have been censored for this. And I have no right to accept censorship based on what broadcasting is. And nor should you accept censorship, ever. You should make sure that the people on the radio are telling you the truth as they see it. Now, you’re gonna argue with them and you can disagree with them, but don’t let the program director there, don’t let the general manager, don’t let some clown in New York tell them what to say, and then you think it’s their opinion, or what not to say. That’s what happened here, and I’m not accepting it.” CBS RADIO has not commented on the matter. View his appearance here.
Odds & Sods. WEEI, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane’s podcast “Enough About Me” launched last Thursday morning and rocketed to the #1 spot on the iTunes Sports & Rec category. WEEI reports that, “propelled by WEEI’s colossal on-air and on-line promotional engine, ‘Enough About Me’ crashed the top 20 of all audio podcasts on the iTunes chart on its very first day of release.” Entercom Boston VP/market manager Phil Zachary comments, “The successful launch of ‘Enough About Me’ validates the natural rapport that can flourish when a major on-air talent plies his craft in real-time, then invites listeners to explore a different facet of his personality in an on-demand environment. We have been deliberately patient in debuting our first, major podcast release, and these encouraging metrics reveal Kirk Minihane to have enormous national appeal across all distribution channels.”…..There’s a special block of programming on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel on Wednesday (2/17) to showcase the Duke-North Carolina men’s basketball rivalry. This Wednesday’s game marks the 241st meeting of the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels and SiriusXM will broadcast the game live nationwide starting at 9:00 pm ET. Prior to that, a special edition of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s weekly SiriusXM show, “Basketball and Beyond” will air at 7:00 pm ET featuring Krzyzewski’s thoughts on the coming matchup. Then, at 8:00 pm ET, SiriusXM will present a special hour-long radio documentary that will examine the history, intensity and emotions of the Duke-UNC rivalry.
Bill Bennett to Give Up Daily AM Duties; Hugh Hewitt Moves to Morning Drive at SRN. Ending an 11-year run as host of Salem Radio Network’s morning drive program “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America,” Bennett will step back a bit from the mic as of April 4 when he becomes senior correspondent. He’ll produce a daily feature titled, “Making America Work,” that will also be formatted as a one-hour weekend program. In the series, he’ll interview successful American business owners and entrepreneurs. Moving to the morning drive daypart (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) will be current early evening host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt will re-locate to Washington, DC for the new program. Salem Media Group notes Hewitt’s “radio career has taken off in the last year with a new-found love for breaking news and what to think about it. He was given an opportunity to expose his great knowledge and talents to the country when he was selected as a panelist on the CNN presidential debates. He has already conducted more interviews with the presidential candidates than any other host, and has become the ‘go to’ show for this campaign.” Hewitt comments, “In 25 years of broadcasting on television and radio I have never been as excited as by this opportunity to build on the enormous platform Bill Bennett has constructed. It is already a show for influencers across the country, and I plan to maintain that influence, making this a ‘must listen’ for every mover and shaker in America, from a stay-at-home mom or dad to CEOs and government leaders.” Bennett says of his time on the radio, “Engaging in an illuminating and entertaining conversation with the American people has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding episodes of my career. I now look forward to another phase of work with the Salem Radio Network. The seminars and in-depth discussions in our new ‘Making America Work’ series that we are planning for 2016 and beyond will write a new chapter in radio. I simply want to express my gratitude to Salem for its continued confidence in me and to my audience – the greatest radio audience in America – for its loyalty and its candor, intelligence and goodwill.”
WYAY, Atlanta’s Michael Graham Offers to Consult Candidate to Oppose Georgia Legislator Who Defended the Klan. According to a piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, WYAY, Atlanta “Newsradio 106.7” late morning personality Michael Graham has advertised in the Jackson Herald his willingness to put his political consulting acumen to use for a candidate who will challenge Republican State Representative Tommy Benton. This comes after Benton defended the Ku Klux Klan while discussing proposed legislation he authored to protect institutions named after Confederate military figures and revert street names back to their original names, if they honored such historical people. One street was named after Confederate General John B. Gordon, an early Georgia Klan leader. In discussing the issue, Benton defended the Klan, saying it “made a lot of people straighten up.” He also said it “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order. I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.” Graham’s ad requests any Jackson County resident wishing to challenge Benton’s seat to contact him. Graham promises to donate his time and political consulting expertise as well as help promote fundraising. Read the AJC story here.
Presidential Race, Super Bowl 50, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and European Anti-Islam Rallies Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The activities of the candidates for president; the build-up to Sunday night’s Super Bowl 50; North Korea’s launch of a long-range satellite missile; concerns over the Zika virus and a potential pandemic; and the anti-Islam rallies held in Europe over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Westwood One Provides Radio Coverage of Super Bowl 50. The exclusive radio play-by-play of Super Bowl 50 was provided by Westwood One. As part of its post-game program, WW1’s James Lofton (right) interviews Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (left) who was named MVP of the game.
Odds & Sods. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports iHeartMedia Indy market manager Rick Green is being promoted to a regional president post for the Mid-Atlantic region where he’ll be based in Richmond, Virginia. A new Indianapolis market manager should be named soon…..The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman is reporting that John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman just re-signed to broadcast New York Yankees games on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York for two more seasons……iHeartMedia promotes longtime company sales pro Sherri Griswold Holladay to the regional vice president of sales position for the Mid-South region…..Beasley Media Group names Steve Griesbach director of engineering for the Las Vegas cluster. Griesbach most recently served with Cumulus Media’s Green Bay, Wisconsin station group.
Scheduling Announced in Nielsen v Bubba Suit. Both sides of the $1 million suit by Nielsen against Tampa-based morning personality Bubba the Love Sponge are digging in for a fight. Now, we know the timeline for the legal skirmish. If the matter goes all the way to trial, it’ll start next January 3. Before that, however, there are discovery deadlines, a mandatory attempt to settle via mediation and a pre-trial conference in December. Nielsen probably has lawyers on retainer, but this is still going to be expensive for both parties.
Time Magazine Recognizes Dave Ramsey Podcast. Dubbing it one of the top 10 podcasts on iTunes in 2015, Time magazine gives the Dave Ramsey podcast recognition for its popularity. The Ramsey podcast averages more than 2 million downloads per week. Numerous publications, including iTunes Charts, Digital Trends and Stitcher, list the Dave Ramsey show among the most frequently downloaded and streamed podcasts. Ramsey Media vice president Brian Mayfield comments on the news. “We are excited to see the development of a completely new audience in the digital space. Our roots are embedded in radio where we began, and our audience continues to grow. This recent success on the digital side allows us to introduce our show to the next generation of listeners. Our goal is simple: we want to be there for our listener when, where, and how they want to listen. Digital distribution allows those constantly on the go the ability to listen to their favorite programs on their time schedule. We offer a variety of solutions including podcast, a dedicated channel on iHeartRadio, online audio streaming, and an online video channel.” Mayfield says that these efforts combined with the existing radio audience reaches a total audience of 11 million listeners every week.
Mike Francesa to Leave WFAN, New York When Contract Expires. New York sports talk radio icon Mike Francesa tells Fox 1’s Katie Nolan that he will exit CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York when his contract ends in December of 2017. On Nolan’s “Garbage Time” podcast, Francesa also tells Nolan that he has spoken with CBS brass about exiting early but the two sides haven’t found terms for an exit that are mutually agreeable. He also says it won’t be the end of his sports talk career, just the end to his time with WFAN. Fox Sports reports the news from the taping of Nolan’s video podcast that will be published tomorrow (1/21).
Cumulus Promotes McCann to Market Manager and Cohen to VP of Sales in Washington. Two are promoted in the executive ranks at Cumulus Media’s Washington station group. Jake McCann moves up to vice president/market manager from his VP of sales post and Beth Cohen is upped from director of sales to VP of sales for the cluster. Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati states, “Jake McCann and Beth Cohen are the leadership team needed to achieve our goals in D.C. In the past year, they’ve accomplished that and more. Both promotions are well deserved. We look forward to their continued contributions as they advance the growth trajectory of Cumulus DC.” Cumulus owns hot AC WRQX “Mix 107.3” and news/talk WMAL-AM/FM in the market.
Presidential Candidates Radio Ads Tracked by Media Monitors; Hillary Clinton Top Spender. Two of the nation’s earliest primary elections – the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary – are just weeks away and Media Monitors reports it is tracking the radio ads for candidates heard in markets within or near those states during the first 15 days of January. Media Monitors reports the following: Hillary Clinton numbers from Des Moines and the Quad Cities show a total of 482 spots run with none run in the adjacent Omaha market. Radio spots for Ted Cruz, whose numbers from Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha totaled 218 that were part of the Cruz For President buy, however, his Super PAC – Keep The Promise ran a total of 26 spots in the three Iowa markets. Donald Trump radio spots that ran in Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha totaled 187 ads. Bernie Sanders did not buy Omaha, but ran spots in Des Moines and the Quad Cities totaling 123 spots. Marco Rubio’s Super PAC – Conservative Solutions – also ran in Des Moines, Omaha and the Quad Cities to the tune of 74 units counted. And finally, Mike Huckabee’s Super PAC – Pursuing America’s Greatness – aired 50 times in Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha. Targeting New Hampshire voters, Hillary Clinton ran 1,110 spots in both Boston and Portsmouth-Dover. Bernie Sanders was next with 899 spots in the two markets. Marco Rubio’s Super PAC aired 358 ads. Next was Ted Cruz with 109 spots appearing in Boston and Portsmouth-Dover. Donald Trump played 76 times in the Portsmouth-Dover and 10 times in Boston. Chris Christie aired 24 spots in Portsmouth-Dover, while his Super PAC – American Leads – ran 21 spots in Portsmouth-Dover and Boston. Mike Huckabee did not run any spots in Portsmouth-Dover or Boston.
Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Oscars Boycott, Flint Water Scandal, 13 Hours Film, Sinking Oil Prices/Tumultuous Financial Markets, and Battle Against Islamic State Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). The activities of the candidates for president; the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server for sensitive State Department business; the Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith-led boycott of the Academy Awards for the lack of black nominees; the lead water contamination scandal in Flint, Michigan; controversy surrounding the Benghazi film, 13 Hours; the continuing drop in oil prices and the activity in the world’s financial markets; and the battle against Islamic State were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dan Zampillo Exiting WTEM, Washington. There are more changes coming to the Dan Snyder-owned sports talker WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” Program director Dan Zampillo – on the job since April of 2015 – is leaving the company, according to numerous reports, including one from the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg. Citing an internal memo, the Post reports Zampillo will stay on as a search for his replacement commences. Recently, station manager Rick Carmean exited and the company has eliminated that position. Zampillo came aboard from SiriusXM’s sports programming division after Chuck Sapienza resigned the PD post during the bizarre “Man Cave” episode. To refresh your memory, “The Man Cave” show – co-hosted by Chris Paul and Jason Reid – got off to an inauspicious start in March. The launch of the show was delayed by two weeks during which there were reports Dan Snyder didn’t like the idea because Reid was critical of the Redskins while writing for the Post. Sapienza quit during this time. The show was eventually cancelled in October. Read Steinberg’s Post piece here.
Round One of Holiday PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of Holiday 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was December 3 – December 30. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Michael Harrison and ‘America’s Digital Goddess’ Discuss the Culture of Technology. Nationally syndicated radio star and newspaper columnist Kim Komando of WestStar TalkRadio Network joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as a special guest on this week’s installment of PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” (1/19). The two conduct an in-depth discussion about the state of the digital era as we are experiencing its unfolding in the early decades of the 21st century from both technological and cultural perspectives. Highlights include a prognostication of where the technology is headed going forward. Will humans increasingly merge (physically, mentally, spiritually) with silicon technology as chips are increasingly embedded not only in our clothing and all around us in the “Internet of Things” – but in our bodies as well? How can parents, who are natives of the 20th century, exercise control and guidance over their digitally precocious children, who are natives of the 21st century? What is the present state and future of privacy? Komando, whom Harrison describes as a “remarkable woman,” discusses her early days as a teenage prodigy in New Jersey who graduated high school at 15, headed west on her own, and went on to build a multi-million dollar empire blazing new trails in radio and contributing greatly to the advancement of this amazing new era. To listen to the entire conversation, click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.
Talk Host Kevin Jackson Named Fox News Contributor. Independently syndicated talk personality Kevin Jackson joins the Fox News organization as a contributor. The news was announced to Fox News Channel viewers on last night’s edition of “The Kelly File” with host Megyn Kelly. Jackson has made numerous appearances on FNC shows over the years, including “Hannity” and “Fox & Friends.” Jackson comments, “I am grateful and proud that Roger (Ailes) appreciates my talent enough to have added me to the Fox News family. What a great honor to have Fox News as part of my distribution platform. My message has been leaking through for some time and this should help me to extend that message a lot further.”
Odds & Sods. As reported by Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch, Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis news/talker WIBC-FM names Chris Davis news director. Davis, who most recently was news director for the News Mississippi Network, takes over for Mike Wilson who left the radio biz…..Westwood One is providing radio play-by-play for this weekend’s NFL conference championship games on Sunday. WW1’s doubleheader coverage begins at 2:00 pm ET.
Dave Ramsey and WGST Team Up for Atlanta Appearances. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey brought his “Smart Money” and “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” productions to Atlanta with the promotional assistance of radio affiliate WGST. Ramsey packed Atlanta’s famed Fox Theatre yesterday evening (9/24) for the “Smart Money” event while, the day before, he and speaker Chris Brown presented the “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” targeted to those who operate businesses. iHeartMedia Atlanta SVP of sales Jason Mosher says, “640 WGST was very excited to host Dave Ramsey in Atlanta for the 2015 Smart Money and EntreLeadership events. This was a wonderful opportunity for our listeners to see, hear and connect with Dave in person. The events were high energy and were filled with sound, practical financial advice. We have already received wonderful feedback from our partners!” Pictured here are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Atlanta market president Justin Schaflander, Mosher, Ramsey and WGST general sales manager Art Volpe.
Boomer & Carton Broadcast from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia. The WFAN, New York morning team of Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton were on the road early yesterday morning (9/24) as they broadcast their program from NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and the Boomer Esiason Foundation. The two interviewed Dr. Joshua R. Sonett and patient Jerry Cahill. Dr. Sonett performed a double lung transplant on Cahill, who just completed a 500-mile bike ride from Maine to New York to raise awareness for CF. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Cahill, Esiason, Carton, and Dr. Sonett. Photo: NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia.
