Salem Builds Up the Morning Show at KRLA and KTIE in Southern California. Las Vegas-native Heidi Harris has been hosting the morning drive show on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles and sister KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino (positioned as 870 The Answer and 590 The Answer, respectively) since late April. Now, the company brings Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro aboard to build a morning team. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “We’re committed to providing L.A.’s morning commuters with a show that informs, entertains and makes them want to stay in the car once they get into the parking lot at work. We think that Heidi, Brian and Ben create a unique mix for L.A. that will do just that.” Brian Whitman is a 15-year Los Angeles resident who worked at CBS Radio’s KLSX-FM when it was a hot talk outlet. Ben Shapiro is an L.A. native, editor-at-large for Breitbart News and a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. Boyce says, “Creating an on-air radio team is tricky, but these guys all developed chemistry and camaraderie instantly. You would think they had been on the air for years together. Heidi continues to drive the bus on the air, and the guys seem to bring out the best of her many talents.” KRLA/KTIE program director Chuck Tyler says, “When we threw these three people together we honestly weren’t sure what would happen, but we knew that each of them brought a unique and important element to the mix. After hearing a week of shows we realized that something very special was coming out of the speakers.”
George Plaster Returns to Nashville Sports Radio July 23. Nashville sports talk personality George Plaster and co-host Willy Daunic left WGFX, Nashville when Cumulus Media closed on the Citadel purchase back in September of 2011. Since then, the Tennessee sports talker has been off the radio due to a non-compete. Daunic joined Cromwell Group’s crosstown sports talk outlet WPRT in November of 2011. Now, the stage is set for Plaster (pictured here with Cromwell Group market manager Tincy Crouse) to rejoin co-host Daunic on the PM drive show on July 23. A report in The Tennessean says the program is headed for regional syndication as “Sports Night on The Game Radio Network,” although affiliates are not being announced just yet. Station manager Jeff Kolb tells the paper, “George has been the biggest radio sports personality in this market for 20 or so years and carries a huge fan base. We started this station last year by getting ESPN Radio (as the national network affiliate) and the Predators broadcasts, and then we added the Nashville Sounds. George is a staple of Nashville sports talk radio, so adding him is huge.”
Why Not Just Say, “Don’t Listen?” Consultant Holland Cooke cringes at amateur mistakes made by talk hosts bemoaning working during a holiday week. Are you (or your staff) making those same mistakes? Plus, a new study sheds some light on the public’s sentiments about civility in American political discourse (or lack thereof). Read Holland’s entire piece here.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Genesis Communications sports talk WHOO, Orlando adds Central Florida News 13 sports anchor and reporter David Baumann to host the daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am show…..Grantland.com features another of its “oral histories,” this time writers Alex French and Howie Kahn write an oral history of sports talk pioneering station WFAN, New York. Grantland.com is a sports and pop culture website founded by ESPN.com writer Bill Simmons…..In response to the recent weather-related power outages, WTOP, Washington is hosting an “Ask the Utility Execs” live Q&A hosted by WTOP investigative reporter Mark Seagraves today at 10:00 am and will include reps from Pepco, BG&E, SMECO, NOVEC, Potomac Edison and Rappahannock….. WXKS, Boston morning drive talk host Jeff Katz is pictured here speaking at a Greater Boston Tea Party rally at Christopher Columbus Park at Boston Harbor to encourage the repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care law…..Tampa-based Bubba the Love Sponge calls on his Bubba Army for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the beating of a 17-year-old in Land O’ Lakes, Florida on July 2 that sent him to the emergency room with multiple injuries. Bubba is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of those involved…..Talk show host and candidate for Congress in Georgia’s 9th District, Martha Zoller, picked up some momentum in her bid for the seat as she won the Fannin County Tea Party Patriots’ Primary Preference Poll this weekend and earned the endorsement of the American Conservative Union PAC (ACU-PAC).
