Bubba-Schnitt Trial: Day Two. On day two of testimony in the Hillsborough County, Florida courtroom where nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation, the questioning surrounded Bubba’s on-air language calling for the “death” of Schnitt – who was hosting mornings at WFLZ, Tampa as MJ Kelli. Schnitt’s attorney focused on Bubba’s statements that included: “We seek and destroy,” “I will not be happy until I have an MJ funeral in the streets in Tampa, Florida,” and “MJ, that’s the only person I really want to die, seriously.” On the witness stand for part of the day was former Clear Channel Tampa market manager Daniel DiLoreto who said on the stand that he was “stunned” by Bubba’s comments about wanting Schnitt “to die.” Schnitt’s attorney is trying to convince the jury that Bubba’s language went beyond typical radio disc jockey feuding to putting Schnitt and his family in fear for their safety at the hands of members of the “Bubba Army,” as Clem’s fans are known. Clem’s attorney is trying to paint all the on-air talk as simply the words of feuding disc jockeys with no real threat to anyone’s safety. When questioned by Clem’s attorney if he ever heard Clem actually ask anyone to hurt Schnitt, DiLoreto replied he had not.
John O’Connell Named PD at CBS Radio’s Tampa Sports Stations. Programmer John O’Connell moves to the Tampa cluster of CBS Radio stations from the company’s West Palm Beach operations where he most recently served as OM and PD. O’Connell will program WHFS-FM, Tampa “Sports Radio 98.7” and WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010.” O’Connell came to South Florida after spending 15 years working in the Boston market at such outlets as Kiss 108, WBMX and WEEI. He became program director for alternative rocker WPBZ-FM in 1996 and later increased his responsibilities to oversee several stations in the region. CBS Tampa SVP and market manager Ben Hill says, “I have complete confidence in John’s experience and leadership, having worked closely with him over the years. He is confident and ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to achieving results. And the fact that no one can match what we offer when it comes to sports programming will enable John to create a listener experience that is completely driven by the fans.”
Seth Payne Joins Midday Show at KILT-AM, Houston. Former Houston Texan Seth Payne becomes part of the “Mad Radio” midday show at CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” beginning Monday, January 21. Payne replaces Brad Davies who remains with the station on a part-time, fill-in basis. He’ll co-host the program with Mike Meltser. KILT-AM program director Gavin Spittle says, “I can’t thank Brad enough for being a part of ‘Mad Radio.’ In one year, we have seen a 100% increase in this time slot and while we will miss him on a daily basis, I’m glad that he wants to remain on the team in a part-time capacity. Seth is a natural fit and from day one, he’s impressed us. We’re really excited about the all-new ‘Mad Radio.’” Payne states, “I’m grateful to Gavin Spittle for this opportunity and I appreciate all the guidance I’ve received from him and the talented people at ‘SportsRadio 610.’ I especially look forward to working with Mike Meltser. He is an extremely talented and intelligent individual, and I know we’ll have a lot of fun.”
Celebrating in the Holy Land. XtreMedia nationally syndicated talk host Dani Johnson (pictured here at left with Israeli comic Yisreal Campbell) celebrates her one-year anniversary in talk radio with a trip to Israel. Johnson, along with fellow XtreMedia talk hosts Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin, were invited by representatives of the Israeli government to come and witness Israel’s progress in agriculture, culture, and technology. Johnson is producing her weekly radio program from Israel and Campbell will appear on the edition of her program that airs live on Sunday, January 20 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Johnson’s program is heard on more than 85 affiliate stations.
Fox News Channel Brings Dennis Kucinich Aboard as Contributor. Liberal ex-Congressman Dennis Kucinich – who served eight terms in the House of Representatives – becomes part of the cable news/talk channel’s contributor corps. In a statement about his new endeavor, Kucinich says, “Through 16 years in Congress and two presidential campaigns, Fox News has always provided me with an opportunity to share my perspective with its enormous viewership.”
George Noory Debuts On-Demand Video Show. The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated late-night talk star begins his new weekly internet television program titled, “Beyond Belief with George Noory.” The program is a project with GaiamTV.com and delivers new episodes every Friday evening at 7:00 and on demand daily. As you might expect, the program is billed as “dynamic discussions on paranormal phenomena, conspiracies and all things unexplained.” Noory is pictured here on the set interviewing Dr. Katherine Albrecht for a show about privacy and RFID chips.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts Weekend Pet Show. Dubbed, “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs with Shawn Stewart,” the program has its premiere airing Sunday, January 20 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle. The show features pet experts from the Ahimsa Dog Training Center who will take listener questions regarding everything they need to know about raising their beloved best friends. “In this case, the tail does wag the dog,” says KIRO Radio’s assistant program director Jason Antebi. “I’ve never seen a city more in love and obsessed with their companions than Seattle! This show is the perfect addition to the KIRO Radio weekends.”
