By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you haven’t already noticed, you’ve got to see this. Grab a copy of USA Today. Any day will do, but it has to be the newsstand hard copy. No digital version will work.
Radio is reeling from another Clear Channel bloodbath, just in time for Christmas. It wasn’t the first, it won’t be the last, and it’s not just Clear Channel. But heartless timing. The nerve of ‘em.
In the words of Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman: “Let me tell you the story of another loser…”
Salem Communications Joins iHeartRadio. The latest broadcast group to join the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment digital media platform is Salem Communications. The company’s 97 stations in 37 markets will become available on iHeartRadio beginning in September. Salem radio division president David Santrella states, “It’s important that our content be available to our listeners no matter where or how they want to receive it. Clearly iHeartRadio is a dominant player in the space and we are excited to be able to offer our content on the platform.” In contract to the secular broadcast companies that have signed on with Clear Channel’s platform, Salem brings Christian-formatted radio stations into the mix. Salem director of digital media Rodney Whitaker says, “We are looking forward to the launch of our partnership with iHeartRadio and the increased audience it will bring us, both online and through the mobile app. It’s clear they are dedicated to innovation and providing listeners with an ever-improving experience.”
No FM Signal for Clear Channel’s Boston News/Talker. At the time it was announced the company was purchasing Phoenix Media Group’s WFNX, Boston, some industry watchers suspected Clear Channel would take the 101.7 frequency of the former alternative rocker and give it to news/talk WXKS – Talk 1200. The recent revelation the company acquired call letters WHBA seemed to indicate that would not be the case and it turns out it is not. Yesterday, Clear Channel unveiled variety hits “The Harbor” with the airing of the Standells’ ode to Boston, “Dirty Water.”
Augusta, Georgia Talk Host Austin Rhodes Celebrates 20 Years in PM Drive at WGAC-AM/FM. The station tells TALKERS magazine talk host Austin Rhodes’ 20-year stint as host of the PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting’s WGAC-AM/FM, Augusta is the longest-running drive time radio presence on one station in the history of the Augusta media market. Rhodes’ media career began 29 years ago assisting the late Matt Stovall in his radio broadcasts of local high school football games with WMTZ in Augusta. He began a full-time career in radio broadcasting in 1987, as a radio news reporter and anchor for WGAC. In 1989, Austin moved to television news, where he stayed until 1992. On July 16, 1992, Rhodes rejoined WGAC, assuming afternoon hosting duties for what was then, “Voice of the People.” The station also notes that Rhodes has been regularly named Augusta’s favorite radio host in such publications as Augusta Magazine, The Metro Spirit and Columbia County Magazine. He’s also been recognized by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.
Prime Program Director Job Open at Cox Media Group’s KRMG, Tulsa. With longtime KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa programmer Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando, CMG is looking for a program director for the legendary news/talk outlet. The station says, “This position demands a candidate with the ability and experience to lead a dynamic, veteran news department and programming staff. Because of this station’s profile locally and nationally, only candidates with the highest level of execution, creativity and leadership will be considered.” The deadline for application is August 12 and interested applicants should apply to: Janet Bergquist, Cox Media Group – Tulsa, 7136 S. Yale Avenue, Suite 500, Tulsa, OK 74136. Or e-mail cover letter, resume and audio to: email@example.com. CMG requests no phone calls.
WQAM, Miami PM Drive Host Dan Sileo Joins Hurricanes Post-Game Show. Sports talk host Dan Sileo – who hosts the PM drive show on Beasley’s sports talk WQAM, Miami and played football at the University of Miami during the mid-1980s – becomes part of the broadcasts for Hurricanes football this season. Sileo will be on the team that handles the post-game show. He tells TALKERS, “It is an awesome honor for me to be part of a program that I helped build and I have incredible love for the University of Miami. My daughter will be going to games with her dad this year…a dream come true.”