Odds & Sods. A new weekly program is added to the Genesis Communications Network lineup. The Adam Thompson show is now being distributed by GCN. The program “explores the biggest international and domestic stories and regularly features a debate with sharp minds that pull no punches.”….. Brian Landau assumes the EVP for digital sales and strategy at DGital Media, the audio engagement firm founded by former Dial Global/Westwood One execs David Landau and Spencer Brown. Brian joins father David after his most recent position with cloud-based social sponsorship company Izea. The company says, “Brian Landau will be charged with driving digital sales and partnerships with national content producers and brands to extend their audio brands and engage existing and new audiences. DGital Media is already working with noted tech podcast ‘Re/code Decode’ with Kara Swisher, as well as fantasy sports brands and personalities including Rick Wolf and Fantasy Alarm, Kay Adams, RotoGrinders, FNTSY Sports Network, Swish Analytics, Erik Kuselias and others.”…..Fitness expert Jenna Wolfe is going to be hosting a live, limited-run, one-hour weekly series on SiriusXM’s “TODAY Show Radio,” starting September 25. Sirius says the program will feature Wolfe discussing favorite topics: fitness, nutrition and emotional well-being.
Shiels Hosts Michigan Congressional Panel. Regionally syndicated morning drive talk show host Michael Patrick Shiels (at podium) – host of “Michigan’s Big Show” – moderated a Congressional panel consisting of eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island during the state’s Republican Leadership Conference. Five GOP presidential candidates also spoke at the gathering.
Donald Trump Candidacy Tops Talkers TenTM for Fourth Consecutive Week. The presidential candidacy of Republican Donald Trump, this week tied with the 2016 presidential race in general, is the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of September 21-25, and for the fourth straight week. This week, at #2 is Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. Coming in at #3 is the European migrant crisis and the related immigration policy controversy in the U.S., followed by U.S.-Russia-Syria tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte seeks a Promotions and Events Coordinator. “News Talk 1110” WBT and 107.9 WLNK “The Link” is looking for a fun, outgoing, hands-on and dedicated individual with entry level event planning experience for a full-time position in the marketing and promotions department. This position works to ensure the timely and successful execution of promotions, contests and events through teamwork and coordination with other departments and staff. This position reports directly to the marketing director. Responsibilities include daily event planning from inception to completion and working the station-sponsored events. Other responsibilities include planning and scheduling station contests, meetings with clients and community partners, maintaining event equipment, upkeep of station calendars, and working with the promotions team to plan and execute station promotions. Excellent organization, communication and time management skills required. Knowledge of Microsoft Office, Photoshop and other promotional based software a plus. This position requires an individual who exhibits great interpersonal communication skills, is an enthusiastic and dynamic team player, is interested in physically and mentally demanding projects and enjoys working in a fast paced environment. Additional availability to work weekends, evenings and holidays is a must. Please send your cover letter and resume to: Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. Greater Media Charlotte is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
WFAN’s Mike Francesa Show to End Fox Sports Cable Simulcast. New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa told his WFAN listeners on Wednesday that his show would cease being simulcast on Fox Sports’ cable channel after this Friday. As the New York Post reports, Francesa had problems with the relationship almost from the beginning and griped to listeners about being pre-empted by soccer or moved to the FS2 channel. Francesa said, “First, let me say that the blame is mine. I tried to do something a little different. The Fox guys were eager and I’m not going to say money wasn’t an issue, because it was the biggest. I had some trepidation, but I saw some promise and it just didn’t work.” The Post reports that Francesa is beginning to look for a new cable simulcast partner and MSG Network is a possible destination.
Corral Named News Director at KGO, San Francisco. This is a promotion from assignment editor to news director for Angela Corral. She’s been with Cumulus Media’s KGO since October of 2013. She’s worked in news in the Bay Area for the past 17 years, having joined CBS RADIO’s crosstown all-news KCBS in 1998 as a production assistant. On her new gig, Corral comments, “It’s a true honor to be selected as news director of this legendary station. I’m looking forward to working with an amazing staff of dedicated journalists as we move KGO forward.”
Radio Pro Bob Dane Rises to Executive Director at FAIR. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces Bob Dane is promoted to executive director of the organization after approval from the board of directors. Dane, whose years of experience in network radio, marketing and communications led him to join FAIR in 2006 as director of communications, will be just the fourth executive director of FAIR since its founding in 1979. In this new role, Dane will oversee the organization’s Washington, D.C.-based and national operations. FAIR president Dan Stein comments, “With nearly a decade of experience in FAIR’s media department, Bob has spearheaded valuable and unique initiatives, bringing to light the public’s often-overlooked concerns about immigration.” Chairman of the Board Donald Collins Jr. adds, “For many years, Bob has continually demonstrated media expertise, innovative ideas and able management.” During his career, Dane also served in a policy and budgeting position within the Reagan administration. He received a degree in public administration and management from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Odds & Sods. After retiring from full-time work at Chicago all-news outlet WBBM-AM in 2004 after a 35-year career, Sheman Kaplan returned to the station on a freelance basis, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. In a column today, Feder reports that Kaplan is again retiring from the station where he was co-anchoring midday newscasts and “The WBBM Noon Business Hour” alongside Kris Kridel…..Los Angeles-based talk personality Larry Elder will host presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson on his show today (9/10). Elder’s program airs on CRN Digital Talk Radio at 3:00 pm ET and on Salem-owned KRLA, Los Angeles at 9:00 pm PT…..United Stations Radio Networks is now offering a sports radio prep service called Total Sports Prep. USRN says it is intended for use by air personalities in sports talk or any programming that delves into sports content…..Bob Kempf joins TV and online public media producer WGBH Boston as vice president for digital services. Kempf was previously VP/general manager of digital services for NPR…..Saga Communications drops adult standards on KRNT, Des Moines and goes sports talk as “ESPN Des Moines.” In addition to carrying ESPN Radio programming, it will carry Chicago Cubs baseball, Drake University play-by-play, and be an affiliate of the Green Bay Packers Radio Network…..Entercom flips from business talk on KWOD, Kansas City to sports talk using both CBS Sports Radio and Fox Sports Radio.
WIP, Philadelphia’s Eagles Radiothon Raises $200,000. Another Eagles Radiothon is in the books and the event organized by the NFL club and CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, “SportsRadio 94WIP raised $200,000 for the Eagles Youth Partnership. As part of the annual radiothon, Eagles fans and 94WIP callers were provided the opportunity to bid on exclusive experiences involving their favorite Eagles players and 94WIP radio personalities. Eagles Youth Partnership, Eagles Social Responsibility president Christina Weiss Lurie says, “We continue to be amazed each year by the generous contributions and devoted support from our fans during the Eagles Radiothon. As an organization, we are always looking to deliver one-of-a-kind experiences for our fans. The annual Radiothon provides us with the opportunity to do that, while also supporting the vital health and education programs of Eagles Youth Partnership. On behalf of EYP, I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to 94WIP for their steadfast commitment and support of this event.”
Salem Radio Network at 90 Minutes in Heaven Premiere. The new film 90 Minutes in Heaven – based on the New York Times bestselling book by Don Piper – opens this weekend and Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) was in Atlanta this week for the media premiere of the film. Tradup says that on the heels of the Christian-themed film War Room being tops at the Labor Day weekend box office last week, fans of faith-based movies are also expected to turn out this weekend for the nationwide opening of 90 Minutes in Heaven. Tradup is seen here speaking with actress Kate Bosworth (right) who plays Piper’s wife Eva Piper. In a story based on Don Piper’s own experiences, she helps him recover from a car crash after being pronounced legally dead for 90 minutes. The film also stars Hayden Christensen and Fred Thompson.
Conspiracy Theory Gets Two Suspended from Scripps Springfield, MO Stations. The host and the on-air producer of the Sunday morning “Cracker Barrel” show have been suspended by E.W. Scripps after suggesting the on-air slayings of Roanoke TV crew Alison Parker and Adam Ward were a hoax designed to spur stricter gun control laws. Host Joe Rios and producer Rick Masters are heard on the both company’s country KTTS and news/talk KSGF-AM/FM. Station manager Rex Hansen apologized to the station’s listeners for the commentary. It’s not known how long the two will be suspended from the weekly community forum program.
Hillary Clinton Emails Apology, Trump Candidacy, 2016 Presidential Candidates, European Migrant Crisis, Brandon Marshall’s Brady vs NFL Racism Charge/ESPN Spygate Story, Iran Nuclear Deal, and Russia-Syria Military Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/9). Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton apologizes for use of private email server for State Department business; the criticism and analysis of the top-polling Trump for President campaign; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the migrant crisis affecting European nations; the aftermath of the Tom Brady vs the NFL case and Brandon Marshall’s charge that Tom Brady is treated different because he’s white, plus the related ESPN Spygate story; the controversy over the Iran nuclear deal; and reports of Russia sending military aid to Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen on Voltair and PPM: The Morning After. Yesterday’s Nielsen Audio webinar with PPM client stations regarding upcoming changes to its PPM technology and the Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance has the industry buzzing. As you know, Nielsen has been testing the Voltair unit and has concluded that it cannot “support” Voltair, saying it found nothing substantial to show the processor positively affects the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the watermark tone that credits listening. A number of managers and programmers have subsequently commented anonymously that they remain unconvinced by Nielsen’s research and presentation. One programmer tells TALKERS, “Their research proved without a doubt that Voltair recorded more listening in certain formats when the PPM was in a noisy environment. However, they did a flip-flop in their presentation, stating that ‘Voltair’s increased recording of listenership was inconclusive.’ Interestingly, at the same time they announced the rollout of an enhanced and more robust watermark which should be in the field by fall. If there was not a problem, then why the new watermark?” But broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich writes in a blog post today in which, in this instance, he defends Nielsen’s response. He says it’s well known that PPM doesn’t hear all of the codes and because of the 15-minute Quarter Hour ratings method employed in the U.S., it doesn’t need to. “The Media Rating Council has examined every aspect of the PPM very extensively with their audits…[The] policies for stations to receive credit from the PPM codes were put in place many years ago after years of testing because it is known that the PPM meter misses codes! And yet, the results are statically valid. Otherwise no PPM markets would be accredited by the MRC. And don’t you find it interesting that the MRC has agreed to look at Voltair with stations who have gone to them based on their own observations? Look at it from the outside. What do those stations gain? It is almost as if they have post purchase dissonance and need someone to tell them they made the correct decision.” Read Kabrich’s interesting blog piece here.
What Would it Take to Reunite Mike Francesa and Chris Russo? That’s what New York sports talk fans are probably wondering after a passing question to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo by YES Network (and WEPN-FM, New York) personality Michael Kay about whether he’d considering working with WFAN, New York afternoon personality Mike Francesa again received the answer, “Yeah, I would. Definitely. I miss the camaraderie.” Francesa was asked the same question by Newsday and told the paper that he would consider it. Both Russo and Francesa are under contract to their respective employers – Russo through 2016 with SiriusXM and Francesa with CBS RADIO through 2017. It’s no secret that Francesa is unhappy with his relationship with CBS. NJ.com reports that Russo told Kay he handled his 2008 exit from WFAN and the Francesa partnership poorly and wishes he’d been more up front about the situation.
Dirk Van to Retire from Westwood One’s ‘First Light.’ For 26 years, Dirk Van has been the only host of Westwood One’s early morning news magazine “First Light,” but he announces that Thursday, July 30 will be his last day. The company says he “leaves with a legacy of accomplishments and awards.” Dirk also hosts “The Week in Review” news program and has anchored morning drive newscasts throughout his successful career. Van says of his 35-year radio career, “Radio is all about people, and I’ve had the great fortune to work with the best in the business, following in the footsteps of my father, Lyle Van – a radio legend at NBC and WOR — and others greats like Lou Adler, Nick Verbitsky, Tom O’Brien, Ron Nessen, and Bart Tessler. Hosting our morning magazine, ‘First Light,’ has been an amazing experience and has allowed me to work with talented broadcasters for more than a quarter century. Talking to listeners on a daily basis has kept me grounded, and hopefully provided a window into what America is thinking. And to think — we started way back when talk radio was ‘new.’ Helping to create an exciting, new product, Westwood One News, has been especially rewarding, and being a part of its success is a great way to cap a career. And talk about ‘sailing off into the sunset’— that’s exactly what I plan to do, with my beautiful wife, Paula, who has put up with those agonizing broadcasters’ hours all these years. To all my friends at Westwood One, thank you!”
Talk Host Phil Valentine Wins Screenplay Competition. Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine picked up first place honors at the Colorado Film Festival in the screenplay competition. The Westwood One-syndicated personality’s “Derek Dickens & The Dream” screenplay is a fictional story of one man’s mid-life crisis that turns him into an international pop sensation when he takes on an imaginary persona through which he lives out his lifelong dream. This 50-year-old fabricates a 20-something British band, with himself at the lead, and it takes the world by storm. He realizes no one is prepared for this kind of success, at any age. Noting that the Colorado Film Festival is watched by industry pros, Valentine jokes, “I’ve been sitting by the phone waiting for a call from Hollywood. I already have Robert Downey, Jr. planned for the lead.” This is not the first accolade for this screenplay; it was a finalist in nine other film festivals, including the Beverly Hills Film Festival, the American Movie Awards, and the Atlanta Film Festival. Valentine has been dabbling in film alongside his radio career for several years now. He recently wrote and produced the award-winning documentary, “An Inconsistent Truth.”
BizTV and BizTalkRadio Enter News Game. The business news reports that will be available to air from 9:00 am to 5:05 pm daily are being produced by Little Rock-based Independent News Network. It is a five-minute, top-of-the-hour product that gives stations the option of running the whole cast or choosing from headlines, market reports or business stories. BizTV and BizTalkRadio EVP Scott Miller says, “We felt there was a void in the marketplace for business news. There are several great resources for news, but our TV and radio affiliates wanted a news product that follows the stock market and provides business centered news stories.”