Comrex Moves Full-Force into Digital Video Delivery Market. Devens, Massachusetts-based Comrex Corporation announces it is shipping its new LiveShot Video IP Codec – the first video product for professional broadcasters in the company’s 51-year history. Comrex says the new technology provides high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio over both wired and wireless IP data services, including challenging internet links such as 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi with end-to-end delay as low as 200ms. Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Our core customer for the past several decades has been the radio broadcaster. It was in response to requests from some of our longtime customers that had worked in radio — and who had subsequently moved over to television — to create a product that would do for TV what our ACCESS IP Audio Codecs have done for radio. LiveShot provides the small form factor, unmatched reliability, high-quality performance and easy operator experience that Comrex customers have come to expect.” The LiveShot Video IP Codec system consists of the LiveShot Portable, a small, lightweight, camera-mounted unit that attaches to the camera’s 3-stud or V-mount battery mount with the battery attaching to the outside of the LiveShot Portable. On the studio side, the LiveShot Studio rack-mount unit interfaces with the facility’s audio/video router or switcher. The units connect via an IP data connection and utilize Comrex’s CrossLock™ VPN which provides a one-button connection from either the studio or the field once the units have an internet connection. CrossLock also provides data encryption and intrusion protection for added reliability. Complete details on the LiveShot Video Codec’s features and specifications can be found by visiting www.comrex.com.
Face Time with Dr. Drew. WFAS-AM, Westchester personality Lisa Wexler appeared on HLN’s “Dr. Drew on Call” to discuss the case of Jodi Arias – accused of stabbing her boyfriend 29 times – and the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. In addition to her work as a talk show host on WFAS, Wexler is an attorney and an author.
Filling In. WFED, Washington afternoon drive host Francis Rose subs for Cumulus Media Networks’ John Batchelor on his WABC, New York-based program this Sunday evening from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.
The Alliance for Women in Media Announces 2013 Board of Directors. With Kay Olin, president of Local Focus Radio serving as the National Chair, the 2013 board of directors of the Alliance for Women in Media will convene on January 25 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, for its first board meeting and then will participate in judging the 2013 Gracie Awards on January 26 and 27. The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large: Christina Anderson from Silver Spring, MD; Lori Conkling, executive vice president, distribution, A+E Networks, New York; Cyndee Everman, vice president, DW/BI, care and marketing tools, Time Warner Cable, Charlotte; Nancy Giles, contributor, CBS Broadcasting, Inc., New York; Sandy Girard, vice president, brand management and development, SiriusXM Radio, New York; Carol Hanley, chief sales officer, Arbitron Inc., Chicago; Annie Howell, executive vice president, corporate communications and media relations, Crown Media Family Networks, New York; Kimberly Maki, vice president, corporate communications and web strategies, Bright House Networks, Orlando; Janet Noll, national sales director, Rural Media Group – RFD-TV & Rural TV, Omaha; Deborah Parenti, executive vice president of radio, Radio Ink, New York; Roni Selig, senior executive producer/director, health, wellness and medical unit, CNN, New York; Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, New York; Christine Travaglini, president, Christal Radio, New York; and Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, president and chief executive officer, NAMIC, Inc., New York.
Obama Executive Gun Actions Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 14-18. President Obama’s executive gun actions landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio. Coming in at #2 was the legislative arms debate. At #3 was the debt ceiling tied with the tax cut battles and following at #4 was the American hostages in Algeria tied with the Mali Violence. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Interviewing the Commander in Chief. WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish is interviewing President Barack Obama today at 12:00 noon ET for the seventh time and the fourth time since he took office in 2009. He will be given 15 minutes with the president. Today’s interview will be broadcast on the Michael Smerconish program this afternoon at 1:00 pm ET. Getting an interview with the chief executive, even by phone, is a major deal on radio but Smerconish is one of the few radio personalities to have the privilege to do a no-holds-barred discussion with the president about the issues in a rare sit-down session actually in the Oval Office. In an exclusive interview with Smerconish conducted this morning at 9:00 am ET, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the host about his mindset, the state of partisan news/talk radio, and about what goes into preparing for a discussion with the commander-in-chief. Listen to their conversation here. (If you are on a mobile device – please click here).
To hear Michael Smerconish’s interview with President Obama, click below.
WQXI, Atlanta Promotes Keith Allen to APD. The Lincoln Financial Media sports talk outlet announces “Mayhem in the AM” producer Keith Allen is adding the assistant program director duties to his responsibilities. He’ll continue to produce the morning show. Program director Bob Richards states, “Keith has produced the biggest brands in the market. He understands our target demo and is one of the key factors in making ‘Mayhem in the AM’ the top-rated sports talk show in Atlanta over the past year. Keith’s appointment to this position is one of many exciting changes taking place at ‘790 The Zone.’” Allen came to WQXI three years ago. Previously he served as producer at sports talk WBNS, Columbus.
WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts 16th Annual Breast Cancer Special. This will be the 16th year WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards has hosted the multi award-winning breast cancer special. It takes place Sunday from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is presented by Walgreens. WGN states, “The live, three-hour town hall meeting examines where we are in the fight against breast cancer featuring a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more. Special guests include: breast cancer survivor and actress Maura Tierney; Dr. Kathy Albain, medical oncologist, Loyola University Medical Center; Dr. Claudia Perez, assistant professor surgery, surgical oncology, Loyola University Medical Center; Deborah Cornwall, author of the new book, Things I Wish I’d Known: Cancer Caregivers Speak Out; and LauraJane Hyde, chief executive officer of Gilda’s Club Chicago.