On a Pilgrimage. KARN-FM, Little Rock program director and PM drive host Dave Elswick (c) is pictured here with his wife Lynda (r) and Cumulus Media Networks talk host and Fox News Channel personality Governor Mike Huckabee (l) during a visit to a production of Huckabee’s FNC program. Elswick tells TALKERS he was in New York City with 50 listeners on his “Dave Elswick Patriot Tour 2012” and the group landed tickets to the taping.
ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic Raises $1 Million for V Foundation. The 12th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic was held at the Industry Hills Golf Club in Industry Hills, California as part of the V Foundation events that happen in conjunction with the 2012 ESPYS which air tonight on ESPN. The golf outing helped raise $1 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Pictured here are (from l-r): ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer, ESPN’s Mike Golic, Olympic Skiing Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn, actor Joe Mantegna and ESPN’s Stuart Scott.
House to Take Up ObamaCare Repeal, Bush Tax Cuts Repeal for Wealthy, 2012 Presidential Race, and Russia-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/10). The U.S. House plans to vote on repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the response to the president’s plan to repeal the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000; the 2012 presidential campaign; and Russia’s sending of warships to aid Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WGN Informal Tour Now Playing on TALKERS TV. While TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was in Chicago last week attending the NAB/RAB Radio Show, he ducked out briefly and headed across the street to the headquarters of the Tribune Company to pay a visit to his friends at WGN. With video camera in hand, and upon extremely short notice, Harrison was graciously given an informal, off-the-cuff, tour of the facility by the station’s program director Bill White. The video of that tour makes its TALKERS TV debut today. Although it offers just a quick and limited slice of the rich world that is WGN – a radio station with a historic pedigree stretching back to the early 1920s – it does capture a provocative glimpse of the heritage station’s unique specialness. Bill White takes us into the locked and almost forgotten — but still intact – record album and 45 rpm singles library, a fascinating reminder of big time radio as it was back in the day. We visit the green room where today’s news/talk radio air guests are greeted, seated and offered beverages…a room that has hosted an endless list of the powerful and famous including heads of state. We watch Leslie Keiling of WGN Traffic Central doing traffic reports and share a few words with her. We talk with Jackie Paulus, WGN director of marketing & digital strategies about the station’s digital sales initiatives. We meet assistant program director Alex Quigley in the WGN radio newsroom — situated against the dynamic backdrop of the main newsroom of the Chicago Tribune, located in the same building. We peek in on the huge main studios of the iconic radio station. A highlight of the visit is chatting with John Williams during a break during his midday show in the WGN street level Showcase Studio and barging in on the staff prep meeting conducted by afternoon drive star Garry Meier. View this must-see video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.
It’s Official: George Plaster Exits WGFX-FM, Nashville. Speculation over whether sports talk host George Plaster would stay with the company he sued for his freedom eight years ago (Cumulus) when it became owner of WGFX-FM is over. Plaster tells The Tennessean he made the decision on Friday, “It’s the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in radio. It was very emotional for me because of the people that I’ve worked with. The people at 104.5 The Zone are as professional as any radio station that I have ever dealt with. These are friends and we’ve had unbelievable success at this station.” The new crosstown sports talk station owned by Cromwell Group – WPRT-FM – is a possible destination for Plaster but he says he’ll take some time to decide what he’s going to do next. There is probably a non-compete that Plaster will have to wait out before going back to radio in Nashville. At WGFX-FM, “The Allstate Sports Zone” continues on with Willy Daunic and Chad Withrow.
Premiere Networks Announces Goldline Exclusive Precious Metals Dealer Sponsor of Sean Hannity Show. Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show – heard on more than 500 affiliate stations – reaches an extremely dedicated core group of conservative talk radio listeners. That target demo must be exactly what Goldline International Inc. is looking for as it announces it is the exclusive precious metals sponsor of the Sean Hannity show. Goldline CEO Scott Carter states, “Sean Hannity clearly represents the pinnacle of talk radio with millions of loyal listeners following Sean’s unique take on politics, culture and current events. Goldline is thrilled to be a sponsor of the Sean Hannity show and help Americans across the country learn more about diversifying with precious metals.” Speaking about the exclusive advertising deal, Sean Hannity says, “I am looking forward to working closely with a gold company that has such a stellar reputation in the industry. For those who are thinking about investing in gold, the place I highly recommend is Goldline.”