Raising the Demo. Talk radio hosts and programmers should avoid the temptation to narrow their “target demo” to a number, says consultant Holland Cooke. “Recently published Nielsen data affirms what you may have suspected all along: The vaunted 25-54 demo is malarkey. Although only 5% of ad dollars are aimed at ‘em, 35-64 accounts for half of product purchases.” Cooke writes that the key to making the sales department happy is cutting through the clutter and being “remarkable” to people who have children, of any age, still living at home. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Adds Slate of New Weekend Shows. CBS Radio’s news/talk outlet KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas announces a number of new weekend programs to be heard on the station. The lineup is as follows: Saturday, 9:00 am, “The 19th Hole Weekend Edition” with Dennis Silvers and TPC Summerlin general manager Lee Smith; 11:00 am, “Pet Talk with Dr. B”; 2:00 pm, “Pawn Talk Live with Michael Mack”; 3:00 pm, “Asked and Answered” with Las Vegas personal injury and criminal defense attorney Marc Saggese; 4:00 pm, “Debt Free LV with Chris Parker”; 5:00 pm, “Over and Under with Chad Forster” covering local and national sports; Sunday, 3:00 pm, “Real Estate Live with Kevin Mikrut”; 5:00 pm, “Get Fired Up with Bob Irwin” – all things guns, politics and self defense.
ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Extends His Deal with the Sports Media Giant. The new contract means ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt will add several on-site “College GameDay Built by the Home Depot” appearances throughout the football season. He will travel to some of the “GameDay” locations in support of his features, interviews and reports related to the game, teams and players involved. He will also be part of ESPN’s BCS Championship Game coverage. This is in addition to Van Pelt’s duties as “SportsCenter” anchor and his ESPN Radio talk show. He is also lead reporter and host of the network’s major golf coverage, including the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.
KFKA, Greeley, Colorado Adds Local Sports Talk Show. Broadcast Media’s News Talk 1310 KFKA in Greeley, Colorado announces the addition of “SportsDay” with Troy Coverdale and Brady Hull to the daily lineup, airing from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm beginning August 6. Coverdale is the voice of the University of Northern Colorado Bears play-by-play and Hull is the station’s sales manager who has been a steady presence on the station’s air since 2008 with prep sports coverage. In a release, the station says, “With a heavy focus on local sports teams, including expanded preps, UNC and Colorado State coverage, ‘SportsDay’ is expected to fill a hole in the marketplace, as Northern Colorado has seen sports talk programs come and go over the past 10 years.”
Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Presidential Campaign, Tax Cut Issue, European Debt Crisis, and Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24). The aftermath of the Aurora; Colorado movie theater massacre; the presidential campaign; Congressional moves regarding the Bush-era tax cuts; the debt crisis in Euro Zone nations and global financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sports Talk King Mike Francesa Credits Colleagues at WFAN for his Success with Special Salute to Former Partner Chris Russo. In a special statement issued to TALKERS, afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa – named the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America in the recently released “2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” — expresses his gratitude to “all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become.” He congratulates his teammates at the station that also made the list and particularly credits his former on-air partner Chris Russo (currently at SiriusXM Satellite Radio) saying, “I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.” The TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk has generated enormous mainstream press and internet chatter propelling the Big Apple mainstay into the national spotlight. Here is Francesa’s complete statement: “I commend Talkers for recognizing the importance of sports talk as a viable and efficient format in radio programming. In this the 25th year of WFAN, there are over 600 sports talk stations across our nation. I am honored to have been chosen by your editorial board to top the list. It is a special distinction to be cited by professionals who understand our medium so well. I accept this honor for all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become and congratulate my FAN colleagues who made the list – Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Joe Benigno, Evan Roberts, Steve Somers, and especially my partner of almost 20 years, Chris Russo. I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career. Again, I am very grateful for the honor and wish you continued success.
All the best
2012 Marconi Award Nominees Announced; CBS Radio Sports Talk Hosts Mike Francesa and Angelo Cataldi Up for Major Market Personality of the Year. The winners of the 2012 NAB Marconi Awards will be announced on September 20 at The Radio Show in Dallas. This year’s nominees include sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa of WFAN, New York and Angelo Cataldi of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia for Major Market Personality of the Year. Both Francesa and Cataldi were named to the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this week – Francesa at #1 and Cataldi at # 10. DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio Network personality Dan Patrick is the lone sports talk figure up for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year. He’s up against talk hosts Neal Boortz and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and music radio hosts Elvis Duran of Premiere Networks and Reach Media’s Tom Joyner. Other spoken-word nominees include: KYW, Philadelphia; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WFAN, New York for Legendary Station. Jan Mickelson from WHO, Des Moines is the lone talker up for Medium Market Personality of the Year. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is nominated for Major Market Station of the Year. News/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit are up for Large Market Station of the Year. WHO, Des Moines and WTIC-AM, Hartford are nominated for Medium Market Station of the Year. The nominees for News/Talk Station of the Year are: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KFGO, Fargo; WBBM-AM, Chicago; WGN, Chicago; and WTOP, Washington, DC. Nominees for Sports Station of the Year are: KTCK, Dallas; WEEI, Boston; WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia; WSCR, Chicago; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.