Get Well Wishes to WIBA, Madison’s Mitch Henck. Morning talk show host Mitch Henck is off the air at Clear Channel’s news/talk WIBA, Madison this week after suffering a mild stroke early Monday morning. The Wisconsin State Journal reports co-workers held a get-well-Mitch discussion on the radio this week and news director Robin Colbert said, “”He’s in the hospital, but he is recovering and getting stronger and better every day.” Henck hosts the 8:00 am to 11:00 am show on WIBA.
Al Gore’s Current TV on the Block. The New York Post reports the cable channel owned by former Vice President Al Gore, CEO Joel Hyatt and other private investors is up for sale. Hyatt tells the Post, “Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company. This year alone, we have had three inquiries. As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options.” The story notes Current TV is interviewing investment banks but has yet to launch a formal sales process. The Post reports ad revenue for 2011 for the cable channel was estimated at $16.9 million. It is available in approximately 60 million homes.
Dave Ramsey Delivers in Denver. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey recently presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live” event in Denver to a record crowd. This presentation centers on “how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.” Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage. Local stations KLZ, Denver and KRDO, Colorado Springs benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in the region. KLZ station manager Mike Triem states, “The listeners of ‘560 The Source’ get to learn daily from Dave and they set aside that time each day and week to grow their knowledge about finances and about life. The ‘Living a Legacy’ event gives our listeners the opportunity to learn from Dave ‘live.’ These listeners will be able to establish a lasting legacy for their children and what their friends and co-workers will ‘take away’ from knowing them.” Pictured above are (from l-r): KLZ’s Mike Triem, Dave Ramsey, KRDO program director Mike Lewis, and Jon Acuff.
Welcoming the Candidates to Nevada. KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive talk show host Alan Stock is pictured here with Governor Mitt Romney backstage at the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nevada. Stock was invited to welcome the crowd for the Romney/Ryan Rally in Henderson where some 8,000 supporters gathered. KDWN program director John Shaffer says, “It’s always great to have your station and its talk personalities involved in the local community, but to have one be asked to participate in an event of this magnitude, makes me realize the integral role KDWN plays in Las Vegas.” Stock was elated at the opportunity to welcome the candidates to Nevada, saying, “It was an incredible experience to be part of an historic event like this, to be in the presence of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and to feel the energy of the crowd that came out to support them.”
Odds & Sods. Drew Belzer exits ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles where he’d been serving as a reporter/anchor and host after nine years with the station…..CBS Radio’s sports talk WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia inks a deal with Villanova University to carry play-by-play of the school’s men’s basketball and football that begins with the 2012-13 basketball season. Games and special Villanova basketball and football talk shows will air on WIP’s AM 610 signal…..The Washington Post reports CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington “106.7 The Fan” and Hubbard’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” will share carriage of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards. Both teams’ games will air on both stations unless there’s a conflict, then the Capitals will air on WJFK and the Wizards will air on WFED…..A1R Psychic Radio earns a “special thanks” credit from the executive producer of NBC/Universal’s “Trisha Goddard Show” for its help contributing to the Halloween edition of the show dealing with psychics and mediums.
Washington Programmer and Personality Bernie McCain Mourned. Bernie McCain was the first program director of Radio One’s WOL, Washington when it flipped to a talk format. He also served as a personality on the station. He came to WOL from crosstown WWRC. McCain died of kidney failure on October 13 at the age of 75.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The WYD Media-produced and Dial Global-distributed Michael Smerconish program is added to the schedule at KGY, Seattle…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” is added to the program schedule at Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando. Other stations adding Dean include: KLFE, Seattle; WPGB, Pittsburgh; KFAB, Omaha; WELI, New Haven; and WSCC, Charleston, South Carolina…..Dial Global‘s’ “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger is picked up by KJRB, Spokane and KNEZ, Reno…..WGDJ, Albany adds Cumulus Media Networks’ Michael Savage to the program schedule…..Mass Wave Media Group’s “Scott and Tim” overnight talk show featuring Scott Chambers and Tim Sutton is added to the program lineup at WTDR, Talladega, Alabama and WGAD, Gadsden, Alabama…..KIVA, Albuquerque adds the “Out Loud Minute” by talk personality Malcolm Out Loud.
Presidential Race Polls Top Talkers TenTM for Week of October 22-26. Talk of the numerous polls tallying support for the presidential candidates was the #1 story on news/talk radio this week, according to TALKERS. The second most-talked-about story was the Benghazi attack controversy. Coming in third was the aftermath of the presidential debates and at #4 was the Mourdock rape comments. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
CBS Radio Flips WNEW-AM, Washington to Government and Business News. The AM side of the CBS Radio Washington, DC all-news duo (licensed to Morningside, Maryland) will become “Gov.Biz Radio 1580 AM” on October 1 – putting it in a head-to-head battle with Hubbard’s WFED, Washington. The station will feature content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and The Hill. Local programming will include host Nancy Lyons on a morning show called “The Daily Briefing” and a midday program dubbed, “The Capitol Report.”