KIRO, Seattle Extends Contracts of Kevin Calabro and Jim Moore. Bonneville’s 710 ESPN Seattle (KIRO) adds an hour to the Kevin Calabro show – now airing from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily – and gives contract extensions to host Kevin Calabro and co-host Jim Moore. Station GM Dave Pridemore notes the program is currently the #1-rated show in the Men 25-54 demo and says, “We are thrilled to have Kevin and Jim continue to anchor our afternoon drive into the future. Kevin’s connection to the Seattle sports audience, dedication to the craft and loyalty make him a true professional and advocate for this entire region.”
WTKK-FM, Boston Adds Pollster Scott Rasmussen for Weekly AM Drive Appearance. Rasmussen is the founder of Rasmussen Reports – the public opinion polling firm – and a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV shows as well as a talk show host in his own right. Now, Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston announces Rasmussen will make a weekly appearance on its AM drive show with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan every Wednesday at 7:45. Braude says, “Scott Rasmussen is as good as they come, his insight on topics that Bostonians and New Englanders care about is unmatchable.” Eagan notes, “He knows what Americans are thinking about, everything from politics to laundry detergent.”
Pop Culture AM Drive Hosts Chaz and AJ Simulcast in New Haven and Norwalk, Connecticut. Cox Media Group gives talk-intensive rock WPLR, New Haven morning drive hosts Chaz and AJ another market as the duo’s program begins a simulcast on the company’s classic rock WFOX, Norwalk, Connecticut. The show is described as a mix of humor, politics and water cooler talk. Keith Dakin, who programs both stations, says, “This move just makes sense. I am extremely excited to extend the reach of Chaz and AJ to the residents of Fairfield County who have never been able to hear the show. These guys really deliver for Connecticut and I expect big things from them on WFOX.”
Marty Basch Joins CBS Radio Las Vegas as VP/Director of Sales. Basch has worked for CBS Radio in the recent past. He left two years ago to take the EVP/GM position with Kemp Broadcasting. Now he returns to the company as vice president and director of sales for the six-station cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.
Obama Deficit Reduction Plan, Palestinian-U.N. Issue, European Economic Jitters and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19). President Obama’s plan to cut the nation’s deficit, the Palestinian plea to the U.N. for statehood, continued jitters in Europe over Greek debt and the GOP contenders for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
WBZ, Boston Celebrates 90 Years on the Air Today. Yes, the building with its twin radio towers in the photo at the top of this page is the site of the original broadcast studios but you might be surprised to know it’s not in the Boston area. The CBS Radio station’s history as the first “commercial license” radio station in the country began 80 miles west in Springfield, Massachusetts at the old Westinghouse plant. Many of the nation’s oldest radio stations moved around the dial and WBZ was no exception. It broadcast at 830 on the dial when it first went on the air from this location on September 19, 1921. Read more about WBZ’s history here.
Cumulus Gives WMAL, Washington an FM Boost Today. The victim is classic rock WVRX-FM at 105.9 as WMAL will simulcast beginning at 12:00 noon today in time for Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh to be heard in the Nation’s Capital on FM. WMAL clearly has its sights set on some of the dollars crosstown competitor WTOP has been raking in on the FM band. WMAL president and general manager Jeff Boden states, “By expanding our successful brand to the FM dial, we will be a viable listening and advertising option for many more people in the Washington, DC area. There are many potential listeners who never listen on AM, and we are now making programs of wide interest available to the largest possible audience.”
