Remembering Don Pardo. “It’s Saturday Night Live.” One extremely simple sentence, yet only one exceptional voice will forever be associated with it or capable of making it sing. Don Pardo. The elegant gentleman with the huge booming pipes passed away Monday night (8/18) at the age of 96. His nearly-40 year association with NBC-TV’s “Saturday Night Live” was only one part of a voluminous resume on the network for which he had a lifetime pact. Only Bob Hope had a similar arrangement deal with the network. Revered by virtually anyone who has been behind a microphone, the beloved — and yes legendary — Pardo began his career in radio. The off-camera announcer for a multitude of game shows from “Jeopardy” to “Jackpot,” Don Pardo truly achieved pop culture status. “SNL” hosts and cast members felt they arrived once they heard their names uttered by him. Click here for managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s brief retrospective salute to the Massachusetts native and 2010 inductee in the Television Academy Hall of Fame whose voice and persona were a staple for so many.
SAG-AFTRA Condemns Arrest/Detention of Reporters Covering Ferguson, Missouri Events. SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists, and other media professionals. It released the following statement: “As a union that represents broadcast journalists, including many local St. Louis broadcasters, we strongly support the rights of journalists not to be impeded in their efforts to report the news. Journalists have an obligation to report what is happening in their community, and the world. We ask that law enforcement in Ferguson permit journalists the freedom to do their jobs.”
Ferguson Unrest Tops Conversation on News/Talk Radio – KMOX, St. Louis is on the Scene. As the week develops, TALKERS research indicates the turmoil in Ferguson, MO tops the list of topics of conversation on news/talk radio. Taking advantage of their relative proximity, CBS’s heritage talker KMOX, St. Louis established a significant presence on the scene with mid-morning host Charlie Brennan and afternoon drive host Mark Reardon broadcasting their shows from the very heart of the troubled area amid the intense protests that have followed the police shooting of Michael Brown.
Marina del Rey Spotlighted As Next “KNX On Your Corner” Site. In addition to focusing on important issues and happenings in Marina del Rey (“The Marina”), the 14-hour (5:00 am – 7:00 pm) “On Your Corner” profile by CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles will feature nearby Playa del Rey, Del Rey, Playa Vista, and Westchester. Civic leaders will be interviewed throughout the special day of programming next month (Friday, 9/12) designed to give listeners insight into the unique attributes of the area. KNX will originate programming from Whiskey Red‘s in Fisherman’s Village. Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the news from 5:00 am – 9:00 am; Frank Mottek will host the “KNX Business Hour” (1:00 pm – 2:00 pm); and Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm news broadcast. “KNX On Your Corner” received a 2013 Golden Mike Award for “Best Feature News” from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.
SCBA Schedules Awards Luncheon for Outstanding Achievement in Radio Advertising. The special event of the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) and SCBA’s Sales Management Council will be held in approximately two months (10/16) at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City (Los Angeles). Selected regional advertisers will be honored with “Outstanding Achievement in Radio Advertising” awards. Former SCBA Lifetime Achievement Award winner – and current chairman and chief operating officer of U.S. International Media – Dennis Holt will be this year’s keynote speaker. SCBA president Thom Callahan explains that, “Based on last year’s sold-out event, we have expanded the nominating categories and our winning advertisers. We are absolutely thrilled by both client and agency response to this prestigious luncheon. This year’s winners represent the robust diversity and energy of Southern California radio advertisers; we are so proud to honor them. [This year's festivities] is on-pace to be another record sell-out. The enthusiasm and commitment to Southern California radio will be showcased by senior client management, their agencies, our member stations, and special guests – all coming together on this one special day to honor this year’s Southern California Radio Award winners.” Being recognized this year are: Children’s Miracle Network; First 5 California; Galpin Ford; Morongo Casino; WaBa Grill; and Westside Rentals. Awards in six categories of creative radio commercials, using both Southern California broadcast radio and its digital platforms, are voted on by the Sales Management Council.
Kelly Transfers to Clear Channel WPB as Director of Sales. Clear Channel Sarasota director of sales Bryan Kelly remains in the Sunshine State, but as of next Monday (8/25), he will traverse from the state’s west coast to West Palm Beach on the east coast in a similar capacity. West Palm Beach market manager John Hunt observes, “Bryan produced outstanding sales results in Sarasota and I know he will do the same in West Palm Beach.” Kelly comments, “I look forward to joining the exceptional West Palm Beach team assembled by John Hunt and [Clear Channel regional program manager] Dave Denver. It has been a goal of mine to represent Clear Channel in a fast-paced and competitive market.” Kelly will oversee the sales efforts for Clear Channel’s 10-station West Palm Beach cluster consisting of country WAVW; talk WAXE; talk WBZT; talk WJNO; classic rock WKGR; CHR WLDI; adult contemporary WOLL; oldies WQOL; Spanish contemporary WRLX; and talk WZZR. His previous Clear Channel assignments were in Tampa and Allentown.
WGN.FM To Air “The Big Payoff.” The Suzanne Muchin and Rachel Bellow-hosted show is for entrepreneurs and entrepreneur wannabes; it begins today (Tuesday, 8/19) at 11:00 am on Tribune Chicago’s WGN.FM. “The Big Payoff” will feature guest entrepreneur interviews and conversations about Chicago’s trending innovations and businesses. Video, full show podcasts and segments will be available on demand at WGN.FM. Beginning in roughly four weeks (9/15), segments will air on WGN-AM with Sirott & Murciano. President and general manager Jimmy de Castro advises listeners to, “Get ready for ‘The Big Payoff.’ Two seasoned business and media vets, Rachel Bellow and Suzanne Muchin, tell you like it really is out there in the new business world. It is absolutely worth a listen, whether you are a young entrepreneur; existing business looking for funding; or if you just want entertainment and to learn something.” According to Tribune Media president and chief executive officer Peter Liguori, “‘The Big Payoff’ could not be more timely, as entrepreneurship is a hot topic in Chicago right now.” Muchin remarks, “My roots are here, as are so many people and businesses that I want to bet on with my time, expertise, and network.” Bellow comments that, “Chicago is a special place where money and meaning are both valued which offers the perfect environment for entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses. This is the right place and time for us to land at WGN and WGN.FM.” Business partners since 1998, Muchin and Bellow have clarified the brand identity of an $8 billion philanthropy. Over the last seven years, they have founded three consulting agencies with client revenue topping $50 million. Three years ago through a partnership with New York-based 2MarketMedia, they launched “The Dirty Truth.” The two women will maintain a group of brand strategy clients through their consulting firm Mind + Matter Studio. Launched last September, WGN.FM focuses on content development, production, and digital distribution; “.FM” stands for “Freeform Media.”
“Billy Madison Show” and Nineball Radio Enter Syndication Deal. Owing to the just-signed pact with Nineball Radio, the weekday morning “Billy Madison Show” is now available for national distribution. Madison currently airs on Cox Media Group Tampa talker WHPT “The Bone, Real-Raw-Radio” and on CMG San Antonio rocker KISS. Nineball Radio president and chief executive officer Stefan Jones opines, “A show with such chemistry is rare, especially with the support of such a great company like Cox Media Group. Billy is a true professional who preps relentlessly and continually creates a show that is like nothing else being offered in rock syndication. He took KISS from 16th to number one, and he is number one at WHPT. I think the numbers speak for themselves. We are excited to be a part of it.” Madison’s show arrived in San Antonio in late-2011. Jones formed independent creator/clearance house for radio programming and services Nineball Radio as an underground prep service in 2005.
SiriusXM Now Airing “Back-To-School” Programming. The satcaster has a variety of such fare on multiple channels, including “SiriusXM Stars,” “Kids Place Live,” and “Doctor Radio.” Hosts and experts are offering parents practical advice for a stress-free back-to-school season. On “Stars” (SiriusXM channel 109), public health advocate Perri Peltz delves into cyber-bullying and the importance of talking to kids about it, while Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein provide money-saving back-to-school shopping tips and efficient prepping shortcuts. Alexa Von Tobel shares recommendations to effectively tackle the process of planning/financing higher education and Jenny Hutt offers advice on how to prepare kids transitioning to high school. On “Kids Place Live” (SiriusXM channel 78), “Absolutely Mindy” has a special guest each morning as she encourages a love for school in young listeners, and she shares recipes for healthy lunches. On “Doctor Radio” (SiriusXM channel 81), gastroenterologist Dr. Ira Breite offers advice to prevent stomach problems caused by stress and anxiety related to the start of the school year. Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Aronoff explains how to differentiate the natural rollercoaster of teenage hormones and emotions from the warning signs of depression. For the older child, a cardiac surgeon will discuss sudden cardiac arrest in youth sports and screening kids for heart conditions.
WTMJ, WISports.com Set to Kickoff ”Preps Live.” Live streams of 26 Milwaukee-area high school football games will be available this fall on Journal Broadcast Group’s WISports.com. A Smartphone channel has been created under JBG Milwaukee heritage talker WTMJ’s “Radio League” application, so that listeners can hear the “Preps Live” channel anywhere. Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer remarks that, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ has a great tradition of sports broadcasting, starting with the Green Bay Packers in 1929. In 2014, we continue to grow in our commitment to play-by-play with the addition of key high school match-ups.” WTMJ sports executive producer Doug Russell declares, “The ability to bring these games to friends and families [who] can’t be in the stands is what WTMJ sports is all about.” Meanwhile, J. Pat Miller, director of marketing & innovation for WTMJ and co-owned adult hits WLWK “The Lake,” points out the “Radio League” app features 10 music formats. “We are excited to add this Wisconsin-based preps sports station to our growing line-up of stations,” Miller notes. Matt Menzl and Alex Uhan headline the team of “Preps Live” football announcers; Journal Broadcast Group Milwaukee plans to offer a full schedule of prep basketball games in the winter.
Odds & Sods. All this week, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway is broadcasting his program from Jerusalem. “The situation in Israel is something my audience comes back to again and again,” remarks Conway, who lived there for a year as a teenager. “I will be bringing some very powerful radio to Iowa.” Conway is part of the “Solidarity Israel” trip organized by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Affiliate Roundup. Talk Shows USA-syndicated/Tom Gresham-hosted “Gun Talk” adds the following affiliates: KARN-FM, Little Rock; WBRN, Big Rapids, Michigan; WNDA, New Albany, Indiana & WLRS, Eminence, Kentucky; and WINT, Willoughby, Ohio…. Most recent affiliates of “Free Talk Live” hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge include: WPTK, Raleigh; WEZO, Augusta, Georgia, KZLS, Enid, Oklahoma; KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas; KAWW, Heber Springs, Arkansas; and WZTK, Alpena, Michigan.
Wanna Buy a Fantastic Radio Station Mobile Studio? Well. If you do, here is a rare opportunity to pick up a real gem. The legendary WGN, Chicago is letting go of its phenomenal mobile broadcast studio and tow truck. Seems it is too big to be conveniently used in the congested Windy City. But in a market where there’s space to move around, it is a fully-equipped, mind-blower that could put your station in front of everybody, boost sales, and significantly increase the value of your broadcasting asset. To learn more, please click here.
KOY Transitions From Business Talk To Mainstream Talk. Clear Channel Phoenix replaces its one-year business talk format on KOY “1230 The KFYI Business Channel” with mainstream talk under the “KFYI 2: The Next Generation of Talk” moniker. As KOY’s handle underscores, the station continues its association with co-owned mainstream talker KFYI. Program director Neil Larrimore states, “This is an exciting brand to put under the KFYI umbrella. Our approach of heavy digital messaging, new hosts, and more moderate content is geared toward the evolution of the information format.” The on-air roster for “KFYI 2″ is Armstrong & Getty (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Dana Loesch (10:00 am -1:00 pm); Casey Bartholomew (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); “America Now” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “TMZ Live” (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm); “Ground Zero” (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and Bloomberg Radio (10:00 pm – 6:00 am). Having the distinction of being Arizona’s first radio station, KOY received its broadcast license in 1922 with the calls KFCB – “Kind Friends Come Back.” KFYI ranks seventh this July (4.3, 6+); Bonneville talker KTAR-FM finishes #14 (3.0); and Rio Salado College‘s KJZZ (NPR) is #19 (2.1). KOY does not appear in the July 2014 report.
Forty-One and Done For Ann Compton. Being the first woman assigned to cover the White House fulltime by any network was — in Ann Compton‘s opinion — an advantage since the President could not miss seeing her. The Chicago native, who began covering that demanding beat nearly 40 years ago, wants to devote more time to other things, such as being a grandmother. So, on September 10 — the anniversary of her 41st year with ABC News — she will retire. Click here for an in-depth feature piece by TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian to find out what Compton believed were her most challenging things early-on; vivid reflections on 9/11/2001; and why — and who — made being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame especially memorable.
Dr. Joy Browne Switching Networks to GCN. Longtime TALKERS Heavy Hundred syndicated star Dr. Joy Browne’s show will be moving from present distributor Radio America to Genesis Communications Network (GCN) beginning Monday, September 8. The program will continue to air during its regular time slot of 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET. GCN will also syndicate Dr. Joy Browne’s “Best Of” weekend program, which will air Saturdays, 1:00 am – 4:00 am ET. Browne, a licensed clinical psychologist, hosts the longest running relationships program of its kind in syndication, airing on over 100 stations across the country including WNYM, New York. Her show offers listeners advice on issues ranging from relationships and marriage to finance and career. (She even reviews movies and comments on theater.) Regarding Browne’s show, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “With interest growing among talk radio broadcasters in expanding the menu beyond politics and getting back to a number of areas that have long been mainstays of spoken word commercial radio during its golden days, I suspect we will see the stock of a show like Joy Browne’s take a significant upward turn. After all, she’s remained a serious player on stations across the country during a period in which relationship shows have had tough going. Considering she is still the best in the genre, watch out world – Dr. Joy will be riding high for years to come.” Interested stations can contact GCN affiliate relations at (877) 996-4327, Ext. 241, 148 or 123 for more information.
KFWB Recruits Murphy as PD. When KFWB, Los Angeles flips from talk to sports next month, the station will be programmed by Owen Murphy, who has been working as a talent coach and sports radio consultant for several hosts. KFWB Asset Trust trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Owen has built great relationships with some of America’s premiere sports talents. He has a unique perspective and will provide a fresh approach for sports radio fans in Los Angeles.” Murphy remarks, “I cannot adequately express how excited I am to be part of a team that is going to serve the Los Angeles sports radio audience in a manner never before heard. Having [CBS Sports Radio's] Jim Rome as a centerpiece of the station’s new lineup is a thrilling base to build upon for the passionate sports fans of Southern California.” Rome will be heard on KFWB 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. Murphy’s resume includes a 2009 – 2010 stint programming KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” Seattle. He previously was an ESPN Radio producer for “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and was executive producer of “The Dan Patrick Show.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2014 PPM report, KFWB ranks #42 (.2). Its all-sports competitors are KSPN (1.2 in July, #28); KLAC (.9, #32); and KLAA (.3, #40).
NBA, ESPN Audio – Teammates for a 20th Season. For the 20th successive year, ESPN Audio will broadcast games of the National Basketball Association. This year’s ESPN – NBA schedule — which will feature 29 regular-season games — tips off in slightly more than two months (Tuesday, 10/28), with Tim Duncan and the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs hosting the Dallas Mavericks. ESPN Audio will broadcast a Christmas Day doubleheader, which will showcase San Antonio against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Immediately following that will be LeBron James’ first game back in Miami as the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Miami Heat. ESPN Audio will air the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals, as well as the 64th All-Star Game. Returning as ESPN Radio’s lead play-by-play voice and prime analyst are Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry, respectively. Calling/analyzing select games are Marc Kestecher and PJ Carlesimo.
Westwood One Taps Townsend as Senior Account Manager. Former Clear Channel New York sales manager Steve Townsend joins Westwood One‘s sales division as senior account manager. New York City-based Townsend reports to senior vice president of network sales Darrin Klayman, who states, “Steve has a proven track record and he comes with an immeasurable wealth of sales expertise. His multimedia experience and passion fit well into our desired DNA as we strive to build a team that will provide integrated multi-platform solutions for our clients.” Townsend meanwhile comments, “Westwood One is at the forefront of delivering solutions and driving revenue for clients. From its customized content, events, talent endorsements, local activations, digital initiatives, and geo-targeted programs, it is clearly the place to be; I am thrilled to be part of the momentum.” Townsend’s Clear Channel New York sales manager responsibilities were for adult contemporary WLTW “Lite-FM” and classic rock WAXQ “Q-104.3,” as well as managing sales for the “Automotive” category for the company’s entire New York group. He previously was sales manager in New York City for then-Citadel-owned (now Cumulus) hot AC WPLJ; CBS Radio‘s WXRK (now CHR WBMP); and he was an account executive and national sales manager for classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM.
Conclave Confirms Smith As Keynoter – Smulyan to Speak as Well. The 39th annual Conclave Learning Conference – presented in partnership with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association (MBA) – will feature a keynote address by National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith. Conclave chair Mark Bolke comments, “Whether you are in programming, news, sales, or station management, what happens in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission directly impacts our collective future. Gordon Smith’s keynote will instill in all of us the ongoing need to protect our industry’s interests and preserve its status as America’s premier source for music, entertainment, news, and emergency information.” MBA president and chief executive officer Jim du Bois states, “With the broadcasting industry facing unprecedented legal, regulatory, and competitive challenges, Gordon Smith and the NAB are leading the charge in Washington. We are honored that he is taking time from his busy schedule to share his insights on key issues facing radio and television broadcasters. We are also looking forward to hearing his vision for the industry’s future as it adapts to rapidly changing media consumption habits and a shift to mobile distribution platforms.” Smith is scheduled to deliver his keynote on (Saturday) November 15 at 9:00 am onsite at the Conclave, which will be held at Minneapolis’ Crown Plaza Hotel Airport. Smith is a former United States Senator. The Oregon Republican served two terms in the Senate and was appointed NAB president/CEO five years ago (9/2009). The Conclave’s day-and-a-half learning conference begins (Friday) November 14 with a “Radio & TV Career Fair and Air Check Clinic,” followed by a special keynote from Emmis president and chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan on the NextRadio mobile platform.
“Dr. Daliah” Accepts Daunting Task. Radio stations and personalities constantly are being enlisted to support a number of worthwhile endeavors. An especially challenging fundraiser involves Dr. Daliah Wachs. The syndicated talk show host and Las Vegas television personality has been asked to build the pediatric wing of Community Outreach Medical Center, which will serve thousands of underserved and uninsured Las Vegas children. “This is a huge undertaking but it will get done,” Dr. Wachs promises. A board certified family physician, Dr. Wachs (University of Nevada – Las Vegas, University of Nevada – Reno, and UCLA) originates her daily “Dr. Daliah” program from Las Vegas talker KDWN; iHeart Radio carries it daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon PT. In addition to her radio show, Dr. Wachs is the medical expert on KVVU-TV, Las Vegas.
SBS Reports 12% Q2 Revenue Gain for Radio. Primarily owing to a boost in special events revenue and network sales, revenue for Spanish Broadcasting System‘s radio division increased 12% in the second quarter to $3.8 million. SBS’ consolidated net revenue grew from $36.1 million in 2013 to $40.9 million (+13%). Consolidated OIBDA fell 22% to $9.9 million, compared to $12.7 million; radio OIBDA decreased 10% to $1.5 million. Spanish Broadcasting System reported a net loss of $3.23 million (44 cents per diluted share), versus a loss of $1.23 million (17 cents) in the year-prior period.
Odds & Sods. After the success of his first non-fiction book, “FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio” (Villard 2001), Richard Neer of WFAN, New York has written and published his first novel “Something of the Night” (Amazon 2014). It features a detective on the Jersey shore whose colleague and best friend is a radio talk show host. Originally tasked to find a missing small town author, the plot evolves into something much deeper, threatening the entire metropolitan region. A suspenseful page turner, the twists are non-stop. Neer has been told that social media is the only way to move books today. However he still believes in radio’s power and will promote it mainly through our medium. Interview requests will be honored by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To access the book, please click here. ….. Mark Wainwright is filling in this week (8/18 – 8/22) for morning host Joe Galuski at Clear Channel-owned talker WSYR, Syracuse.
Forbes Releases 2014 Celebrity 100 List; Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern Rank. The highest ranking radio personality on this year’s Forbes 2014 Celebrity 100 list – based on fortune and fame – is Premiere Networks-syndicated star Ryan Seacrest (estimated income $65 million), who tied with Sean “Diddy” Combs at #31. Premiere Networks host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck comes in close behind at #39 with an estimated income of $90 million. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh lands at #59 this year with estimated income of $66 million and SiriusXM icon Howard Stern follows at #62 with $95 million in estimated income. Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity rounds out the radio people this year at #86 with $30 million in estimated income.
Clear Channel Ousts Chet Walker from WHAM, Rochester Morning Duties. After a 35-year career with the station, morning drive co-host Chet Walker is gone from heritage news/talk WHAM, Rochester. WHEC-TV, Rochester reports that station program director Aaron Trimmer confirmed Walker’s departure with the obligatory “We appreciate all of his contributions during his time with us and wish him well” statement and that the station will unveil its new morning show soon. Clear Channel – as with most radio companies – does not comment on personnel matters, but some industry watchers believe the recent spate of dismissals from CC stations due not to job performance but is part of a long, slow parsing of the payroll. This contrasts with previous companywide cuts that had happened en masse and brought about negative PR. The company cut ties with Walker’s former co-host Beth Adams in 2011. She joined crosstown public radio outlet WXXI as local host of the “Morning Edition” program in 2012.
Greater Media Promotes Ryan and Rico to Daily Show at ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ Weekend sports talk personalities Ryan Ermanni (left) and Rico Beard (right) are moving from their weekend slot at Greater Media’s sports talker WMGC, Detroit “Detroit Sports 105.1” to the late-morning slot airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon beginning Monday, July 7. Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Ryan and Rico have been with us since day one and have done a phenomenal job with our weekend coverage. They have had a tremendous run so far and are extremely popular with our dedicated Motor City sports fans.” The pair are replacing ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd. Program director Jason Dixon adds, “We are fired up to give Detroit sports fans even more local sports content. Adding Ryan and Rico to the 10:00 to 12:00 noon slot is the next step in the evolution of ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’ With Mike and Mike, Ryan and Rico, Matt Dery, Drew Lane and Marc Fellhauer, along with the addition of Detroit Pistons Basketball, I could not be more excited about the future of the station.”