Odds & Sods. Morning show personality Sergeant Sam Cox is retiring from his gig at Emmis-owned news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin. Cox has been with the station for 28 years. He served with the Austin Police Department for 31 years and retired from the force in 1995…..WKGN, Knoxville is flipping from regional Mexican to sports talk after Hodges Media purchased the station from Richardo Espinosa for $225,000. The station is using Fox Sports Radio Network programming in addition to local shows. The station will work with the Tennessee Volunteers platform GoVols247.com. Nate Hodges and executive producer Brad Matthews will host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show and Tom Poisal will host the afternoon drive show…..Talk radio pro Adam McManus sits in for WPGP, Pittsburgh “AM 1250 The Answer” morning personality Rose Tennant August 17-21. He recently did fill-in work for KMJ, Fresno where PD Blake Taylor says, “Adam did a great job filling in at KMJ – lots of energy and thought-provoking topics. Generated tons of calls!”…..Three-time Super Bowl Champion and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth begins producing a new, weekly podcast on PodcastOne called, “The Stinkin’ Truth.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “What a great addition to our network of sports programming. A great athlete and communicator, Mark joins Shaq, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Ross Tucker and so many more on that list. Mark’s podcast will be a stand out, and we expect it to deliver a significant audience and become a featured attraction in the podcast world.”
2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Chattanooga Killings Aftermath, New Planned Parenthood Video, Illegal Immigration-Kate Steinle Death, ‘El Chapo’ Escape-Mexican Corruption, and Sandra Bland Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the fragile state of the Iran nuclear deal and the response from nations around the world; the investigation into terrorist ties to Chattanooga shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez and the aftermath of the slayings; the surfacing of a second video showing a Planned Parenthood doctor haggling over the price of fetus body parts; ongoing talk about the state of the U.S.’s immigration policy and the death of Kate Steinle; talk about Mexican corruption in the wake of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape from prison; and the arrest and subsequent death in jail of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Baltimore Protests Turn Violent. Owing to that fact, Hearst talker WBAL-AM, Baltimore advanced yesterday (Monday, 4/27) to “continuous coverage,” after a weekend of “extensive coverage.” According to WBAL-AM president and general manager Cary Pahigian, “We are sharing resources with our sister station, WBAL-TV (Channel 11), which is flying their helicopter almost nonstop. Our goal is to keep the community up-to-the-minute and to provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL-AM talk hosts in a responsible manner. It is very fluid, so we are staying nimble and flexible.” The unrest in the Maryland city increased following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died just over one week ago (4/19), after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. At least one Baltimore building has been torched; several of the city’s police cars have been set on fire; and protesters have thrown bricks at Baltimore police officers. Six Baltimore police officers have been seriously injured in Monday’s violence. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, while Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states every possible resource is being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”
WFAN Sports Giant Mike Francesa Is Extremely Bullish on Radio – Says the Medium Is Here to Stay on Michael Harrison’s “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews WFAN sports talk superstar Mike Francesa on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.” In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Francesa cover a variety of fascinating topics including authenticity in broadcasting, internet critics, digital era audiences, radio versus television, changes in pop culture, the phenomenal growth of sports and the future of radio in a world of screens. Francesa credits the authenticity, for which Harrison praises him, in part, to being on the air an unusually long five-and-a-half hours per day, pointing out that you can’t be live on radio that long every day without being your real self. According to Francesa, one of the big changes faced by hosts in both sports and general talk programming today is the audience has as much, if not more, access to information as you do – which means merely presenting news is not enough. A host’s success is dependent on having an interesting “take” on the events of the day. He says the internet has made it much easier to break into broadcasting but much more difficult to get noticed. Of his critics, he states the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored. “If you are ignored, you are dead.” Francesa tells Harrison that he very seldom responds to his critics – refusing to give them the exposure of his larger platform that they seek. In addition to having a growing national following due to television and radio syndication, Mike Francesa has long been one of the highest profile media figures in New York and has been ranked by TALKERS magazine for the past two years in a row in the #1 spot on its “Heavy Hundred” of sports talk radio (“The 100 Most Important Radio Sports Talk Hosts in America”). After several years of being carried by the YES Network, Francesa’s daily local radio show is presently simulcast nationally on Fox Sports 1. In comparing radio to television, Francesa says, “Television is a director’s medium. Radio is a performer’s medium.” He explains, “Radio is unvarnished. It is visceral. It is emotional. Television is more packaged and homogenized.” Regarding the survival and future of radio, Francesa states, “Radio will be here long, long past us. People have been trying to kill radio since the first days of television. They’ve tried to kill radio 40 different times in multiple generations. They will never kill it because its appeal of being live, local, personal and mobile will never be equaled.” Francesa sees the rise of mobile digital media as actually being a good thing for radio, acknowledging that “radio will change.” He confidently says, “It will be enhanced because of the smart phone. It is the new transistor radio. Who carried a transistor radio for the past 30 years? Now everyone does. THAT is an opportunity!” In describing Mike Francesa, Michael Harrison states, “I know Francesa has his share of critics – but that comes with the territory of being ‘out there’ the way he is and being a compelling radio talk show host in the modern era, sports or otherwise. What makes him so successful is he has that special ‘something’ that only a handful of performers have ever had in this business – he rises above technique! All he needs to do is bring his authentic, unique personhood to the airwaves each time he’s on and that – at least to this point – is enough. He is one of my handful of all-time favorites and I am delighted that he is still going strong.” To listen to Mike Francesa on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports from Nepal for Westwood One. Internationally known medical doctor and media figure Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Nepal doing both media work and helping doctors there deal with the overwhelming number of casualties from Saturday’s earthquake. In addition to his work covering the aftermath for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also doing live hits for Westwood One affiliate stations. His “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” is syndicated by Westwood One. Dr. Gupta was called into action in the operating room, asked to help perform brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl in Kathmandu after a wall of her family’s home fell on her as she collected water outside.
SiriusXM 2015 Q1 Revenue Up 8%. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM delivered its 2015 first quarter financial numbers today (4/28) and, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue was $1.08 billion – up 8%. Net income was $106 million, up 12% from $94 million in the first quarter of 2014. Net income per diluted common share was $0.02 in the first quarter of 2015 and 2014. Adjusted EBITDA was $399 million in the first quarter of 2015, up 19% from $335 million in the first quarter of 2014. The satcaster says that it added 431,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the 267,000 net new subscribers added in the first quarter of 2014. Sirius CEO Jim Meyer says, “The year is off to a fantastic start at SiriusXM. We are increasing our subscriber guidance to approximately 1.4 million net additions and revenue guidance to approximately $4.47 billion after reporting our best first quarter for self-pay subscriber additions since 2008. Our results demonstrate that SiriusXM’s bundle of live news and sports, exclusive talk and comedy, and curated, commercial-free music is resonating with more and more consumers every day,”
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, WABC, New York-based morning personality Don Imus announced to his listeners his simulcast on cable’s Fox Business Network will end on May 29. The program has been airing on both since 2009. Though Imus didn’t elaborate on the reason for the change, The New York Daily News reports Imus and wife Deirdre plan to spend the summer at their new ranch in Texas and that property has no TV uplink facilities. Read the Daily News story here…..Atlanta real estate broker Bryan Crabtree is adding a daily show on Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” debuting May 4 and airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Crabtree and his wife Mackenzie have been hosting the “Housedog.com Real Estate Show” on both WAFS and sister news/talk WGKA on weekends and that show will continue on both outlets. WAFS station manager Adam Wattenbarger says, “We are so excited to bring Bryan aboard to add to our live and local lineup. biz 1190 is committed to giving the Atlanta community something we’ve been lacking for years – real talk about real issues affecting our neighborhoods.”…..Sports talk personality Tim Brando is wrapping his daily, eponymous show heard on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel. The final show is this Thursday. Brando will continue to be heard on the radio via FOX Sports Radio as he’ll handle play-by-play for college football and basketball as well as the network’s coverage of this June’s US Open golf tournament…..The program “Entertainment This Week” is joining the America’s Talk Radio Network effective May 3. “Mr. Hollywood” Shannon Rose and co-host James Lowe will discuss Hollywood gossip, comics, movies, television, pro-wrestling, and so much more during the “fastest hour on national radio.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Helps Raise Funds for Accessible Playground Equipment. Last Saturday, Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee unveiled new accessible playground equipment at a local elementary school for which the station helped raise funds. The need for the equipment came after the station learned of eight-year-old Ben Nelson who uses a wheelchair due to his Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Ben’s family began raising funds for the equipment and WTMJ joined forces with the family and was able to – through the help of listeners – raise $50,000. WTMJ Radio VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ firmly believes we do well by doing good. We serve Wisconsin – and we’re getting behind our air personalities by giving them a month where we use our resources to give back to our community. [Morning host] Jodi Becker is first on our team to lead in this new community betterment initiative. We are pleased to help – and we thank our listeners and great businesses for helping to build this wonderful playground.”
Limbaugh and Mahindra Partner on Tractor Giveaway. For the second year in a row, Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA have joined together to give away a Mahindra eMax 22HST with loader to an active duty service member or U.S. military veteran. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Last year, more than 4,500 service men and women entered for an opportunity to win a Mahindra tractor. It was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Petzinger of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who has served his country for 25 years in the Army.
Music and Pop Culture Figure Andrew W.K. to Host Weekly Show on TheBlaze Radio Network. New to the weekend lineup at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is the show “America W.K.,” hosted by musician, writer, TV host and lecturer Andrew W. K. TheBlaze Radio Network says the show will be a “raw and penetrating discussion of what it is to be alive – meaning, motivation, mindset, and making dreams come true, all included in a celebration of life itself – and all with a positive and honest outlook. Andrew will also field questions and input from the audience, adding an engaging interactive component.” Andrew W.K. is probably most known for his 2001 rock album titled, I Get Wet, the cover of which featured a photo of him with a bloody nose. During his musical career he’s penned a number of rock anthems that have appeared in video games, movies and as pro sports team themes. Andrew W.K. (pictured here at left with Glenn Beck at right) says, “When Glenn asked me to do my own radio show on TheBlaze, I was shocked but excited, as I knew he would allow me the unrestrained freedom to say exactly what I wanted. I’m very dedicated to exploring and learning from different people in different places, and always with an open heart. If people never went outside their own box, life would be boring. After all, why would I only want to talk with people who already think exactly like me?”
Baltimore Protests, White House Correspondents Dinner, Bush Criticism of Obama Foreign Policy, Nepal Earthquake Aftermath, SCOTUS Hears Same-Sex Marriage Argument, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, James Holmes Trial Begins, and the Bruce Jenner Transgender Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The intensifying, violent protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody; the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and President Obama’s performance; former President George W. Bush comments on Obama Administration’s foreign policy; the devastation in Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments as anti-gay marriage statutes in four states are challenged; ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation financial operations; the opening of the trial of Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes; and the chatter about Bruce Jenner’s sex change procedure and his recent interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Bouvard Joins Cumulus Media as CMO. Former president of sales for Arbitron – Pierre Bouvard – is named chief marketing officer of Cumulus. The New York City-based media research, sales, and marketing expert will direct Cumulus’ strategy for its local and national brands. Cumulus president and chief executive officer Lew Dickey comments, “Pierre is one of the radio industry’s most effective advocates. He understands the power of our great medium and is uniquely positioned to leverage audience insights to help advertisers take full advantage of our platform to deliver national scale with local activation. Incremental data beyond ratings is rapidly becoming the most important component in advertising decisions; we are excited to have Pierre leading our effort to help our clients achieve a superior return on investment.” Bouvard – who begins his new assignment today (Wednesday, 3/18) – states that, “Cumulus is America’s fastest growing major radio group. Over the last ten years, their national revenues have grown tenfold from $50 million to $500 million. They have transformed themselves into a major market, cross-media national platform through the merger of Westwood One and Cumulus Radio Networks; launch of the ‘Nash’ country music lifestyle brand; and the Rdio online radio partnership. Radio is the soundtrack for the American worker and ‘king of the road.’ Cumulus has impressive solutions for advertisers and agencies to reach the right audience and accomplish their brand and sales objectives.” Most recently, Bouvard was senior vice president of sales for TiVo Research & Analytics. Prior to his lengthy Arbitron tenure, Bouvard was executive vice president of Coleman Insights.
Jack Taddeo Joins NRG Media’s Waterloo/Cedar Rapids Operations. Consultant and radio management pro Jack Taddeo is the new general manager for NRG Media’s Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, Iowa stations: rock KFMW, Waterloo; classic hits KOKZ, Waterloo; sports talk KWLO, Waterloo; and news/talk KXEL, Waterloo. NRG Media chief operating officer Chuck DuCoty comments, “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Jack Taddeo on board. He is an outstanding broadcaster who demonstrates strategic vision, outstanding coaching skills and great leadership.”
Larry Gifford: Radiodays Europe 2015 – Day Three. The overriding theme of the just-concluded three-day radio conference in Milan, Italy was the future of content distribution, according to consultant and talent coach Larry Gifford, who filed a series of special reports for TALKERS magazine. “Talk of the future of radio and audio was pervasive. ‘The connected age,’ ‘second screens,’ and ‘visualizing radio’ were some of the buzz phrases heard throughout the three days. Everyone seemed to be talking about how important it is to embrace video, studio cams, and social media,” Gifford writes. Get more of Gifford’s summary of the event, including some insight into how one Australian morning show is embracing the digital platform, here. (Pictured here is Gifford delivering his “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes” session on Tuesday. Photo by James Cridland.)
Bold Gold Media Forms Foundation for Training Tomorrow’s News/Talk Broadcasters. The broadcasting company that operates nine commercial radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York is announcing a new effort “to help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators.” Bold Gold Media Group is establishing the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation – a non-profit organization that is an altogether separate and distinct entity from Bold Gold’s commercial broadcast operations. Bold Gold says the Foundation will focus its efforts on providing funding and resources to educational organizations that train tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders. While the Foundation encourages young people in all areas of broadcasting, it is currently placing particular emphasis on supporting the advancement and training in the various spoken-word and informational formats such as news and talk. Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto states, “Radio broadcasting is the most powerful, informative, and persuasive medium in the world, and the news and talk formats are extremely demanding, and like all media, evolving… and we need the best and brightest communicators of tomorrow to begin preparing for these fields today. Investing in the future providers of our communication needs is imperative. The most trusted broadcasters have always been those who could provide timely, reliable and compelling information and entertainment you couldn’t find anywhere else… they were live and they were local. That’s still true and even more important than ever, but powerful broadcasting is now about being on-air, online, mobile, social, live and local! That’s what future leaders in our medium need to be preparing for, and the Foundation intends to support efforts that seek to do just that.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “This is a very exciting initiative. Vince Benedetto is a rising young star among station group owners who are passionate about radio and dedicated to having it continue to grow to the fullest extent of its potential.” The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation will be having its Inaugural Fundraising Event on Tuesday evening the 19th of May at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and will feature citizen-journalist James O’Keefe, of Project Veritas, as the guest speaker. To support the work of the Foundation and to purchase tickets to the May 19th event, go to www.BoldGold.org, or email the Foundation at: info@BoldGold.org. Meet Vince Benedetto at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. To register, call 413-565-5413.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of February 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of February 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington (D.C.), Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The February 2015 survey period covered January 29 through February 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Newsmax Feed Network Achieves 67 Million Uniques in February. According to data from comScore, Newsmax Media’s Newsmax Feed Network posted a record 67.4 million unique visitors last month. The Newsmax Feed Network is a proprietary syndicated headline box that is carried on more than 2,000 websites, making more than 1 billion page impressions monthly. The Feed Network box carries unique Newsmax content headlines along with sponsored advertisements. Newsmax reports that it “has gained enormous traction recently, and a bevy of well-known publisher brands make up the network, including National Review Online, Boston Herald, Breitbart News Network, dozens of local ABC, NBC, and CBS News affiliates via independent television station groups Gray, Nexstar, and Schurz Communications, as well as community newspaper networks Horizon Publications and Gatehouse Media.” Newsfeed Network manager Kevin Mallon comments, “We are very excited about the latest comScore numbers. More and more publishers are choosing to implement the Newsmax Feed because of the relevant and quality content we provide, while yielding them robust revenue from our sponsors.” Company VP of business development Matt D’Lando adds, “Our Feed Network focuses on a clear demographic of 45-plus baby boomers, the largest demographic group in the nation with the highest disposable income.”