Pilgrim Communications Adds AM Signal to Indy News/Talk WFDM-FM. The new and improved 950 AM signal of WXLW will help fill in the coverage of Pilgrim’s news/talk station in the Indianapolis market. WFDM-FM (“Freedom 95.9”) is licensed to Franklin, Indiana about 25 miles south of downtown Indy. Vice president and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “Hamilton and Hendricks Counties are not only the fastest-growing counties in Indiana, but also the two most Republican counties in the entire state. We wanted to better serve those listeners who love our conservative news/talk format which features five of the top six radio talk show hosts in national syndication. The new 950 AM signal covers two-thirds of Indiana and allows us to expand our audience reach by a factor of 10.” Tipmore says they chose to debut the new signal on the anniversary of 9/11 “the day that reminds us of the preciousness of America’s freedom. It is also the anniversary of Sean Hannity‘s launch into national syndication. On September 12, we’re honored to have Dave Ramsey coming to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre for his EntreLeadership, 1-day business training event. It’s the perfect way to celebrate our new simulcast.”
Cumulus Media to Restore Matching 401k for Employees. The radio operator announces to its 7,000-plus employees that, beginning in October, it will reinstate the matching 401k contribution that it ceased in early 2009 after the real estate crash of 2008 triggered the Great Recession. Entercom and Journal have also reinstated matching 401k programs for employees since suspending them in order to conserve on cash flow.
Two More Panels Set for the TALKERS Los Angeles New Media Seminar. As the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminar nears an early sellout, two more dynamic panel discussions have been added to the growing power-packed agenda. “The Modern Pioneers” will feature (in alphabetical order): Sam Hasson, president and founder of LATalkRadio.com; Mike Horn, CEO and founder of CRN Digital Talk; Tom Leykis, president and founder of The New Normal; and LA-based national broadcasting legend Shadoe Stevens of “MentalRadio” on SiriusXM and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” A talk personality panel titled “The Challenges of Hosting in 2012” will feature (in alphabetical order): Lars Larson of Compass Media Networks and KXL, Portland; Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles; Heidi Harris of KRLA, Los Angeles; Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” morning show; and Alan Stock of KDWN, Las Vegas; with more to be announced. The panel will be moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian. Highlights of the event will include the presentation of the TALKERS magazine’s annual “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient, Stephanie Miller of WYD Media and Current TV. Courtside Entertainment CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz will deliver the morning keynote address. Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke will deliver a special presentation “Database your Tribe NOW!” Other highlights include “The State of Local News/Talk Radio,” with (in alphabetical order); Robin Bertolucci, PD of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, PD of KNX, Los Angeles; Garret Lewis, PD/morning host of KNST, Tucson; Dave Sniff, PD of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler, PD of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. It will be moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS. The panel “Spoken Word Radio; The Big Picture” features (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director ,spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP/programming, Cumulus Media. The moderator will be Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS. Additional speakers include (in alphabetical order: Kevin LaRue, program director KSL, Salt Lake City; Don Martin, OM/GM, KLAC, Los Angeles and VP programming, Fox Sports Radio; Patt Morrison, host/commentator KPCC, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; Ken Rutkowski, host of “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles; and Eric Stanger, vice president of operations, the Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks. As those of you who have been following the development of this amazing conference know, the above is just the tip of the iceberg with a whole lot more scheduled. The complete up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted tomorrow at Talkers.com. In total, the seminar will feature more than 60 leading industry speakers who will examine the key issues facing the talk radio/media industries. It will take place in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club. To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Registration is a recession-era low $99 which includes everything. Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Clear Channel Flips KVNS, Brownsville, Texas to Sports Talk. The station – at 1700 AM – switches from classic hits to sports talk on September 17 airing Fox Sports Radio Network’s lineup of “Fox Sports Daybreak,” Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, and “Fox Sports Tonight” plus will serve the market as a Dallas Cowboys play-by-play affiliate. Clear Channel market manager John Richards says, “There are too many sports fans in the valley to not yet have a sports/talk station in the market. Like advertisers, we know sports fans are passionate about their favorite sports, teams and hosts, so we are very passionate about partnering with Fox Sports Radio for this launch.”
Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel Star Sean Hannity Hits Silver Screen in “Atlas Shrugged: Part II.” When the second part of the Ayn Rand saga hits theaters in October, moviegoers will get a glimpse of Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity as he plays a cable news TV anchor in one scene. A still from the flick is seen here as Hannity (far right) sits on the fictitious cable news network set with actual Fox News Channel correspondents (from l-r) Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, and Tamara Holder. In addition to Hannity’s cameo appearance in the movie, his radio show will be offering exclusive content, movie gear and tickets leading up to the movie’s premiere in Washington, D.C. in October.
Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.” Harrison describes the danger facing terrestrial radio as a “five-headed dragon” of 1) smothering debt, 2) exotic media rivals, 3) blurry ratings methodology, 4) an unprecedented generational divide, and 5) 60 and 30 second commercial spots (which when put together in clusters become “PPM pits of purgatory”). Harrison says “radio must be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.” He states, “The cultural heritage of what we grew up thinking as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.” Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.” He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there. Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.” Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am. All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.
WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina Debuts “Goldy and Jim” AM Show. North Carolina talk host Curtis Wright had been heard on the Cumulus Media station though he broadcast from the coastal market of Wilmington, North Carolina (his show was also heard there on Cumulus’ news/talk WAAV). Cumulus recently dropped Wright’s show for the more general interest “Good Morning Fayetteville with Goldy and Jim” (that’s Jim Gold and Jim Cooke). According to the Fayetteville Observer’s Andrew Barksdale and Paul Woolverton, Wright’s program was very political and, since it emanated from Wilmington, contained a lot of Wilmington political talk. WAAV, Wilmington has filled the slot Wright occupied with Tyler Cralle. As for Wright, he’s embarked on an online-only internet TV venture called “Curtis Wright on the Beat Virtual.”
NRG Media’s Omaha Sports Brand “The Zone” to Air UNO Contests. In a deal brokered by Nelligan Sports Marketing – the exclusive agent for University of Nebraska Omaha sports – NRG Media’s sports talk duo KOZN and KZOT, Omaha – “The Zone” and “The Zone 2” respectively – will air UNO basketball and hockey play-by-play for the next five seasons. Between the two sports, the stations will air more than 60 games during the 2012-2013 season. Zone general manager Andy Ruback states, “This is a tremendous partnership for our stations. Listeners are deeply rooted in the UNO sports tradition and both teams have a following on a regional level. The dual coverage on both Zone and Zone 2 will mean listeners can always stay in touch with the two premiere sports programs.”
WTOP, Washington Promotes David Dildine to Full-Time Traffic Team. David Dildine joined WTOP in 2010 during the launch of its in-house traffic center, taking on the weekend afternoon shifts. Now he becomes a member of the full-time staff where he’ll also work on traffic and weather related features. Interestingly, Dildine has another passion – storm chasing. Dildine is a seasoned storm chaser and weather research analyst having worked in Oklahoma and Texas where he chased severe storms and tornados for a living. WTOP states, “Dildine serves as a valuable resource for WTOP’s traffic, weather and news departments – recently analyzing Hurricane Isaac, flying with Hurricane Hunters into Hurricane Irene and producing popular traffic/news stories such as “DC’s Worst Traffic Merges.”
TuneIn to Be Included in 2013 Chevy Spark MyLink Dash. Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with GM to use Livio Connect technology so its app can be integrated into the MyLink Radio dashboard of 2013 Chevrolet Spark models made globally. According to a release, Livio Connect is a middleware framework protocol that enables hardware devices and mobile apps, now including TuneIn, to connect to and interact with one another. GM uses Livio Connect technology, which allows owners of Chevy Sparks equipped with the MyLink Radio to enjoy 70,000 stations. Livio Connect technology bridges the app, featured on iPhone and Android mobile devices, with MyLink. While connected through Livio Connect, all of the TuneIn buttons and controls from the mobile device will be available on MyLink’s seven-inch touch screen, while the app on the phone itself will be disabled to help promote safer driving.
Schnitt Wows ‘Em in Memphis. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studio at affiliate WREC, Memphis hosting his program on 9/11. The previous evening, Schnitt hosted a sold-out “Right Night with Schnitt” where more than 200 WREC listeners paid to attend the event held at the popular Memphis eatery Owen Brennans.
9/11 Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike, Obama Convention Bounce, and ‘Fast and Furious’ Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11). The anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; the political implications of the Chicago teachers strike; President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the campaign polls; and the inspector general’s report on the Justice Department’s ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Current TV Fires Back at Keith Olbermann. Fledgling network Current TV is countersuing former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann in the wake of his messy departure from the operation. Entertainment Weekly reports the Al Gore-founded network is calling Olbermann’s $70 million suit against the network “frivolous” and “riddled with falsehoods and distortions.” “Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all.” The complaint also refers to Olbermann’s April 3 appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” during which he stated the situation was “my fault” and admitted “I screwed up.” Current TV filed its complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Rumor Confirmed: Limbaugh to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia; Michael Smerconish to Air Live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Yesterday (4/9) TALKERS reported the rumor that Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh would leave longtime affiliate WPHT and be replaced by WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. CBS Radio is confirming that switch will take place with Premiere Networks saying Limbaugh will appear elsewhere in the market, though neither source is giving specifics on when the changes will take place. Absent another major signal talk outlet in Philly, speculation is that Merlin Media will take new acquisition WKDN-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) news/talk in the near future and put Limbaugh on the station. Meanwhile, Michael Smerconish returns to a live broadcast (he’s currently being delayed to PM drive) on WPHT, the station where he hosted a very successful AM drive program for many years.
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Clears Air with Listeners About Absence. Chicago sports talk host Dan McNeil told his listeners his absence from CBS Radio’s WSCR for the past six weeks was due to what he could best describe as a nervous breakdown that resulted from his ceasing to take the mood stabilizer Lamictal. McNeil says after he stopped taking the drug he became depressed and sought treatment for depression and substance abuse. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports McNeil was open and honest with his listeners saying, “I know with you listeners I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust, as I’m doing with the most important people in my family. And I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a chance to re-earn that trust.” McNeil co-hosts the midday show at WSCR alongside Matt Spiegel.