WGN, Chicago Announces Sales Department Changes. As part of a number of sales department changes at Tribune’s WGN Radio, Steve Tarpley is promoted to national sales manager for all Tribune agency markets, excluding New York and Philadelphia, for news/talk WGN and sports talk WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7.” Tarpley continues his role as local AE for WGN. At the same time, sales manager Liz Cullen will take on more responsibilities with the WGN local staff, but continue her national work in New York and Philadelphia. Sales director Jeff Hill comments, “In Steve’s four-and-a-half years at WGN Radio, he has done a tremendous job in building relationships with both his direct and agency clients. I’m very confident that he will have the same success in the national arena.”
SBG Names Rivera-Searles SVP Digital Initiatives; Teases ‘Brand New Day for Radio.’ With the announcement that Edwin Rivera-Searles is named the company’s new SVP of digital initiatives, Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. also promises news later this summer that CEO Jason Bailey says is “the first stage in what will be a brand new day for radio. It was crucial that we brought in the very best to help implement this amazing plan and Ed Rivera is exactly that. He truly ‘gets it’. You won’t find a more well-respected, passionate person in this business and I couldn’t be more excited to finally welcome him to our family!” Rivera comes to SBG from his most recent post as SVP of ad sales for Westwood One. Rivera comments, “Joining the executive team of Sun Broadcast Group is a tremendous opportunity and I’m thrilled to be part of this new phase of growth and development for the company. I’m impressed by what Jason and his team have accomplished in their short history in the network radio space. I look forward to introducing our customized digital solutions to our agency and client partners later this summer.”
More TALKERS Career Moves. Talk radio personality Austin Hill joins the six-station Faith Radio network (owned by the University of Northwestern – St. Paul) as host of the “Austin Hill in the Mornings on Faith Radio” program effective July 7. The program will air from 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT. Hill is also the creator and host of “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business,” a syndicated talk show about entrepreneurship and small business ownership…..Programmer Tim Sebean exits SiriusXM Satellite Radio where he was most recently SVP of entertainment and comedy, working with the Opie & Anthony show and others. He’d been with the company for nine years, starting in 2005 as SVP of the Howard Stern channels…..Talk radio pro Paul Harris leaves the Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” program. Harris was one of three anchors for the program. Turi Ryder and Rob Carson remain with the show. Harris also is fill-in personality at CH Holdings-owned KTRS, St. Louis.
Bruce DuMont Steps Aside; Kraig Kitchin Named Chairman of National Radio Hall of Fame. Following through on plans he announced last fall to ease back from some of his responsibilities to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 70-year-old Bruce DuMont announces he’s resigned from the chairman position of the National Radio Hall of Fame and named new board of directors member Kraig Kitchin to the chairman position. Kitchin, who served as president of Premiere Networks for years, operates his own consulting firm Sound Mind LLC. In his letter to the NRHOF committee, DuMont writes: I appointed new MBC Board member Kraig T. Kitchin to replace me as Chairman — naming MBC Board members Dennis Green and Karole White as vice chairs of the committee. As you know Kraig, Dennis and Karole have all been longtime members of the NRHOFSC. This important move comes in the wake of our recent announcement concerning the November 9th NRHOF induction ceremony taking place in Los Angeles. It underscores the truly national scope of the NRHOF and will extend our reputation more broadly and hopefully our base of support as well.”
Nielsen ‘Audio Demand Landscape’ Study Puts Listeners into Six Categories. The Audio Demand Landscape study was unveiled at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Conference on June 24. Nielsen concludes from the online survey of a panel of 4,950 Americans between the ages of 18-74 (conducted in English in March) during March 2014 about their audio listening attitudes, motivations, behaviors, habits and preferences, that there are basically six types of audio consumers. (Note that in parentheses is what Nielsen deems each group to be as a percentage of the U.S. population.) They are: “Music Loving Personalizers” (23%) who are passionate music listeners mainly seeking an emotional benefit by listening. They prefer free services and often play music in the background; “Discriminating Audiophiles” (18%) are highly engaged consumers who listen to and prefer a wide variety of audio, and are willing to pay for specific content; “Convenience Seeking Traditionalists” (17%) prefer broadcast radio, listening to their favorite stations and hosts, and they routinely listen in the car; “Information Seeking Loyalists” (15%) are heavy broadcast listeners who usually listen to their favorite talk programs for news, education and to stay informed of current events; “Background Driving Defaulters” (14%) are less engaged and typically have the radio on in the car for background entertainment or occasionally news and information; and “Techie Audio Enthusiasts” (13%) are avid consumers of many types of audio. These listeners are early adopters of new platforms to satisfy their audio needs. Nielsen says that when considering these groups based on the percent of all audio hours of listening they represent, the “Information Seeking Loyalists” and the “Music Loving Personalizers” account for nearly half (47%) of all audio consumption. See more here.
SCBA’s Thom Callahan Addresses Digital ‘Fraud’ in Column. The mandate from marketing departments and ad buyers that more and more money be spent on “digital” platforms is a serious problem for traditional media ad sellers. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan addresses the issue in a blog post titled, “A Responsibility to the Truth.” In the post, Callahan cites a report by web security firm Incapsula that states in its latest annual reports on web traffic that: 1) 61.5% of all web traffic is NON-HUMAN or Bot traffic as it’s called; 2) 38.5% of all web traffic is Human; and 3) 48.1% of all video ads are not heard or seen by humans. Callahan goes on to say that the big problem is there is no transparency in digital advertising. “The sheer size and scope of this fraudulent behavior is costing advertisers over $6 billion a year in wasted advertising to these non-human sites, according to the ad fraud detection firm, White Ops.” Read more of Callahan’s blog post here.
KOIL, Omaha Raises $80,000 for Tornado Disaster Relief. In an effort to assist the residents of Pilger, Nebraska who were affected by the twin tornadoes that moved through the area several weeks ago, NRG-owned news/talk KOIL worked with area pizza restaurants who donated 100% of the proceeds from pizza sales on June 23 to the Salvation Army. Pictured here is KOIL talk personality Tom Becka (center, holding mic) presenting the check to the Salvation Army. On the day of the “Pizza for Pilger,” Becka interviewed Salvation Army officials, pizza purveyors and Pilger residents impacted by the tornadoes.
SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Case; SCOTUS Health Care Workers Union Case, Illegal Immigrants Influx, ISIS Violence in Iraq, Israel-Hamas Clash, Hillary Clinton Popularity Rating/2016 Presidential Possibilities, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). Two of the Supreme Court’s decisions, including the Hobby Lobby case and the Illinois Health Care Workers Union case; the looming political battle over the recent influx of illegal minors flooding into the Southwest; ISIS declares Iraq and Syria Islamic states and President Obama sends more troops to Iraq; Israel’s threat of strikes against Hamas after the bodies of three kidnapped teenagers are found; Hillary Clinton’s sinking popularity ratings and speculation about the possible presidential candidates in 2016; and World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Borrell Associates Releases Political Advertising Outlook; Radio’s Share to Shrink. But that’s not entirely unexpected by those who’ve been involved in political ad buys over the past few years. Even though Borrell estimates the total ad spend this year alone to be $8.3 billion, the media that will see an increase are cable and online. TV will lose market share at the expense of cable – due, Borrell concludes, to the more highly targetable nature of cable’s niche programming. While online is expected to see a big increase, it’s still a small part (3.3%) of the total political ad spend for 2014. Radio’s share is shrinking – from 6.5% of the total ad spend in 2010 to an estimated 5.8% this year. But that money — $485 million – is money the industry is banking on. Another item of note from Borrell is that 54% of the total ad spend comes in September and October. The ability to narrowly define a medium’s audience helps a political ad buy and if radio executives can show campaigns that they have a desired audience, the likelihood of getting the buy increases. For more information, see the Borrell Associates site here.
Clark Takes Helm of Journal’s Tucson Radio Stations. Assuming the VP/GM position at Journal Broadcast Group’s Tucson operations is Leon Clark, who comes to the company from his most recent post as sales manager for the digital audio aggregator TuneIn. Journal operates four stations in the market: adult contemporary KMXZ “94.9 Mix FM,” news/talk KQTH-FM, rhythmic oldies KTGV “106.3 The Groove,” and sports talk KFFN “ESPN Tucson.” Journal EVP – Radio Steve Wexler comments, “Leon’s broadcast and digital experience, as well as his strong leadership track record, makes him a great fit with Journal and our Tucson team. He embodies our core values of integrity, excellence, determination and innovation and I’m thrilled to welcome him to our company.” Clark comments, “I am honored to lead the Tucson team forward and to become part of a broadcast group that shares the same core values that I do. We have some incredible opportunities ahead of us and I look forward to much success for our Tucson team.”
WGN, Chicago Returns the Bird to Service. As Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, Tribune Company news/talker WGN, Chicago is bringing the iconic marketing mascot the Bird – appropriately named Chicago – back into service to be the face of some of its marketing efforts. Instead of being a TV and print icon, the Bird will be a social media avatar for the station. Vice president of content and programming Todd Manley tells Feder, “The idea is to give the Bird a new life in a new space and really have it be the voice of Chicago through listening to WGN Radio.” Read Feder’s story here.
KSFO, San Francisco’s Bearman Talks Soccer and More During Weekend Remote. Rising talk radio star Ethan Bearman (pictured here at right) speaks with San Jose Earthquakes president Dave Kaval (left) outside Stanford Stadium during a Saturday evening broadcast on Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco. Bearman broadcast his program from the stadium on the occasion of the MLS match between San Jose and the Los Angeles Galaxy dubbed the California Classico. Bearman says the excitement of the World Cup and the biggest fireworks show in the Bay Area brought some 50,000 people out for the event. He says that although KSFO is not a sport talk-oriented station, the interview with Kaval, two-time MLS goalkeeper of the year and former Earthquake Joe Cannon plus the local non-sports topics make for a show that was a bit hit with the listeners and fans in attendance.
Geary Exiting Entercom Communications Post. Citing his desire to return to the political communications end of the business, Entercom director of strategic communications Kevin Geary announces he’s leaving his position with the company to focus full time on his political communications firm, Independence Strategy. Geary’s been with Entercom for the past three years and, during that time, he’s kept his own company in business. But he says he misses the political communications biz and wants to return. “The closer we got to the 2014 elections it was clear just how much I missed it. With 3 ½ years in corporate and media communications, I know I can offer clients a unique combination of political, business perspectives.”
Greater Media Sports Talkers to Air USA World Cup Game. As the USA soccer team continues its bid for the World Cup, Greater Media-owned WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” and WMGC, Detroit “Detroit Sports 105.1” will air the USA vs Belgium match live on Tuesday, July 1 at 4:00 pm ET. In addition WPEN-FM Mike Missanelli is broadcasting live from Pagano’s leading up to the match. Fans who join Missanelli in Center City will be able to watch the match on a 20-foot-by-17-foot screen, as well as on the televisions inside Pagano’s. WPEN-FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “We had an overwhelming amount of listeners asking us to air the US vs Germany game and it continued for Tuesday’s matchup. We’re excited to be able to provide the radio call of the game to our listeners.”
Townsquare Media to Go Public with IPO Hoping to Raise $144 Million. The negative spin on this story is that by going public, Townsquare Media becomes another company that must serve shareholders first – with all that that implies. But the reality is that Townsquare’s backers – Oaktree Capital and GE Capital (with 62% and 18% stakes, respectively) – have poured a lot of cash into building the company’s portfolio of 312 radio stations and number of digital publications. The company is sitting on $645 million of outstanding debt and the IPO would help put a dent in that if it raises the $145 million it hopes for. The one aspect of the company’s balance sheet that is turning radio industry watchers’ heads is that, according to its S1 filing, 26% of its revenue is coming from the non-radio end of its operations. At this point, there is no timetable for the IPO or any report of how much shares will be sold for.
New England Radio Pro Brad Shepard Exits WHYN, Springfield. For the past 11 years, Brad Shepard (left) has co-hosted the morning drive program alongside Bo Sullivan (right) on Clear Channel’s news/talk WHYN, Springfield, Massachusetts. Now, the station appears to be going with Sullivan alone in the driver’s seat as CC’s Jennifer Powers confirms to Masslive.com that “Brad Shepard is no longer part of WHYN mornings. We appreciate all of his contributions during his time with us and wish him well.” Prior to joining Clear Channel Springfield in 2000, Shepard was morning host at crosstown AC WMAS-FM for seven years. The move appears to be budget related like most of the talent cuts taking place at Clear Channel that TALKERS and RadioInfo have reported this week.
TALKERS Career Moves. Las Vegas radio pro Tom Humm inks a new, five-year deal to remain in his vice president and market manager role at Beasley Broadcast Group’s station group there that includes four music stations and news/talk KDWN…..Nicky Sparrow is named the director of sales for the Clear Channel New Orleans station group that consists of six music outlets and news/talk WRNO-FM “Rush Radio 99.5.”
WGN, Chicago to Unveil ‘Walk of Fame.’ This Friday is the day Tribune Company’s WGN Radio will hold the WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony at Pioneer Court in front of Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. The ceremony will be broadcast live on WGN with hosts Steve Cochran and Bob Sirott introducing the 2014 Walk of Fame inductees and interviewing them or their family representatives. Being inducted this year are: Spike O’Dell, Orion Samuelson, Kathy O’Malley, Wally Phillips (represented by wife, Barbara Phillips), Judy Markey, Quin Ryan (represented by his cousin, Justin O’Brien), Milt Rosenberg, Jack Brickhouse (represented by wife, Pat Brickhouse), Roy Leonard, and Bob Collins (represented by wife, Christine Collins).
The New York Festivals Announces International Radio Program Award Winners. Monday evening in New York City, the New York Festivals handed out honors to the winners in the 2014 competition The New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards. The broad competition included entries from all over the world in a wide spectrum of categories. Some of the winner from the United States included the American Forces Network; WGBH, Boston; Bloomberg News; and Gary Theroux Productions. Follow this link and you can search for winners based on country or category.
PodcastOne Targets Young Demos with Brody Jenner Show. The half-brother of the Kardashian sisters – Brody Jenner – is entering the world of podcasts with co-host and relationship expert Dr. Mike Dow for a weekly podcast titled, “The Brody Jenner Podcast with Dr. Mike Dow.” Brody – star of MTV’s “The Hills” – will focus on the love lives of celebrities and the podcast’s audience as they engage them through social media. PodcastOne founder and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Brody Jenner has an amazing connection with exactly the target audience we want to build at PodcastOne. We’re now doing business with over 100 of the nation’s biggest brands. We know where we need to go and we’re betting that Brody and Dr. Mike Dow can help get us there.”
Odds & Sods. “America Now” host Andy Dean will appear on this Friday’s edition of “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO at 10:00 pm ET. The Premiere Networks-syndicated talk host will be on with journalist Bobby Ghosh and MSNBC anchor Joy Reid…..Former WEEI, Boston sports talk host Glenn Ordway’s digital effort “The Big Show Unfiltered” makes a move on its SiriusXM platform where it is also heard live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. The show moves from channel 108 to channel 220 for Sirius subscribers but remains on 206 for XM subscribers. A press release from Ordway’s organization reports the show’s podcasts (which debuted on March 17) “have generated nearly 312,000 listener hours, up from over 252,000 individual listening sessions. Each of those individual listening sessions, on average, has lasted 1:14, a critical factor in developing listener loyalty.”…..The internet video sports entertainment project 120 Sports debuts this evening at 6:00 pm ET. 120 Sports is collaboration between Time Inc./Sports Illustrated, MLB.com, the NHL, Campus Insiders and Silver Chalice. 120 Sports is described as “a first-of-its-kind network partnership involving multiple leagues and media properties created for the digital generation and the devices it uses most. In 120 Sports, today’s fans will have access to unauthenticated video programming through a new platform built to intuitively integrate video and data in ways they haven’t experienced before. The 120 Sports product will debut as free native applications for mobile and tablet devices as well as a web experience at 120Sports.com and other distribution outlets.
Iraq Turmoil-U.S. Military Role, IRS Scandal Testimony, Influx of Illegals in Southwest, Primary Races/State of the GOP, Hillary Clinton Memoir-Financial Status, News Corp Phone Hacking Trial, LeBron James Watch, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The continuing march of ISIS toward Baghdad and the U.S. military’s potential role in the country’s security; the testimony surrounding the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails by the IRS; the massive influx of minor illegals in the Southwest and concerns about health problems and criminal activity; the primary races for the fall’s mid-term elections and debate over the state of the GOP; Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir and her statements about her financial status; verdicts in the News Corp phone hacking scandal; speculation about the future of NBA star LeBron James; and the hoopla over World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Chicago Cubs to Move to CBS RADIO’s WBBM Next Season. In what appears to be the end of a 90-year relationship, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is passing on Chicago Cubs play-by-play and, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the club will sign with CBS RADIO’s WBBM beginning in 2015. That Tribune has been losing money on the broadcasts in recent years has been pretty widely reported for some time now and it’s not particularly shocking to industry watchers that WGN is giving up on the Cubs. Though the deal has not been formally announced (a press release is expected sometime Thursday), the Tribune reports that the previous deal was for approximately $10 million per season and WGN had the right to match any other offer, which it chose not to do. CBS RADIO already has the rights to Chicago Bears games (which air on both WBBM-AM and simulcast WCFS-FM) and White Sox broadcasts which air on sports talker WSCR. WGN holds the rights to Blackhawks hockey.
KCAA, Loma Linda Owner Fred Lundgren Writes Appeal for AM Station Owners in HuffPost Piece. In a blog post on Huffington Post, KCAA, Loma Linda, California founder and CEO Fred Lundgren asserts that the FCC has “waited too long to act on the problems facing the AM band, and the agency has made so many wrong and irreversible decisions that the AM band can’t be sustained in the long term…It’s time for the Congress and the FCC to pause it’s love affair with inefficient point-to-point communication and realize that the most efficient form of mass communication and spectrum utilization continues to be point-to-multipoint terrestrial radio, and unless the AM band is migrated to FM very soon, the opportunity to expand the band will be gone forever.” Lundgren writes about the 10 ways the FCC is hastening the demise of the AM band and says the way to save the stations is to migrate them to FM frequencies below 87.5 FM. Read his piece here.
Sam Seder’s ‘Ring of Fire’ Changes to Daily Format. Progressive talk host Sam Seder, co-host of the weekend “Ring of Fire” syndicated radio talk show, launches a daily version of the show airing from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. The show is syndicated by Ron Hartenbaum‘s and Debbie Greenbaum‘s WYM Media Management and distributed by WestwoodOne. WYM describes the show as a “live, take-no-prisoners, progressive talk show featuring blistering commentary, smart interviews and the comedy which has made Sam Seder so popular amongst progressive audiences.” In addition to his work on “Ring of Fire,” Seder is a contributor to MSNBC and produces a daily political podcast called “Majority Report.”
WNTW, Chester, Virginia Flips to News/Talk as ‘820 The Answer.’ The branding slogan “The Answer” has been used by Salem Communications news/talk stations in some markets but now the Delmarva Educational Association-owned signal licensed to Chester, Virginia (just south of Richmond) takes on the moniker as it flips from Christian talk to conservative talk featuring programming including: local host John Fredericks, Cox Media’s Herman Cain, Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager, WestwoodOne’s Michael Savage, Mark Levin, and “Red Eye Radio” plus independently syndicated Steve Deace and Genesis Communications Network-distributed Alex Jones.
Cigar Dave Offers D-Day Tribute Show to Non-Affiliates. Last weekend, nationally syndicated talk show host “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz hosted a special “D-Day 70th Anniversary Tribute.” He reports that the response to his show, which devoted the entire two hours to the historic events of June 6, 1944, was so overwhelming that he’s decided to give the show to non-affiliates on a one-time basis to air this weekend, in honor of the 70th anniversary. Zeplowitz states, “Friday marks the 70th Anniversary of Allied Expeditionary Forces scaling the cliffs at Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe from Nazi oppression. It’s imperative that every American of every age recognize and understand the historic significance of D-Day. The tribute show is my way of honoring the great Americans who stormed the beaches and insuring their legacy and sacrifice is never forgotten.” The D-Day 70th Anniversary Tribute features a timeline of Operation Overlord and the D-Day invasion with audio from General Dwight D. Eisenhower, news reports from D-Day and highlights of Ronald Reagan’s speeches on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. The special tribute also includes interviews with World War II veteran Thomas Blakey, one of the first paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division to land behind enemy lines on D-Day, and April Cheek-Messier, president of the National D-Day Memorial. Stations interested can contact Skip Joeckel at: 719-579-6676 or via email at: Skip@TalkShowsUSA.com.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Shaping Up as Major Broadcasting Event for Thursday, June 19. TALKERS magazine announces a strong and diverse lineup of participating hosts at the forthcoming 9th installment of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.” Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. Approximately 25 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world. “This is one of our most important annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “and I am absolutely delighted that – in spite of the technical and tactical challenges presented by a project of this complexity and enormity – we are able to produce yet another installment in 2014.” Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media. Some of these stories have staggering implications on war, peace, life and death.” Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.” “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” will conveniently take place the day before Talkers New York 2014 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City. Participating hosts include: Thom Hartmann, Alan Colmes, Doug Stephan, Dr. Joy Browne, Martha Zoller, David Webb, Ethan Bearman, Carole Marks, John Fredericks, Miriam Wallach, Ed Woodson, George Russell, Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg), Phil Paleologos, Scott Hennen, Dr. Evelyn Higgins, Timothy Spangler, David Fisher, Debbie Nigro, Rick Smith, Howard Monroe and more. Talk Radio News Service will broadcast the entire day to its hundreds of affiliates across the nation with more to be announced and the event will be covered live on TalkersRadio. All equipment and broadcast set ups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but only a handful of spots are left, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.