WTOP PD Alumni Club. Two former program directors of all news WTOP, Washington, DC – Laurie Cantillo and consultant Holland Cooke — pose for a selfie today at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano’s annual Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia. Cantillo is a guest speaker at the full-day event discussing methods of increasing radio station website traffic, something she has proven to be able to do quite well before leaving her position at WTOP last week.
Odds & Sods. The internet-based talk show “Behind Enemy Lines Radio” – hosted by NYC Republicans, attorney Gene Berardelli and Army combat veteran Russell Gallo – is joining the AM/FM platform as it will be heard Thursdays at 1:00 pm on Forsythe Broadcasting’s WNJC, Washington Township, New Jersey (Philly market). The show joins the “Conservative Commandos Radio Network” in creating a block of conservative programming heard every day from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on WNJC…..CBS Sports Radio programming will emanate from Indianapolis beginning April 2 for coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. Shows airing from the Indiana Convention Center will include Doug Gottlieb and Tiki & Tierney…..Joining the Yahoo Sports Radio national lineup for a daily 10:00 am program is former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and his sports talk radio partner Lanny Ford. Together, they host “Inside the Lines,” heard on WZGV, Charlotte “ESPN 730.”…..New to SiriusXM’s Insight channel is a new show called “The Briefing Powered by Dartmouth College,” – an “all-new radio show giving listeners a lively hour that dissects the history, facts, and perspectives shaping the week’s news.” The bi-weekly show will be hosted by Michael Mastanduno, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government at Dartmouth.
Pluggin’ Podcasts on Boomer & Carton. Former pro wrestler Taz, a.k.a. Peter Senerchia (center), enjoys a mock choke-hold from Boomer Esiason (left) as he appeared on WFAN, New York along with Craig Carton (right) to promote his new wrestling podcast titled, “The Human Podcast Machine” that is available on Play.It, CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital’s podcast platform.
Ken Birdsong Celebrates 50 Years in Radio. WENG, Englewood, Florida morning drive host Ken Birdsong is celebrating 50 years in radio on March 27. He started his career when he was just 15 at his hometown station KWOC, Poplar Bluff, Missouri. He then went on to work for stations in the Show-Me State cities of Kennett, Jefferson City, Moberly, and Osage Beach. He also put in a stint in Mt. Airy, North Carolina (the heart of Andy Griffith country) and did afternoons in Las Vegas. In 2002, he joined WENG and served as general manager until 2012.
Iran Nukes/GOP Letter, Israeli Elections/Netanyahu’s Future, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, 2016 Presidential Prospects, OU Racist Song Case, and Dick Cheney Playboy Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). Iran’s nuclear program and the controversy over the letter sent to the nation by GOP senators; the Israeli elections and Benjamin Netanyahu’s status on the world stage; the ongoing probe over Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the furor over an OU fraternity’s videotaped racist song and the university’s reaction; and Dick Cheney’s criticism of President Obama in his recent Playboy interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Joe McDonnell: LA Saddened at Giant-Size Talent’s Passing. How “big” was Joe McDonnell in Los Angeles? Consider this: Friday’s (3/13) lead item for several newscasts on the city’s only all-news station, CBS Radio‘s KNX, was that the 58-year-old McDonnell – widely-known as “Big Joe” or “The Big Nasty” – had passed away. “Big” references regarded his weight, approximately 700 pounds at one time; however, the sports talk host underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost roughly more than half of that. “Nasty” became a handle owing to his highly opinionated nature. The overwhelming majority of those familiar with McDonnell’s exemplary on-air work in Los Angeles would quickly associate him with being a “legendary” or “iconic” sports talk radio “fixture” and that would certainly be accurate. He was, however, among the rarest of on-air talents in the country’s second-largest market, in that, in addition to doing a nightly (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) sports program (“The Joe McDonnell Experience”) on Clear Channel‘s (now iHeartMedia) KLAC, he also did a Sunday (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) political talk program (“The Joe McDonnell Show”) on co-owned KTLK-AM (now KEIB). Most recently, McDonnell did fill-in work at KNX. Reaction to his death has continued virtually nonstop, with a who’s who in local and national media, as well as executives of major sports franchises, offering condolences. Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia knew McDonnell ever since Scioscia first came up as a catcher in the Dodgers’ organization. “He was a good friend who will be missed. It’s sad,” Scioscia states. On Twitter, Keith Olbermann writes, “Heartbroken to learn of death of LA radio legend, my friend, Joe McDonnell. He leaves us having never held a grudge.” Ken Rosenthal comments, “So sad to hear about the passing of Joe McDonnell, a one-of-a-kind sports personality in Los Angeles and a reporter at heart.” Several years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, then the special features editor for Inside Radio, did an extensive profile of McDonnell, who freely used the word “idiot” to describe someone with whom he disagreed. It was a trademark of the bombastic on-air persona of “The Big Nasty” and customarily delivered in vitriol by the dean of Los Angeles radio sports talk hosts. McDonnell garnered legions of dedicated fans. Once – to benefit charity – he accepted the challenge of co-workers and successfully completed a four-hour shift without uttering one negative. In his profile, Kinosian shattered the myth about McDonnell and let the truth be told that in real-life, McDonnell was a far cry from the manic personality listeners were accustomed to hearing. Pensive and completely conscientious McDonnell qualified as a native Angelino, having relocated from Philadelphia in 1959 at age three with his parents. “I loved radio and wouldn’t go anywhere without it,” he fondly recalled to Kinosian. “I’d go to bed listening to it and wake up with it. I went through radios [as others] went through socks. Even when doing homework, I had the radio on.” Although thoroughly enthralled by the medium, McDonnell at that time never thought about pursuing a career in it. Family members urged him to be a lawyer, but McDonnell formulated sportswriter aspirations while attending L.A. Valley College and Cal State – Northridge. His radio career was, in his words, “a total accident.” A high school buddy McDonnell hadn’t seen in a while told him he received academic credit for working at a radio station. That was all it took for McDonnell: He scored an interview for a newsroom opening at KGIL in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and his first day was September 18, 1975 – the day they arrested Patty Hearst. “I was so excited to be there and hung around to watch what everybody did. Then the story broke and I wound up staying until 10:00 pm. I fell in love with radio my first day and knew this was for me.” Freelance sports opportunities later surfaced for him at Mutual, AP Radio, and UPI Radio and he adroitly transitioned into a daily field correspondent. Play-by-play was briefly tinkered with, but long enough for McDonnell to know it didn’t captivate him. Something else did and as he flatly asserted to Kinosian, “My interest in politics is equal to my interest in sports. They are jobs but they are [also] passions. I love being able to show another side of my life. I am very liberal but do not [rubber-stamp] everything simply because that is what [other liberals] say you should do. I take things on a position-by-position basis. It is impossible and disingenuous to be one way on every subject. No one can ever accuse me of being a phony.” The first Gulf War was underway when he hosted a general talk show on KFI, Los Angeles. America’s first casualty came as a result of friendly fire. Soon after that, the victim’s widow drove to KFI one Sunday afternoon and McDonnell did two hours with her. “It was the most gut-wrenching, yet most fulfilling, thing I’ve done on radio,” he told Kinosian. “Quite honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of pulling it off. People heard me do sports and wondered what I knew about [politics]. I had to win them over.” Multiple Golden Microphone award winner McDonnell toiled in the Southland at KMAX and KWNK between 1994 – 1997; won raves doing sports updates for (then-all news) KFWB; and was part of the original 1992 staff transitioning KMPC to all-sports – although the outbreak of the L.A. riots was the considerably more monumental story the night of the format flip. For numerous personal and professional reasons, a five-year run beginning in 2000 as KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles’ assistant program director and afternoon driver profoundly affected him. “My first three years there were great,” McDonnell declared to Kinosian. “I had a say in what went on and helped build KSPN from the ground up with [KABC & KSPN OM] Erik Braverman who was my KFI producer. Unfortunately when Erik decided he wanted to concentrate on KABC, they brought in people who didn’t share our ideas.” It was one different concept after another and became the beginning of the end for McDonnell there. “They killed morale and dissolved everything we did. I wanted to leave every day the last two years I was there but made so much money I would’ve been put in a mental institution if I quit.” From the minute McDonnell walked into the Burbank offices of KLAC to interview with KLAC general manager/program director & KTLK program director Don Martin, he sensed something different. “This might sound crazy – but I really liked that they made me earn my position. Don put me on KTLK and let me do some KLAC fill-in. It meant a lot when he said I assimilated with the audience and staff. People have this idea you expect everything be given to you.” Being a sports talk host was a 24 hour-a-day job for McDonnell because, “Information doesn’t stop.” His shows were frequently punctuated with “24” and “Da Ali G” clips and laced with abundant/energetic hip-hop tracks as bumpers. At first, longtime “McDonnell – Douglas” partner Doug Krikorian wasn’t part of the equation for the “Joe McDonnell Experience,” although the Long Beach Press-Telegram sportswriter joined the ensemble to deliver weekly “K-Files” reports. After all, it was Krikorian who hung the “Big Nasty” moniker on McDonnell when Big Joe collared/disposed of a rowdy patron one night at their favorite hangout. Naturally, the subject of McDonnell’s weight came up in the Kinosian profile of him and McDonnell said that even before the gastric bypass procedure, the heavy burden he was carrying didn’t really bother him. He did however eventually begin slowing down, getting sick, and spending more time at home. “I stopped going to games because it was uncomfortable. My doctor told me I had to do something. Any addict – and I’m definitely a food addict – thinks you can do it on your own.” That’s the fallacy and something an addict desperately wants to believe but McDonnell stressed it can not be done alone. “It got to the point where I realized I was going to die. I had the surgery and lost 300 pounds. On Christmas Day, I put slabs of turkey and prime rib on a plate [surrounded with] potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I took it to the table and had a bite of each. Hey look – I’m a food addict and always will be.” The old Joe most likely would’ve avoided on-air surgery mentions. If it did pop up, he probably would’ve been brutal in challenging the person referencing it. A much mellower McDonnell made a conscious decision when he left KSPN that the “Big Nasty” had died. “It was a great vehicle for what I needed – but – that really isn’t me,” he emphasized to Kinosian. “I’m opinionated and will raise my voice but I’m a nice guy and like to have fun. One reason I love my job is it allows me to hang with people.” Conceding it was a “shortcoming” on his part as a talk show host to refrain from mentioning much about his personal life, McDonnell declared, “You can’t be isolated and expect to reach your audience; you have to let them in on your life. For the most part, I refused to do that. Don Martin and I had a long talk about that and he said the best on-air people let you know about them.” A happy, healthy, and exuberant McDonnell chatted up his March 30, 2007 wedding to KLOS’ lovely Elizabeth Cohn (now working at cross-town Bonneville-owned KSWD “The Sound”). “I finally met someone who will put up with me and I [married] the most wonderful person in the world,” McDonnell emphasized in that profile. Joe and Elizabeth worked together for four years inside ABC Radio Los Angeles (now Cumulus Media) and basically didn’t say a word to each other. “She understands I’ll occasionally make fun of her on-air and exaggerate things but my life is now an open book.” Numerous health ailments – some nearly life-threatening – plagued McDonnell and he frequently credited Elizabeth as being the rock who held him together. An avowed movie junkie, McDonnell would go to as many as three or four in one day. It was his way to relax and escape. “One of the biggest benefits of losing weight is I can fit into theater seats. That was honestly a problem before.” Such McDonnell segments as “Who Do You Want To Kick Out Of LA?” gave him a Northeast-sounding vibe, but his entire nearly 40-year career was spent in Los Angeles. The ardent WWE fan told Kinosian, “It would take a million dollar offer for me to leave Los Angeles. In the early-1990s, I had a chance to work for a friend in Nashville and had a big offer to go to Seattle in 1994 but my mother had cancer so I wasn’t about to leave town. There was a preliminary discussion years ago with WFAN, New York about being a reporter/weekend host but Los Angeles is my home. I’m part of the radio landscape.” Eerie now, but McDonnell confided to Kinosian in that lengthy printed conversation, “All the stuff I’ve done is leading up to something. I’ve always felt there was a bigger plan for me and a different path. God has kept me around for a reason – but I don’t know what it is. With what I’ve put myself through, any other person would have been dead by now.” Even at his heaviest, the voracious reader managed to stay in “fairly good shape.” The only weakness until recently was with his knees. According to McDonnell, “The ultimate moment for me would be to somehow find out who really killed John F. Kennedy.” As for the once “Big Nasty,” no cause of death was reported; several reports – including the one on KNX – said he died at Los Angeles’ Good Samaritan Hospital after a “brief illness.” A two-hour Friday night (3/13) Jeff Biggs-hosted show on KSPN paid tribute to McDonnell, who typically aired his “Kick Out” segment Fridays. Poignant, touching, and chillingly appropriate, the final word was given to Elizabeth McDonnell who somehow managed to summon up the strength in her voice to utter she wanted to kick Joe out of LA. Dramatic, goose-bump radio. “When I die,” McDonnell once told Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, “I want to be cremated and then have a plane spread half of my ashes over Dodger Stadium and the other half over the [ex-home of the Lakers] Forum.”