Sid Rosenberg to Be Off WQAM, Miami This Week. After an arrest on Thursday of last week on DUI and driving with a suspended license charges, WQAM, Miami talk host Sid Rosenberg was on the air last Friday. But he was not hosting his show yesterday and the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating he’ll be off the air all week. It’s unclear what Rosenberg’s status with the station is – whether he’s been suspended or is out for medical reasons – but he is not expected to return to the station this week.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Expands into the Hawkeye State. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it has struck a deal with Iowa Network Services to bring its six audio HD channels to cable subscribers in the state. CRN chief executive officer and founder Michael Horn states, “We are pleased to join with Iowa Network Services and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining talk radio programming.” Iowa Network Services is based in Des Moines and serves 57 independent telecommunications firms providing internet, data, telephone and cable television service throughout Iowa. INS video content manager Sarah Roeder says, “INS is excited to bring CRN Digital Talk Radio to Iowa. The diverse programming will add value to our existing content.” CRN Digital Talk Radio states it offers more than 100 original shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Lou Dobbs, Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Cindy Laverty, Laura Ingraham, Mancow, Michael Savage and Doug Stephan among others. “Iowa Network Services subscribers will also enjoy the popular Robert Conrad show, featuring the TV legend, as well as the Larry Manetti show, starring the former ‘Magnum P.I.’ star.”
KNST, Tucson Hosts Arizona Congressional Race Debate. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KNST, Tucson is hosting a debate among the four Republican candidates vying for the Congressional seat vacated by former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords earlier this year. KNST morning host Garret Lewis will moderate the debate along with National Republican Committee member Bruce Ash. Candidates Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton will face off in the April 17 primary to determine who will battle Democrat Ron Barber and Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis in the June 12 special election. The debate will take place Thursday evening at the Quail Creek Country Club and will be broadcast live on KNST and 97.1 FM.
Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington Wins “Headliner Award” for Website. Hubbard Broadcasting’s Federal News Radio announces it has been honored with a 2012 National Headliner award for a second place win in the category of Radio-Affiliated Website. Federal News Radio web manager Julia Ziegler states, “What makes FederalNewsRadio.com so successful is the fact that everyone on our staff contributes to the web product – from our reporters and web staff, to our producers and anchors. Our most innovative web projects always come from staff members bringing their individual skills, knowledge and ideas together.” WFED, Washington program director Lisa Wolfe says, “We offer a lot of interactivity with our surveys, multi-media features, radio interviews on demand, photo slide-shows and videos. We have improved the graphic experience with some excellent data visualization. The goal is to push our capabilities to be in the vanguard of digital journalism.”
KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Hospitalized for Heart Surgery. Jon Justice hosts the morning drive show at Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson. He suffered a heart attack in 2009 and explains via the station’s video blog (pictured here) from the ICU that doctors will operate on him to fix a prior valve replacement that needs repair. Justice says doctors expect him to recover quickly and he hopes to be home from the hospital by the weekend.
Jerry Doyle Live on the Strip. That’s Talk Radio Network star Jerry Doyle broadcasting live from the Suncoast Hotel and Casino on April 6. Doyle and flagship station KDWN, Las Vegas co-produced the appearance which will become a monthly live broadcast at which Doyle’s fans can take part in what he calls “radio magic.” After Doyle’s three-hour broadcast, he took questions from fans and talked about “the things they won’t let me talk about on the radio.”
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Tepid Jobs Report/Stock Market Activity, Status of Obama Care, Syrian Violence and Mike Wallace Passes Away Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the falling Dow on the heels of a weak jobs report; the Supreme Court’s Obama Care hearing and analysis of the law’s impact on the nation’s deficit; an increase in Syrian violence; and the death of journalist Mike Wallace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame. That’s Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Bob & Tom show at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Opening Day leading the fans in the traditional 7th inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Bob & Tom produced a live remote broadcast from the Whiskey Bar in downtown Cincinnati on Opening Day. Members of the Bob & Tom crew, including Tom Griswold and Kristi Lee, participated in the Opening Day parade in Cincinnati. Griswold and Lee rode in affiliate Fox 92.5’s car in the parade.
Cumulus Makes Changes at KLIF, Dallas. The move toward more news in commercial spoken-word radio continues. Cumulus Media Group announces talk station KLIF, Dallas will add morning and afternoon drive news blocks and changes its slogan to “News & Information 570 KLIF.” The AM drive news block begins today (3/26) and features Amy Chodroff (from sister WBAP) and Dave Williams co-anchoring the program. Williams most recently worked at Merlin Media’s all-newser in Chicago. The PM drive news block is expected to begin on April 2. The changes mean morning drive talk host Jeff Bolton is out and PM drive talk host Chris Krok will move to sister WBAP-AM/FM for an evening talk show.