Glenn Beck Plans Major Expansion at TheBlaze. The talk media superstar and digital media pioneer tells WXKS-AM, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz during a recent appearance on his program that he intends to hire as many as 200 new staffers for TheBlaze in the coming months. TheBlaze – the multi-media news and programming initiative of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – already has approximately 120 employees. The news came within the context of an on-air conversation between Katz and Beck about the state of business in America under the Obama administration. Beck also alluded to the ease with which he’s been able to build his business – and create jobs – since moving away from New York City to the Dallas, Texas area.
Tai Irwin Hosts Final Morning Show on Alternative Rock WFNX, Boston. Radio personality (and faculty member at The New England Institute of Art) Tai Irwin reprising the role he played for 10 years at alternative rock WFNX, Boston today (7/20) as the station broadcasts its final day of alt-rock before Clear Channel takes control later in the day. Irwin and other personalities were invited to do one last show and Irwin tells TALKERS WFNX “launched me into the national talk scene due to my talk show and industry convention presence where I met and befriended Gene Burns and Jerry Williams, before I eventually left to work for Kevin Straley at WRKO. During my time there I interviewed everyone from Noam Chomsky and Jerry Brown to Mitt Romney.” In addition to his work at the NEIA, Irwin is involved with tom Leykis’ New Normal where he’ll debut a new podcast called, “The Tai-rade” very soon. As for what Clear Channel will do with the new FM signal, speculation runs the gamut from an FM signal for news/talk WXKS-AM to a brand new classic hits format. We’ll know soon enough.
Washington, DC Talk Host Andy Parks Gets Multi-Media Marketing Initiative. Washington talk radio personality Andy Parks – a long-time figure on crosstown WMAL – is heard in PM drive on Metro Radio Inc.’s WTNT as well as on WashingtonTimes.com. The show is called “Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times” and the paper is devising a multi-media marketing ploy to create awareness of the show. Using the line, “Online. On the Air. On Your Doorstep.” The Times is promoting Parks’ show with a reference to President Obama’s controversial statement about jobs creation not belonging to builders of small businesses and employs the phrase, “Andy Begs to Differ” in bold print in an ad in the newspaper. The Times says it plans to begin a digital initiative using the same campaign technique in the near future.
Flip to Talk for Florence, South Carolina FM; Station Nabs Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh. Miller Communications moved its plans to flip to talk up a couple of weeks when Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh became available after crosstown WJMX-AM/FM dropped Limbaugh’s program. WFRK-FM added Limbaugh to the schedule three days after WJMX dropped the show declaring to SCNow.com that decreased listenership, advertiser skittishness and increased costs associated with the show forced the decision. WFRK-FM CEO Harold Miller says the station will launch as a talk outlet officially on August 1 but could only say “Kinard and Koffee in the Morning” will be part of the lineup as other deals for programming are still in the works.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cox Media Group names Ben Reed vice president and market manager for its Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/FM. He takes over for Dan Kearney who moved south to become VP/market manager for Cox Media Group Miami…..Houston talk radio personality Matt Patrick hosts the final live debate between Texas Senatorial candidates Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and former Texas State Solicitor Ted Cruz on his PM drive show on The 9-5-0 KPRC this afternoon at 3:20. The primary election is July 31…..New England Patriots football great Gino Cappelletti announces he is retiring from his post as color man for radio broadcasts of Patriots football games – a job he’s held for the past 32 years. Cappelletti has worked alongside Gil Santos for the past 28 years. Comcast SportsNet is reporting WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 The Sports Hub – host and former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will likely be named Santos’ partner in the booth…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago hosts the 2nd Annual Taste of WVON neighborhood festival tomorrow from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park in Chicago. The event features more than 60 food and craft vendors and live entertainment…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago has a weekend full of special broadcasts planned to celebrate the induction of Cubs legend Ron Santo into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. WGN’s Dave Eanet will report from Cooperstown throughout the weekend and a special Ron Santo Hall of Fame edition of Cubs Confidential will air Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm featuring broadcast clips from the Ron Santo Cubs Legend CD. The station will also delay broadcast the induction ceremony after Sunday’s Cubs game…..ESPN Deportes brings Mexican soccer great Francisco Gabriel de Anda aboard to join the network’s team of expert analysts. De Anda will be integrated into Futbol Picante’s table of analysts Fridays and Saturdays, and become part of ESPN Futbol Center, the program dedicated to Mexican and International soccer.