Joan Hamburg to Host Weekend Show on WABC, New York. After a long career at crosstown heritage AM news/talker WOR, Cumulus Media announces that New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is joining its news/talker 77 WABC to host a weekly Saturday program to air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Cumulus says on the show Hamburg “will continue discussing the most important social, economic and political issues that impact listeners’ lives each week. Hamburg will also interview major celebrities and powerful political figures on the program.” In addition, the deal calls for Hamburg to produce weekly features and exclusive programs available in digital formats. Hamburg comments, “How excited I am to join legendary WABC radio and work with Kim Bryant, Craig Schwalb and the rest of the Cumulus family. And what a treat to join their roster of the best talk talent in the country. New York get ready — the conversation is about to begin.”
Talk Host Jim Villanucci Resigns from KXL, Portland. There is little known at this time about what has transpired to cause midday talk show host Jim Villanucci to resign from his position with Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland but a Tweet from KXL’s Lars Larson states simply that Villanucci has resigned for “personal reasons” and that Larson wishes him well. Filling in during the daypart is Victoria Taft.
Tension Between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Management Over Fox Sports Simulcast. According to a story by Neil Best in Newsday, WFAN, New York afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa has been ordered by CBS RADIO management – under threat of lawsuit – not to gripe publicly about the simulcast of his show being bumped from cable’s Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 for live sporting events. Best reports that while Francesa didn’t talk specifically about the Fox Sports simulcast issues, he said on his radio show that in contrast to a corporate statement to the contrary, he has been threatened with legal action if he speaks publicly about anything that costs the company money, with the implication being the Fox Sports arrangement. In other words, he could be held liable for any income CBS loses if the Fox Sports relationship dissolves. Read Best’s piece here.
Cisco Cotto Joins CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM, Chicago. Newsman and talk show host Cisco Cotto is becoming part of the staff at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM and WCFS-FM, Chicago, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Cotto has worked in the Chicago market his entire career. He started at CBS’ former all-news WMAQ and has served as news anchor at Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM (where he also went on to host a talk show) as well as at Salem’s news/talk WIND, and the Moody Bible Institute’s Christian talker WMBI. His position at WBBM and WCFS is anchor/reporter. Read Feder’s entire column here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Adds Comic Jim Krenn to Friday Program. Joining the “KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway” each Friday is Jim Krenn, a popular Pittsburgh radio personality and comedian. KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci says, “KDKA is delighted to have Jim Krenn on the station each Friday morning. It’s like adding another big bat to an all-star lineup, and will give KDKA listeners another reason to smile heading into the weekend.” Krenn is a Pittsburgh native who worked successfully in Steel City radio for 24 years. He is currently producing a weekly podcast titled, “Jim Krenn: No Restrictions.”
Dreyer Named Director of Integrated Media for NRG. Appointed to the newly created position of director of integrated media for NRG Media is Erica Dreyer. In making the announcement, NRG president and CEO Mary Quass noted that Dreyer recently served in the same post for both Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois and Mid-West Family Broadcasting of Rockford for the past seven-plus years. Quass states, “Digital media offers the greatest potential revenue growth for radio today. Erica Dreyer has earned seven awards for excellence in the digital arena. Dreyer’s the maverick we need to lead this new department.” In this position, Dreyer will be responsible for infusing new inventory and pricing techniques into NRG’s interactive portfolio. Dreyer will also train and educate sales departments in the station group to produce more sophisticated, high-value integrated solutions for clients and help educate advertisers about integrated solutions for their business needs. Dreyer starts with NRG on September 30.
WPHT, Philadelphia Speaker Series Hosts Senator Ted Cruz. Tonight’s event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is the latest in the WPHT Speaker Series and will feature Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussing the First and Fourth Amendments. The program takes place in observance of Constitution Day and WPHT morning drive personality Chris Stigall is moderating the discussion.
The Big Issue of the Day. Pictured here are ESPN personalities (from left to right) Jemele Hill, Jane McManus and Cari Champion in the studio during the production of the podcast “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL on ESPN Radio.” The show was a joint effort by espnW and ESPN Radio. Also appearing on the program were espnW personalities Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain. ESPN host Keith Olbermann and National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill joined the conversation as guests.
The NFL and Domestic Violence, U.S.-Led Coalition Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Run, New Benghazi Investigation, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Scotland Succession Referendum, and Obama Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The ongoing furor over the domestic violence issues plaguing the NFL; debate over the potential effectiveness of the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS; the looming mid-term elections and how they may affect majorities in Congress; Hillary Clinton’s weekend appearance in Iowa and her possible run for president in 2016; the new Benghazi investigation; the status of the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the potential for a pandemic; Thursday’s referendum on whether Scotland breaks away from the U.K.; and Senator Ted Cruz’s effort to prevent amnesty action by President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host
NEW YORK — We’re all trying to find our way in this new digital world of ours. Conventional means of promoting our ideas may no longer work. Everything needs to be fresh, immediate, provocative. The attention span of our audiences have shortened and I’m not just talking about millennials. With the constant bombardment of information that we are under, even the most patient of us has a hard time giving every issue the attention it deserves.
Instead, we are expected to have instant reactions — black or white with no shades of gray. There is little time for deep discussions. There is no tolerance for asking questions that have no easy answers. Certain stories are reported from only one angle. Anyone who carefully parses a statement that the press declares politically incorrect is defined as supporting the dark side. Forget nuance, once you are attacked by the consensus bullies, you can only surrender and apologize, lest you lose your livelihood.
Radio Television Digital News Association Honors Nagler. This past Friday night (9/5) in Nashville, CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler received the Radio Television Digital News Association‘s John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award. The honor recognizes an individual’s contributions to the journalism profession and freedom of the press. During his acceptance speech, Nagler stated, “Schools must be incubators for innovation in a field that desperately needs it.” Many years ago, those in radio, television, and print, Nagler remarks, were “the messengers,” who decided what Americans would know. “Today it is the reverse,” he opines. “Everyone can publish – everyone can, at least, perceive themselves as journalists. Content is ubiquitous. It is often hard to discern the big picture from individual snapshots of information that flood our devices. To place context on stories, many still seek out journalistic entities with traditional values. In the end, it proves we still need to be able to turn to journalists and news organizations we can trust.” Believing that the public’s “appetite for news has never been greater,” Nagler emphasizes, “It is our job, our responsibility, our mission to maintain that trust as we broaden our roles on new platforms, while continuing to serve our audiences on our traditional platforms.” Prior to becoming vice president of CBS Radio News nearly 17 years ago, Nagler is credited with establishing the phrase, “traffic and weather together on the eights” when he was director of news programming for CBS Radio New York’s WCBS-AM.
A Case for Accurate Headlines. A story published today in TALKERS magazine by WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer underscores the position talk hosts often find themselves in today when taking on a delicate – and complicated – issue. Neer accurately points out that in today’s media culture, where all content must be immediate, fresh and provocative, there is little time for anything that isn’t black and white or that involves any depth. Neer writes that for the talk host, “There is no tolerance for asking questions that have no easy answers. Certain stories are reported from only one angle. Anyone who carefully parses a statement that the press declares politically incorrect is defined as supporting the dark side. Forget nuance, once you are attacked by the consensus bullies, you can only surrender and apologize, lest you lose your livelihood.” He points to one of the culprits in this matter: the news headline. Neer says so many headlines are misleading and are written purposely that way to tantalize to get people to read the story. But often times, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear the headline is misleading or even the exact opposite of what the text of the story shows. Still, what readers (assuming people actually go on to read the story) often come away with is a “glib conclusion based on the headline.” Read his entire piece here.
Brian Joyce Show Gets Permanent Billing on WGOW, Chattanooga. Mid-afternoon talk show host Brian Joyce tells TALKERS magazine that the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm time slot on Cumulus Media’s WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3” is now officially called the Brian Joyce show. Since he took over the slot in April of 2012, the daypart had been called “Live & Local.” Joyce also reports that since he began hosting his show, that daypart has gone from 10th in the market among Men 25-54, and 15th in the market among Persons 25-54, to among the top three in both demos, making it the first time in station history that this has been accomplished.
Tribune Sports Talker WGWG-LP, Chicago Announces Changes. A couple of changes to report at the sports talk outlet WGN Radio programs on low-power FM WGWG, branded “The Game 87.7 FM.” In conjunction with Tribune Media, the station announces Chicago Bears’ cornerback Tim Jennings and safety Ryan Mundy will join as on-air contributors appearing on segments during the “Kap & Haugh” and the “Jarrett, Harry & Spike” shows, as well as Jennings co-hosting the weekly hour-long program, “The Jennings & Jarrett Show,” with The Game’s Jarrett Payton. Jennings and Mundy will also provide updates on WGN-TV during the morning and evening news. At the same time, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, Howard Griffith goes to part time with his duties at the station, due to his workload at the Big Ten Network. Griffith had been sharing equal billing with Alex Quigley and Ben Finfer on the station’s afternoon drive program.
Clip Interactive Announces Revenue Successes in Portland and Indy Markets. Saying that it measures its success based on the new advertising dollars that its interactive radio apps bring to its station partners, Clip Interactive announces its apps developed for Alpha Media and Salem Broadcasting in Portland and Cumulus Radio in Indianapolis have generated more than $1 million in new revenue to date in 2014. Further, the company says Clip Radio-powered stations are producing $100,000 of new revenue within 30-45 days of launch and Clip says this shows not only that radio advertising works, but also proves that an innovative and revenue-generating mobile solution is now available and radio advertisers embrace it. Moreover, Clip says this net new revenue is coming from multiple sources including advertisers who are completely new to radio and returning advertisers who previously left radio for digital media. Alpha Media’s president and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We are now able to attract advertisers that had previously abandoned the medium for alternative digital solutions. Through the Clip Radio-powered apps, we are able to build a stronger relationship with both our listeners and our advertisers, providing both groups with compelling content that they cannot find anywhere else. We are eager to expand our interactive radio capabilities to our other Alpha Media markets.”
TALKERS Affiliate Roundup. KNEI-FM, Cedar Rapids adds Envision Networks-distributed VirtualNWS Weather Reports featuring meteorologist Laura Huckabee…..The Sun Broadcast Group-syndicated Marilu Henner show joins the programming at KUSH-AM, Cushing, Oklahoma and KJFF, Festus, Missouri.
Obama ‘Theater of Being President’ Comment, Obama Drops Immigration Changes, Ray Rice Cut and Suspended by NFL, U.S. ISIS Strategy-Wednesday Press Conference, Global Warming Controversy, Midwestern Child Respiratory Virus Mystery, Bruce Levenson Scandal, and Joan Rivers Funeral Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/8). Criticism of President Obama’s comment on “Meet the Press” that the “theater of being president” doesn’t come naturally to him; Obama’s decision to not pursue immigration law changes via executive order before the mid-term elections; the Baltimore Ravens cut Ray Rice and the NFL suspends him indefinitely after the full video of him punching out his wife in an elevator is revealed; Wednesday’s scheduled press conference during which President Obama will address the US’s ISIS strategy; increased scrutiny of the global warming theory; the mystery of a respiratory virus affecting thousands of Midwestern children; Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson’s admission of a racist email forces sale of team; and the weekend funeral of comedienne Joan Rivers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cox Revamps ‘102.5 The Bone’ in Tampa – without Bubba the Love Sponge. Saying that it is “taking the station in a different direction,” Cox Media Group Tampa announces the redesign of talk outlet WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” and moves afternoon personality Mike Calta to AM drive. The rest of the day looks like this: Billy Madison from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Shannon Burke from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “In Your Face with Drew Garabo” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm followed by “The Bone Daily Rewind Show” from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. CMG Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “CMG periodically changes direction, talent and format of its various media programs in order to provide our audiences with fresh perspectives and compelling content. ‘The Bone’ has proven to be one of America’s most outspoken radio stations. Tampa Bay can expect ‘The Bone’ to continue to deliver ‘Real, Raw, Radio’ every day.” The station says that although it is discontinuing the Bubba the Love Sponge show, it will continue to be the technical head end to the Bubba Radio Network through the end of 2014. The Bubba the Love Sponge Show is heard on KRZQ, Reno; WTRS, Ocala; WRXK, Ft. Myers; WZLB, Ft. Walton Beach; WYBB, Charleston, South Carolina; and WRSO, Orlando.
Social Media Dominator? Facebook. According to NuVoodoo‘s latest “Ratings Prospects Study,” Facebook remains the prevailing social media outlet of choice among those who are 14 – 54 years old. Moreover, as NuVoodoo vice president of research Leigh Jacobs states, “Despite all the hype surrounding them, both Snapchat and Vine are comparatively small players overall. While other players get more coverage, Instagram has the deepest penetration among teens [14 – 17] after YouTube and Facebook; it is getting traction among [those] 18 – 34. We found continuing positive momentum for Facebook, even among 14-17-year-olds. Other platforms have stronger momentum, but given its tremendous reach, Facebook remains a powerful tool for connecting with listeners.” NuVoodoo executive vice president of marketing Mike O’Connor comments that, “Radio marketing is about influencing the most likely ratings respondents at the lowest cost possible. It is clear from our findings that heavy users of both broadcast and Pandora can be reached in numbers on Facebook and YouTube that rival the home phone of a decade ago. Imagine knowing the exact music taste of everyone and then only calling the most likely listeners. It is that precise targeting and cost-efficiency that makes social media the great equalizer.” NuVoodoo interviewed nearly 1100 respondents, ages 14-54, in all PPM markets for this study.
Brad and Britt Join WJZY-TV, Charlotte for Commentary Duties. Radio talk show hosts-turned-podcasters Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire – formerly of WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte – are now part of the weekend staff at Fox TV O&O WJZY-TV, Charlotte as they begin handling commentary duties on the new show, “Good Morning Carolinas.” They report they will be offering takes on politics and happenings of local and national importance. They’ll also be on the station’s “Ten O’Clock News” on Wednesday (9/3) to offer analysis of the first debate between Senator Kay Hagan (D) and challenger Thom Tillis (R). Of course, they will continue their daily podcast, which is available on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and BradandBritt.com.
WFAN, New York Names Argaman GSM. Promotions in the sales department at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York include WFAN/Yankees Radio Network sales chief Sean Argaman being named general sales manager for WFAN effective immediately. At the same time, CBS RADIO EVP of operations Scott Herman announces Brian Rooney has been promoted to sales manager and will assume additional responsibility working alongside Argaman. Steve Kalman takes over the role of head of Yankees sales.