Current TV’s Bill Press and Stephanie Miller Simulcasts Debut Today. The new one-two punch of progressive radio talk stars hitting the air at Al Gore-founded Current TV begins this morning (3/26) as Dial Global syndicated talk hosts Bill Press and Stephanie Miller air TV simulcasts of their morning drive radio programs on Current TV. “Full Court Press: The Bill Press Show” airs from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and “Talking Liberally: The Stephanie Miller Show” follows from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET. The network announces that Senator Chris Coons, (D-DE); Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post; Faiz Shakir of Think Progress; and Lara Setrakian of ABC News and Bloomberg are all scheduled to appear during the premiere week of “Full Court Press.” The first week of “Talking Liberally” will feature Senator Byron Dorgan (ND – Former U.S. Senator and Chairman of The Senate Committee on Energy), as well as comedienne Kathleen Madigan.
Hubbard Broadcasting Names Emily Kopp WFED Morning Anchor. Hubbard Broadcasting announces a permanent addition to the morning drive show on WFED, Washington – the station dedicated to serving the many federal government workers living in the region. Emily Kopp joins host Tom Temin on the morning drive program. Kopp joined Federal News Radio in 2011 after living in the Netherlands where she reported on a freelance basis for various radio network and print outlets. Prior to her promotion, Kopp served Federal News Radio as a federal workforce reporter. Since July 2011, Kopp has produced several compelling series that focused on key human aspects of working for the federal government. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe states, “Emily had been filling in as co-anchor while we’ve been conducting our talent search for the next morning anchor. Her talents were obvious and when we got together to discuss the possibility of making it permanent, it just made sense. I look forward to Emily bringing her well-crafted interview style to mornings. I think she will uncover a lot of news.”
WTEM, Washington Launches New Afternoon Sports Talk Show Today. Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington announces the debut of “Inside the Locker Room with Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell” today (3/26). The show teams up former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with broadcast pro Scott Jackson. Walker continues with the station after 15 years, most recently serving as co-host of the John Thompson show. Both Mitchell and Jackson return to WTEM after several years’ absence. VP of programming Chuck Sapienza states, “With Doc and B-Mitch, ESPN 980’s lineup includes the two most prominent former players in Washington, DC media today. Listeners of the show will receive opinions and insight from professional athletes that is rarely offered on local radio. In addition, Jackson gives the show a ‘point guard’ that every successful program needs.” The show airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
KXTG, Portland Re-Signs John Canzano. “The Bald Faced Truth” host re-ups with Alpha Broadcasting’s sports KXTG on a multi-year deal to remain with the station. John Canzano also writes a column for the Daily Oregonian and is a commentator for KGW-TV, Portland. Upon announcing the deal, Canzano commented, “Sports talk listeners of ‘The Bald Faced Truth’ radio show are smart, educated, good looking, influential and relevant. I love my audience, my sponsors and this station. I’m staying right here because ‘The Game’ is the place to be. Period.”
Southern California Public Radio Names Melanie Sill Executive Editor. The former editor at the Sacramento Bee and the Raleigh News and Observer takes over the executive editor role at Southern California Public Radio. Her duties include overseeing the daily news gathering operations across KPCC, Pasadena’s broadcast, digital and social media platforms. KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton states, “Sill brings a wealth of news and managerial experience to this new position. Most importantly, she has been a force of change in two newsrooms, leading efforts to restructure staffs to better compete in the digital age.” The Southern California Public Radio website announces the non-profit is aggressively working to build out its online news service with ambitions to become the region’s pre-eminent source for information across multiple media.
Jacksonville Gets FM Simulcast for Sports WJXL. Seven Bridges Radio LLC buys the former Gospel WFJO-FM, Jacksonville (a class A FM signal at 92.5) from receiver Scott Savage for $1.95 million and begins an LMA immediately simulcasting its sports station 1010 XL (WJXL). The station was formerly owned by Tama Broadcasting.
Smerconish Visits Boston. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (center, standing) chats with WTKK-FM, Boston listeners at a private meet & greet on March 20 prior to the national screening of his movie, “Book Club with Michael Smerconish Featuring Chris Matthews’ Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.” In addition to the meet & greet, Smerconish conducted a curtain call speech before the showing of the film at the Cinema De Lux in Dedham, Massachusetts before a sold out theater. The film appeared at more than 100 theaters across the country on that evening.
WABC, New York’s Joe Crummey Gets NY Radio Pro Patty Steele for Producer/Sidekick. Late morning talk show host Joe Crummey has a well-known New York radio personality in the producer/sidekick role for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program beginning Monday, September 26. Patty Steele most recently worked in the Big Apple at Cumulus sister FM WPLJ as news director alongside Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill. She’s also worked with Elvis Duran at crosstown WHTZ-FM, with Danny Bonaduce at New York’s former Big 105 and as a news anchor at WCBS, New York. WABC program director Laurie Cantillo says, “Patty is smart, warm, funny and she gets what our listeners care about. We’re thrilled about the strong news background and big ideas that she’ll bring to 77WABC.”