Talk Host Tom Becka Calls on Nebraska Listeners to Protest Penn State. November 10 is the date of the Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Penn State and Fargo, North Dakota-based talk host Tom Becka is rallying his listeners who hear his show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on KKAR, Omaha to donate their tickets for the game to local kids who may never get the chance to see a big game. Becka says, “I am calling on my listeners in Nebraska to donate their Penn State tickets to any children’s group or give it to some kids in the neighborhood that normally wouldn’t be able to go. I’d love to see the stands loaded with children for any Penn State away game. That way kids get to see a game and the fans get to protest in a civil manner the neglect of Joe Paterno and the Penn State program.” The NCAA is currently reviewing the Penn State situation and although the “death penalty” is a possibility for the football program, it probably would not go into effect until next season.
2012 Presidential Race Remains Atop Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week. The various storylines relative to the November presidential election were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 16 – 20. Coming in at #2 this week was the report of increased jobless claims. At #3 was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the state of the U.S. economy and at #4 was President Obama’s unveiling of the $1 billion Master Teacher Corp program. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from Talkers. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Mike & Mike on David Letterman. ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic recently made their 9th appearance on CBS TV’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and the day was documented by Greenberg’s wife Stacey – aka Mrs. Greeny – for ESPN Front Row, where fans get a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite personalities. Pictured here are (from l-r): Mike Greenberg, Stacey Greenberg, actress Kyra Sedgwick, and Mike Golic taken backstage.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh and WERC-AM/FM, Birmingham…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show featuring host Chris Hill adds affiliates WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.
Merlin Media Abandons News Format in New York and Chicago. As indicated earlier today, Merlin Media held a major pair of staff meetings in New York and Chicago this morning and as speculated it was to announce a significant change in the operations of its two major properties in these markets. According to reports, the Randy Michaels-headed company flipped WEMP, New York‘s “FM News 101.9″ shortly after 10:00 am ET to “New Rock 101.9.” Chicago’s “FM News 101.1″ (WIQI) has been recast as a hot AC, “i101.” It has been less than a year since these all news formats were launched with a tremendous amount of industry buzz – but the ratings and critical evaluations fell terribly short of expectations.
Paul Finebaum, Citadel and Former GM Bill Thomas Settle Lawsuit. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum, Citadel and former WJOX, Birmingham general manager Bill Thomas have reached an amicable settlement in their claims regarding Finebaum’s employment at the station, now owned by Cumulus. The terms are not being released but the upshot is Finebaum will work out his contract with the station that ends in January of 2013. Whether he will negotiate to re-sign with the station beyond that or seek to join another broadcast outlet is unknown. In a joint statement, Thomas and Finebaum say that claims were contested and the settlement in no way constitutes an admission by any party concerning the validity or invalidity of any claim, counterclaim, or defense raised in the litigation. Further, Finebuam says, “I am particularly pleased that the claims involving Bill Thomas are resolved. I have known Bill for many years and have valued his advice. We both regret that we became personally entangled in what was essentially a business dispute with former management and we look forward to repairing our relationship.” Cox Media’s crosstown sports talk outlet WZNN continues to express interest in acquiring Finebaum’s services after his deal with Cumulus runs out, as reported in the Birmingham News. But Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, says his client will issue no comment on his future intentions. The original legal claims included Finebaum’s contention that Thomas and Citadel coerced him into signing a contract addendum that worked against his best interests and Citadel claimed Finebaum negotiated with another party in violation of his contract. Finebaum’s show is heard in some 30 markets in the Southeast and is also available on SiriusXM.