Michael Berry Helps Raise More than $200k for PTSD Foundation of America. Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry – the “Czar of Talk Radio” – helped raise a total of $207,598 for the PTSD Foundation of America, an organization for which he is the national spokesman. Partnering with Gringo’s and Jimmy Changas, popular Tex-Mex restaurants in the Houston area, and calling upon his listeners to join him at four concerts the restaurants underwrote, Berry and his cohorts donated all ticket revenue to the cause. Berry says, “Live radio has the ability to bring together listeners, show sponsors, and people in need, in real time, and make magic. When the roll is taken up yonder of the effect of radio in communities in America, we should tally all the work being done by local hosts across the country who are doing this in their cities every single day. Every year, I listen to Rush speak from his heart about leukemia and lymphoma during his Cure-a-Thon. And it makes me think that we all need to do more, and use our powerful microphone for good. THIS is what makes radio fun.” Pictured here at the presentation ceremony are (from l-r): Berry, Camp Hope executive director David Maulsby (Camp Hope is run by the PTSD Foundation of America); two unidentified veterans who received peer counseling at Camp Hope; and local restaurateur Russell Ybarra who donated $125,000 and hired the bands to help raise the rest of the money.
Beasley Broadcast Group Announces Corporate Award Winners. At its annual management meeting held at the corporate offices in Naples, Florida this week, Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. gathered corporate management and station leadership from the eleven markets in which it operates to celebrate achievements and contributions from individual employees and radio stations over the preceding twelve months. The 2014 honorees include: WXKB-FM, Fort Myers-Naples – Radio Station of the Year; Brad Beasley – General Manager of the Year/Fort Myers-Naples; Donna Williams – Business Manager of the Year/Augusta, Georgia; AJ Lurie – Sales Manager of the Year/Fort Myers-Naples; Tee Gentry – Program Director of the Year/Augusta; Lamar Smith – Engineer of the Year/Las Vegas; Natalie Conner – CEO Award of Excellence/Executive Vice President. Founder, chairman and CEO George Beasley states, “It is a sincere privilege each year to honor our company’s highest achievers. The level of professionalism within Beasley Broadcast is tremendous. The ladies and gentlemen we recognize for 2014 worked very hard to earn this recognition, and for that they have also earned my respect. I am very proud of each of them.” Pictured here at the corporate meetings are (from left to right): VP of programming Justin Chase; EVP of operations Brian Beasley; VP market manager Kent Dunn (Augusta); chairman and CEO George G. Beasley; president and COO Bruce Beasley; EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley; VP of engineering and CTO Mike Cooney; VP market manager Brad Beasley (SW Florida); retiring VP market manager Natalie Conner (Philadelphia); VP of sales Heather Monahan; director of sales AJ Lurie (SW Florida).
WXKS-AM, Boston Augments UMass Sports Coverage. In Beantown, Clear Channel-owned WXKS-AM “Bloomberg Radio 1200″ signs a three-year deal with the University of Massachusetts department of athletics and multimedia rights holder UMass Sports Properties and Learfield Sports. The pact begins with the 2014 – 2015 athletic season and allows 50,000-watt WXKS-AM to air all UMass football games and men’s basketball contests that do not conflict with Bloomberg programming. Learfield Sports regional general manager Pam Batalis comments that WXKS-AM is “the perfect complement to an already thriving UMass sports network. When you combine the positive momentum building around UMass football with the national attention achieved by our men’s basketball program, the timing was right to deliver these two teams to our significant fan base in the metro-Boston area.” UMass director of athletics John McCutcheon states, “We are very excited to bring [WXKS-AM] on-board as one of our radio partners for football and basketball. The partnership gives us a great home in the Boston media market and really gives those programs fantastic exposure in eastern Massachusetts. When looking at the package and a multi-year agreement, we feel very strongly that this relationship will help us reach our fans and alumni in the eastern-half of the Commonwealth.” Josh Maurer returns for his seventh season handling play-by-play duties for both “Minuteman” football and men’s basketball. Three UMass graduates will join him on football broadcasts: analyst Matt Goldstein, sideline reporter Cody Chrusciel, and program host Adam Frenier. In addition to WXKS-AM, the UMass sports network includes Entercom Boston flagship (sports) WEEI-FM, Entercom sports WVEI, Worcester, and Marshfield Broadcasting adult contemporary WATD-FM, Marshfield. The affiliation begins with tomorrow’s (Saturday, 8/29) football opener against Boston College.
Odds & Sods. With election season kicking into high gear, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York is presenting the second in a series of exclusive “Election Central” roundtables on Saturday (8/30) at 3:00 pm ET. The program is being hosted by Rita Cosby and features a preview of the November mid-term elections with a discussion featuring some of New York’s most influential political reporters: WNBC’s Andrew Siff, NY1’s Errol Louis, and WPIX 11’s Marvin Scott. The roundtables can also be heard on the “Election Central” page at wabcradio.com…..As in seasons past, CBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” will produce the “Howie Roseman Show” each Monday during the NFL season. WIP afternoon host Anthony Gargano and Eagles play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese will co-host the program with the Eagles GM live from Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..Yahoo! Sports Radio announces the debut of its weekend football programming that begins with “Rivals Saturday” and wraps up Sunday night with “Postgame” with Peter Brown.
ISIS Campaign/U.S. Military Policy in Iraq and Syria Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 25-29. Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria and the Obama Administration’s military policy there. At #2 this week is the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race. Coming in at #3 is the plans by President Obama to bypass the Congress to sign a global climate change treaty and to use executive orders to pass immigration legislation followed by the Michael Brown death aftermath at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
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KOY Transitions From Business Talk To Mainstream Talk. Clear Channel Phoenix replaces its one-year business talk format on KOY “1230 The KFYI Business Channel” with mainstream talk under the “KFYI 2: The Next Generation of Talk” moniker. As KOY’s handle underscores, the station continues its association with co-owned mainstream talker KFYI. Program director Neil Larrimore states, “This is an exciting brand to put under the KFYI umbrella. Our approach of heavy digital messaging, new hosts, and more moderate content is geared toward the evolution of the information format.” The on-air roster for “KFYI 2” is Armstrong & Getty (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Dana Loesch (10:00 am -1:00 pm); Casey Bartholomew (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); “America Now” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “TMZ Live” (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm); “Ground Zero” (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and Bloomberg Radio (10:00 pm – 6:00 am). Having the distinction of being Arizona’s first radio station, KOY received its broadcast license in 1922 with the calls KFCB – “Kind Friends Come Back.” KFYI ranks seventh this July (4.3, 6+); Bonneville talker KTAR-FM finishes #14 (3.0); and Rio Salado College‘s KJZZ (NPR) is #19 (2.1). KOY does not appear in the July 2014 report.
Forty-One and Done For Ann Compton. Being the first woman assigned to cover the White House fulltime by any network was — in Ann Compton‘s opinion — an advantage since the President could not miss seeing her. The Chicago native, who began covering that demanding beat nearly 40 years ago, wants to devote more time to other things, such as being a grandmother. So, on September 10 — the anniversary of her 41st year with ABC News — she will retire. Click here for an in-depth feature piece by TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian to find out what Compton believed were her most challenging things early-on; vivid reflections on 9/11/2001; and why — and who — made being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame especially memorable.
Dr. Joy Browne Switching Networks to GCN. Longtime TALKERS Heavy Hundred syndicated star Dr. Joy Browne’s show will be moving from present distributor Radio America to Genesis Communications Network (GCN) beginning Monday, September 8. The program will continue to air during its regular time slot of 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET. GCN will also syndicate Dr. Joy Browne’s “Best Of” weekend program, which will air Saturdays, 1:00 am – 4:00 am ET. Browne, a licensed clinical psychologist, hosts the longest running relationships program of its kind in syndication, airing on over 100 stations across the country including WNYM, New York. Her show offers listeners advice on issues ranging from relationships and marriage to finance and career. (She even reviews movies and comments on theater.) Regarding Browne’s show, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “With interest growing among talk radio broadcasters in expanding the menu beyond politics and getting back to a number of areas that have long been mainstays of spoken word commercial radio during its golden days, I suspect we will see the stock of a show like Joy Browne’s take a significant upward turn. After all, she’s remained a serious player on stations across the country during a period in which relationship shows have had tough going. Considering she is still the best in the genre, watch out world – Dr. Joy will be riding high for years to come.” Interested stations can contact GCN affiliate relations at (877) 996-4327, Ext. 241, 148 or 123 for more information.
KFWB Recruits Murphy as PD. When KFWB, Los Angeles flips from talk to sports next month, the station will be programmed by Owen Murphy, who has been working as a talent coach and sports radio consultant for several hosts. KFWB Asset Trust trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Owen has built great relationships with some of America’s premiere sports talents. He has a unique perspective and will provide a fresh approach for sports radio fans in Los Angeles.” Murphy remarks, “I cannot adequately express how excited I am to be part of a team that is going to serve the Los Angeles sports radio audience in a manner never before heard. Having [CBS Sports Radio’s] Jim Rome as a centerpiece of the station’s new lineup is a thrilling base to build upon for the passionate sports fans of Southern California.” Rome will be heard on KFWB 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. Murphy’s resume includes a 2009 – 2010 stint programming KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” Seattle. He previously was an ESPN Radio producer for “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and was executive producer of “The Dan Patrick Show.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2014 PPM report, KFWB ranks #42 (.2). Its all-sports competitors are KSPN (1.2 in July, #28); KLAC (.9, #32); and KLAA (.3, #40).
NBA, ESPN Audio – Teammates for a 20th Season. For the 20th successive year, ESPN Audio will broadcast games of the National Basketball Association. This year’s ESPN – NBA schedule — which will feature 29 regular-season games — tips off in slightly more than two months (Tuesday, 10/28), with Tim Duncan and the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs hosting the Dallas Mavericks. ESPN Audio will broadcast a Christmas Day doubleheader, which will showcase San Antonio against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Immediately following that will be LeBron James’ first game back in Miami as the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Miami Heat. ESPN Audio will air the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals, as well as the 64th All-Star Game. Returning as ESPN Radio’s lead play-by-play voice and prime analyst are Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry, respectively. Calling/analyzing select games are Marc Kestecher and PJ Carlesimo.
Westwood One Taps Townsend as Senior Account Manager. Former Clear Channel New York sales manager Steve Townsend joins Westwood One‘s sales division as senior account manager. New York City-based Townsend reports to senior vice president of network sales Darrin Klayman, who states, “Steve has a proven track record and he comes with an immeasurable wealth of sales expertise. His multimedia experience and passion fit well into our desired DNA as we strive to build a team that will provide integrated multi-platform solutions for our clients.” Townsend meanwhile comments, “Westwood One is at the forefront of delivering solutions and driving revenue for clients. From its customized content, events, talent endorsements, local activations, digital initiatives, and geo-targeted programs, it is clearly the place to be; I am thrilled to be part of the momentum.” Townsend’s Clear Channel New York sales manager responsibilities were for adult contemporary WLTW “Lite-FM” and classic rock WAXQ “Q-104.3,” as well as managing sales for the “Automotive” category for the company’s entire New York group. He previously was sales manager in New York City for then-Citadel-owned (now Cumulus) hot AC WPLJ; CBS Radio‘s WXRK (now CHR WBMP); and he was an account executive and national sales manager for classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM.
Conclave Confirms Smith As Keynoter — Smulyan to Speak as Well. The 39th annual Conclave Learning Conference – presented in partnership with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association (MBA) – will feature a keynote address by National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith. Conclave chair Mark Bolke comments, “Whether you are in programming, news, sales, or station management, what happens in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission directly impacts our collective future. Gordon Smith’s keynote will instill in all of us the ongoing need to protect our industry’s interests and preserve its status as America’s premier source for music, entertainment, news, and emergency information.” MBA president and chief executive officer Jim du Bois states, “With the broadcasting industry facing unprecedented legal, regulatory, and competitive challenges, Gordon Smith and the NAB are leading the charge in Washington. We are honored that he is taking time from his busy schedule to share his insights on key issues facing radio and television broadcasters. We are also looking forward to hearing his vision for the industry’s future as it adapts to rapidly changing media consumption habits and a shift to mobile distribution platforms.” Smith is scheduled to deliver his keynote on (Saturday) November 15 at 9:00 am onsite at the Conclave, which will be held at Minneapolis’ Crown Plaza Hotel Airport. Smith is a former United States Senator. The Oregon Republican served two terms in the Senate and was appointed NAB president/CEO five years ago (9/2009). The Conclave’s day-and-a-half learning conference begins (Friday) November 14 with a “Radio & TV Career Fair and Air Check Clinic,” followed by a special keynote from Emmis president and chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan on the NextRadio mobile platform.
“Dr. Daliah” Accepts Daunting Task. Radio stations and personalities constantly are being enlisted to support a number of worthwhile endeavors. An especially challenging fundraiser involves Dr. Daliah Wachs. The syndicated talk show host and Las Vegas television personality has been asked to build the pediatric wing of Community Outreach Medical Center, which will serve thousands of underserved and uninsured Las Vegas children. “This is a huge undertaking but it will get done,” Dr. Wachs promises. A board certified family physician, Dr. Wachs (University of Nevada – Las Vegas, University of Nevada – Reno, and UCLA) originates her daily “Dr. Daliah” program from Las Vegas talker KDWN; iHeart Radio carries it daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon PT. In addition to her radio show, Dr. Wachs is the medical expert on KVVU-TV, Las Vegas.
SBS Reports 12% Q2 Revenue Gain for Radio. Primarily owing to a boost in special events revenue and network sales, revenue for Spanish Broadcasting System‘s radio division increased 12% in the second quarter to $3.8 million. SBS’ consolidated net revenue grew from $36.1 million in 2013 to $40.9 million (+13%). Consolidated OIBDA fell 22% to $9.9 million, compared to $12.7 million; radio OIBDA decreased 10% to $1.5 million. Spanish Broadcasting System reported a net loss of $3.23 million (44 cents per diluted share), versus a loss of $1.23 million (17 cents) in the year-prior period.