‘Northwestern Outdoors Radio’ Wins Three National Honors. The regional weekend program “Northwestern Outdoors Radio” with host John Kruse, wins Excellence in Craft awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Kruse was honored with first place in the radio broadcast category; second place in the hunting category and second place for a humorous interview segment. This is the second year “Northwestern Outdoors Radio” entered the national competition featuring outdoor radio shows and podcasts from all over the United States. Kruse comments, “We must be doing something right, and it’s wonderful to get feedback saying so from not only our listeners, but also from the judges who are our peers in the outdoors media industry.” The show is an hour-long weekend show airing on 52 stations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The program covers not only fishing and hunting, but also wildlife watching, conservation, and a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities and destinations with a strong focus on the Northwestern United States.
Bergdahl Prisoner Swap, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, New Donald Sterling Allegations, VA Hospitals Scandal, U.S.-Israel Relations, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). The aftermath of the prisoner swap for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; the primary races leading up to this fall’s mid-term elections and speculation about candidates for president in 2016; new allegations of racist and sexist behavior against Clippers owner Donald Sterling; the ongoing fallout from the VA Hospitals scandal; U.S.-Israel relations in the wake of Hamas’ role in the Palestinian Authority makeup; and the prelude to the NBA and NHL finals series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
John Brennan Upped to Director of Branding and Programming at ‘102.5 The Bone’ in Tampa. The promotion lifts John Brennan from his content manager position to director of branding and programming at Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone, REAL.RAW.RADIO.” In this post he’ll be responsible for all programming operations for WHPT, including talent selection, coaching, scheduling, imaging, brand development, digital strategy and more. Cox Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “In his previous role as content manager for WHPT, John demonstrated his clear understanding and vision for this unique format. I am confident in his leadership capabilities and proud to have John in this important role.” Brennan comments, “I am extremely excited to be named the director of branding and programming for ‘102.5 The Bone.’ ‘The Bone’ is one of the most unique stations in radio, with some of the most polarizing and talented personalities in the world, and I get to work with them every day. I am honored that Kim Guthrie, Steve Smith and Keith Lawless have such confidence in me to continue the great success of this station. I feel genuinely lucky to be working for a company that encourages such originality and creativity!” In addition to his previous content manager position, Brennan was also executive producer of the Mike Calta show.
WGN, Chicago Celebrates 90th Anniversary with ‘Walk of Fame.’ As Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago celebrates its 90th year of service to the market, the station will spend the month of June honoring its history with several commemorative projects, videos, “Throwback Thursday” social media posts, and on-air programming featuring highlights throughout the decades. The station says the anniversary celebration culminates on Friday, June 27 when Tribune Media unveils the “WGN Radio Walk of Fame.” Plaques will be installed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio at the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. The 2014 induction will recognize 10 beloved and legendary hosts from the station’s long list of distinguished talent including: Jack Brickhouse, Bob Collins, Roy Leonard, Judy Markey, Spike O’Dell, Kathy O’Malley, Wally Phillips, Milt Rosenberg, Quin Ryan and Orion Samuelson. Bios and career highlights of the inductees can be found at wgnradio.com. The ceremony will broadcast live from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm followed by an anniversary special broadcast, “90 years in 90 minutes” from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “Our inaugural Walk of Fame class represents all nine decades of WGN Radio’s life in Chicago. We look forward to honoring even more names who have helped make us the fencepost of conversation for 90 years.”
Bob Pittman Explains Radio’s Resilience to Bloomberg. In a piece for Bloomberg TV, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says the reason 92% of Americans tune in to radio at least once per week is because good radio operators know the audiences they are trying to reach and present the content in a way that attracts them. In the piece, he asks Bloomberg’s Cristina Alesci, “Do you think we’re so dumb that we spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to program radio stations versus just playing the music if that would work?” The piece also features media experts who address radio advertising and how that is evolving to try to keep revenue coming in as more and more advertisers move ad dollars to digital. View the three-minute segment here.
CC Ups VP of Sales Wilcox to SF Market President Post. After yesterday’s announcement that longtime market manager JD Freeman would be retiring from the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment San Francisco cluster, the company announces it is promoting vice president of sales Katie Wilcox to the market president position. Wilcox has been VP of sales since 2009 leading a team of more than 50 sellers, managers and staff to identify opportunities for the seven station cluster. She comments, “Although I have big shoes to fill, my past experience with my partners in programming and operations give me great confidence that this talented team will continue to thrive in the future. I am energized by the challenge ahead and look forward to serving the expanding needs of our listeners, clients and staff.”
Red Zebra Inks Kevin Sheehan to Three-Year Extension at ‘ESPN 980’ Washington. Midday show co-host Kevin Sheehan re-ups with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980” for another three years. Sheehan works with Thom Loverro on “The Sports Fix” that airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. VP of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin has become a fixture in Washington, DC radio and his ratings dominance is a testament to his hard work and preparation.” Sheehan will also continue to host the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show,” contribute to the Tony Kornheiser show and co-host “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins football game. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean adds, “Kevin Sheehan, Thom Loverro, Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell give us one of the strongest midday lineups in the industry. We are ecstatic to have Kevin in the fold for the next three years.”
An Open Letter to Michael Smerconish from Lars Larson. Nationally syndicated and regional talk radio personality Lars Larson – Compass Media Networks and Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland – writes an open letter to SiriusXM and CNN talk media personality Michael Smerconish, criticizing him for “bashing fellow talk hosts as routinely and regularly lying to listeners.” Larson writes in response to Smerconish’s recent appearance on CBS TV in which he promotes his new book called Talk: A Novel, the protagonist of which is a conservative talk host who ignores his conscience to get a big syndication deal. Read Larson’s open letter here.
First Round of April PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the April 2014 period (March 27 – April 23) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
The Connected Car Ain’t Cheap! As advertisers attempt to follow the consumer to the next hot destination – mobile – the saving grace for traditional media just may be the expense of data. The Wall Street Journal’s Tom Gara writes about GM’s new option for 4G LTE connectivity in some models that turns your vehicle into a Wi-Fi hot spot. But it’s not cheap. Certainly consumers with lots of disposable income may splurge but others are likely to balk at paying up to $50 a month for 5 GB of data on top of their smartphone data plans and other monthly media bills. There are other options: $5 per day for 200 MB – not good enough for video but fine for surfing the web. Still, while its possible data may get less expensive down the road, providers are showing no signs of dropping those prices in the near future. Even though advertisers are feverishly trying to figure out how to reach all those 25-39 year olds glued to their smartphones, the fact that radio is free and easy to use is still what keeps many people tuning in.
Getting to the Heart of it with Carlos Santana. While appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to promote his latest album Corazon, guitar legend Carlos Santana (right) spent some time backstage talking with ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (left) whose report was available to affiliates.
Timothy Geithner Book, Boko Haram Mass Kidnapping, Ice Melt Prediction/Climate Change, New Benghazi Hearings, NFL Draft, and Donald Sterling CNN Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s memoir and the controversy over interpretations that Geithner was asked to twist the truth about the factors contributing to the federal deficit; the kidnapping of Christian schoolgirls by militant Islamist organization Boko Haram and its request for a prisoner swap with jailed fellow militants; predictions about Antarctic ice melt and the debate over climate change; the effort to hold new hearings on the Benghazi attack; the NFL draft; and the interview Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling gave to CNN’s Anderson Cooper were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Journal Broadcast Group is seeking a part-time producer for WTMJ, Milwaukee’s midday show with Charlie Sykes. Education:College degree in related field preferred. Skills:Excellent verbal and social communication skills; strong radio news background; effective problem-solving abilities; high work ethics, news judgment and production skills; ability to meet deadlines and detail orientation; ability to read and decipher news source material; operate studio equipment; follow program logs; computer proficiency in digital audio programs. Minimum of one year experience in broadcasting, preferably news/talk radio. Duties:Assist show planning for midday with Charlie Sykes – including show prep materials, audio production and guest booking; develop and maintain extensive contacts; help communicate show material and coordination with Right Wisconsin staff; maintain station commercial log; facilitate breaking news, severe weather and traffic coverage for southeast Wisconsin. Send resume and cover letter to: Eric Brooks, Newsradio 620 WTMJ, 720 E. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Email to: email@example.com.
NAB Show: Day Three. Today’s report from the NAB Show in Las Vegas courtesy of media consultant Holland Cooke delves into the world of Millennials and how they consume media – and therefore advertising – as well as their need to make everything “social.” But it’s not all about Millennials. Whether the attitudes of Boomers and Gen Xers are changing regarding how they prefer to be talked to (addressing talk radio programmers especially here) or not, HC notes Huffington Post founding editor Roy Sekoff believes “engagement” is paramount in reaching people effectively. Read Holland Cooke’s report from the NAB Show here.
BIA/Kelsey: Mobile Local Ad Revenue to Reach $4.5 Billion This Year. That figure would represent a $1.6 billion increase from last year’s $2.9 billion. The firm says that – largely driven by local marketing initiatives of national advertisers – locally targeted mobile ads will represent more than half of overall U.S. mobile ad spending by 2018. BIA/Kelsey senior analyst/vice president of content Michael Boland comments, “Advertiser demand will be driven by natural market forces to follow undervalued inventory. Mobile advertising’s appeal includes higher performance, clearer ROI, tangible conversions and a shorter purchase funnel. These qualities of mobile content and advertising present a rare alignment between typical mobile user intent and advertisers’ stated objectives.” In its annual U.S. “Local Media Forecast” (2013 – 2018), BIA/Kelsey predicts mobile local ad revenue will more than triple over the next five years, reaching $15.7 billion in 2018. It says total U.S. mobile ad spending will grow from $11.4 billion this year to $30.3 billion in 2018, and locally targeted mobile ads will represent 52% of overall mobile ad spending in this country. National-to-local mobile marketing will be the focus of the company’s “Leading in Local: The National Impact” conference next month (5/7 – 9) in Atlanta.
Stephen Colbert to Replace David Letterman on CBS. Wow, talk about a quick and surprising announcement regarding the late night superstar’s replacement! When David Letterman announced he would be retiring from the “CBS Late Show” next year, many figured it would be a long time before a permanent successor was named. But CBS tweeted that it will bring Stephen Colbert aboard to host the program when Letterman steps down. The company is promising an official press release later today (4/10). Early analysis of the move by industry watchers is largely positive with many agreeing this gives Colbert a perfect avenue to step out of his “Colbert Report” character and flex his other show biz muscles while CBS acquires a younger, more up-and-coming television personality. But it sure makes us curious how long this deal was in the works.
New Orleans Talk Show Host Charged with Theft, Forgery. The former longtime morning host at urban talk WBOK, New Orleans – Gerod Stevens (a.k.a. Gerald Neely) – has been charged with theft of more than $1,500 and forgery after authorities allege he cashed checks from advertisers intended for his employer – Bakewell Media of Louisiana. WDSU-TV, New Orleans reports the station and Stevens parted last year. Legal analyst John Fuller tells WDSU-TV Stevens has no prior record and the charges are not “that serious” in the “grand scheme of things,” but he acknowledges that the maximum for both crimes is 10 years.
Odds & Sods. Chicago radio journalist Andrea Darlas will speak at the convocation of the class of 2014 at her alma mater the University of Illinois. Andrea Darlas is a journalism grad of the school – class of 1994 – and at the commencement ceremony on May 17, she will be a featured speaker. Darlas is an award-winning news anchor and reporter for WGN, Chicago and WGN-TV. She is heard weekday mornings on the Steve Cochran show and is seen on WGN-TV as a weekend freelance reporter and contributor for “House Smarts” with Lou Manfredini…..SiriusXM announces the launch of “The Comedy Cellar Show,” a comedy talk show hosted by Noam Dworman, owner of the renowned Comedy Cellar, and comedian Dan Naturman. The program will debut with special guest Dave Attell and will feature top comedians as guests, engaging in uncensored roundtable discussions, as well as exclusive stand-up sets performed by the comedians that same night at the historic venue…..WestwoodOne is again the exclusive radio partner for Augusta National Golf Club’s Masters Tournament. WestwoodOne will provide radio stations nationwide with live hole-by-hole coverage as well as hourly updates throughout the rounds, beginning April 10 through April 13. Bob Papa and Charlie Rymer will anchor live coverage. The network’s Kevin Kugler is pictured here at right on the course — the part known as Amen Corner — during yesterday’s broadcast events.
India House Club Selected as New Home of Talkers New York 2014 – Industry event to relocate to National Historic Landmark. After a successful run of five years at New York City’s Concierge Conference Center, the editorial board of TALKERS magazine announces that the 17th annual installment of the talk radio industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014 – will be held at the India House Club, located in the world famous India House. India House is the architectural and historic centerpiece of Hanover Square — the cultural hub of New York’s financial district in Lower Manhattan. It is situated at One Hanover Square. The opportunity to present the conference at the newly-selected venue is one that TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says is, “too good to pass up.” Harrison states, “We deeply apologize for any inconvenience that our announcement of the former venue might have caused those who have already registered.” According to Harrison, “This event has been selling out several weeks in advance, year after year. The India House Club offers us the opportunity to open the conference to an extra hundred or so people without losing the intimacy that is one of its many attractions. This venue is elegant, comfortable, beautiful and slightly larger than the conference’s former site and yet it comes fully equipped with the state of the art technology that an event of this nature demands. It is also located in one of America’s most vibrant ‘neighborhoods’ and a piece of geography in the belly of the Wall Street beast symbolic of both the good and bad impacting the radio industry in the 21st century.” India House, constructed in the mid-19th century in the style of a Renaissance palazzo, has a long and distinguished heritage tied into the formation of lower Manhattan as well as the story of business and commerce in New York. It is registered as one of New York City’s historic sites and is an official National Historic Landmark. Talkers New York 2014, only open to professionals working in or closely associated with the communications industry, is still expected to be an early sellout. Registrations are $249 per person for all sessions, exhibits, receptions and food and only taken by phone with credit cards. Call 413-565-5413. More details about speakers and agenda will be announced in the coming days leading up to the event on Friday, June 20. For more information, click here.
Cowherd and Costner Talk “Draft Day” and More. Actor Kevin Costner (left) chats in the Times Square ESPN Radio studios with talk show host Colin Cowherd. Costner made the appearance to promote his new film “Draft Day” in which he plays rogue football GM Sonny Weaver who must do what he thinks is necessary to revive the moribund Cleveland Browns (that’s the true-to-life part of the film). During Costner’s visit with Cowherd, the two talk about the importance of playing sports throughout life – not just in youth – as well as Costner’s effective playing of sports characters in his past films.
Talking Immigration Reform in DC. At the annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row being held in Washington, DC, some 50 talk show hosts from around the country have spent the last two days (4/9-10) at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill speaking with listeners, lawmakers, law enforcement, immigration experts, activists and members of the media about the issue of immigration reform. Pictured here is WINA, Charlottesville, Virginia talk show host Rob Schilling (right) interviewing Dan Stein (left), president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which is sponsoring the annual event.
PA School Stabbing Rampage, ObamaCare Criticism, 2016 Presidential Race, U.S.-China Relations, Hank Aaron GOP Comments, Lerner Prosecution Movement, and Al Sharpton Informant Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). A stabbing rampage allegedly committed by 16-year-old Alex Hribal wounds 24 at a Pittsburgh-area high school; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and the White House’s criticism of doctors profiting off Medicare patients; speculation about the possible candidates in the 2016 presidential race; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s combative conference with China’s defense chief ahead of President Obama’s coming visit to China; baseball legend Hank Aaron calls the Republican party the modern KKK; the move by GOP congressmen to prosecute former IRS official Lois Lerner; and the controversy over the story that Rev. Al Sharpton was a mob informant were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
‘Business Rockstars Radio’ to Air on WGN.FM. The Ken Rutkowski-hosted “Business Rockstars Radio” program begins airing on Tribune Company’s WGN.FM digital platform. WGN VP of content and programming Todd Manley says, “Ken Rutkowski is driven by a hunger to understand innovators, and his knack for unlocking the heart and soul of entrepreneurs makes for a potent audio-video-social journey. This fits WGN.FM’s free-form model perfectly, and we can’t wait for Ken’s first Business Rockstars Chicago event.” “Business Rockstars Radio” began broadcasting live today (4/7) from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm CT. Business Rockstars co-founder Steve Lehman comments, “We’re thrilled to expand ‘Business Rockstars Radio’ into the Chicago market by joining the powerhouse family over at WGN Radio. This new alliance will allow us to reach the huge demographic of ‘Wantrepreneurs’ in Chicago and the surrounding areas with fun, fast-paced and compelling entrepreneurial content about growing, starting, and funding businesses. It’s going to be great to work with the WGN team. Todd Manley is a cutting-edge, forward-thinking programmer, and I’ve always admired and had a great working relationship with my only man-crush, Jimmy de Castro.”
Salem Communications Adds Chicago-based Joe Walsh to WNYM, New York Afternoon Schedule. Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is no stranger to the WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” airwaves – he’s been working on the air there since late January. But now the company announces Walsh will host the 5:00 pm hour on “AM 970 The Answer” and then do his 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm CT show on WIND, Chicago. Salem VP director spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “We looked at a lot of options for late afternoons, but once we put Joe on the air in New York something magical happened. He instantly bonded with the New York audience. Joe sounds like he was born and bred in New York with a fire-breathing attitude. New York politicians need to get ready for this guy.” Walsh comments, “When Governor Cuomo said three months ago that conservatives weren’t welcome in New York, I took that as an invitation. Other talk show hosts threatened to leave New York, but I told the folks at AM 970 I want to go where the enemy lives, and they took me in.”
Radio: Playing Catch-Up to Our On-Demand Culture. Reporting from the RAIN Summit that preceded today’s opening of the NAB Show in Las Vegas, media consultant Holland Cooke writes about what those on the digital platform are doing well and what AM/FM operators can learn from them. Cooke offers analysis of what “curation” can mean to radio station programmers and sales staffers as well as reporting on what works on the podcasting platform and what doesn’t. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
CBS-Nielsen Cross-Media Measurement Data Shows Power of TV-Radio Combo Buys. A statement from both CBS and Nielsen calls today’s news “proof of concept (POC)” for local television plus radio audience measurement. Using Nielsen TV and radio panels the two companies “collaborated to demonstrate the additive power of combining media buys for major advertising campaigns. The POC combined audience data from CBS’ local TV and radio assets in order to build a foundation that measured combined and unduplicated reach across both media.” It’s good news for CBS but it’s really the only player with a large number of TV and radio assets across the company. Still, Nielsen says it intends to open participation in the pilot across a wider group of clients to “further strengthen cross-media selling models.” But the companies go on to say that “creating a measurable foundation gives advertisers using marketing mix models as a basis for their media planning the tools they need to accurately account for how local television and radio together contribute to driving sales. This POC begins the conversation into the data needed by those models to correctly value local television and radio.” Here’s more from the press release: “In some cases, using local television and radio together doubled the reach in certain markets. In the five markets measured in the POC, an advertiser could reach anywhere from 84% to as high as 93% of all adults 18+ within a month by leveraging local television and radio together. Advertisers would be able to see the benefits of combining the buying of these media and dayparts together. For instance, combining television prime time and late news all week with morning drive on weekdays, an advertiser could reach 75% of A18-49 in Boston within four weeks. In this example, a local media buy could make sense for fast food advertisers.” Full results of the study are being presented at the NAB Show tomorrow (4/8). CBS Corporation chief research officer David Poltrack says, “Industry-standard measurement is a first step toward showing large advertisers what local advertisers already know – there is a lot of value to combining local television and radio in a media buy. We will continue working with Nielsen to bring to the industry the rich analytics, reporting tools, and planning software needed to prove these benefits to advertisers. The long-term plan is to include online as well. This proof-of-concept demonstrates the power of broadcasting quickly and frequently to reach mass audiences.”
Howard Stern to Interview Billy Joel for SiriusXM “Town Hall” Series. The “Town Hall” Series on SiriusXM taking place at the end of this month will feature talk radio legend Howard Stern sitting down with rock icon Billy Joel. The satcaster says that this “unique live sit-down special, pays tribute to Billy Joel with conversation, questions, performances by Joel and special guests.” It will take place at a “secret, intimate location in New York City on Monday, April 28.” Additional details about the “Town Hall,” including special performances and guests, will be revealed by Howard Stern in the coming weeks on his program. Stern says, “The 2010 interview I did with Billy Joel was one of my favorites of my career. Now, this special hits a whole new level, with surprise guests whose lives have been changed by Billy, from the unknown to the famous, giving Billy the tribute, and fans the treat, that they deserve.”
KFXX, Portland Debuts Two New Weekend Shows. Adding local programming to its weekend programming roster is Entercom’s KFXX, Portland “1080 TheFan.” The new Saturday program is “The Sinner and the Saint” featuring Keith Hill and Luke Anderson (pictured here) airing from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. On Sundays from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, “Sports Sunday” hosted by Mike Lynch and Rashad Taylor is now heard.
KCAA, Loma Linda CEO Featured on Sundance TV Reality Series Tonight. On this evening’s episode of “Loredana Esq.,” KCAA CEO Fred Lundgren will be featured as station attorney and program star Loredana Nesci represents him in a case that went before the Los Angeles Superior Court. The TV show features Nesci – a former L.A. cop-turned-criminal defense attorney – as she handles cases facing overwhelming odds. During this evening’s episode Nesci represents Lundgren who faces receivership after being sued by a broadcaster for $800,000. Lundgren terminated the broadcaster’s contract due to repeated on-air obscenities. Lundgren says this episode offers a “unique glimpse behind the scenes of a radio station licensee who gets caught between our First Amendment rights and the First Amendment restrictions placed on radio stations by the FCC.”