Courtside Entertainment Group Breaks Simone Bienne Out with Daily Features. British psychosexual and relationship therapist Simone Bienne – a co-host on the nightly nationally syndicated “Loveline” radio show – is featured on a new twice-daily vignette called “Lovelink with Simone Bienne.” Each evening Bienne is part of the “Loveline” show with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood. Now Courtside Entertainment offers what it calls “her unique professional insight with a distinctly female perspective through two, one-minute commentaries every weekday.” Courtside owner Norm Pattiz says, “Simone Bienne is a bottle rocket of energy, insight and intelligence. We are delighted to have lured her across the pond to the States and are confident American radio listeners will be as taken with her charm, wit and knowledge as we are.”
Staff Meetings at Merlin Media’s New York and Chicago Stations Scheduled for Today. As the two all-news FMs approach their first anniversary, the word on the street is that staff meetings have been called for this morning at WEMP-FM, New York and WIQI, Chicago. Industry watchers are aware the ratings for the two all-news stations have not budged much since their debut last August and although there is no insight into what staffers can expect to hear this morning, staff meetings like this usually indicate a major change of some sort.
Drew Anderssen Moves from KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa to WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando. Program director Drew Anderssen, who’s been programming Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the past 12 years, moves to the company’s Orlando cluster to take the program director role at news/talk WDBO-AM/FM beginning August 6. Cox Media Orlando vice president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “Drew has had an incredibly successful track record leading the KRMG brand. His talent and passion for digital innovation will be a great asset not only for WDBO but for our entire cluster.” Anderssen replaces Steve Holbrook who left the Cox Orlando operations in June after almost 30 years with the company.
Scottie Nell Hughes Joins Cast of Politichicks. The online media site Politichicks.TV announces SNH Media president Scottie Nell Hughes joins the staff of the “all-in-one web destination that addresses the concerns of conservatives from the women’s point of view.” Hughes’ company handles PR for talk radio personalities Rusty Humphries, Michael Berry and Mark Skoda, among others. Now she becomes part of the Politichicks team. Politichicks executive producer Beverly Zaslow says, “Scottie Nell brings a valuable energy and passion to a group of dynamic women and her background in talk radio has taught her to think on her feet and not be afraid to ask hard questions.” Hughes joins the other “politichicks” – former “Dallas” cast member Morgan Brittany, “The Young & the Restless” cast member Ann-Marie Murrell, activist Sonnie Johnson and talk radio host Dr. Gina Loudon as co-host.
John Bishop Named Co-Host on KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Show; Gary Sharp Named Station’s Sports Director. There’s been another change in the lineup at NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha after Matt Schick – the host recently named to replace Kevin Kugler on the show – accepted a position with ESPNU (ESPN’s college sports channel). John Bishop, most recently program director and co-host of the morning drive show at KOZN’s sister station KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska, will take over the co-hosting duties alongside Mike’l Severe on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.” Kugler had announced he would be leaving the show to take a position with the Big Ten Network and will continue to contribute to KOZN on a limited basis. NRG Omaha operations manager Neil Nelkin says, “We hire great talent on the ZONE as it’s a station sports figures and leaders tune to. Bishop is well known throughout sports circles in Nebraska, namely as a distinguished sportscaster with decades of experience with Husker athletics, Creighton sports and the College World Series. Bishop more than has the credentials, experience and the chops for this role on The ZONE…now I want to keep him for a while.” Additionally, Nelkin announces Gary Sharp returns to Nebraska to take the sports director and morning show co-host position at sister station KZOT. Sharp most recently worked with Minnesota Twins minor league club the Ft. Myers Miracle. Prior to that he was sports director at the Nebraska Sports Network. He’ll co-host the KZOT morning show with Jason Peter. He says, “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to radio at a great station and most importantly to return to Nebraska. We’ve had some great success here in Fort Myers and I will miss the people and relationships I have developed in baseball. I am sure Jason is chomping at the bit to get started and I am sure we will have some spirited sports conversations that will make great radio.”