Odds & Sods. After the success of his first non-fiction book, “FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio” (Villard 2001), Richard Neer of WFAN, New York has written and published his first novel “Something of the Night” (Amazon 2014). It features a detective on the Jersey shore whose colleague and best friend is a radio talk show host. Originally tasked to find a missing small town author, the plot evolves into something much deeper, threatening the entire metropolitan region. A suspenseful page turner, the twists are non-stop. Neer has been told that social media is the only way to move books today. However he still believes in radio’s power and will promote it mainly through our medium. Interview requests will be honored by emailing email@example.com. To access the book, please click here. ….. Mark Wainwright is filling in this week (8/18 – 8/22) for morning host Joe Galuski at Clear Channel-owned talker WSYR, Syracuse.
By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host
NEW YORK — I rarely have a problem with “political correctness.” I believe that avoiding words or phrases that even a small minority find offensive, is a good thing. Why hurt people because we are insensitive or too lazy and set in our ways to change? It’s easier just to amend our vocabulary and apologize when necessary. Using racial or sexist epithets to make a point is not acceptable and these words should bear consequences. WEEI and Sirius have recently dealt with those situations.
What I do fear is that a “gotcha” mentality is running amok, looking to punish anyone who has the temerity to take an unpopular stand. Recent examples are Mark Cuban and Stephen A. Smith.
In Cuban’s case, he was honest about his own shortcomings, illustrative of the fact that we all have prejudices. He made it very clear that he thought society would be better off if we could rid ourselves of these destructive impulses but that we are not there yet, despite all the progress made so far. He used himself as an example, citing how out of concern for his safety, he would avoid characters who dressed like thugs. He implied that if we are honest with ourselves, we might all admit to the same feelings.
Inside SportsTalkBoston.com. The surprising exit of longtime WEEI sports talk personality Glenn Ordway last year and the departure some months later of station programmer Jason Wolfe saw big changes in the Boston sports talk scene. Those changes are becoming even more high profile with the debut of Ordway’s new multi-platform sports talk destination SportsTalkBoston.com. Regular TALKERS readers are aware Wolfe is signing on with the venture to serve as chief content officer. In this exclusive story, Wolfe goes into a bit more detail about not only what the future will bring to SportsTalkBoston.com, but he writes about Ordway’s place in the hearts and minds of Boston sports media fans and how that plays into the execution of the content. As Wolfe says, “Personality breeds engagement. Engagement breeds loyalty. Loyalty breeds ratings and ratings breed revenue. That is the formula hosts and shows need to embrace today if they want to win.” Read this entire piece here.
WTOP, Washington Takes ‘Top Biller’ Crown for Fourth Year Straight. The annual top radio billers report from BIA/Kelsey is out and although Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington dropped a little over $1 million in billing from 2012 to 2013, at a reported $63.5 million it still was the nation’s #1 biller, beating Clear Channel’s CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles by about $2 million. KIIS-FM had a good year, adding almost $5 million to its revenue total to report in at $61.6 million. Rounding out the top 10 for 2013 were: Clear Channel’s CHR WHTZ, New York “Z100” at $51 million; CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM at $50 million; Clear Channel’s AC WLTW, New York “106.7 Lite FM” at $45.5 million; CBS RADIO all-news WINS at $45 million; Clear Channel’s hot AC KBIG, Los Angeles “104.3 MYfm” at $44.5 million; CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” at $43 million; CBS RADIO’s alternative KROQ, Los Angeles at $42.8 million; and CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago wraps the top 10 at $42 million.
Entercom Loosens Load on ‘ESPN Upstate’ Personality Greg McKinney. In addition to his work at Entercom Greenville’s sports talk duo WORD-AM/WYRD-AM “ESPN Upstate” where he’s host of “In The Huddle with Greg McKinney” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, McKinney had been doing mornings on sister AC WSPA “Magic 98.9.” (He also handles anchoring the “College Football Today” pregame show on rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet.”) The company adds “Murphy, Sam and Jodi” on WSPA for morning drive and relieves McKinney of the daily double duty. Entercom Greenville VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage is unmatched in this market. We are thrilled that the person who will become the local face of ‘ESPN Upstate’ was already in our stable. Putting Greg McKinney on ESPN with a live and local show, not only plays to his strengths and talents, but it provides our clients with an additional and valuable touch point to connect with a highly sought after consumer.”
Entercom Sets Milwaukee and Madison Managers. Former Cumulus Mobile vice president/market manager Chuck Sullivan is tapped for similar duties at Entercom Milwaukee, while Entercom Madison director of sales Ed Schulz is elevated to vice president/market manager of that Wisconsin market. They succeed Michael Keck (see next story), who was overseeing both markets. Regional president Michael Doyle comments, “Entercom is proud to add two of the strongest people in radio to our leadership team. Chuck and Ed bring with them a wealth of experience, unique perspectives and a passion to make their powerful brands and their clusters not only the strongest in the state, but in all of radio.” Meanwhile, Sullivan remarks, “Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands from [CHR WXSS] ‘Kiss-FM’ to [hot AC WMYX] ‘Mix’ to [WSSP] ‘SportsRadio 1250.” Schulz adds, “Madison is a special place and Entercom has distinct brands that not only connect with the community, but deliver results for our clients. I am proud of what we have accomplished in Madison and am excited for the future. Before joining Cumulus, Sullivan spent nine years as managing partner of Wilmington, North Carolina’s Ocean Broadcasting. Schulz joined Entercom two years ago and will be responsible for adult alternative WMMM “Triple M,” classic hits WOLX, and hot AC WMHX “Mix 105.1.”
CBS RADIO Twin Cities Names Keck VP/DOS. As referenced in the story above, sales pro Michael Keck moves northwest from Entercom Milwaukee to the Twin Cities where he’s the new vice president/director of sales at CBS RADIO Minneapolis, effective April 7. The company says that in this role, he will be responsible for overseeing sales in the market for news/talk WCCO, adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM,” and country KMNB “BUZ’N@102.9.” Keck will work closely with Michael Weiss, CBS RADIO’s president of sales and report to Mick Anselmo, senior vice president and market manager for the Minneapolis cluster. Keck comments, “I am thrilled to be coming back to the Twin Cities. It’s a tremendous privilege to be associated with two powerful FM stations and one of America’s most legendary and successful AM brands in WCCO. I can’t wait to be a part of the CBS RADIO team in this vibrant radio and media marketplace.”
Sun Broadcast Group to Rep Envision Networks’ Spanish Content. An exclusive ad sales agreement has been struck between Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. and Envision Networks for Sun to rep Envision’s Spanish-language inventory that includes: CNN en Español, Fox Deportes and AccuWeather en Español. Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Jason Bailey and his team at Sun Broadcast will increase our presence in the Spanish advertising arena. They will represent our programming, services and online audio product lineups to Hispanic advertisers and maximize the scope of our network’s reach and frequency and the amount of impressions it delivers for clients.”
Beasley Honors Pretzello with President’s Club Award. This in-house sales award for the calendar year 2013 goes to Beasley Broadcast Augusta senior account executive Debbie Pretzello for the third time. The President’s Club consists of Beasley sales executives inducted annually for their abilities to meet or exceed individual and market goals, attain accreditation from the Radio Advertising Bureau as Certified Radio Marketing Consultants (CRMC), and over-deliver their clients’ expectations on a daily basis. One account executive in each market in which Beasley operates is named to the Club monthly. At year’s end, each market names a winner based on overall performance. Additionally, the individual with the highest ranking from this notable pool of top-performers is named Beasley’s “President’s Club Overall Winner” for the previous calendar year. Beasley EVP of sales Heather Monahan says, “We are thrilled that Debbie Pretzello continues to lead our Augusta sales team and is recognized for her third time as our ‘Overall President’s Club Winner.’ Retaining talent in our business is of the utmost importance to Beasley. Debbie forges ahead year after year, raising the bar for our sales organization. Her ability to win multiple awards signifies her vast talent for delivering results for her local clients. Debbie Pretzello earned the title ‘Overall President’s Club Winner’ again this year by providing ROI for her customers, that’s something that makes us very proud.”
Odds & Sods. When the New York Yankees’ season kicks off on April 1, Spanish-speaking listeners in the New York area will be able to hear the games in Spanish on Univsion-owned WADO, New York. CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM – the new rights holder for Yankees games, agrees to the deal that will have WFAN producing the games with Rickie Ricardo and Francisco Rivera in the booth for the Spanish-language broadcast…..WMBD, Peoria afternoon duo “Robbins & Markley” – (pictured here) Scott Robbins (l) and Jamie Markley (r) – are sitting in for the vacationing Jim Villanucci on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland this week…..The weekly two-hour “Both Sides Now” program – hosted by Mark Green and featuring talk media personalities including: Ron Reagan, Katrina van den Heuvel, Eliot Spitzer, Bob Shrum, Jonathan Alter, Mary Matalin, Erick Erickson, David Frum, Rich Lowry and Torie Clarke – signs up with Focus 360 to handle ad sales for the program.
Tackling Big Issues. KARN-FM, Little Rock program director and afternoon drive host Dave Elswick (right) poses for a photo with former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger (left) after two spoke on Elswick’s program about Israel and the country’s complex relationship with the U.S., Iran and the Palestinians. Ettinger served as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington. Elswick will be speaking on the “Big Picture” panel at Talkers New York 2014 in New York City on Friday, June 20.
ObamaCare Criticism, Michelle Obama in China, Hague Nuke Summit, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, Mid-Term Elections/ 2016 Presidential Race, NSA Bulk Data Collection Policy and Nick Cannon ‘Whiteface’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip to China and her speech about America’s discriminatory past; President Obama’s comments about Russia and a possible NYC nuclear threat made at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Hague; the possible fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; prognostication about the fall mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; the fate of the NSA’s bulk data collection policy; and musician/TV personality Nick Cannon’s “whiteface” photo controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Gets Video Deal with Fox 1. After exiting the YES Network for the TV simulcast of his radio show in early February when his contract ran out, New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s WFAN show will land on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 in a deal just announced. The companies say they’ve reached a “multi-year, multi-media agreement.” Fox Sports 1 and 2 general manager and COO David Nathanson says, “We are thrilled to add Mike Francesa to our Fox Sports family of channels. Mike is without question one of the most popular sports personalities in New York and has maintained a significant national reputation through his syndicated NFL show and his WFAN program…He’s knowledgeable and opinionated with an ability to attract top-name guests who appeal to sports fans everywhere. This is a fantastic addition to FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.” The simulcast begins on March 24 when it will air from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Fox Sports 1 and then from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Fox Sports 2. It will also be streamed live via Fox Sports GO through participating video providers. Francesa will deliver the Sports Keynote Address at the Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20, 2014.
Salk Exits WEEI-FM, Boston After a Year. The homecoming for Boston-bred sports talk personality Mike Salk lasted just about a year. Salk has left the station for a new gig elsewhere (reportedly back to KIRO-AM, Seattle where he was co-hosting with Brock Huard). The changes at WEEI-FM since former afternoon drive personality Glenn Ordway was forced out have been numerous: program director Jason Wolfe exited and the general manager who brought Salk to WEEI – Jeff Brown – abruptly left in September of 2013. Boston Globe writer Chad Finn analyzes the situation and states that although Salk was raised in the area and worked at other Boston AM signals for a time, “his homogenized style, honed during his time at ESPN radio, made him seem like an outsider.” Finn reports the station will begin pairing up a rotating cast of co-hosts for Michael Holley in the PM drive slot as is works to find a permanent replacement for Salk.
KTTH, Seattle Produces ‘Panel Series’ to Debate Policy Issues. Seattle news/talker KTTH is beginning a panel series aimed at “encouraging robust discussion of important issues in Western Washington,” and it will start with an April 9 debate over the proposed $15 minimum wage. Afternoon talk host Ben Shapiro will take part in the debate and morning drive personality David Boze will moderate. Also taking part in the debate will be Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, National Employment Law Project deputy director Rebecca Smith, and Washington Policy Center vice president for research Paul Guppy. The debate is open to the public.
WNYM, New York to Air ‘The Cats Roundtable.’ New York business mogul and former mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis begins hosting an hour-long Sunday morning program on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” this weekend. The station says the show will feature interviews, listener call-ins and John’s unique take on the news affecting New York. Catsimatidis is CEO of The Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods. His first guests on the 3/16 program will include former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New York Governor George Pataki. Catsimatidis comments, “I’m incredibly excited about this. After the mayor’s race, I was struck by how many New Yorkers from all walks of life were anxious to continue the conversation about how to improve our city. As a lifelong fan of local radio, I’m convinced that this is the best way to do that.”
Smith to Named to GSM Post at Cox Tulsa. Moving over from the television side of Cox Media Group’s Tulsa operations is Randy Smith who is named general sales manager for the group that includes classic rock KJSR, AC KRAV, news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, and country KWEN. Cox Tulsa general manager Gene Vidler says, “I am excited to have Randy join our radio cluster. I have known Randy for many years, first as a competitor and more recently as a colleague with our sister TV stations. Randy’s knowledge of the market and his relationships in Tulsa will be a great fit to help our radio cluster continue to grow. Randy is very well respected and well known in the media community.”
KNX, Los Angeles to Air Daylong Programming on Region’s Traffic Problems. Southern California’s traffic problems are legendary and CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting what it calls a “comprehensive and unprecedented examination of Southern California’s infamous traffic congestion that often turns the region’s freeways and streets into a continuum of parking lots.” It’s a day-long series titled, “Driven to Gridlock: L.A.’s Never-Ending Sig Alert,” airing on Thursday, March 27 from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. The station says, “Producers Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman, along with KNX 1070’s award-winning news staff, will explore the past, present and future of SoCal’s traffic situation with help from urban planners, civic leaders, technology experts, law enforcement and commuters. Among the topics to be covered in 26 special reports will be the evolution of our region’s car culture; why traffic congestion will likely worsen before it improves; the future of mass transit; the financial impact of traffic jams on business; coping with an aging infrastructure and growing population; the impact of past ‘solutions’ such as signal synchronization, car pool lanes, ridesharing, and toll lanes; and more-recent ideas like congestion pricing popular in Europe and flexible work schedules.”
Odds & Sods. Hard-working talk radio personality Simon Conway – afternoon drive host at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines – is continuing his fill-in work subbing for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated host Andy Dean. Iron-man Conway is used to double-duty having hosted the morning show at WFLF, Orlando for six days earlier this month…..Public radio WNYC, New York welcomes Sean Bowditch to the organization as executive editor. Bowditch has served in the past as senior producer for “Marketplace Morning Report,” and producer at NPR and WBUR, Boston…..ESPN Radio is expanding its “SportsCenter All Night” program to seven nights a week. Joining veteran ESPN Radio “SportsCenter” host Jay Reynolds, who will continue to host SportsCenter All Night Sunday into Monday through Thursday into Friday, will be John Brickley, who will serve as host of the late Friday and Saturday shows.