Odds & Sods. Beginning tomorrow (4/8), Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will present a video component to the morning drive Steve Cochran program. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, there will be multiple cameras in the studio to, as chief content officer Todd Manley says, give “a peek behind the curtain – a way to see how everybody collaborates.”…..ESPN Radio’s “SVP & Russillo” will originate from Sundance Square in Fort Worth today from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm in advance of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship game. Today’s broadcast featuring hosts Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo is open to the public…..Las Vegas-based talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs reports that two more talk show hosts have signed on to take part in the effort to raise funds for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. Casey Hendrickson of WTRC, Michiana-Fort Wayne “News/Talk 95.3” and Len Connell of “The Sex and Money Show” on KLAV, Las Vegas join a number of other radio hosts who are competing to raise the most money and claim the FROST prize (top fundraising host). Dr. Wachs says there’s still time to join the fun and possibly win a $1,000 Southwest Airlines gift card. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRN Companies and Cumulus Media Announce Amicable Westwood One Settlement. TRN Companies and Cumulus Media announced late Friday afternoon (3/7) that they have agreed to settle outstanding claims arising during previous ownership of WestwoodOne, acquired by Cumulus Media in December, 2013. Lew Dickey, president and CEO of Cumulus Media, said, “While Cumulus Media had no role in the lawsuits filed by TRN Companies, we are pleased to resolve these claims and move forward together. We remain supportive of each other and are optimistic for the future.” Mark Masters, CEO of TRN Companies, said: “We are pleased to ‘turn the page’ with the new owners of WestwoodOne and have put past issues behind us. As we build bridges together, we look forward to a mutually beneficial future working with our affiliated stations, customers, Lew and John Dickey and Cumulus Media.”
Emmis to Reward Employees with Stock. The company states that as part of its 2012 Employee Retention Plan, roughly 75% of its full-time employees are being notified they are eligible to receive what it is saying is “a sizeable stock award.” The company further states, “Emmis prides itself on being a destination employer in the media and digital industries, and as such, places a high value on cultivating a culture that allows us to attract and retain the best talent in our industries. The third of Emmis’ Eleven Commandments states: Be good to your people – get them into the game and give them a piece of the pie.” Eligible employees will receive a pro-rata share of approximately 976,000 shares of Emmis Communications common stock. Using Friday’s closing price, the 976,000 shares in the Retention Plan will deliver $3,240,000 in value to the 598 employees who qualify for the plan. To ensure a broad-based distribution, the Plan excluded executive officers and capped the level of salary credit at $50,000. As an example of the award size, a full-time employee of Emmis who has been with the company since April 2, 2012, with a salary of $40,000 per year will get approximately 1,480 shares. That equates to a market value of $4913.60, using the closing price last Friday, March 7 of $3.32. The awards will vest on April 2, 2014 and will be distributed to employees shortly thereafter. It will be their choice whether to hold or sell the stock.
KSFO, San Francisco Names Hughes Late Morning Host. Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco has been trying out talk show hosts in the late morning slot (billed on the station’s website as “KSFO Talk Show”) for the past several months. Now, the station names Spencer Hughes permanent host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Hughes’ resume includes stops at talk stations across America including WRKO, Boston; KGO, San Francisco; KTKZ, Sacramento; and KSRO, Santa Rosa.
WGN VP/GM Jimmy de Castro Talks Radio and More. The vice president and general manager of Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago and the new sports talk WGWG “The Game 87.7” spoke candidly with the Chicago Sun-Times for its online video feature “The Sit Down.” In the interview, de Castro throws out a number quips that’ll interest industry watchers. For example, he’s not trying to bring young listeners to WGN, “I don’t want a younger audience for ’GN. I want 35- to 65- or 70-year-old people.” He says he hasn’t committed a lot of money to his staff. “I don’t have one contract with one person on our station. Not one. They’re all here because of how they feel. Any time they want, they can walk out the door.” The one-time WLUP-FM leader also talks about his career and how he views life after all of his success. See it here.
Jack Roberts Dies at 62. Radio executive/on-air personality Jack Roberts died this past weekend in Los Angeles. Over the course of his career, the 62-year-old Roberts was a general manager, program director, on-air talk host, and producer. Most recently, the Boston College graduate and Massachusetts native was executive producer for CRN Digital Talk Radio programming, including “What’s Cookin’ Today.” CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn comments, “Jack truly understood and loved radio. He became an instant, caring friend to everyone he encountered.” Roberts thought he could get any guest or celebrity, and Horn remarks, “He almost always booked them. Guests and talent, but most especially the listeners, enjoyed what they heard. Jack’s legacy will live on through them and all of us. That would make him very proud.” Roberts was a senior producer on syndicated radio programs hosted by Dick Cavett, and Colonel Oliver North. He was in charge of production for “The Jerry Williams Show” and “The Doug Stephan Show.” His on-air experience includes stops at Boston’s WRKO, WMEX and WXKS; WPRO, Providence; and WDRC, Hartford – where he became general manager and program director. Roberts held those titles at WWRC, Washington, DC as well. Programmer Ron Jacobs writes, “Jack Roberts is great at shining the spotlight on others and not blowing his own horn.” Funeral services are pending for Roberts, who wrote a radio-themed blog – “HollywoodHillsGroup.com” - that highlighted industry achievements and gave publicity to on-air talent.
Twin Cities Star Tom Barnard Talks Podcasting in Profile Piece. Morning radio personality Tom Barnard – a 43-year Minneapolis-St. Paul market icon – is profiled by the Minneapolis Post. The star of Cumulus’ rock KQRS speaks about numerous topics – the death of the voice-over business, his rise to fame, and his decision to get more political after 9/11 – in the story and explains his separate business producing and selling ad time for his daily two-hour podcast. Barnard tells the Post that although he billed roughly $250,000 in 2013, the show is not in the black due to expenses including salaries and the cost of bandwidth. Barnard and partner Don Shelby (former WCCO personality) are not collecting a salary at this point. Barnard’s decision to sell ad time and not charge for subscriptions as well as to go after local ad dollars, flies in the face of the way many of the high-profile podcasters are doing it (think Tom Leykis and Adam Carolla). Read the entire Post story here.
Odds & Sods. In the Duluth market, Midwest Communications flips standards WGEE, Superior, Wisconsin to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio programming…..Sports radio pro Seth Everett becomes part of the New York Mets broadcasts on Clear Channel’s WOR, New York this season where he’ll be hosting the pre- and post-game programs…..Charlotte Knights minor league baseball will air on Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte this summer as the station will carry 10 Saturday night home games and two Friday evening home games.
Chris Stigall Broadcasts from CPAC. The annual Washington, DC gathering of conservative politicians dubbed the Conservative Political Action Conference involves an active radio row and WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) was in the middle of all the action last week as he broadcast his show from the event. He’s pictured here interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (left).
WVBR Returns To Collegetown (Ithaca) in New, High Tech Studio Station to Hold March 15th Dedication Ceremony – Keith Olbermann Makes Major Donation. Proving that grassroots terrestrial radio is alive and well, WVBR-FM is returning home to Collegetown (a proud name sported by downtown Ithaca, New York – home of Cornell University and Ithaca College – per its reputation as being one of the best college towns in America) after a 14-year absence, with a newly-built, state-of-the-art studio. The new studio is located at 604 East Buffalo Street in Ithaca, next to the Carriage House Café and across from The Connection, Loco Cantina, and the Chapter House. WVBR has operated out of 957 Mitchell Street near East Hill Plaza after leaving its longtime home at 227 Linden Avenue in Collegetown in 2000. It will be officially dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to take place this coming Saturday (3/15). WVBR-FM is a commercial, non-profit radio station that is owned and fully operated by the Cornell Radio Guild, a group of Cornell University students. Since 1935, this group’s stated mission has been running a radio station with the goal of training students in broadcasting. Since 1968, WVBR has been serving Ithaca and Tompkins Counties playing an eclectic mix of classic and modern rock under the banner, “Real Rock Radio.” WVBR broadcasts over 93.5 FM and 105.5 FM to Tompkins County and the surrounding area. The newly named Olbermann-Corneliess Studios was purchased with donations from station alumni, most notably ESPN host Keith Olbermann. Olbermann gave what has been described by station management as “a generous donation” with a request that WVBR’s new home studio be named in honor of his late father Theodore Olbermann, as well as the late Glenn Corneliess, his colleague during his years at WVBR who passed away in 1996. Olbermann, the Corneliess family, and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will be among those on hand for the dedication, as well as many station alumni, current staff, and management. A brand new set of professional equipment, a large vinyl library, a live performance space, three soundproof production booths, and two advanced on-air studios are some of the many highlights of the new space. “There is no doubt in my mind that 604 East Buffalo Street will feature the best college radio setup in the country,” says Drew Endick, president of the Cornell Radio Guild, Inc. and general manager of WVBR, telling RadioInfo, “We have been trying to expand our content production operations and provide better services for the local community, and we now have the facilities to meet these challenges.” The new studio will be home to two radio stations – WVBR, which broadcasts with a rock format over FM, as well as CornellRadio.com, which is being launched as a more student-centric, freeform online station. CornellRadio.com will feature pop, hip-hop, dance, and alternative music, as well as talk shows, comedy programming, and sports content provided by a partnership with the Big Red Sports Network. Each station will have its own cutting-edge studio within the building. “This move is extremely important to the goals of our station,” says Michael Mallon, senior vice president of communications. “The latest technology will not only allow us to create better content for our listeners, but it will also allow the students of Cornell University to learn and train on the same equipment as is used in the big stations in major cities.” The move is also significant as the station will now be a close walk for most students. “It’s a perfect location for us, both physically and symbolically,” Mallon continues, “The station is right between the students who operate the station, and the Ithacans who make up most of our listenership.” ASI Renovations managed the huge project. The space was already in great condition, but the design presented some big technical challenges. Sherpa Technologies wired the building for radio operations. Students and weekend staff led the move, bringing over the entire vinyl and CD collections, as well as other important articles from the old station.
Chattin’ with a Legend. WFTL, Fort Lauderdale late morning talk host Rich Stevens (right) entertains legendary disc jockey Cousin Brucie (left) in the station’s studios. Stevens tells TALKERS the pair chatted about numerous topics and took calls from listeners. While speaking with callers, a 92-year-old local listener phoned in to tell Cousin Brucie he remembers winning a contest 40 years ago that Cousin Brucie executed that sent him on a vacation. Brucie asked him if he was still there and needed money to get back!
Sittin’ in on WMAL, Washington. Former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (left) is pictured here in the WMAL, Washington studios as she served as guest co-host on the “Morning On The Mall” program today (3/10). O’Donnell worked with co-host Larry O’Connor (right) while subbing for Brian Wilson.
WGN-Programmed FM Debuts Today as Sports Talk ‘The Game 87.7.’ Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the scoop following Friday’s announcement that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will LMA WKQX-LP at 87.7 beginning today. Last week Feder tipped us that Jonathon Brandmeier would do mornings when Tribune begins programming the station, but now he informs us the station will be the market’s first FM sports talk station branded “The Game 87.7.” In addition to Brandmeier in mornings, the rest of the lineup will be: current WGN evening sports host David Kaplan and Chicago Tribune sports columnist David Haugh in middays, followed by WGN’s Alex Quigley and Big Ten Network’s Howard Griffith hosting an early afternoon show. Former WMVP personality Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton will host late afternoons with WGN’s Mark Carman hosting the evening show. Overnights will feature programming from NBC Sports Radio Network. WGN’s Jordan Bernfield will serve as full-time sports reporter. Making the move over to the FM from WGN, Kaplan is giving up his “Sports Central” show on WGN and late night host Pete McMurray is bumped into the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm slot. Read Feder’s entire column here.
‘Flirty Flipper’ Returns to WABC to Produce ‘Curtis & Kuby.’ It’s a return to the studios at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York for Jill Vitale (a.k.a. Flirty Flipper) who served as Sean Hannity’s producer beginning in 1999 when he was a local NYC-only show. During her time there she also produced John Gambling’s program before leaving in 2011. Now, she returns to produce the midday show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby.
Tucson Talk Personality Jim Parisi to LMA KEVT. Market talk radio pro Jim Parisi is taking over the operation of One Mart Corp.-owned KEVT under an LMA and is re-branding the former Spanish music station as news/talk radio outlet “Power Talk 1210.” Tucson Weekly reports Parisi will serve as general manager in addition to hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program. Other personalities will include Providence, Rhode Island-based Steve Kass for 5:00 am to 7:00 am and John C. Scott for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program. Fox Sports Radio Network programming will air in evenings and on weekends. Parisi tells the paper, “I’ve come to a point that the only way to be happy is doing what I believe in. I’m not doing anything that doesn’t reflect how I truly feel, so it will be the most genuine station I can be a part of. We should have more local programming than most anyone in town. We want to be as local, but as budget conscious, as we can so that we don’t go away.”
KNBR, San Francisco Takes Beating Over Olympics Coverage. When Cumulus Media-owned sports talk outlet KNBR, San Francisco cut away from its coverage of the U.S.A.-Russia men’s hockey game during the shoot-out (which the U.S.A won!) to air “Hooked on Golf,” critics took to the internet to blast the station for the move. The sports media critique site AwfulAnnouncing called the station out and posted a series of Tweets from fellow critics. One Tweet came in from a Ryan Covay, who appears to be a KNBR staffer, saying, “I’m @ryancovay at home, not at station. I imagine it’s because there are specific shows that need to air. Apologies.” It’s not been confirmed by KNBR but it appears the “Hooked on Golf” show is a brokered show that broadcasts live from a golf course in San Mateo. That could explain the decision to cut away.
XtreMEDIA Expands Dani Johnson Show to Daily Format. More than two years ago, the Dani Johnson show debuted on weekends on premier affiliate WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Now, the program moves to a daily format beginning today (2/17) and Johnson’s program will be available seven days per week. XtreMEDIA states that “Johnson’s brand of ‘No Excuses, Just Results’ is now heard/seen in more than 66 million television households nationally, heard in more than 112 terrestrial radio markets, cleared on SiriusXM, and streamed/accessed by hundreds of thousands of social media users on her wesbite, social media pages, and her proprietary smartphone app. And now she is accessed seven days a week.” Johnson adds, “I can’t believe how much fun I’m having doing a daily show. My true desire is to continue to help push people to achieve results in all areas of their lives, so that they can take back control, build financial resources, build stable marriages and families, and ultimately feed orphans and help those who need it most.” XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough comments, “Dani connects with people — especially in this hyper-partisan environment — in ways that few people can. The beauty of her show is that it doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of success, if you apply exactly what she shows you, you achieve better results.”
Michael Harrison to Speak in Keynote Session at National Religious Broadcasters Convention. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will serve as a keynote speaker next week at the NRB International Christian Media Convention 2014 in Nashville. The event, which runs February 22-25 and is preceded by a one-day Digital Media Summit on February 21, is billed as an event that networks thousands of Christian communicators, from program producers to authors, pastors to engineers, directors to vendors presenting outstanding internationally known speakers and musicians and giving attendees the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions on radio, TV, film, church media, internet and leadership, and receive helpful industry training. Harrison, whose two-hour session will take place on Monday, February 24 at 2:00 pm, states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this event and spending time getting to better know people from the faith-based sector of the radio and media industries. It will certainly give me the opportunity to embellish one of the key points of my own personal view of what radio needs to do to be a viable and productive entity in the digital era – and that is to never miss any opportunity to be a hero…to literally serve the community… to spread hope and inspiration…to talk about the many crisis and challenges facing people in everyday life and help them cope. I recommend this course of action to all broadcasters – but this is a community where it is already proven to be a winning strategy. I am honored to be a part of this event.” The conference will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. For more information please click here.
Odds & Sods. On the Fox Business News cable TV simulcast of Cumulus Media Networks’ Don Imus show, Lori Rothman is the new business news update reporter. TVNewser reports that Rothman is moving into the morning role after serving as part of the early-afternoon “Markets Now” crew. She’s joining FBN’s Connell McShane and Dagen McDowell…..Clear Channel names Brent Henslee operations manager for the company’s six-station Macon, Georgia cluster that includes sports talk WPLA “Fox Sports 1670” and all-comedy WIBB…..KCRW, Santa Monica personality Matt Miller announces he will run as a Democrat for the seat in Congress being vacated by the retiring Henry Waxman. Miller is co-host of “Left, Right & Center” on the public radio station. He’s also a columnist for the Washington Post. Several Democrats are competing in the primary for the party’s nomination to run in the general election.
Detroit Media Personality Angelo Henderson Dead at 51. WCHB, Detroit talk show host Angelo Henderson passed away on Saturday (2/15) at age 51 after an illness. The Radio One Detroit cluster issued the following statement on the WCHB website: “We at Radio One Detroit are devastated by unexpected news today. We regretfully must confirm the passing of one of our on-air icons Angelo B. Henderson. Henderson has been with Radio One Detroit for 15 years and was the host of the popular talk show “Your Voice with Angelo Henderson” on Newstalk AM1200/99.9FM WCHB for the past 6 years.” Vice president and general manager Kathy Stinehour adds, “Angelo was a strong pillar in the community, I am saddened by his untimely passing and he will be greatly missed by the entire Detroit community and his Radio One Detroit family.” In addition to his broadcasting work Henderson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
FCC Appears to Back Off of Newsroom and Issues Study. When it was announced last May, the proposed Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs the Federal Communications Commission would be undertaking rankled many lawmakers and broadcasters as it was perceived as an intrusion into broadcasters’ First Amendment rights in addition to being outside the bounds of the FCC’s jurisdiction. Now, according to a piece in Ad Week, the FCC appears to be backing off, or at least re-defining, the research intended to “study entry barriers” to information media to determine if there are small businesses unable to break into broadcasting. This would have been determined by quizzing news broadcasters about how they choose their stories. Last year, some GOP lawmakers termed it an “end-around” the Fairness Doctrine and heavily criticized the study as well as the jurisdiction of the FCC to getting into content matters. Earlier this week FCC commissioner Ajit Pai penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the study is not necessary to filing its required report to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry in the communications industry. He writes, “This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN (critical information needs) study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?” Whether or not the first field study slated for Columbia, South Carolina this spring gets underway as proposed or not remains to be seen. Ad Week reports it was told by an FCC rep that the agency “has no intention of interfering in the coverage and editorial choices that journalists make. We’re closely reviewing the proposed research design to determine if an alternative approach is merited.”
WGN to Program WKQX 87.7 Beginning Monday. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune’s WGN will begin an LMA operation of WKQX-LP at 87.7 in Chicago starting Monday, February 17. Feder reports that under terms of the LMA with license holder Venture Technologies Group, the deal commences Monday at 1:02 pm on the 17th, a minute after Cumulus Media drops the alternative rock simulcast with 101.1 FM. President and general manager Jimmy de Castro tells Feder, “We’re outgrowing WGN with great talent. Everything we have said we wanted to do is based on the strength of WGN and our personalities. It’s all about getting the best spoken-word talent and getting more bandwidth.” Vice president of creative content for WGN, Todd Manley, will announce a full lineup soon but mornings will begin with Jonathon Brandmeier who’s been doing a morning program on WGN.fm since last September. Read Feder’s full story here.
Phil Hendrie Exits AM/FM Radio. Talk radio host and satirist Phil Hendrie announces he’s leaving the production and syndication of his daily AM/FM radio program after March 14 in order to fully focus on his podcast and other media ventures. He’ll continue doing “The World of Phil Hendrie Show” on TuneIn, iTunes, the Sideshow Network and www.philhendrieshow.com. He says that “Due to the tremendous positive growth this past year owing directly to his fans,” he’s decided that is the area where he should focus all his energies. He adds, “The digital world is where we have made our living the last seven years so as radio attempts to find itself we’ll put our energy in our digital and online product, our animation project, my one man show and of course TV and film opportunities wherever they may occur. To our fans, we haven’t gone anywhere! Our daily show will continue” on digital platforms.
Gerry Callahan Remark Irks Dunkin’ Donuts; Company Cancels Ads on WEEI Affiliate Stations. The Boston Globe is reporting that Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts has cancelled ad buys on stations in the region airing WEEI, Boston programming after WEEI morning co-host Gerry Callahan made a “disparaging comment,” presumably about the company’s donuts. In the Globe piece, Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary says Callahan admits he “screwed up badly” with the off-the-cuff remark and that Zachary understands how Dunkin’ Donuts feels. “You just don’t call somebody’s baby ‘ugly,’ even if it’s unintentional.” Zachary wouldn’t say what Callahan’s words were. He says the ad buy was not a lot of money but that’s not the point. Dunkin’ Donuts has separate ad buys for WEEI, Boston, Callahan’s endorsements and WEEI’s O&O affiliate stations in Providence, Worcester and Springfield. The Boston deal ended in January before Callahan’s comment. Dunkin’ Donuts has been a long-time advertiser with WEEI, especially on Red Sox broadcasts which are ready to resume in a few months. How the incident will affect that remains to be seen.
TALKERS to Publish 2014 Heavy Hundred on Monday, March 3. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication Monday, March 3, 2014. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board. It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely-discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.
Radio Mercury Awards Final-Round Judging Panel Announced. Chief judge Matt Eastwood helped assemble the jury for the 23rd annual Radio Mercury Awards. The panel represents radio’s top advertising categories including automotive, communications, financial services, packaged goods, over-the-counter, retail, spirits, and quick-serve restaurants. Final-round judging panel consists of JWT New York group creative director Jill Applebaum; BBDO New York executive creative director Chris Beresford-Hill; Cog NYC founder Wayne Best; Grupo Gallegos chief creative officer Pablo Buffagni; Young & Rubicam Group New York chief creative officer Jim Elliott; DDB Chicago executive vice president/executive creative director Mark Gross; Publicis New York executive creative director Joe Johnson; and Deutsch New York chief creative officer Kerry Keenan. “This list is a ‘who’s who’ of well-established creative executives, and perennial award-winning agencies with a long history of creating exceptional, noteworthy creative executions,” remarks Eastwood, who is chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide Communications Group New York. “More importantly, our panel consists of brilliant thought leaders who have a true love and appreciation for the greatest writer’s medium of all time, radio.” Radio Creative Fund chair – and Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber – adds, “We feel so incredibly privileged to have gathered such a pinnacle group of creative ambassadors for this year’s competition. The bar has been set high, but I am confident this group will help ensure that the mission of the Radio Mercury Awards lives on as we award the best creative audio commercials over the past year.” Prizes will be handed out in a variety of categories such as “Agency Production,” “Radio Station Produced,” “Student,” “PSA,” “Spanish Language,” and “Best of Show.” Deadline for submissions is April 1, with the awards event taking place June 4 at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge.