Clear Channel Seeks WHBA for Calls for Its New Boston FM. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will take over the operation of alternative rocker WFNX, Boston on Monday and the request of new call letters WHBA gives no clue as to what format the station will assume when the change takes place. The Boston Globe is planning to put the alternative format online and has already hired some of the WFNX staff to run it. Talk radio fans in Boston might like to see an FM signal for the company’s WXKS – Talk 1200 – but those calls certainly don’t seem very news/talky, do they? Regardless, the wait is on and let the speculation continue!
Cumulus Promotes Dave Crowl, Shuffles Market Managers. Cumulus Chicago market manager Dave Crowl adds more regional vice president duties in addition to continuing to oversee Chicago’s news/talk WLS-AM and classic hits WLS-FM but the company brings Donna Baker up from Houston to take over the market manager position in Chicago. Cumulus RVP Chuck Bortnick steps into Houston to oversee that market and will take on additional RVP duties for the region.
TALKERS magazine Publishes Debut “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.” The editors of TALKERS magazine are pleased to announce the publishing of the first annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. A companion to its “sister list” – the annual Talkers 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the debut class of this annual feature honoring the sports talk radio industry’s 100 most important hosts, duos or ensembles. In order to create this list, the editors took into account a combination of hard and soft factors and the results are, admittedly, subjective. Staying true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. View the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.
A Tribute to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa. The number-one ranked sports talk host on this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is WFAN, New York PM drive host Mike Francesa, who’s spent the past 23 years as dean of sports talk in the nation’s biggest market. Fellow WFAN personality Richard Neer writes that Francesa’s “relentless curiosity and work ethic, along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting, gave him unique insight” that served as a foundation for a sterling sports media career. Read Richard Neer’s tribute to WFAN’s Mike Francesa here.
2012 Presidential Race, Penn State Report, Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Welfare Work Requirement Issue, and Weak Retail Sales Numbers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). The 2012 presidential campaign; the Louis Freeh-led report on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to post-election Egypt; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s relaxing of welfare work requirements; and weak retail sales figures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Sean Hannity Named to Keynote New Media Seminar in New York on June 7. The Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar has been named to headline an agenda of talk media industry luminaries that includes leaders from the ranks of talent, programming, management and sales. Sean Hannity tells TALKERS his address will cover such pressing industry issues as confusion over non-rated platforms, attempts to silence opposition speech, proliferation of multi-media talk venues and the imminent explosion of a wide variety of content. He says, “My speeches in the past have focused on the theme, ‘the best is yet to come,’ which I still fully believe – but we face a number of present-day obstacles that have popped up along the way that we as an industry must address and overcome.” Hannity joins the ranks of more than 60 speakers who will be addressing a capacity gathering of 500 attendees at the East Coast installment of this year’s New Media Seminar (the West Coast installment is set for Los Angeles on October 11). Organizers expect the industry-only New York segment to be sold out by early next week. For last-minute registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. To see the latest complete agenda, click here.
Clear Channel Agrees to Buy Alternative WFNX-FM, Boston for Rumored $11 Million. Stephen Mindich is the publisher of the Boston Phoenix alt-weekly who’s owned WFNX-FM since 1983. He says the station has been difficult to keep afloat since the recession began in late 2008 so he’s selling it to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. Now, the format rumor mill begins grinding and there’s certainly reason for CC to give low-ranking news/talk outlet WXKS – at 1200 on the AM dial – an FM boost. The station carries Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and despite the talent of morning drive talk pro Jeff Katz and PM drive market vet Jay Severin the station continues to underperform. As is customary, CC is not tipping its hand about a format change but local media reports indicate 17 of the 21 staffers at the station have been notified of their termination. Releases from both parties do not indicate if Clear Channel will begin operating the station under an LMA or wait for FCC approval of the sale.
Report: Streaming Media East Confab Provides Insights for Talk Radio. Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke delivers nuggets like this: “It’s not how many Friends you have, it’s how many are talking about you,” as he distills some of the advice on building media brands via Facebook (and more) that he gathered at this week’s Streaming Media East conference in New York City. Read Holland’s entire report here
Forbes Releases World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List for 2012; Limbaugh, Beck, and Stern Make the Grade. The annual World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List has been released by Forbes and Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Rush Limbaugh is the highest-ranked radio talk host at #19. Fellow Premiere host Glenn Beck is close behind at #23 and SiriusXM talk star Howard Stern landed at #30. Forbes ranks celebs based on how they score in five factors: money, TV/radio, press, web and social.