Posh Palm Beach Pow Wow! Noticing that more than a handful of his talk radio pals were in Florida’s Palm Beach County at the same time, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy invited them all to dinner and conversation last evening (3/12) at Donald Trump’s palatial Palm Beach Island estate, Mar-A-Lago. The result was a real yak-fest. Among the many topics of conversation — which ran the gamut from industry gossip to the future of radio in the digital age – was inside-information about Newsmax’s forthcoming plunge into the news/talk television wars. Pictured (l-r): Rush Limbaugh show producer James Golden; WRKO, Boston personality Howie Carr; WFTL, Fort Lauderdale VP/GM Steve Lapa; former U.S. Rep. (R-AZ), talk show host and Newsmax TV contributor J.D. Hayworth; TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison; and Ruddy.
Katz Media Group Helps Raise $170,000 for Broadcasters Foundation of America. After its 5th annual membership drive to support the Broadcasters Foundation of America, Katz Media Group announces this year’s contributions bring Katz’s total support to more than $170,000. The BFoA provides financial assistance to those in the radio and television profession who find themselves in acute need. Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray states, “The Broadcasters Foundation does incredible work for those in need. Every year, our company looks forward to the opportunity to come together and make a difference. I’m enormously proud of our employees continued dedication, which to date has raised more than $170,000 over the past five years. The contributions have even more meaning for Katz as it supports the Stu Olds Memorial Fund, in honor and memory of our former president and CEO.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Obama vs. Putin/Crimea-Ukraine Crisis, 2016 Presidential Race, Winter Weather/Global Warming, and Overtime Pay Hike Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane and the theories of its disappearance; President Obama’s standoff with Vladimir Putin over the Crimea-Ukraine crisis; speculation about possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the latest bout of winter weather hitting the East and debate over global warming; and President Obama’s proposal to enact mandatory hikes in overtime pay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1. According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel. The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week. Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show. Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.
Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks. Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street. Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.” This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.
Mark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27. Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned. The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive. The Tea Party is our only hope. It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.” Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.
Todd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old. Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era. Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day. It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today. I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
TALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.
CBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month. It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013. The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago. CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month. CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends. The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”
Lars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner. There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson. Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson. This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday. Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.
Michael Smerconish Jumps to CNN. The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple. In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN. At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.” Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux. Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings. CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”
Honoring Ann. ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.
Odds & Sods. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show. Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program. Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist. Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting. He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6. The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo New AM Host at ‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego. Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who’s been working at stations in Florida for the past several years – joins Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’s the new morning drive host beginning today (2/3). Sileo most recently was hosting a show at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach but was fired from that station in early November of 2013 after shooting off a controversial tweet. Sileo has also worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa. He takes over the morning show at “The Mighty 1090” from market pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who will remain with the station in another capacity. Program director Mike Shepard says, “I am thrilled to welcome Dan to ‘San Diego’s Sports Leader, The Mighty 1090.’ Dan is a passionate, outspoken, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable sports radio personality. His track record of major market success is remarkable and Dan is a perfect addition to the Mighty 1090’s top-rated, all-star lineup.”
New Talk Station to Air in DC Market. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed WILC flips from Spanish music to a hybrid of talk and oldies. The ZGS-owned signal is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA and the new format debuts today (2/3). In a statement, the company says the program schedule is not complete but the station will be “libertarian and conservative talk radio.” Chief operating officer and general manager Bryan Berner says, “All of us at WILC and Wallis Communications look forward to serving the people of the region and bringing a common sense, fresh perspective to talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Programming will include Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Wallis Communications’ “The Dr. K Show,” “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” and WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller. Overnights will showcase vintage radio as the digitally remastered Wolfman Jack will air.
Mike Gallagher Causes Stir with Hoffman Death Observations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher’s observations in the aftermath of the untimely death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman caused such reaction that his post to his MikeOnline.com site logged more than 50,000 views and drew threats to him, his family and even his dog. Speaking about the suspected heroin overdose that took Hoffman’s life, Gallagher stated, “Another senseless death. This time, one of the greatest actors of our time. I wonder if he started with marijuana…If you want to get pot lovers mad, dare to even ask the question if an Oscar-winning movie star who is found dead in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his arm started with marijuana.” Gallagher has stood firm in his stance against the legalization of marijuana as some states move to legalize and decriminalize the drug.
To Get Listeners to Your Website, Don’t Threaten to Bore Them! Digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller wonders why we tend to turn the marketing part of our brains off when we go “online.” We can write good, tempting ad copy for radio but all we’ve learned goes out the window when it comes to our websites. Miller says that one of the worst ways to get someone to your website is to offer them “all of the details” when they get there. Not very tempting is it? More details. Instead, put your marketing skills to work in the same way you would with a spot. “A good commercial will do a better job getting business through a client’s front door than a bad commercial will. It’s the exact same thing getting people to go from your broadcast to one of your digital platforms…or move from one digital platform to another. Opportunity is knocking.” Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Clear Channel Tweaks Lineup at WVOC, Columbia. The South Carolina news/talk station drops the early evening “Sports Talk” show syndicated by Learfield Sports that aired in afternoon drive and adds Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. The “Sports Talk” program is hosted by Phil Kornblut, Kevin McCrarey and Tom Hayes. According to The State, Learfield’s “Sports Talk First Edition” – which aired on CC’s sister sports talk station WXBT “560 The Team” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – is also being replaced. A local sports talk show featuring former South Carolina footballer Rick Sanford will air in the time slot instead. Learfield tells the paper it is working to place the shows on new affiliates in the market.
Mike Francesa Fans (and a Few Critics) Gather for FrancesaCon in NYC. Sports talk pioneer Mike Francesa – afternoon drive host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York – said after learning of the weekend event that the participants would probably be half fans, half critics. How the numbers came down is unclear but the fact that an estimated 400 gathered at an Upper East Side bar on Saturday (2/1) to celebrate, imitate and even mock Francesa, shows how big he is in New York. A piece by Jim Baumbach in Newsday tells the story but the short version is as follows: 23-year-old friends Michael Leboff and Ron Haraka came up with the idea of FrancesaCon as a gathering of Mike Francesa fans. Little did they know that not only would people show up in droves, but they came dressed as Francesa, carried the appropriate props (Diet Coke cans), and did some very good imitations of the man himself. Some even came dressed as Francesa’s longtime former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and classic Francesa-Russo back-and-forths took place in the bar. Check out Baumbach’s story in Newsday here.
FCC Grants Tribune Cross-Ownership Waivers. The license renewals for several Tribune-owned television stations were being challenged by the United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance and the Teamsters. The commission handed down rulings on Friday that granted renewals for the licenses though it also granted the petition for reconsideration to the UCC and Media Alliance. The FCC also reaffirmed the permanent waiver for Tribune in the Chicago market where it owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, WGN-TV, and WGN-AM. In making the decision, the commission ruled that “Given the ‘uniquely long-term symbiotic relationship between [Tribune’s] broadcast stations’ and the Chicago Tribune that provides a special benefit of continued cross-ownership, coupled with the slight cost to diversity in Chicago’s massive media market of continued cross-ownership, Tribune has in fact shown sufficiently ‘unique or special circumstances’ to justify the granting of a permanent waiver of the NBCO (newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership) Rule to its Chicago licensees.”
L&L Closes on Border Media Trust Stations. Seven Texas radio stations that were in the Border Media Trust are now owned by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting. The stations include San Antonio-licensed outlets news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC, adult hits KJXK “Jack 102.7 FM,” regional Mexican KLEY-FM, Jourdanton, regional Mexican KJAH-AM/FM, Pearsall, and CHR KTSM, Floresville. The station group cost L&L $31 million and puts the company into market #28.
By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host
Unfortunately, that’s what many of us are doing. Let me explain the analogy.
Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks won the lottery. His rant after the NFC championship game hit all the viral markers: it was loud, it was outrageous and it reached a huge audience at exactly the right time. Sherman went from a fine-but-obscure cornerback to a national figure literally overnight. Blogs, tweets, Facebook pages and every other form of social media either supported or vilified him. The fame he achieved might last the traditional fifteen minutes, or with clever marketing, catapult his off-field career to new heights.
‘ESPN New York 98.7’ Host Michael Kay to Simulcast on the YES Network. That’s the afternoon drive slot on the New York cable channel owned by the New York Yankees that’s been home to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa for the past 12 years ( a portion of that with former co-host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo). This was not unexpected as the YES Network announces the multi-year deal that begins on February 3. This is a good fit for YES as Michael Kay has been the play-by-play man for YES’ New York Yankees telecasts, and the host of the network’s “CenterStage with Michael Kay” interview show, since the network launched in March 2002. He also hosts various programming specials on YES. Network president of production and programming John J. Filippelli says, “Michael Kay is a New York sports institution, having covered the New York sports scene for more than 30 years. Michael personifies the New York sports scene. He boasts a constant stream of A-list guests, and gives passionate New York sports fans a platform to exchange their views. Michael fits in perfectly with our programming lineup. We also thank Mike Francesa for his 12-year partnership with YES. Mike – along with Chris Russo when they co-hosted our simulcast for the first six years – played an important role in the launch and growth of YES. We wish him all the best.” Kay comments, “I’m really happy Don LaGreca and I are going to be simulcast on YES. We have a great time doing the ESPN Radio show and that will come through even more with the visual aspect. While it is still predominantly a radio show, I don’t think you should ignore the camera in the room and we are going to have fun with that. The national reach of YES is going to allow even more people access. And the people at YES, where I have worked since the onset, do everything first class so I’m sure the show is going to be presented in a great manner. I can’t wait.”
Nielsen’s ‘Connected Life Report’ Indicates Connected Car Becoming More Important. The results of a new study by Nielsen dubbed the “Connected Life Report” shows consumers buying new vehicles are increasingly aware of the connected car and for many it is an important feature in buying a new car. Nielsen says its study reveals “63% of connected car drivers said they looked for built-in features during the car-buying process. Among those who purchased connected cars, the features drivers said were important included internet-enabled navigation (79%), safety alerts (76%), vehicle diagnostics (74%), and entertainment connectivity such as voice controls for communications and streaming audio (80%).” When it comes to which connected car features were important to consumers, 42% stated that entertainment connectivity was “very important.” (Fifty-one percent said emergency connectivity was “very important” and 49% stated internet-enabled navigation was “very important.”)
Envision’s ‘Where Are They Now?’ Comes to Madison. At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s sports talk WOZN, Madison, Envision Radio Networks’ “Where Are They Now?” with Ahmad Rashad joins the programming. The company says the daily, 60-second vignette “tracks down all of the big names in sports and gives you their whereabouts since leaving the game.” With “The Zone 1670 AM” now carrying the program, “Where Are They Now? with Ahmad Rashad” joins over 100 affiliates on the Envision Sports Network.
CBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia to Broadcast ‘Wing Bowl 22’ in Spanish. In keeping with this year’s theme of “doubles” due to this being the 22nd “Wing Bowl,” the action taking place at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, January 31 will also be broadcast in Spanish on WIP’s HD3 channel. WIP host Rickie Ricardo will be the Spanish play-by-play announcer for the world-famous chicken wing eating contest produced by the sports talk station. Ricardo comments, “It’s an honor for me to be the first Spanish-language voice of this grand event known as ‘Wing Bowl 22!'” Neither the World Series in baseball nor the postseason action of the NFL has the worldwide impact of the battle between Man vs Chicken Wing. This will be a monumental moment in my career as well as for the huge Hispanic fan base. I pledge to add the spice and heat of our culture to each mouthful.” Ricardo is a radio veteran of 33 years and one of the country’s most high-profile bilingual air personalities. Ricardo has been the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies Spanish broadcasts for the past seven years. He is also the Spanish-language voice of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and programming consultant for cable’s Music Choice Television Networks.
Public Radio Chiefs Support FM Chip Push. The chief executive officers of both NPR and American Public Media co-authored an opinion piece in the public media trade mag Current.org in which they express support for the move to activate FM chips in smartphones. NPR acting president and CEO Paul Haaga and American Public Media CEO Jon McTaggart write that because of the public’s need to have access to information during emergencies, the need is critical. “Because of public radio’s role as a trusted media and information resource and an essential public-safety asset, we hope all stations will join us in calling upon the mobile phone industry to install and activate FM chips in all cellphones and smartphones.” The two ask public stations to do two things: sign their stations up for NextRadio so listeners already using the app can identify and listen to said stations; and encourage listeners to contact their cell carriers and request they install and activate FM chips in smartphones. Read the entire piece here.
Chris Christie Scandals Top Talkers TenTM. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 20-24 was the Chris Christie scandals. Coming in at #2 was the scrutiny and criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attacks on conservatives and following at #4 was the Eastern freeze and Western drought tied with global warming. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks announces the Mark Levin show is added to the schedule at KNTF, Chico, California and the “Red Eye Radio” show joins the programming at KKAT, Salt Lake City and KBHS, Hot Springs, Arkansas…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show joins the following stations: KFNN, Phoenix; WCKG-AM, Chicago; KLPW, St. Louis; WRSB, Rochester; WBNR, Poughkeepsie; KRAC, Marysville, California; KWBG, Boone, Iowa; and WLNA, Beacon, New York…..The XtreMedia-syndicated Kevin McCullough show is now airing in PM drive at WSHO-AM New Orleans.
Cool Job Opportunity. The Journal Broadcast Group is seeking an executive producer, news/web for news/talk WTMJ Radio/WTMJ.com in Milwaukee. This full time job requires a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communication, media or related field. Skills required include: Strong news judgment; ability to work and make vital decisions under pressure; must have sound knowledge of journalistic standards and libel laws; excellent written and verbal communication skills necessary; strong interpersonal, organizational and leadership skills essential; digital/web skills; on-air abilities commensurate with market. Must have a minimum of 3 years as a reporter/anchor. Assistant news director, news director or similar background preferred. Duties will include: lead news staff and day-to-day operations of the news department. Ensure that news vision, disciplines and standards are effectively implemented and monitored. Schedule employees to ensure optimum staffing of the 24-hour news operation. Oversee story assignments. Report and anchor daily newscasts. Supervise and participate in severe weather coverage. Personnel management, maintain budgets and respond to other duties as assigned by the director of programming and news. Send cover letter, links and resume to: Tom Langmyer, 720 E. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Journal Broadcast Group is an equal opportunity employer.