Southern California Broadcasters Association to Provide Quarterly Guidance Report. Planning and research material is for California advertising agencies, clients and its members. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan notes that, “The SCBA Quarterly Market Guidance Report fulfills a growing need among California ad agencies and clients to look ahead to the next quarter to learn, plan, create, and execute even more effective radio advertising campaigns based on market conditions, trends, and the upcoming quarter’s business environment. As an additional service to the advertising community, the SCBA will encourage face-to-face planning and development meetings with advertising agencies and major clients to provide full-year guidance and customization of our extensive market research.” The QMG report will give current and predictive regional economic data, radio category growth, and commentary on advertising and business trends. The report uses regional economic development corporation reports, member reports on market trends, Miller Kaplan Arase data, and audience measurement data. It will be posted late next month for second quarter 2014 guidance on the SCBA’s website (www.scba.com).
S-Class Mercedes-Benz to Have HD Radio. Mercedes-Benz of Mexico is launching its S-Class with HD Radio. iBiquity Digital is the developer of the digital technology and its chief operating officer Jeff Jury states, “We are very pleased to achieve the key goal of North American standardization with Mercedes-Benz. With this expansion, Mercedes-Benz drivers across Canada, Mexico and the United States have access to HD Radio technology in their cars. This coincides with our continuing efforts to bring HD Radio broadcasting to all markets across North America. By offering the technology as standard, Mercedes-Benz is ensuring that all their customers can enjoy the current services and be ensured of enjoying the coming ‘all-digital’ future.” The 2014 S-Class is now at dealerships across the United States and Mexico. More than 2,230 digital stations are on-air; over 1,480 HD2 and HD3 digital-only channels broadcast content that can only be heard with an HD Radio receiver.
Odds & Sods. WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” sports talker Tony Bruno is scheduled to begin making weekly appearances on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN 2 program. The first appearance will be tonight (2/14) live from ESPN’s Times Square studios in New York City…..Cumulus Media’s KOH, Reno is holding a radiothon today at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa to benefit the Veterans Guest House which provides temporary housing for vets and their families while they are being treated at the Reno VA. This is the 11th annual radiothon the station has produced for the cause…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the winners of its first annual Food & Wine Awards. CRN Digital Talk Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is home to several food and beverage-oriented programs. It asked listeners to decide 2013′s Best Chef, Restaurant, Sommelier, and Winemaker. President and CEO Mike Horn says, “Food and wine are best enjoyed with good company. Our listeners deciding the year’s best of the best in the culinary and beverage arenas was very much akin to sitting down, honoring some great people, enjoying a fun meal.” This year’s winners are: Best Chef of the Year – Andrew Sutton – Napa Rose, Anaheim; Best Restaurant of the Year – Gary Danko – San Francisco; Best Sommelier of the Year – Paul Coker – St. Regis, Monarch Beach; and Winemaker of the Year Jeff Stewart – Hartford Family Wines…..Broadcasts of New York Yankees baseball on new flagship sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York will debut with the February 27 exhibition game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yankees games moved from CBS RADIO‘s all-news WCBS after a new contract was negotiated in the fall.
Wichita Police Make Arrest in Case of Slain Radio Station Staffer. Police in Wichita have a suspect in custody in the early Monday morning slaying of Steckline Communications employee Daniel Flores. Authorities say that in responding to a Crime Stoppers tip, they pulled over Antwon Banks who proceeded to stab himself in the stomach. He’s in a local hospital under police guard and will be booked on felony murder charges when he’s recovered. He was apparently the ex-boyfriend of Steckline office manager Lisa Bryce, leading authorities to conclude that Flores was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Clear Channel Commits to Campaign for ‘American Heart Month.’ For the purpose of educating the public about heart disease, its risks and preventative measures, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is committing more than $1 million worth of on-air media to that end. Today (2/14), Clear Channel is kicking off a two-week public service announcement campaign across its 840 radio stations to educate listeners on the symptoms of heart disease and stroke in honor of American Heart Month. Certain Clear Channel stations will air a comedic yet informative public service announcement voiced by Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks that highlights the signs of heart attack in women, while all other Clear Channel radio stations will air a second PSA, created by the Ad Council and the American Heart Association, to help people recognize and respond to the sudden warning signs of a stroke.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New station affiliations for Cumulus Media Networks programming this week include: for Michael Savage – WTAR, Norfolk; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; WQSI, Tuskegee, Alabama; and WWBA, Tampa; Phil Valentine – WCOA, Pensacola; Mark Levin – WGKA, Atlanta; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; and WVOC-FM, Columbia, South Carolina…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at KNOX-AM/FM, Grand Forks.
Dave Ramsey Counsels Bobby Bones’ Staff and Listeners. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey (right) sits in on the Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show based at WSIX-FM, Nashville, right down the road from Ramsey’s home base of Brentwood. Ramsey appeared with Bones (left) after Bones show producer Ray lost his truck in a Super Bowl bet and is some $8,000 in debt. Ramsey talked to the crew and audience about various topics including the terrible odds of gambling, tax withholding, and even the psychology behind using the debt snowball to pay off debt.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of February 10-14 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and the delay in the employer mandate, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the debt ceiling issue. At #3 was speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 and at #4 was immigration reform. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
John Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash. Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman. The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division. Here’s what he can count on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014. Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement. Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation. Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement. CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.
Sean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit. The Motor City destination for Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK. The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut. WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up. Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market. He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’” Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.
Double Shot of WGN, Chicago News. Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago. Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager. When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.” WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.” Second, longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday. Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program. Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN. Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team. For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time. The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”
Salem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million. It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com. In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger III says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space. Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience. The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform. With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.” The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.
‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast. The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that. And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats. A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”
Sports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move. Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move. The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons. The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related. The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.
Shannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension. This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team. According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball. We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.” It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station. Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games. Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.
Great Read! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance (2014 SBN Books). Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change. This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.” Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’” The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before. Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer. With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe. He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future. Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email email@example.com.
WHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant. The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations. The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia. Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations. The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.” CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact. This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.” In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB funds six other LJCs across the country, including: EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.
Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Long Set To Program Clear Channel, San Diego Combo. Former senior director of programming for Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” Brian Long, has been tapped to program Clear Channel, San Diego’s news/talk KOGO-AM and KLSD “Xtra Sports 1360.” Vice president of programming John Peake comments, “Brian will bring a diverse perspective from multiple markets and stations to our spoken-word brands. We are excited to add Brian’s management and broadcasting experience to the San Diego programming team. We are confident that KOGO-AM and ‘Xtra Sports’ will prosper under his tutelage.” Long previously was assistant program director and “In the Zone” host on Los Angeles’ KSPN “710 ESPN.” Prior to that, the Kansas City native programmed in Palm Springs, California for KXPS “The Team 1010,” KFUT “Fox Sports 1270,” and KNWZ “K-News.” Long begins his San Diego assignment in two weeks (1/21).
Caplis to Host Late Morning Show on KNUS, Denver. Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver adds local TV and radio personality Dan Caplis to the program lineup in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot. Caplis – an attorney – most recently worked in radio at Clear Channel’s crosstown news/talk KHOW with co-host Craig Silverman. KNUS general manager Brian Taylor says, “With the upcoming election cycle, plus the compelling local issues that have put Colorado in the forefront recently, it is significant for us to offer another powerful local voice like market veteran Dan Caplis. Combined with Peter Boyles and Steve Kelley, 710 KNUS will now offer more daily, live local conservative talk programming than any other station in the Denver market.”
New Year Changes at Facebook That Affect You. Digital media consultant Chris Miller informs us that Facebook recently made some important changes that affect how users get to show the content they do. Miller writes, “The news and entertainment site Buzzfeed first picked up on it before Facebook made it official. The folks at Buzzfeed noticed that, all of a sudden, online content publishers were getting a huge increase in hits. That group of publishers includes a wide variety of content providers, but the way to think about it is ‘sites that find and write about stuff that others should find interesting.’” Miller says that all social platforms are getting more sophisticated about how they determine what their users will see. Facebook has adjusted their formula that determines what content we all get shown, emphasizing the interesting over the merely silly and self-serving. Here’s how to help insure that more of your posts get shown to your fan base. Read Miller’s column here.
Analysis: 2014 NMX Podcasters Conference. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas this week covering the New Media Expo and the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. First up, Cooke reports from the weekend’s happenings at 2014 NMX. Cooke says the standing-room-only crowd was replete with people focused on talking targeted, passionate interests with its audience. “And they’re not just talking to your geographical area. And they are not merely, as clichéd station imaging assures, ‘talking-about what-you’re-talking-about,’” says Cooke. “Instead of belaboring Benghazi, they’re bonding with ‘ovewhelmed adoptive moms, by telling the truth about the post-adoption journey, so they feel validated and encouraged for the road ahead.’ If more station websites offered narrowcast content that’s specifically appealing, and used transmitters to invite those moms to engage, new digital revenue would follow.” Read Cooke’s entire report from 2014 NMX in Las Vegas here.
Jason Rantz Promoted to Daily Evening Show at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM ups Jason Rantz from his year-old weekend show on the station to the daily 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program effective this evening. KIRO-FM program director Pete Gammell says, “Jason is an extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful host who always seeks opposing views to further listeners’ understanding. We always strive to connect entertainment to value and discussion to understanding. This is Jason’s strength and I’m sure listeners will agree.” Speaking about his new gig, Rantz states, “I’m excited by the opportunity to talk with Western Washington as a part of KIRO’s weekday team. I’ve enjoyed interacting and engaging the KIRO Radio listeners during my previous weekend show and now I’m thrilled to bring this same dynamic to weeknights. There are so many important issues affecting our community and the nation, and it is vital that we come together to have a civil but challenging and vigorous discussion. I hope my evening show will become that forum.”
Bonneville Gives Sports Talk KTAR-AM, Phoenix FM Simulcast. Shuttering adult hits KPKX “98.7 The Peak,” Bonneville Phoenix gives sports talker KTAR-AM an FM signal on which to simulcast. The company has been building multi-platform sports content destination “Arizona Sports” using the AM radio station and a local sports content-heavy website and now adds an FM signal to the mix. Vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “Putting ‘Arizona Sports’ on FM is an opportunity too big to ignore. Our live, local and exclusive sports content has never been better. We have world-class local talk personalities who deliver powerful opinions and insights that engage, entertain and positively impact the communities we serve. We also have amazing team partners. And all of this attracts a passionate and loyal audience, which in turn, attracts a lot of marketing interest from small and medium business owners, major brands and C-Suite decision makers.” The stations serve as flagship broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona State University and broadcasts Arizona Interscholastic Association prep sporting events from around the state.
Red Zebra Re-Ups with Steve Czaban at ‘ESPN 980’ in Washington. Red Zebra Broadcasting and sports talk host Steve Czaban have agreed to terms on a new three-year deal that will keep the afternoon drive co-host with WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980″ through 2016. Czaban has been co-hosting the afternoon drive time slot for WTEM for the last 13 years. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza comments, “Czabe is integral to the success of our station. We look forward to three additional years of Czabe, Cooley and Galdi.” Steve Czaban co-hosts “The Drive with Cooley & Czabe” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and also hosts the golf program “Sunday Tee Time,” at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings during golf season.
Glenn Beck’s ‘TheBlaze Radio News’ Launces Today. “TheBlaze Radio News” – the latest AM/FM program offering from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – hits stations on the AM/FM dial today after debuting on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel several months ago. The service offers hourly newscasts from anchors and reporters around the nation providing news and information specifically targeted to talk radio listeners. The casts draw on the reporting from TheBlaze television network and its website TheBlaze.com which it says “generates over 20 million unique visitors per month and is one of the 100 most trafficked websites in America.” The service is airing today in markets including Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and Birmingham, Alabama.
Compass Names Ingold Sales Exec. Compass Media Networks brings Doug Ingold aboard as senior director of affiliate sales for entertainment & music programming beginning January 20. The company says Ingold “will be based in Los Angeles and assume a vital role in the expansion of Compass’ long-form entertainment and music shows including Big D & Bubba, “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” “Off The Record,” “Out of Order,” Rick Dees and “Skratch N Sniff.” Compass VP of affiliate sales Adam Wilbur comments, “Our entertainment portfolio is growing rapidly and the time is right for us to add someone of Doug’s caliber to spearhead day-to-day affiliate marketing.”
McMurray Show Expands at WGN. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, late night talk show host Pete McMurray’s show will expand with a new earlier start time at 10:00 pm (and end at 2:00 am), shaving an hour off David Kaplan’s evening sports talk program. Feder quotes WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley saying, “Pete has become our all-purpose star in a variety of fill-in roles. I think he gets what we’re trying to do very well, especially in providing lots of video content. Between Pete and [producer] Scott Miller, they do an amazing job of booking great guests and being about the city.” Read the story here.
Hotchkiss Transfers to Charlotte as Director of Sales. As of today (1/6), Keith Hotchkiss is Clear Channel Charlotte’s director of sales. He joins that operation from Cleveland where he was general sales manager of Clear Channel-owned CHR WAKS “Kiss-FM,” news/talk WTAM, rock WMMS, and WMMS-HD2 “99X.” Regional Market Manager Charlie Wilkinson remarks that, “Keith’s proven sales leadership will have an immediate impact in Charlotte. I’m confident he will be an integral part of our success now and well into the future.” Clear Channel’s five-station Charlotte cluster consists of alternative WEND “The End,” CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1,” country WKKT “The Kat,” adult hits WLKO “The Lake,” and classic rock WRFX “The Fox.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York radio personality Laura Smith is sitting in for the first few shows with new 5:00 pm program host Pat Kiernan starting today. Smith currently hosts two weekend programs on WABC – “Living Better with Laura Smith” and “The Saturday Café.” Kiernan is an anchor on cable’s NY1 and his show is part of the newly revised program lineup at the station…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Blackhawks Live” live broadcast promotion on Thursday, January 13 featuring defenseman Duncan Keith at the Old Town Pour House in Chicago. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests.
Four New Integrations for iHeartRadio. Clear Channel announces its iHeartRadio digital entertainment platform is headed to dashboards in three auto makes, including Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Kia. In addition to these OEMs, iHeartRadio will also be available via platform solution provider Bosch. The company states that in 2014, Jaguar Land Rover vehicles equipped with Bosch SoftTec’s innovative InControl Apps platform, Volvo vehicles equipped with the Sensus Connect infotainment solution and Kia vehicles with UVO will have access to iHeartRadio.
“Oh Doctor!” – Jerry Coleman Passes Away. That was one of the favorite on-air expressions uttered by the 89-year-old Jerry Coleman, whose death was confirmed Sunday night (1/5) by the San Diego Padres, the MLB team for whom he called games since 1972. A portion of the team’s prepared statement read, “On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.” He played parts of nine seasons with the New York Yankees (1949 – 1957). After retiring, he began a broadcasting career with CBS-TV (1960 – 1962), where he conducted pregame interviews on the network’s “Game of the Week” broadcasts. He did play-by-play for the Yankees on WCBS-AM and WPIX-TV (1963 – 1969), Angels (1970 – 1971), and Padres (1972 to this past season). He also called regular-season and postseason broadcasts for CBS Radio from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. For three years of Coleman’s tenure with the Padres, his on-air partner was sitcom writer par excellence-music radio on-air talent Ken Levine, who writes on KenLevine.blogspot.com, “I loved Jerry. He was your favorite uncle – always cheerful, always there for you. His passion for the game of baseball was infectious and his zest for life was inspiring. Other than having to broadcast meaningless spring training games, I cannot think of anything Jerry Coleman didn’t view in a positive light. He was also incredibly humble. When we were on the road, I picked his brain for hours, and he graciously and patiently answered all of my questions. Jerry Coleman worked Padres games up until his death. He led a rich full life and he would often point out how lucky he was. So many of his friends had died young in a war – he lived to be 89 in relatively good health.” In 2005, Coleman received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence; two years later, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. As of the 2010 season, he reduced his broadcast schedule to approximately 25 home day games.
Iconic Talk Show Host Bob Grant Dead at 84. Just months after retiring from his weekend talk show at WABC, New York, Bob Grant passed away on New Year’s Eve after what’s being described as a brief illness. Grant began his talk radio career at KABC in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s but rose to fame when he came to New York and began a regular talk show at WMCA in 1970. Grant’s career saw him move around the New York radio dial; he worked at WABC and WOR and – for a time – WWDB-FM, Philadelphia. He is regularly cited by today’s conservative talk radio practitioners as the man who pioneered the opinionated, call-it-as-you-see-it style of issues-oriented talk radio upon which the modern era of the format was built. Read more about his legendary career here.
Curtis & Kuby Return to WABC, New York. Cumulus Media names Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby midday talk hosts at WABC, New York – returning one of the most popular local talk teams to the station where they first worked together more than 13 years ago. The Curtis & Kuby show aired on WABC from 2000 to 2007 pairing the conservative Sliwa with the ultra-liberal Kuby for a show that was very successful. Cumulus COO John Dickey says in a statement, “We’re delivering on our pledge to invest in localized content that will entertain, inform and engage listeners while also providing advertisers unique opportunities to reach their customers on a sustained basis. Sliwa adds, “Ever since I left 77 WABC, everywhere I go people have asked me if and when I would ever reunite with Ron Kuby, because that was a great show! At a time when New Yorkers are starved for information and entertainment, I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to offer it to them on the greatest news/talk station this country has ever seen.” And Kuby comments, “I am thrilled to be back at legendary 77 WABC radio with the Curtis & Kuby show — it is a new day for New York City and a new afternoon for New York radio!” Sliwa has most recently been hosting both morning and afternoon shows at Salem’s crosstown WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” In addition to the Curtis & Kuby show, Cumulus is adding a local hour from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hosted by NY1 TV anchor Pat Kiernan. Kiernan states, “My first broadcasting job was in radio so this is a natural way for me to extend my connection with New Yorkers. I see this as a great way for listeners to reconnect after the workday. We’re going to hit the big local stories, but we also want to plug into the conversation of the day. That can include anything from pop culture to sports to the hot topic on Twitter.” These moves come as the station transitions the late morning Geraldo Rivera show to local content and adds the Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated Michael Savage for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm slot.
WABC, New York Names Craig Schwalb PD; Tony Mascaro Takes WPRO, Providence Programming Post. Along with the programming changes announced above, Cumulus Media announces Craig Schwalb is being promoted to program director of WABC, New York from the company’s WPRO, Providence. At the same time, Tony Mascaro moves from his operations manager post at WABC to program director of WPRO and sister business news outlet WPRV. The company states that Schwalb has nearly two decades of news, talk and sports programming experience with roles held in markets including New York City, Detroit, St. Louis and Raleigh. Prior to joining Cumulus, Schwalb was the senior director of talk programming for SiriusXM. Schwalb says, “WABC has inspired countless broadcasters over the years and to now lead WABC into its next phase will be an absolute pleasure. Without a doubt, working alongside Cumulus NYC market manager Kim Bryant, COO John Dickey, SVP programming Mike McVay and corporate program director Randall Bloomquist, will be an honor.” Speaking about his return to Providence, Mascaro comments, “I am thrilled to be returning to Providence where it all started for me. WPRO-AM is a legendary radio station with an amazing line-up of talent. I wish everyone at WABC continued success for the future. Thanks to John Dickey, Mike McVay, Randall Bloomquist and Providence market manager Barbara Haynes for this opportunity to program a heritage radio station in a great radio market.”
Sean Hannity to Air Live on KVI, Seattle. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity returns to Seattle’s “Talk Radio 570” KVI today airing live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. This marks a reunion with the station on which his show debuted in 2001. Program director Paul Duckworth states, “We’re thrilled to bring Sean back to KVI. Listeners deserve to hear Sean’s program live and get the most up-to-the-minute news, information and analysis.” Hannity adds, “From the very first day I went on the air and that red light went on, I have been in love with radio. I’m thrilled, excited, ecstatic, exuberant to be back on America’s original conservative talk station, ‘Talk Radio 570 KVI.’” In addition, “The Hannity Encore” will air on the station Sundays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
WIND, Chicago Expands Morning Show; Adds Sean Hannity. Salem Communications-owned news/talk WIND, Chicago announces the expansion of the morning drive show co-hosted by Big John Howell and Amy Jacobson plus the addition of Premiere’s Sean Hannity show to the lineup. Beginning Monday, January 6, Bill Bennett‘s “Morning in America” returns live to the station for the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour. Howell and Jacobson will air in the expanded 6:00 am to 11:00 am slot. Westwood One’s Dennis Miller remains in the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot but now airs live. Sean Hannity also airs live from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. WIND general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Sean Hannity is an ideal fit on ‘AM 560 The Answer.’ Sean is one of the premier news/talk personalities and his style will fit nicely with our outstanding lineup of local and national hosts.”
WGN, Chicago Gives David Kaplan New Contract. Talk host and reporter David Kaplan inks a new, multi-year contract with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Kaplan hosts the eponymous nightly sports talk show that airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and serves as afternoon drive sports reporter as well as host of the Cubs and Blackhawks Confidential programs. Kaplan comments, “It’s a thrill to continue my career at WGN Radio where I have spent the last 18-plus years. I’m thankful to work for the best mind in radio, Jimmy de Castro, and I’m blessed to be able to talk sports in my hometown of Chicago on the best radio station in America.” De Castro adds, “We are driven to deliver live and local programming to our listeners. Kap has his finger on the pulse of Chicago sports and we’re excited for him to be a part of our multi-dimensional future.”