Utah Jazz Owner to Buy KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City. The Larry H. Miller Group – owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz – is finalizing a deal to buy sports talk KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City which would become the radio base for the team. Currently, LHM Group is LMAing crosstown KFNZ but that deal ends this month and owner Cumulus Media is not interested in continuing to LMA the station, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune. LHM Group and Utah Jazz president Randy Rigby tells the paper the group will put together the best sports talk hosts from both KZNS and KFNZ, “This is going to be a super sports powerhouse radio station.” It is currently negotiating with talent and did not disclose which of the two stations’ current hosts will end up working at KZNS. The station is owned by the SLC Divestiture Trust operated by Larry Patrick.
Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” Partners with Ustream for Web Video Distribution. Fans of Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” radio show hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky, Simone Bienne and Mike Catherwood will be able to see streaming video of the program via Ustream. In addition to the program being seen live on ustream.tv, affiliate stations will have access to the embedded Ustream player for fans to view and interact with on their websites. Courtside vice president Katie Walsh states, “By partnering with Ustream to offer a video component of ‘Loveline,’ we are able to provide fans with more access and interaction than ever before. We look forward to extending our reach and providing fans with more ways to connect with ‘Loveline’ through Ustream.” Courtside reports that after working with Ustream for a month, it saw a 107% increase in “Loveline” viewers on its Ustream channel – more than doubling “Loveline” viewership in a one-month period.
Daily “Sports Biz Today” Program Debuts in Syndication May 21. The AudioTracks Broadcasting Services-produced “Sports Biz Today” program hosted by Fred Wallin and Howard Bloom goes live and into national syndication on Monday, May 21. Both Wallin and Bloom have long sports media resumes: Wallin has worked at Fox Sports Radio and The Sports Radio Network as well as at ESPN and Fox Sports Net and Bloom publishes SportsBusinessNews.com and has worked with Fox Sports Radio and Sporting News Radio to name a few. The program is available for terrestrial stations via Cable Radio Network and is also being broadcast on the web via Passionate Talk Radio and Mile Hi Radio. It airs live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm ET.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio names Danny Bortnick vice president and director of sales for its Washington, DC cluster that includes sports talk WJFK-FM and all-news WNEW-FM…..SiriusXM adds “Dan Dunn’s Happy Hour” to its lineup on the SiriusXM Stars Too channel. The weekly show hosted by the former Playboy writer and mixology expert will air live on Thursday evenings at 7:00…..The nationally syndicated Dawson McAillster-hosted “The Hopeline” names Jessica McVay-Kershner on-air co-host/internet radio coordinator for the show. Jessica is the daughter of long time consultant and current Cumulus Media VP/programming Mike McVay…..James Ingstad-owned KJOX, Kennewick, Washington – 1340 ESPN Tri-Cities – begins airing programming from Bonneville’s KIRO, Seattle from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The station is also the market’s affiliate for Seattle Mariners baseball….. The regionally syndicated, Rochelle, Illinois-based Michael Koolidge program expands to WTAD, Quincy, Illinois and WKAN, Kankakee, Illinois…..KMOX, St. Louis business reporter Rick Desloge died on Monday at age 63 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Montreal Broadcaster Ted Bird Joins CKGM, Montreal Morning Show. Popular Montreal radio personality Ted Bird becomes part of the morning show at TSN Radio 990 (CKGM, Montreal) alongside Elliott Price and Shaun Starr. Bird will focus on the Montreal sports scene. He tells Broadcaster Magazine Canada, “I am extremely excited to join Elliott and Shaun on TSN Radio 990 and indulge in my passion for talking sports. I feel privileged to work for the flagship radio station of the Montreal Canadiens and hitch my wagon with the TSN brand. It will be an interesting off-season for the Canadiens, so we’ll have lots to talk about. I can’t wait to get started.” Bird recently left CHRK-FM, Montreal in a well-publicized split that ended with him working at a Canadian aboriginal station.
2012 Presidential Race, Greece Teeters on Brink, Upcoming NATO Summit, Trayvon Martin Case and Budget Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/16). Some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday included the 2012 presidential race; the precarious state of Greece’s fiscal situation and its effect on the euro; the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, new information in the Trayvon Martin case; and the U.S. budget debate in Washington, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.