George Plaster’s Status in Nashville Unknown. Nashville sports talk host George Plaster was off the air at WGFX-FM on Friday and he tells the Tennessean, “There’s been a lot of rumors about where we’re going to end up. At this point no decision has been made. I want to do not only what’s good for my group, but I want to end up doing something good for our listeners.” WGFX-FM was a Citadel station until the closing of the merger between Cumulus and Citadel. Eight years prior, Plaster sued Cumulus to get away from that company and join Citadel’s WGFX-FM. If there’s bad blood between the two parties, the question is will they be able to get over it and work together again? Plaster’s show rakes in a reported $2 million annually for WGFX. The complicating factor is the new crosstown FM sports talk station WPRT-FM “The Game,” operated by the Cromwell Group, which would no doubt love to bring Plaster over to get its new format off the ground with a popular, money-making talent. Expect some decisions to be made soon.
Bill Cunningham Debuts on Daytime TV Today. WLW, Cincinnati and Premiere Networks talk show host Bill Cunningham’s nationally syndicated eponymous TV show debuts today. Cunningham tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that this is a completely different program than his radio show. Cunningham has been taping shows since late July and the content is very much the stuff of daytime TV talk shows – dysfunctional families, pot parties and other such fare. Cunningham says they’ve remade his image with spray-on tans and expensive suits but producers of the program say they want his image as a father, family man and the guy-next-door to shine through. Cunningham’s program debuts on 22 stations across the country, including in his home town of Cincinnati.
WTMM-FM, Albany Brings Bruce Jacobs in for PM Drive. Sports talk and talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs is named the new PM drive host at Townsquare Media’s Albany/Schenectady FM sports talk outlet 104.5 The Team. Jacobs has worked most recently in the Phoenix market. Jacobs begins his new program Tuesday, September 20. The Long Island native says, “After 20 years of being away, it’s so great to be home again. It’s great to be back with the most passionate, hardcore fans in the world.”
John Olsen Named PD at Sports WZZN-FM, Birmingham. Cox Media Group announces John Olsen is the program director at its new FM sports talk outlet Sports Radio 97.7 The Zone. Olsen has been with Cox since 2001 in various capacities. He says, “Thanks to Ben Reed, David DuBose, Ray Nelson and Justin Case for their vision to bring 97.3 The Zone to the air. We have a terrific, unique station that will give sports fans a true sports station.” Also at the CMG in Birmingham, programmer Justin Case is named operations manager for the cluster.
Eleanor Mondale Dies at 51. Eleanor Mondale, daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale and former WCCO, Minneapolis talk show host, passed away on Saturday at age 51 after her second bout with brain cancer. Mondale left her show on WCCO in March of 2009 after the brain cancer returned a second time. She had surgery later that year to remove the tumor and it was reported at the time that the surgery was successful. Mondale began her broadcasting career in 1989 as the entertainment reporter for WCCO-TV, Minneapolis. She went on to network television gigs but returned to Minnesota and co-hosted a radio talk show on WCCO with Susie Jones in 2006.
KYW, Philadelphia’s Jack O’Rourke Passes Away at 80. Shortly after covering the Phillies-Cardinals game Friday night, the KYW sports reporter collapsed and passed away. O’Rourke began his career with KYW in 1966. He worked with NBC Radio in New York for more than 20 years before returning to KYW.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean is added to the program schedule at Cox Media Group’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is now heard on WWNZ, Bangor…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory is picked up by CBS Radio’s new news/talk outlet WXYT for the 1:00 am to 5:00 am timeslot…..The talk-intensive, Premiere Networks-syndicated Elvis Duran morning show adds new affiliate WMXZ-FM, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida…..The “Health Insurance Advocate” show with Cary Hall joins the lineup at KBMV-FM, West Plains, Missouri…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds KFLO-FM, Shreveport, Louisiana; KWKC, Abilene, Texas; KBMV-FM, West Pains, Missouri; and WBFD, Bedford, Pennsylvania…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose is cleared on KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.