Marc James Goes Solo at “The Fan” in Charlotte. CBS RADIO announces WFNZ, Charlotte “Sports Radio 610 The Fan” afternoon drive personality Marc James begins hosting the afternoon drive slot on the station solo as former co-host Taylor Zarzour leaves the show to host “Bleacher Report Radio” on SiriusXM‘s sports zone channel. James and Zarzour had been co-hosting “The Drive” since they were paired up in 2011. The station says Zarzour will continue to remain a part of the WFNZ family by calling into the show with Marc weekly. Zarzour says, “I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity that OM DJ Stout and market manager Bill Schoening gave me at WFNZ. I am extremely proud of the success that we had in my three years on the show and have no doubt Marc and the crew will continue to grow the audience. I am excited about my next opportunity but will continue to be a part of the WFNZ family.” The show’s other cast members include The Q.C.B., Hitman, and Jayweezie. Stout says, “Although it is bittersweet to see Taylor go, he has done a great job for us and we will miss his talent and professionalism. We’re excited for Marc to take on this opportunity. He is a top notch talent and we look forward to him taking The Drive to the next level.” James comments, “Taylor Zarzour is probably the hardest working person in sports talk radio. He made me a better host, but more importantly a better man. I look forward to taking ‘Sports Radio 610 WFNZ the Fan’ to unparalleled heights in the future. Charlotte is hands down one of the best sports towns in America and we will continue to make Charlotte proud to call WFNZ THE best sports talk station in the city.”
The Miracle of “A Christmas Story.” Ever the radio historian, noted media consultant Walter Sabo reminds us about the power of story-telling as an audience-building device. In a new column posted today (1/2) Sabo discusses the movie “A Christmas Story” which was based on the synthesis of dozens of radio monologues created and delivered by the late and legendary talker Jean Shepherd. Shepherd broadcast on WOR, New York from 1958-1975. His nightly monologues were not bedtime stories. According to Sabo, they were subversive proclamations, challenging authority wrapped in imagery of American traditions. Shepherd worked without a script, but with massive prep. Some of his shows took months to come to fruition in his imagination. He recorded every show. The importance of Shepherd’s work is that it was not on NPR or an obscure station. WOR was the number one station in audience and revenue in America through most of his reign. It was a talk station that appealed primarily to women—about 70% of the cume was female. About 70% of the hosts were women. There were many other dominant talk stations at the time that appealed primarily to women such as KMOX, WCCO, WGN and WBZ. Shepherd’s audience was young, more male. His show often presented a youngster’s perspective on the idiocy of authority, success, day-people and capitalism. He bashed advertising, radio, television and anything that was mainstream or plastic. In other words he trashed, on every level, the success of his employer: The number one radio station in America owned by General Tire and Rubber. He did that every night. There is much contemporary talk broadcasters can learn from this slice of radio history. To read Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Nieslen Audio December PPM Data Released. The December 2013 PPM ratings data has been released by Nielsen Audio. Numbers for all 48 PPM-rated markets have been made public and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo. Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.
Coming Next Week: The 2014 International CES. Media consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke will report from next week’s 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He teases the event asking, “How dizzying is the-pace-of-change?” Media are now asked NOT to refer to this massive, mind-boggling event as “The Consumer Electronics Show,” because whassup here has transcended hardware.
Sure, there’ll be gadgets aplenty in an exhibit hall bigger than 30 football fields, many of ‘em obsoleting whatever seemed so-cutting-edge last year. But many of the ways technology is changing our everyday lives are…invisible, “The Internet of Things.”
Yes, the Amazon drone story was a publicity stunt.
But 62% of Internet traffic is now robots.
Maybe your refrigerator isn’t (yet) auto-ordering milk; and none of us are riding driver-less cars.
Yet already, patients can enable doctors to monitor real-time vital signs.
Soon, your alarm clock could wake you earlier if the route you commute has a traffic tangle. And your thermostat will auto-adjust, based on the changing weather forecast. Traditional radio information hooks are no longer franchises. If you think I’m exaggerating, look at your iPhone.
Come along, virtually…
Look for my coverage here next week in TALKERS and RadioInfo; and follow my real-time Tweets @HollandCooke. I’ll also be reporting for the Jim Bohannon show and “America in the Morning,” and on my client stations.
And it’ll be a ‘Vegas convention two-fer. Again this year, I’ll also be covering NMX, the New Media Expo, formerly “Blogworld,” before-that “The Podcast & New Media Expo,” which, a decade ago, already drew twice-as-many attendees as radio conventions.
With media consumers now in on-demand pick-N-choose mode — and with advertising and marketing money flowing to the digital platform — these internet content creators’ work is now instructive to what TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison has termed broadcast stations’ “survival and ‘thrival.’”
Norm Pattiz to Keynote NMX 2014. Speaking of the New Media Expo, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz will be among the three media execs keynoting the conference when it gets underway this weekend in Las Vegas. Speaking alongside tech expert Leo Laporte and Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok, Pattiz – Westwood One founder and CEO of Podcast One – will address the former Blogworld conference at 9:00 am on Monday, January 6. The title of the keynote address is “The Future of Podcasting.”
WMYT, Wilmington Adds Programming. Talk Media TV-owned news/talk WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces program additions to is schedule beginning with its “Super Saturdays” lineup. The station says the new addition to its “Super Saturdays,” which consists of eight local shows, is “The Car Doctor with Val Boudreau.” Also, the station announces it is bringing the new “The Blaze News” regular news updates to listeners airing every 15 minutes, saying “’The Blaze News’ spots, in addition to our Fox Business News spots, will expand our national news content and coverage!” WMYT is also adding Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean to the daily schedule airing weeknights from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Austin Sports Talker KTXX-FM Purchased By Local Group. The Austin American-Statesman reports that longtime market media personality Bob Cole heads up an ownership group that is purchasing sports talk KTXX-FM “The Horn” and its sister AM signal KWNX from Total Austin Sports Radio for an undisclosed sum. Cole – who serves as the Texas Longhorns stadium announcer and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Texas Radio Hall of Fame – tells the paper the station will remain sports but that “We’re going to do something a little different, that fills a hole that no one else in the market is filling.” Earlier this year the group purchased country outlet KOKE where Cole hosts the morning show.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel changes the call letters of KTLK, Los Angeles to KEIB – a nod to its new centerpiece, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, whose Excellence in Broadcasting network moniker is often shortened to EIB. The station flipped from progressive talk to conservative talk as of today (1/2) and the station’s brand is “The Patriot.” Limbaugh moved over from sister news/talk KFI…..CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94 WIP” is giving away a pair of tickets to Saturday night’s Eagles-Saints NFC Wild Card game at Lincoln Financial Field to the person “who needs them the most.” The station is telling listeners to make a banner that says “94WIP I Need Eagles Playoff Tickets,” make it big, creative and hang it where WIP can see – as long as it’s legal. On Friday afternoon, the station will send its spotters out to select the best banner and will award the tickets accordingly…..ESPN Radio returns to the Columbia, South Carolina market after a 17-month absence on L&L Broadcasting’s WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230 AM.” WOIC flipped from news/talk on January 1 and is carrying much of the ESPN Radio lineup. It will also air local programs “The Zone” hosted by Duane “The Shot Doctor” Everett from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and “Sports Hotline” with Bobby Gist and Ernest Robinson from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..The “Positive Business with Patricia Raskin” show announces the addition of new co-host Lynda Adams. “Positive Business” airs every Friday from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on business talk WPRV, Providence where it’s been heard for the past four years.
Cumulus Announces Closing of WestwoodOne Acquisition. Although the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division is still reviewing the merger, Cumulus Media Inc. announces the completion of the $260 million deal. Cumulus says that although the merger was not subject to the pre-closing notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, the review is taking place and it can’t predict if the DOJ will elect to seek, or obtain, any remedies, or the effect that any remedies may have on its business, financial condition or results of operations. Cumulus maintains it does not believe the deal raises any anti-competitive issues. Back to the deal, Cumulus notes it consists of approximately $45 million attributable to the equity of WWO and the retirement of $215 million of debt of WWO. Cumulus used cash on hand, including approximately $238 million in cash proceeds from the Company’s previously completed sale of 53 radio stations to Townsquare Media, LLC.
News/Talk #1 Format Reports Nielsen from Client Conference. Among the information shared at this week’s two-day Nielsen Client Conference was the capper at the end of day two when Nielsen director of programming services Jon Miller announced the results of the company’s top ten formats of 2013 based on AQH share in the 48 PPM-rated markets. The news was particularly good for news/talk as it tops the pile with a 6+ AQH share of 9.3. It’s also been a good year for CHR which comes in #2 with an 8.2 share. Following, in order, are: country – 7.8 share; adult contemporary – 7.7 share; hot AC – 5.5 share; classic hits – 5.3 share; urban AC 5.0 share; and sports talk and classic rock tie with a 4.3 share. There was much more discussed as consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke writes about the attending CEOs who lamented the industry’s status quo mentality as well as more presentations about integrating social media into listener interaction, and much more. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Brian Whitman Signs Extension with Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles. Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Brian Whitman inks a deal to continue his work as morning drive personality on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles. Whitman will remain part of “The Morning Answer” on “AM 870 The Answer” alongside Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss. Whitman has also worked at such LA signals as KIIS-FM, KLSX-FM and KABC-AM as well as WABC, New York. Salem VP/director, spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Brian Whitman is one of the most talented voices on Los Angeles radio, and we are delighted to keep this growing show together for the foreseeable future. I have worked with Brian since 1996 when I hired him at WABC in New York, and used him across the country as one of the funniest voice over guys on the air. But his skills go much beyond comedy voices. He has grown into a very talented talk show host doing morning drive in Market #2.” Whitman adds, “I’ve been truly blessed to be on the air here in Los Angeles since 1991. I am excited about the continued growth of our radio show, our station and our brand. I am so grateful for the truly overwhelming support I’ve received from Salem’s chief executive officer Ed Atsinger, and the entire management team.”
J.D. Hayworth Subs for Cumulus Media Networks as Huckabee Show Winds Down. Governor Mike Huckabee did his last live show for Cumulus Media Networks as his show goes into holiday mode before ending on January 3. Former congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth is subbing on the network beginning today through January 3 on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program. Hayworth says he’ll be on the radio all of next week as well as December 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3. “Governor Huckabee was very gracious to allow me to serve as his guest host on several occasions, and I welcome this opportunity as well. For me, Friday the 13th is a lucky day. I thank Cumulus for entrusting me with ‘Mike’s mic’ into the New Year.”
Erickson to Sub for Rush Limbaugh. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Georgia-based talk show host Erick Erickson will be fulfilling a dream when he sits in for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh over the holidays. Erickson – who serves as editor-in-chief of RedState.com in addition to his radio work – will host Limbaugh’s program on December 20, 24 and 26. Erickson’s regular radio job is afternoon drive personality on Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta where he’s heard from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Erickson tells the AJC, “I’m really excited. It’s one of the few things I ever wanted to do going back to college. I listened to him every day. I’d plan classes around his show so I’d be able to listen in my dorm for a couple of hours.”
Rhode Island Governor Signs on to Petition to Oust WPRO’s John DePetro. According to a report in the Providence Journal, the union-led drive to compel WPRO, Providence to remove talk show host John DePetro from his daily talk show on the station has garnered support from the state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee. The paper reports that the boycott against WPRO’s advertisers – jewelry dealer Alex and Ani has been singled out – is being coordinated by the AFL-CIO‘s secretary treasurer Maureen Martin, who is also the political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals. Governor Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, confirms to the paper that the governor has signed the petition urging the jewelry store to withdraw its advertising from WPRO as long as DePetro is employed there and also says he won’t go on any other show until DePetro is gone. Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Democrat who had long been criticized by conservatives in the media as a RINO (Republican in name only), has a history of engaging with instead of ignoring his media critics and DePetro has been a critic of Chafee for some time. DePetro came under fire from the unions after using what they termed demeaning and sexist language in criticizing female union members’ activities. DePetro has since apologized for his choice of words.
Michael Harrison to speak at 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will make a rare speaking appearance at another trade publication’s industry conference and serve as a special guest faculty member at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano‘s forthcoming 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia on March 26, 2014. The one-day seminar, located at the Rittenhouse Hotel, will help prepare modern-day broadcasters to solve the major problems and meet the pressing challenges facing the radio business during its rapid transition into the digital era. Among the topics to be covered include ways to positively “disrupt” radio before your competition does and understand the sensibilities of the “millennial” generation – as well as learn new ways to present commercials, attract new audiences and develop new sources of revenue. Harrison will be joining “MoreFM” (formerly B-101), Philadelphia owner Jerry Lee as a specially invited faculty speaker at the event. Upon accepting the assignment, Harrison states, “I am honored to play a role in Jerry Del Colliano’s event and work alongside such a dynamic and independent entrepreneur as Jerry Lee. Del Colliano is a brilliant thinker, teacher and observer whose bold voice in this industry continues to contribute to radio’s intelligence, health and survival.” For information about the conference please click here.
MacGregor Joins BTRN as VP/Affiliate Sales. Twenty-five-year media management veteran Mark MacGregor is named vice president of affiliate sales for Business TalkRadio Network. “Mark brings a wealth of experience to this position and our company,” comments BTRN president Jeff Weber. “He has a proven track record of success in affiliation and I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to us as we continue to grow the networks.” MacGregor’s past credits include similar titles to his present BTRN assignment for MyFamilyTV, FamilyNet and ETC Television. Business TalkRadio Network provides long and short form programming to over 1,000 affiliates. It currently features such programs as “Investor’s Edge,” “Real Estate Investor Radio,” and the “CEO Show.”
WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Host Comedy Show. WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will host the “Super Comedy Jam” at the Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday, January 29. Appearing at the show will be an all-star lineup of comedians, including a couple with radio ties. The stars performing will include: Jay Mohr (who also hosts his eponymous sports talk show for Fox Sports Radio Network); Nick Di Paolo (previously partnered with Artie Lange for a late night comedy/sports radio show); Dave Attell; Michael Che; Jeff Norris; and John Pizzi.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel news/talk outlet KEX, Portland adds another hour to the back end of Michael Castner’s afternoon drive program. Beginning Monday, he’ll broadcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Castner joined KEX this summer after spending the last two-plus years hosting a nationally syndicated program for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network…..The next color voice of the Chicago Cubs is former Cubs infielder Ron Coomer. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Coomer will sit alongside play-by-play Pat Hughes when the 2014 season begins. Coomer takes over for Keith Moreland providing analysis on WGN and affiliates across the Midwest…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition as listeners “will be treated to live, holiday-themed programming with a ‘Coast-to-Coast’ twist, including music, special guest appearances and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. Host George Noory will be live in studio to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with his loyal audience, who will get the chance to share their favorite Christmas memories and stories of miracles during open lines.”
WPHT Sends Local Hero to Phillies Phantasy Camp. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (center) poses for a shot with Sergeant First Class Brian Keaton, his wife and two of his children in the WPHT studios. The station, the Philadelphia Phillies and the local chapter of the USO surprised the wounded warrior during Thursday’s program with a trip to the Phillies Phantasy Camp this morning live on the air.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks’ nationally syndicated Mark Levin program is added to the schedule at KOYT, Helena, Montana; the company’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage adds the following stations to is affiliate roster: KINN, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WZUS, Decatur, Illinois; WBAP, Dallas; KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; and WLS-AM, Chicago…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” feature joins the programming at KTKZ “AM 1380 The Answer” and KSAC “Money 105.5” in Sacramento.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for 8th Straight Week. The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the eighth consecutive week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 this week was the federal budget deal. At #3 was the selfie President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thornig-Schmidt and his appearance at the Nelson Mandela memorial service followed at #4 by the nuclear talks with Iran. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Congressmen Question FCC Chair Wheeler About ‘Fairness Doctrine 2.0.’ In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) requests Wheeler take immediate steps to suspend the field test for the research design of the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” the FCC is undertaking. Supported by Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and 14 other congressmen, Upton charges the initiative is nothing more that the “Fairness Doctrine 2.0” and that the FCC has no jurisdiction to be undertaking a field test of this sort and that its actions are unconstitutional. Upton states, “Although the Commission’s stated reason for the reports is to inform the Commission in taking regulatory action to lower ‘market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses,’ it is hard to read this and see it for anything other than what it is, Fairness Doctrine 2.0.” Upton references the study plan which states its goals are to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percentage of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.” Upton then states, “The Commission has no business probing the news media’s editorial judgment and expertise, nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of ‘critical information.’ These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.” Upton requests Wheeler’s office respond to seven specific questions about the field test by January 10. You can read the entire letter here.
WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia PD Jeff Sottolano Promoted to Corporate Director of Programming for CBS Radio. CBS Radio EVP of programming Chris Oliviero announces the promotion of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia program director Jeff Sottolano to director, programming, CBS RADIO, effective January 2. Oliviero says, “Jeff has consistently and successfully answered every challenge he’s faced during his career at CBS RADIO. With such diverse format experience and a respected reputation, both in and outside our company, I have no doubt he is ready to tackle this exciting and critical next chapter. Jeff will be a great complement to our corporate programming team.” Sottolano’s duties include supporting program directors in 27 major markets who oversee 126 stations. The company says he “will focus on identifying and recruiting on-air talent, both established and up-and-coming, as well as seek out new format opportunities. Additionally, Sottolano will maintain ongoing communications with external industry and charitable organizations, and work closely with the division’s digital media business to ensure a seamless cross-platform product and brand experience.” Sottolano came to CBS RADIO in 2001 as an intern at WZNE, Rochester. He worked his way up to promotions director in 2002 and to PD and air talent in 2004. In 2006, Sottolano transferred to WYSP-FM in Philadelphia where he assumed a variety of programming and marketing roles during his tenure, including program director beginning in 2008. He was instrumental in launching the Danny Bonaduce show that same year, and worked closely with record labels, concert promoters and artists to create one-of-a-kind events and promotions. In 2011 he assumed programming oversight of sports talk WIP when it began simulcasting on WYSP as “SportsRadio 94WIP.”
Cox Media Group Names Tim Clarke Director of Digital Audience. Moving up from his role as program director for the company’s CHR WPOI, Tampa “Hot 101.5,” Tim Clarke is promoted to director of digital audience for radio at Cox Media Group. The company says that in this role Clarke “will be the liaison between CMG’s radio and digital divisions to help drive the digital brand strategy and product development for growing audience and engagement at all CMG’s radio stations.” EVP of radio Kim Guthrie adds, “We have some of the more cutting edge efforts in the digital space, and it is exciting to be able to dedicate one of our best talents to that effort. We are evolving our super brands into the digital future, and Tim will play an instrumental role in that overall success.” In addition to programming “HOT 101.5,” Clarke was director of social media for all six Tampa stations. His other career highlights include time as PD at WAPE, Jacksonville and music director at WBLI, Long Island. Clarke comments, “The digital future for CMG’s super brands is extremely bright and filled with tons of opportunity to engage our audiences in even deeper, more personalized and more meaningful ways. I’m looking forward to working with our teams to serve our users on these growing platforms.”
iHeartradio Adds Jay Mohr Sports Channel. Actor/comedian Jay Mohr does his daily Fox Sports Radio Network program from Clear Channel-owned Los Angeles flagship KLAC. Now, the “Gary Unmarried” star launches “Jay Mohr Sports,” a live digital iHeartRadio station. “This channel is about the fans and giving them 24/7 access to the show wherever they are,” Mohr enthusiastically states. “I am so happy to be able to share this with listeners in celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of ‘Jay Mohr Sports.’” The digital iHeartRadio channel features sports talk and entertainment, as well as Mohr’s conversations with athletes and celebrities.
McMullen Named WMBD, Peoria PD. Talk radio programmer John McMullen joins Monterey Licenses-owned news/talk WMBD, Peoria. McMullen most recently served as program director at Morris Communications’ “KNEWS” news/talk trimulcast KNWZ and KNWQ, Palm Springs and KNWH, Yucca Valley where he’s been since 2007. During his career, McMullen has also served with Sirius Satellite Radio.
Steve Bertrand Reunites with Kathy & Judy on WGN. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago newsman Steve Bertrand will trade off a weekday shift for the Saturday shift during which he’ll be reunited with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey during their weekly 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Bertrand will also work with “Mr. Fix-It” Lou Manfredini whose show airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturdays. Bertrand, O’Malley and Markey worked together when the Kathy & Judy show was a regular midday program on WGN from 1989 through 2009. Feder reports that WGN VP of creative content Todd Manley says Bertrand will continue to work the news desk during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show as well as during Garry Meier’s afternoon program.
WKZO, Kalamazoo Names Lawrence Brand Manager. At Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo cluster, Jeremy Lawrence is named brand manager for news/talk outlet WKZO and sports talk WQLR. In addition, Lawrence serves as the afternoon drive co-host on WKZO’s “The Trifecta” program alongside Jim McKinney and Roger Taylor. Lawrence takes over for Jay Morris who leaves that post to focus on his work as brand manager for the company’s alternative rock outlets WZOX, Kalamazoo and WVIC, Lansing.
New Market Manager and Director of Sales at Clear Channel Syracuse. Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces Rick Yacobush has been named market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in Syracuse and Barbara Miller has been appointed director of sales for the cluster. Yacobush has been with the CC Syracuse stations for more than 26 years, holding a variety of roles including account manager, general sales manager and director of sales. SVP of operations for the Northeast Region Kevin LeGrett says, “We are very excited to have Rick Yacobush lead the extremely talented team in Syracuse. Rick’s sales leadership over the last 18 years has led to unprecedented performance. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment reaches more people in Syracuse than any other media and Rick’s unique ability to maximize our assets will allow us to serve the community as well as our advertisers in a multi-platform fashion.” Meanwhile, 18-year CC veteran Barbara Miller moves up to director of sales for the cluster and LeGrett says of her, “Barbara has a proven track record of developing revenue growth opportunities. She has demonstrated the vision and creativity necessary to implement 21st century competitive media strategies for our organization. She has consistently exceeded revenue targets, while providing leadership and ensuring high quality standards are maintained across the organization.” The CC Syracuse cluster includes news/talk WSYR, AC WYYY “Y94,” country WBBS “B104.7,” CHR WWHT “Hot 107.9,” and urban contemporary WHEN “Power 620.”