Internet Talk Radio Company Stitcher Raises $10 Million in New Funding. Stitcher reports it has closed a Series C round of venture capital financing, led by New Enterprise Associates (whose general partner Ravi Viswanathan joins Stitcher’s board of directors) that allows the company to “fuel growth, build out a direct sales team and drive product development including enhancing its platform for content partners.” Stitcher offers more than 6,000 different shows encompassing news, sports, entertainment, comedy and more from such personalities as Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, NPR’s Terri Gross, Adam Carolla and many more. Stitcher is available on the internet, via smartphone apps and in cars via the Ford SYNC platform and the Buick IntelliLink in-car connectivity system. Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok tells TALKERS he expects the company to make more announcements about in-car availability in the near future. He also states that for talk content providers, his service is about the ability to be everywhere. “In the near term, one of the benefits that the internet provides is the ability to be where the audience is. As you grow and build a listenership you want to be effectively where it’s most convenient for them.” Battles between providers to grab headline-making deals for unique content may come down the road, according to Shanok, but for now, “it’s about getting users used to the same benefits they have in their home and on the internet – such as on-demand and personal information – that are now extending to the radio industry and content providers are taking advantage of.” Shanok acknowledges that, especially for talk, the car is a crucial listening location and his company’s primary goal is to make using the technology as painless as possible for seamless integration into the car. “We’ve been able to stay ahead and differentiate ourselves by having laser focus on product and technology by focusing on just talk.” Shanok says content partners benefit greatly by the feedback they get from Stitcher in the form of audience metrics and other data to assist in sales.
Cenk Uygur’s “Young Turks” Lands at Current TV; Leads in to Olbermann. Talk show host Cenk Uygur, who filled in extensively at MSNBC earlier this year and had hopes of landing a permanent gig there (Al Sharpton got it instead), takes his “Young Turks” progressive talk show to Current TV. Uygur’s program will air at 7:00 pm ET and leads in to Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” at 8:00 pm ET. In a statement, Uygur says, “Current is the perfect home for our show. We wanted to be in a place that is both independent and truly progressive — not owned and encumbered by a media conglomerate. Does it get any better for a progressive than working where Al Gore and Joel Hyatt are your bosses and Keith Olbermann is your colleague? It’s an honor to be the lead-in program for Keith Olbermann. Add to that we will work with David Bohrman, who has been creating unique and great television programming for decades. His vision for Current is exactly in line with ours.” The show will debut later this year, according to TVNewser.
ESPN Partners with Slacker for Customizable Listening. ESPN Audio’s deal with the Slacker personal radio service gives users options for listening to ESPN-created content depending on which Slacker service they subscribe to. Listeners using the free Slacker Basic Radio service now have access to an interactive, programmed ESPN station. Slacker Radio Plus and Slacker Premium Radio subscribers have unlimited access to the ESPN Radio integration, including an ad-free programmed station with unlimited skips and the ability to create highly personalized, myESPN Radio sports stations based on favorite sports, teams or ESPN programs. Subscribers also have the option to add hourly “SportsCenter” updates to any Slacker station.
Hubbard Radio’s Federal News Radio in Washington Revamps Web Presence. Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington and FederalNewsRadio.com announces a complete overhaul of its website that it says makes information “more accessible and interactive for information seekers and decision makers of the federal government.” The radio station and web destination serve the large number of DC-area residents who work for or contract to the federal government. Program director Lisa Wolfe says, “Our new website is the next step in Federal News Radio’s continuing process to meet the news and information needs of our busy and time-crunched audience. Our site is better organized, more searchable and has a nice aesthetic.”
KIRO, Seattle Inks MLB’s Mariners to New Play-By-Play Deal. The length of the contract and the financial terms are not being disclosed but Bonneville Seattle crows its 710 ESPN KIRO will continue to be the place for Seattle Mariners baseball on the radio in the Emerald City for years to come. Station general manager Dave Pridemore says, “It has been a pleasure working with the Seattle Mariners for the past three years and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the years to come. Combined with our additional coverage of the team on MyNorthwest.com, we are striving to maintain our status as the number one place for fans to find Mariners news and information.”
Canadian Specialty Sport TV Channel The Score Reportedly for Sale. Sources say owner Score Media wants as much as $200 million (Canadian) for a business that earned less than $8 million dollars last year. By the numbers The Score is Canada’s number three cable sports station. It doesn’t have the deep pockets of rivals TSN and SPORTSNET. Rather than carry hockey, Major League Baseball and football, The Score generally reports on sports and carries live sports talk programming. It does broadcast some events including NBA games, WWE wrestling and pro poker tournaments.
Obama Debt Reduction Plan, 2012 GOP Candidates, European Economic Tensions and U.N.-Palestinian Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20). President Obama’s debt reduction plan, the field of GOP candidates for the 2012 presidential election, the instability of the European economy as Greece teeters on default and the Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WTOP-FM, Washington Entertainment Editor Joe Barber Dies at 53. Barber was found dead at his home in Washington, DC on Monday (9/19) and no cause of death has been made public. Barber served as entertainment editor at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM since 1997. The Washington Post reports that Barber suffered from diabetes and had been in failing health.
On Tour with Dave Ramsey. This beautiful custom-wrapped tour bus is carrying nationally syndicated talk star and bestselling author Dave Ramsey around the country as he promotes his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011). Ramsey and company started in New York yesterday (9/20) with an appearance on CBS TV’s “The Early Show” and winds across the country through early November hitting such markets as Phoenix, Los Angeles, Knoxville, Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta and more.