Tom Ray Warns Radio Broadcasters to Avoid EAS Confusion and Potential Fines. TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray passes along the following important information to our readers who program and operate radio stations. Perhaps you heard about the recent $25,000 fines given out by the Commission regarding EAS violations. The violations concerned airing either an EAS alert tone, EAS data burst, or sound alikes. Both are prohibited under part 11 of the Commission’s rules. Why? If you are airing the EAS data bursts, this is something that could be decoded by downstream EAS decoders. This can be confusing for station personnel, but more importantly, may in fact trigger an EAS alert when an emergency condition doesn’t exist. And airing of something that sounds like the EAS data bursts and/or the two-tone alert signal starts to desensitize the public to an actual message. It could, in fact, panic the public. The recent cases involved EAS like sounds involved in commercials for movies. In one case, when the cell phone alert apps were downloaded to person’s phones without their knowledge, I heard a television newscast run the sounds the phone made – which sound close enough to an EAS alert that it was a violation – regardless of whether it was news. Some of this stems from our ways of operating these days. Spots used to arrive on reel-to-reel tape, and you had to listen to the spot to transfer it to cart before airing and could catch the fact that EAS tones were in a spot. Today, the spot arrives as a file and most automation systems can take the spot in without anyone listening to it ahead of time. In the case of the TV newscast, the news producer obviously did not know the FCC regulations. In the case of ingesting spots directly into your system, they should always be listened to not only for content, but also for problems like distortion. To take something in without listening to it is irresponsible. The bottom line – don’t air something that sounds like an EAS alert. The FCC takes it seriously. The public takes it seriously. And it shouldn’t happen. For more information about this topic Tom Ray can be phoned at 845-418-5065 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Malkin Sells Website to Salem Communications. Conservative media commentator Michelle Malkin has sold her Twitchy.com site to Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum. Malkin founded the site which serves as a curation destination for Twitter posts and commentary on said Tweets. Salem Communications has had success with its digital efforts and already operated TownHall.com and HotAir.com in addition to numerous Christian-themed sites. Salem VP/GM Jonathan Garthwaite comments, “Since its inception almost two years ago, Twitchy has fast become a leader in online news reporting. They have harnessed the power of social media to create a real-time newswire for the modern, interconnected world. With the addition of Twitchy to our growing network of news and political websites, there is no better collection of conservative news and opinion on the web.”
Local Focus Purchased by McGavren Guild Parent. Genesis Media Holdings picks up Kay Olin and Dave Demer‘s Atlanta-based Local Focus rep firm. GMH owns McGavren Guild Media, which will operate independently of its new sibling. In addition, Genesis Media Holdings brings in Cumulus Media director of national sales Kevin Garrity as manager. GMH chief financial officer Billy McEntee comments, “Local Focus is an innovative firm powered by a team of highly accomplished sales professionals. We look forward to working with them to provide an even greater level of service to radio stations and advertisers. Kevin Garrity has excelled at every level of radio sales management. With his addition and the acquisition of Local Focus, we are poised for rapid expansion and growth. Management will continue to drive revenue for their respective station partners, while capitalizing on opportunities afforded through the larger Genesis Media group.” Garrity remarks, “Genesis Media Holdings’ commitment to building their platform and investing in the long-term growth of their properties is very exciting. I look forward to playing an integral part in shaping that growth.” McGavren Guild Media president Lisa Sirotka-Sonnenklar adds, “I am extremely excited to be working with Kevin to further build McGavren Guild Media. I look forward to the additional support I will gain from his depth of industry experience.” Garrity’s background includes 20 years at Interep, the last five of those as president of ABC Radio Sales. In tandem with these announcements, vice president of revenue Dave Demer becomes president of Local Focus, while the rep firm’s founder Kay Olin will act as a consultant to Genesis Media. “Kay has been instrumental in facilitating the evolution of Local Focus and preparing it for this next step in its growth,” Demer notes. “She will add immense value to Genesis Media.” Previously, Demer held marketing and sales positions with Clear Channel and Cox Media Group. Local Focus represents more than 350 stations.
24/7 Comedy Celebrates Christmas with Gabriel Iglesias. Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – is celebrating the holiday season with special guest host Gabriel Iglesias. From December 14 through December 27, the format will feature “The 12 Days of Fluffy” (for 13 days), giving listeners a peek behind the stage persona of the internationally acclaimed comedian and highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits. Connecting with listeners every hour throughout “The 12 Days of Fluffy,” fans will also have the chance to hear select tracks from his latest Comedy Central DVD special, “Aloha Fluffy.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Obama Selfie Flap/Castro Handshake, New Budget Deal, India Gay Sex Ruling, Iran Nukes Talks, and NSA Targets Video Gamers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10). The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and HHS director Kathleen Sebelius; the flap over President Obama’s “selfie” taken at the service for Nelson Mandela and his handshake with Raul Castro; the new budget deal struck in Congress; India’s high court ruling outlawing gay sex; foundering talks with Iran over its nuclear program; and the NSA’s targeting of video gamers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Matt Ray New Anchor of ‘America’s Morning News.’ The Talk Radio Network-produced “America’s Morning News” program has a new permanent host in Matt Ray. Ray — a 12-year broadcast veteran whose stints include KXL, Portland; KGO and KSFO, San Francisco – takes over as anchor of the program heard in more than 140 markets immediately. Ray states, “It is an exciting opportunity to work with the team at ‘America’s Morning News.’ Our focus continues to be journalism without agenda – the key ingredient to the success of ‘America’s Morning News’: compelling, breaking news and interviews delivered in a fast-paced environment.” TRN CEO Mark Masters adds, “Matt was a natural fit and he tested overwhelmingly positive. His credentials are impressive and we think Matt will take the morning news to new levels of success in the years to come. We are thrilled to see Matt on board at AMN.”
Former ’92.5 Fox News’ Fort Myers Morning Host – Now Congressman – Trey Radel Arrested on Cocaine Charges. Congressman Trey Radel won his first political race last November taking Florida’s 19th Congressional District seat as a Republican after Rep. Connie Mack chose to give up the seat and run for the U.S. Senate. But Radel’s experience has been in broadcasting. He was an anchor on WINK-TV and had made the move to radio as morning host on Meridian Broadcasting’s news/talk “92.5 Fox News” in the Fort Myers market (a trimulcast of WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM). He left that gig to run for office. Radel was busted as part of a sting after allegedly purchasing cocaine in Washington’s Dupont Circle. Radel issued the following statement: “I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. Believe me, I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions. However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side: It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.”
Glenn Beck Promotes New Book on NBC’s ‘Today.’ Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and founder of the digital destination TheBlaze – Glenn Beck, sat down with NBC’s Kathie Lee Gifford on the “Today” show to talk about his new book, Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America (Threshold Editions 2013). In the photo here, Beck is seen being interviewed by Gifford in his Dallas, Texas studios where programming for TheBlaze is produced. During the interview, Beck talked about the desire to provide more detail and color in fleshing out historical characters and events being the impetus for writing this book.
Talk Radio and Social Media Push Local Commercial into the Limelight. WGOW, Chattanooga afternoon drive talk host Brian Joyce tells TALKERS magazine how the power of talk radio and social media helped create a sensation out of a local TV commercial. He says, “Around 2:00 am last Friday morning, I saw a commercial on local television for a small business called Mike’s Golf Shop. It was so awful, so hilarious, and so awesome that I had to share it with my listeners! So I played the commercial on my show Friday afternoon, then I shared it on Facebook and sent it to a friend of mine who writes for Jimmy Fallon. At the time, the commercial had 27 views on YouTube. By Monday morning, it had 64,000 views. Today, it has 70,000 views. Tosh.O just shared it on their Facebook page, MSNBC and Comedy Central featured in on their websites, and Mike’s Golf Shop is trending on Yahoo!” Joyce says the lesson in this story is that it all started on “Talk Radio 102.3.” What’s more, it’s likely to bring in business. “We met with Mike on Monday morning. He was so excited about what we had done for him that now he wants to advertise with us regularly. The power of talk radio and social media is alive and well, and stronger than ever!” You can see the commercial here.
Kevin Matthews to Take On Voice and Imaging Role at WGN.FM. Chicago radio legend Kevin Matthews’ voice is returning to a Chicago-based audio platform after years of full-time work in his resident city of Grand Rapids. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the radio pro that rose to prominence on rocker WLUP-FM “The Loop” will be the imaging voice of Tribune’s online audio platform WGN.FM, currently host to Jonathon Brandmeier’s program and other shows. Matthews, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, returned to his hometown of Grand Rapids in 2005 and was a personality at Cumulus Media classic rock WLAV for several years. He’s been out of terrestrial radio for a while but has been contributing to Steve Dahl’s podcast efforts. Matthews will continue to work from his home studio in Grand Rapids.
WestwoodOne to Rank Best Audio Super Bowl Ads. WestwoodOne – the radio home of Super Bowl XLVIII – is preparing to launch its Super Bowl Audio Index, the first-ever consumer-driven index ranking the most creative audio commercials aired during the Super Bowl. The company says that the index will be comprised of all commercials aired on the 700-plus radio stations that broadcast its exclusive, play-by-play coverage of the game. Each of the commercials will be available for consumer voting through WestwoodOne.com on February 2, 2014. Two awards will be announced across WestwoodOne’s on-air and online broadcast network. The first will be Listener’s Choice, selected by consumers through an online voting process that can also be leveraged by marketers through social media, and activated through SoundHound, to create even more engaging experiences for listeners. The second will be Media Choice, selected by an advisory council comprised of leading advertising, media and creative executives across multiple consumer categories. WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “For brands wanting to engage a captive audience with the largest reach, there is no comparison to the Super Bowl. We created the Index as a new way for all brands to leverage the power of sound and capitalize on this massive advertising moment. The index enables marketers to engage more intimately with 26 million-plus listeners, expanding their campaigns and maximizing their marketing dollars.”
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM superstar Howard Stern announces he will return for another season of “America’s Got Talent.” Stern told listeners to his radio show on Tuesday that although he’d like more personal time, “that big black hole inside of me that demands attention” won and he’ll return for his third season judging on the show…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk will debut her own weekly radio show this Saturday, November 23. Silk, who has provided commentary for her company’s Alan Nathan show, will host the one-hour show which airs live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm ET…..Chicago radio personalities Steve King and Johnnie Putman – longtime overnight hosts on Tribune’s WGN – are returning to the station for fill-in work. Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us that the husband-and-wife duo will sub for morning drive host Steve Cochran during Christmas week. King and Putman retired from the station in December of 2011…..AARP has renewed its radio representation agreement with Media Management Group for 2014. MMG continues to be responsible for ad sales, distribution and business development for the Baby Boomer-targeted feature programming. AARP’s radio content can be heard on hundreds of stations across the country.
AdLarge Media and PromoSuite Enter National Advertising Sales Rep Agreement. The exclusive pact covers inventory already measured in Nielsen Audio’s RADAR service and moving into AdLarge’s Return On Investment (ROI) Network. AdLarge co-founder/chief executive officer Gary Schonfeld comments that the partnership “gives our national advertisers access to an enormous amount of inventory, and intensifies our already strong coverage in major markets.” AdLarge co-founder/president Cathy Csukas adds, “Our objective when we created the ROI Network was to offer clients a wide-reaching, RADAR-measured network with solid top-market coverage and a non-controversial format environment. With the inclusion of PromoSuite‘s vast array of music-formatted radio station inventory, we are proud to have surpassed that goal.” Meanwhile, PromoSuite chief executive officer Rocco Macri remarks, “It is inevitable that our two companies struck up a partnership. You have two independent, forward-thinking companies that are agile enough to make quick decisions, yet big enough to have an impact. Together, we will continue to build and maintain relationships within the radio and advertising communities.” Customized advertising sales rep AdLarge was founded in 2010; PromoSuite services more than 1,500 radio stations and is included in all top 50 markets.
Mixing in Pop Culture. Fox Sports Radio Network host Jay Mohr (right) poses for a photo with Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman (left) in the FSR studios. Gorman was in town to talk about his new tour with the Black Crowes, his new band Trigger Hippy as well as chat about sports. The two discussed the controversial end to the Monday Night Football game between the Patriots and Panthers and Gorman also participated in the first-ever Jay Mohr Sports Front Man Draft. As part of the segment, the crew drafted a team of various band front men, including Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury and the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson.
Putting on the Greasepaint. Pictured here are TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) and his wife Bernadette Duncan Harrison (left) with TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (center) in costume for his role as Beadle Bamford in the Monson, Massachusetts-based Greene Room Productions presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
ObamaCare Criticism, JFK Assassination Anniversary, Iran Nukes Talks, Sinking Obama Approval Numbers, Toronto Mayor Case and Midwest Tornadoes Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). Scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the state of the government’s health care sign-up website; the coming anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy; the potential talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and the debate in Washington over increasing economic sanctions against the Islamic state; the sinking approval ratings for President Obama; the bizarre case of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; and the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that swept across the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.
Cox Media Orlando Names Scott Anez Host of ‘Orlando’s News at Noon.’ There are a couple of moves to report from CMG’s news/talk WDBO-FM “News 96.5” and sports talk WDBO-AM “ESPN 580” and they center around longtime Cox Orlando air talent Scott Anez who’s been with WDBO for the past 23 years. Since the company flipped the AM side to sports a year ago, Anez has been hosting “ESPN Afternoons” from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on “ESPN 580,” “Orlando’s Evening News” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on “News 96.5” as well as “Inside Magic” prior to Orlando Magic broadcasts. Now, Anez will take over the “Orlando’s News at Noon” program to free up his packed afternoon schedule. Program director Drew Anderssen says, “As a listener favorite, moving Scott to host ‘Orlando’s News at Noon’ will allow him more flexibility in his schedule and a greater focus on each show, ultimately providing our listeners a more consistent listening experience.” This move allows news director Joe Kelley to relinquish the noon show on-air duties and focus on hosting “Orlando’s Morning News” and serving as news director for the station. The station expects to announce a new permanent host for the “Orlando’s Evening News” program soon and will use its stable of hosts and reporters to anchor the show for now.
J.D. Hayworth Sues Broadcasting Company of the Americas for XEPRS, San Diego Termination. Talk radio host – and former Arizona congressman – J.D. Hayworth has filed suit against the company that operates sports talker XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090” after he was dismissed six months into a two-year deal. Hayworth – whose background in radio is largely as a political news/talker – was inked to a two year contract to co-host the morning drive show on XEPRS alongside market vet Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton in March. The company let Hayworth go in late August and now Hayworth is suing for breach of contract and four other complaints. The thrust of Hayworth’s complaint is, according to the contract, he could only be terminated for “for Cause,” and that when he was let go, the station either refused or was unable to specify how he had failed to live up to the contract. He’s seeking the pay due under the terms of the two-year contract, plus attorneys’ fees and more. If the case goes to trial, it appears it will be Hayworth’s goal to prove that the fact that station management felt Hayworth’s pairing with Hamilton wasn’t working out was not something that can be defined as a “violation” of his contract and therefore something that fell under the “for Cause” clause in the pact. In a sentence, if you have a no-cut contract, just because it’s “not working out,” isn’t reason not to get paid.
KNX, Los Angeles’ Frank Mottek Honored. KNX, Los Angeles business anchor and host of the “KNX Business Hour” program, Frank Mottek, was honored with the “Outstanding News Professional” award from the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Los Angeles chapter on Wednesday, November 6. The 49th annual PRism Awards gala took place at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The awards were established decades ago to honor a select number of companies, individuals and programs that most exemplify above-and-beyond industry and community impact. PRSA is the largest public relations organization in the world, with more than 21,000 members nationally. Pictured here (from l-r) are: KNX news director Julie Chin, director of programming Andy Ludlum, Mottek and CBS Radio SVP/Los Angeles market manager Dan Kearney.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN Chicago names Scott Miller executive producer for the late night Pete McMurray show that airs from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am. Miller had been working freelance for the show and he tells TALKERS, “During my freelance time on the Pete McMurray show, I have booked: Buddy Guy, Billy Corgan, Mike Love, Dr Oz, Paul Rodriguez, Frankie Valli, Nora Dunn, Lester Holt, Nick Offerman, Aaron Paul, Mo Rocca, Kevin Cronin, and Bruce Hornsby to name a few. Famed Comedy Club owner Jamie Masada voted me ‘Chicago’s Funniest Media Personality’ at Laugh Factory Chicago!”…..NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha was recently recognized by Omaha’s Child Saving Institute for its commitment to children and families with the organization’s “Corporate Award” at the CSI Awards luncheon earlier this week. KOIL has hosted the CSI Radiothon for the past 14 years raising more than $1 million for services to local children in need. This year’s radiothon is December 13…..WRKO, Boston morning drive talk host Jeff Kuhner (pictured here on stage addressing fans) celebrated his one-year anniversary as host of “The Kuhner Report” on Wednesday evening at the Pearl Street Café in suburban Saugus, Massachusetts. Some 200 fans packed the restaurant to help Kuhner celebrate the benchmark…..At Clear Channel’s sports talk KXNO, Des Moines, Tim Fisher leaves the morning show to relocate to Houston for personal reasons. Travis Justice and producer Ross Peterson continue to host the “Morning Rush” program.
ObamaCare Rollout Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM. Talk of the problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the implementation of the federally run website, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ role in the process was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was Tuesday’s election day results. Following at #3 was Republican Party strategy for the 2014 and 2016 elections and at #4 was President Obama’s declining approval numbers. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
The Doctor and Mr. Cain. Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) poses for a photo with WestwoodOne-syndicated talk host (and former presidential candidate) Herman Cain (center) at a fundraiser for Congress of National Equality spokesman Niger Innis (left) who is running for U.S. Congress in the 4th district of Nevada.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the programming at KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana; KVFC, Cortez, Colorado; and KSZL, Barstow, California…..GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is picked up by WNFZ-FM, Powell, Tennessee…..Talk Media Network-syndicated “Fat Guys at the Movies” with Kevin Carr and Kristin Dreyer Kramer is added to the Saturday program schedule at KVEC, San Luis Obispo, California.
Entercom Reports Q3 Revenue Down 4%. Bucking the trend of recent third quarter reports from other broadcasters showing generally moderate revenue growth, Entercom’s Q3 2013 financial statement indicated revenue down 4% on $98.4 million. President and CEO David Field stated that station expenses increased 5% and the resulting adjusted EBITDA was down 22% to $26.2 million. Field did tell investors during yesterday’s conference call that the company has been paying down debt, “We also continued to direct our substantial free cash flow towards debt reduction. During the third quarter alone, we cut our net debt by $20 million, and have now lowered our net debt by nearly $450 million over the past six years.” Field reported that local sales were down 5% and national revenue was basically flat. Field admitted the company’s sales effort was the problem, stating that in the markets in which the company operates, total radio revenue was up 1%. “Plain and simple, our sales performance in the third quarter was poor. We failed to get the job done and that is unacceptable. We lagged our radio peers by a significant margin, and failed to capitalize on our strong brands, ratings and marketing capabilities.” Field reminded investors that the company anticipated a down third quarter due to recently enacted changes in the company’s sales strategies and practices and that the changes will make the company stronger in the long run.
Saga Communications Inches Up 1.6% in Net Revenue. For the third quarter of 2013, Saga Communications says the $35.8 million (ex political) resulted in a net revenue increase of 1.6%. CEO Ed Christian told investors during yesterday’s conference call that considering how much the company is down from the loss of political from last year to this, the results are not bad though he had hoped to be up 2%. Christian can be downright chatty during these conference calls and he took the time to reference a Barron’s article indicating America may be at the beginning of decades of slow growth and suggested radio’s prescription for adapting to such an economy is to focus on rebuilding radio’s image. He says research shows people like radio but there needs to be more trust and respect. “If we blend the community – and you can define community any way that you like it – if we blend the community and we blend radio into one, we’ll continue to survive and prosper, even in a 2% GDP world.”
Salem Communications’ Broadcast Division Announces Flat Q3 Numbers. The broadcasting division of Salem Communications was up just a hair – 0.3% on $46 million dollars for the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Evan Masyr broke down the company’s performance by format, reporting, “Thirty-nine of our radio stations are programmed in what we call our foundational format Christian Teaching and Talk, these stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 1% for the quarter. Block programming increased 2.3%, while infomercials were down 29.7% as we continue to reduce the infomercials on our radio stations to improve the overall programming on the stations. Our 26 news/talk stations had a decrease of 6% in revenue for the quarter. Overall, these stations contributed 14% of total broadcast revenue. The revenue from the 12 contemporary Christian music stations contributed 24% of total broadcast revenue and had an increase of 5% for the quarter. Again, we continue to see strong results from many of our music stations, most notably in this quarter Los Angeles and Dallas. The seven stations that we have programmed in Spanish language, Christian Teaching and Talk grew by 26%, and these stations comprised 2% of our broadcast revenue. Finally, with respect to the formats that we focus on the 10 stations in a business talk format, and that format contributed 3% of our broadcast revenue and had a decrease of 2% in revenue.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the entire call here.
Nielsen Promotes Mitch Barns to CEO. The ratings giant – which recently brought radio ratings into its fold with the acquisition of Arbitron – announces that Dwight M. “Mitch” Barns will succeed David L. Calhoun as chief executive officer effective Jaunary 1, 2014. Barns has been with Nielsen for the past 16 years, currently serving as president, global client service, which oversees $5.5 billion in revenue and leads the efforts of Nielsen’s Watch and Buy client service teams worldwide. Upon Barns’ succession, David Calhoun will become executive chairman of the board of directors, at which time Nielsen’s current Chairman of the Board, James M. Kilts, will step down as chairman, but will remain a board member. Calhoun states, “Nielsen is successfully implementing its global strategy, and the time is right to name the next leader to take the company to its next phase of growth. Mitch’s strong track record at the helm of a number of key Nielsen business units around the world – combined with his vision and commitment to our strategic plan – puts the company on solid footing for continued global expansion and value creation. I will continue to remain invested in Mitch’s success in my new role.” Barns adds, “I am honored by this opportunity to serve Nielsen as its chief executive officer, and I am thankful for the board’s vote of confidence. Throughout my 16 years at this company, I’ve been privileged to work side-by-side with talented leaders and associates in Nielsen businesses across the world. I look forward to continuing our work together to anticipate client needs with ongoing innovation and expand our footprint in developing markets, while consistently delivering growth and enhancing shareholder value.”
KFI, Los Angeles Critic Files Petition to Deny License Renewal. It’s probably not surprising to anyone at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles that Alex Nogales, representing the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has filed a Petition to Deny the station’s license renewal application. Nogales has long been a critic of the station’s programming. It’s hard to say whether Nogales actually believes the FCC would act on his assertions that because hosts such as John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou speak against illegal immigration that their show is “harmful and dangerous” and this could qualify as actionable or whether he just wants to get some publicity by announcing the filing of the Petition. Regardless, as we’ve seen countless times before – and most recently with the Commission’s refusal to deny license renewal for Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – disagreements with the opinions of talk show hosts are not valid reasons for non-renewal. As it wrote in the recent WMAL case, the FCC states, “The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.”
Programmer and Consultant Greg Moceri’s Son Tony Writes New Hannity Theme Music. Tony Moceri is the 13-year-old son of talk radio programmer and consultant Greg Moceri and resides in Ada, Michigan. Tony has been playing piano since he was five and currently is a percussionist in his middle school’s band. Greg Moceri tells Mlive.com that, though he’s worked with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in the past, his connection didn’t influence the use of his son’s work. He says Hannity’s staff was seeking new music, “They wanted a change and asked for something upbeat and lively for the show opening. I wasn’t thrilled with what I was finding and then I remembered Tony’s piece and sent it to some people that I work with. They all thought it was perfect and so I sent it to Sean. I didn’t tell him where it came from; I didn’t want him to feel obligated. But he loved it and now they are using it.” Hannity told Mlive.com, “Isn’t this a great story? When Greg sent me the music, I thought it was a pop song and wondered why I had never heard it. I have a son about the same age…and I listen to a lot of kids music. I love music and this is spectacular.”
Odds & Sods. Hockey is back and so is WGN, Chicago’s broadcast series, “Chicago Blackhawks Live,” a number of one-hour radio remotes during the 2013-2014 season that take place over dinner and feature current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives. It’s hosted by Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray and the season premiere will feature Blackhawks forwards Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. It takes place on November 11 at 7:00 pm at Old Town Pour House in Chicago…..Cuts at Rogers Communications are affecting some of the company’s spoken-word outlets. The Ottawa Citizen reports that CIWW, Ottawa is losing seven staffers as the station will simulcast sister CJCL, Toronto “Sportsnet 590” for weekends and part of the weekday programming. In all, Rogers is reportedly laying off 94 staffers…..MLB‘s Miami Marlins games will be heard on Clear Channel‘s sports talk WINZ, Miami beginning with the 2014 season. This past season, Marlins play-by-play was heard on Lincoln Financial Media‘s WAXY, Miami.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Dori Monson to Take on Governor Inslee in Hoops Challenge. KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dori Monson gets to face off with Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a charity basketball game tonight that will be broadcast live on KIRO-FM. The “Clash on the Court” will benefit Food Lifeline and Sports in Schools. The program consists of a five-on-five co-ed game between local youth, coached by Monson and Inslee, followed by a five-on-five game featuring show hosts from KIRO Radio and “710 ESPN Seattle” up against local politicians handpicked by Jay Inslee. The event will conclude with a one-on-one game between Monson and Inslee. Monson jokes, “This may be my first and only opportunity to force a local politician to go right! This proves that, for us aging basketball players, we check our politics at the gym door. I’m thrilled Governor Inslee and I – along with our colleagues – are able to get together to raise money for two great organizations.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Presidential Approval Polls, Election Day, Toronto Mayor Crack Case and NFL Bullying Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; new lower numbers for President Obama’s approval ratings; the high-profile races in Tuesday’s elections, including gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey; the admission by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that he’s used crack cocaine in the past; and the accusations of bullying within the Miami Dolphins organization were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Takes Place Today. More than 250 broadcasters from the talk media industries will be gathering in Hollywood, California today to hear more than 57 speakers analyze the key issues facing talk radio and talk internet at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. Among them, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson, who will deliver the keynote address, “Radio at the Crossroads,” and Courtside Entertainment, LLC CEO Norm Pattiz and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who will engage in a keynote conversation, “Okay…Now What?” at the sold-out event. Talkers Los Angeles 2013 — a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club — takes place today between 9:00 am and 6:15 pm at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California. Full coverage of the conference will be provided at Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks. To see the up-to-date, power-packed agenda, please click here.
PodcastOne Signs Kathie Lee Gifford to Deal for One-Hour Program. Bringing marquee talent to the podcast genre is what Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz promised when he debuted PodcastOne. Now, the company signs “Today” co-anchor Kathie Lee Gifford to host a one-hour podcast on the platform. When the show debuts on October 23, Gifford will host with her former “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” partner Regis Philbin. Gifford says, “I’m so looking forward to this new podcast adventure. I feel like I’m in an episode of the Jetsons, soaring into unknown territory on my podcast. It will be the first time for me in a 45-year career where I’ve been able to completely control the content. And best of all? I won’t need my hair or makeup done and there’s no need for Spanx!” Pattiz adds, “What can I possibly say about Kathie Lee Gifford that hasn’t already been said? How about this – bringing Kathie Lee to on-demand audio via PodcastOne is a very big deal. We’re doing business with the best of the best, and that list just got better.” Other PodcastOne personalities and brands include Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Steve Austin, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Jay Mohr, Jillian Michaels, NPR New York, NPR Los Angeles, and “60 Minutes.”
KFTK, St. Louis Personality Dana Loesch Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. St. Louis-based talk radio personality and writer Dana Loesch has subbed for Glenn Beck in addition to her full-time work on Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis and WIBC, Indianapolis. Now, she’ll serve as a contributor and host for TheBlaze. In addition to continuing to fill in for Beck, what audio or video contributions Loesch will make remains unclear at this time. Loesch says, “I’m excited to join TheBlaze team. I love the fight in this group and their dedication to creating the best content available on multiple platforms. They’ve been at the forefront of new wave media…I can’t wait to get started.” Glenn Beck said of her on his TV program, “We are thrilled to have her. She is one of the people that is on the front lines fighting the good fight. We have wanted to have her as a part of TheBlaze for a very, very long time.” Loesch founded the St.Louis-area Tea Party and previously worked as an editor at Breitbart.
Mike McConnell Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that talk radio personality Mike McConnell – off the AM 720 signal at Tribune’s WGN since early October and relegated to airing a show on wgnradio.com – is leaving the company. McConnell came to WGN from Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati where he worked with former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels when Michaels was running WLW and later serving as president of Clear Channel Radio. When Jimmy de Castro took over the reins of WGN earlier this year, it was suspected that the on-air lineup might change dramatically and that’s what’s happened. Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder were brought in for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon shift and Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano took over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Feder reports that sources say McConnell and Tribune have a tentative settlement on the remaining two years of his reported $500,000 annual salary but there’s no official word from Tribune at this time.
KFH, Wichita Brings Shane Dennis Aboard for PM Drive. Entercom sports talk radio outlet KFH-AM/FM, Wichita the addition of a new live and local sports talk show hosted by Shane Dennis beginning October 21. Dennis comes to the station with a sports pedigree. He was director of baseball operations for 13 years at Wichita State. During that time, he worked with Mike Kennedy as color analyst for WSU baseball games. He pitched for the WSU Shockers from 1991–1994 and earned All-American honors in 1994. Program director Tony Duesing says, “We’re excited about adding Shane to our powerful sports lineup on KFH. Shane is a big sports radio fan and he is a great personality who will only make people want to tune in.”
Former KCOH, Houston Talk Radio Personality Files Civil Suit Against Station President. Recently, TALKERS reported the case of Houston urban talk radio personality Michael Harris quitting his position at KCOH after alleging station president (and local minister) Jesse Dunn was misusing station funds. Now, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Harris is filing a civil suit against Dunn and the South Houston Community Development Corporation. The paper reports that in the suit, Harris says Dunn made false representations to induce him to secure two personal lines of credit totaling $130,000 for station financing and back a $38,000 loan for equipment. Harris also alleges that Dunn was able to acquire a debit card to use on one of the lines of credit and that Dunn has been using those funds for personal expenses including trips to Las Vegas and Louisiana. Harris’ attorney says no contract exists between the two men and states, point blank, that his client “got hustled.” Dunn had previously said whatever money he used was his and is currently running recorded announcements on the station assuring listeners that the station’s finances are strong and that claims to the contrary are misrepresentations.
Internet Advertising Bureau: Digital Ad Revenue Hits $20.1 Billion in First Half of 2013. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, that total for the first half of 2013 marks an increase of 18% over the 2012 first-half-year total. Some other highlights from the organization’s report include: Report highlights include: Mobile revenues soared to $3 billion in the first half of 2013, representing triple-digit growth at 145% from $1.2 billion in the same period last year; Digital video, a component of display-related advertising, took in $1.3 billion in revenue during the first six months of 2013, an uptick of 24% over the first half of 2012 at $1.1 billion; Search revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $8.7 billion, up 7% from $8.1 billion in the first half of 2012; Display-related advertising revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $6.1 billion, accounting for 30% of revenues in the time period, up 9% from $5.6 billion in the first half of 2012; and the top three advertising verticals accounted for 46% of advertising revenue, including Retail at 20%, Financial Services at 14% and Automotive at 12%. IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg states, “Digital has steadily increased its ability to captivate consumers and then capture the marketing dollars that follow. Mobile advertising’s breakneck growth is evidence that marketers are recognizing the tremendous power of smaller screens. Digital video is also on a positive trajectory, delivering avid viewership and strong brand-building opportunities.”
J.D. Hayworth in for Huckabee. Former U.S. Congressman J.D. Hayworth (and former KFYI, Phoenix talk host) sits in for Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk personality Mike Huckabee on Friday, October 11 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.
Debt Limit/Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, Obama Approval Ratings, Financial Markets Activity, and Baseball Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9). The struggle in Washington to come to agreement on a debt limit and to undo the government shutdown; the failure of the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act website; the sinking approval ratings for President Obama; the response to the government shutdown by the world’s financial markets; and the MLB playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dial Global Changes Name to WestwoodOne. Making good on what had been rumored for a little more than a week, Dial Global, as it prepares to be acquired by Cumulus Media, announces the official change of its name to WestwoodOne (complete with cool, new logo). CEO Paul Caine states, “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as Dial Global. Through our belief in the power of sound we are dedicated to continuously reinventing the industry and creating the most dynamic audio programming that connects people to their passions. With the audio industry’s ever-changing landscape we know we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible for audio’s broad consumption. By reclaiming and reviving an iconic audio brand name, we are not changing who we are, but accelerating the great work we are doing to contribute to the growth of audio.” In addition to the name change, the company reports it is commissioning “an industry study on the ‘power of sound,’ aimed at better understanding consumers, their behavior, and their interaction with audio. The study builds on current recency data proving radio as the most-used medium closest to point-of-purchase and will explore trends in audio consumption based on behavioral tendencies among various demographics.” The company says full study results are expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2013 but states that preliminary findings further the notion that audio is an integral part of the new media landscape.
TRN’s Jerry Doyle Launches ‘Solution-Based News Destination’ EpicTimes.com. Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle – a former actor, voice-over artist, Wall Street trader and pilot, says he credits his varied background with instilling in him the obvious and growing need for a solution-based news community. The Talk Radio Network personality is therefore launching his newest media endeavor, EpicTimes.com – what he calls “a solution-based news destination dedicated to putting cutting-edge news, resources, and answers in the hands of the public.” He adds, “EpicTimes.com seeks to deliver insight from some of the most influential voices of our time, spanning a variety of expertise to share solution-based ideas and insights with a community that is focused on problem solving and results.” Doyle says that to serve the knowledge of his online audience, he has assembled a diverse cast of contributors, whose collective goal is to offer clear insights into a range of issues, combined with hard-hitting commentaries and workable solutions to the issues that directly affect our lives. “This unique view on the issues and news headlines is geared toward building an active community on the site. All opinions are heard and commentary between readers and contributors and readers to readers is encouraged. That kind of honest conversation is just what I believe people want. My goal is for EpicTimes.com to not just publish relevant news, but to become a solutions community.” Check out EpicTimes.com here.
Katz Radio Group Names Mark Rosenthal CEO. Media rep firm Katz Media Group announces it has picked media executive Mark Rosenthal to head up the Katz Radio Group. Rosenthal’s media experience goes back to the early days of MTV where he was one of the original team that created the cable TV channel. He was also involved in the inception of Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central. Katz says he “has been a leader in the media industry for more than 25 years, building advertising and marketing solutions for world-class media brands.” KRG says Rosenthal will work with president Mark Gray to “ensure continued high-level performance in the transactional arena. Rosenthal will also focus on KRG’s radio advocacy efforts and lead an accelerated charge to bring additional revenue into the radio sector.” Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have such a well-respected media executive join Katz Radio Group. Mark has an enormous range of experience across all forms of media, from traditional and digital media to the agency world. Radio is a powerful national marketing platform. Our goal is to continue to tell the success story of radio’s massive reach. Mark joining the team signifies a very exciting step forward in our intensified effort to drive substantial growth for Katz clients by providing the most innovative media solutions available.”
Fox News and SiriusXM Re-Up; Content Added to SiriusXM Internet Radio. After speculation over the summer that Fox News and SiriusXM were headed for a break-up, the two sides announce they have inked a deal to bring Fox News content to the satcaster through 2019. In addition, as part of the new agreement, SiriusXM will broadcast Fox Business Network. SiriusXM will be the exclusive audio home for broadcasts of Fox News and Fox Business Network for its more than 25 million subscribers. As part of the agreement, SiriusXM will add both channels to its SiriusXM Internet Radio channel lineup for the first time. The new agreement also includes the addition of Fox News Talk to the SiriusXM Internet Radio service. Fox News Talk, which offers news, analysis, listener call-ins, and commentary from popular Fox News personalities such as Brian Kilmeade, John Gibson and Alan Colmes, among others, will be available online at SiriusXM Internet Radio and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App on smart phones and other connected devices. Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes states, “Our viewers love the ability to keep the connection with Fox News Channel, even while they’re in the car with SiriusXM. This agreement not only ensures that will continue but expands it to our Fox Business Network viewers and restores the Fox News Talk channel to SiriusXM subscribers on their computers and smart phones. This is good for Fox News, for SiriusXM and for the people we both work for, the American public.”
Leland Conway Named Late-Morning Host at WHAS, Louisville. Clear Channel’s heritage Louisville news/talker announces talk host Leland Conway will assume the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program that opened up when Mandy Connell moved to the company’s KHOW, Denver for the morning show earlier this summer. Conway – a Kentucky native – currently hosts afternoon drive on CC’s WRVA, Richmond and will continue in that role as well. Regional programming manager Kelly Carls states, “This is an exciting appointment for ‘84WHAS Radio’ and the Kentuckiana community. We talked to many highly qualified and experienced on-air personalities, but Leland’s talents really shined brightly. His wit, energy and longstanding Kentucky roots make him a great fit. We’re extremely happy he’s returning to the Bluegrass State.” Conway has served as a commentator on WTVQ-TV, and for six years hosted a successful talk show on WLAP, Lexington. Conway adds, “It is an honor to join the WHAS team. As a native Kentuckian, I grew up with WHAS. It’s as much a part of the Bluegrass State as hot browns and horse racing. I am excited to once again be a part of the lively conversation in Kentucky.”
Michael Harrison to Present Annual Address at NAB Radio Show. In a popular “Info-Session” that has packed the room each year for more than a decade, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show on the subject “The Vital Role Radio Plays in Popular Culture.” The info-session, sponsored by TALKERS, will be a power-packed hour touching upon a number of key issues that are vital to radio’s very existence – let alone artistic and financial well-being - in the rapidly advancing digital era. Harrison says that for radio to remain iconic in the 21st century, it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition. He says radio must maintain a foreground, active position and avoid being marginalized as a passive delivery system and he gives solid examples and suggestions to make it happen. Consultant Holland Cooke introduces what will be a riveting and inspirational hour. The session takes place on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm in the very heart of the conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Gatlin E2 and is open to all attendees of the conference.
‘Rock 102’ Springfield, MA Morning Talk Duo Bax & O’Brien to Do Live Performance at Local Theater. The long-running morning drive powerhouse of Bax & O’ Brien (Michael “Bax” Baxendale and John O’ Brien) have been gathering huge on-air audiences in Western Massachusetts for more than 15 years and innovating advances in local webcasting worthy of national attention. Now, they’ve added another facet to their arsenal of attractions. The team has been booked into the downtown Springfield prestigious City-Stage theater for a one-night special performance on Thursday, October 17. The show is being sponsored by local car dealership Curry Honda and will cleverly feature “guest” appearances by locally famous advertisers who will actually perform their live commercial reads during the program (great idea!). In addition, guests will include local and regional personalities Paul “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, live performances from guitar legend Gary Hoey and Dr. Westchesterson plus special video presentations from comedians Lisa Lampanelli and Tom Cotter, and the promise of other surprises! Tickets go on sale Friday September 6 at the City Stage Box Office or at Ticketmaster.com. Fans of Bax & O’ Brien will be able to see it live in person or watch the show streamed live with their BaxandObrien.com membership.
Main Street Radio Network Re-Brands Alan Nathan-Hosted Program. The talk show that’s been known as “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” is now titled “The Alan Nathan Show.” Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk states, “He’s the longest-running centrist radio show in the country and we’re delighted with the program’s evolution and direction. As so many have said, ALAN is an important voice who needs to be heard!” Nathan himself comments, “They’ve been calling it the ‘Alan Nathan show’ for years, so I learned how to take a hint. Additionally, while there’s plenty of spirited debate (or battling) happening on the program, it’s also a guest-generated, panel-driven event that teases all who take themselves too seriously.”
Dino Costa Moves to Mornings on SiriusXM’s New Sports Zone Channel. As TALKERS reported yesterday (from a New York Daily News story), sports talk host Dino Costa is moving from the Mad Dog Radio channel at SiriusXM where he was the evening (Eastern Time) personality, to mornings where his show will be heard from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET beginning September 5. In a statement, Costa says, “When I joined SiriusXM nearly five years ago, my objective was to deliver listeners across North America a brand of sports commentary and opinion that they had never heard before, something that was a radical departure from the status quo. I feel I have accomplished that and gained a more than appreciable audience over that time. Creating and delivering the kind of a show I do would not have been possible anyplace other than SiriusXM and it is an honor and a privilege to be with what I consider to be the mightiest radio broadcaster on planet earth. I enjoyed my time with Mad Dog Sports Radio and now I look forward to new challenges and conquests and feel more enthused than ever at the prospects of making SiriusXM Sports Zone a destination channel for our valued subscribers. This is the start of something very big!”
Lori Moore to Retire from WKZO, Kalamazoo. Retire might be too strong a word for AM drive host Lori Moore’s departure from Midwest Communications’ news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo. But Moore has worked at the station for the past 18 years (32 years in the market) and, to her faithful listeners, it might feel like retirement. Still, Moore says she will remain close to the community and has “many projects” in the pipeline. Morning host since 1995, Moore states, “I feel I have a special bond with my audience and advertisers. I think I am able to connect with what people care about. I talk about events because I go to them and I endorse products and services I actually use.” Her last day is Friday, September 6.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds more sports programming to its weekend lineup with a post-Bears game program called “Two and a Half Bears,” featuring NFL Hall of Famer and Chicago Bears alumnus Dan Hampton, his former teammate Glen Kozlowski and WGN’s resident football fanatic Pete McMurray. The program will feature interviews with players, coaches, and front office personnel. Additionally, Hampton will join WGN’s Steve Cochran every Monday and Friday morning at 7:40 to provide a Bears game recap and preview…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces its NFL and Patriots football-related programming to air on the station and its affiliate stations around New England. The content again includes exclusive interviews with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick on “Patriots Monday.” As it did last year, gameday coverage will originate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough and include pre- and post-game programs. Throughout the week, WEEI programs will be visited by numerous football experts, writers and Patriots players…..ESPN Radio sports talk host Colin Cowherd debuts a new program on ESPN2 titled “Colin’s New Football Show” that will air Sundays at 9:00 am ET. ESPN vice president, original programming and production, Jamie Horowitz says, “’Colin’s New Football Show’ will be entirely from Colin’s perspective. It’s a cool and alternative pre-game show with Colin, a football outsider on the inside, letting fans know the key stories of the day in his own style.”…..CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington reports it is doubling its traffic alerts to keep commuters up to speed on the region’s roadways during drive time. Dubbed “Beltway Fix on the Six,” in addition its traffic and weather together on the 1s, the station will add reports on the 6s between 7:00 am and 10:00 as well as between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm……CRN Digital Talk Radio host and well-known actor Fred Dryer is back on the big screen in a new movie titled “Snake and Mongoose,” that chronicles the careers of drag racers Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen. In the film, Dryer plays Motorsports Hall of Fame member Ed Donovan, McEwen’s engine builder who coined the racer’s “Mongoose” moniker.
Illegal Immigration Forum. Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) and former INS agent Michael Cutler appeared in “The President Speakers Series” on the subject of illegal immigration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. The event was moderated by the talk show host Marc Bernier – who also serves as President’s special assistant at the university – and was broadcast on WNDB, Daytona Beach and carried by C-SPAN. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bernier, ERAU president John P. Johnson, Rep. Barletta and Cutler. The event was the 95th in the Town Hall Series. Photo by Arthur J. Byrnes.
Syria Question Goes Before Congress, ObamaCare Implementation, Miley Cyrus Fallout and Jack Nicholson Retires due to Memory Loss Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3). Secretary of State John Kerry takes the question of whether the United States should begin military action against Syria to Congress; ongoing complications in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the fallout from Miley Cyrus’ risqué performance at the MTV Video Music Awards and Jack Nicholson’s retirement from making movies, reportedly due to memory loss were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Townsquare Announces Stations Acquisition; Deal Worth Approximately $281 Million. Townsquare Media, LLC announces that it has executed definitive documentation related to three transactions with Cumulus Media Holdings, Inc. and Peak II Holding LLC which, upon consummation, will result in Townsquare acquiring assets including 71 radio stations in 15 markets. After the deal is consummated, Townsquare will own 312 radio stations in 66 markets and have operations in 25 states, making it the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States and the largest, “best-capitalized owner and operator of radio stations solely focused on small and mid-sized markets.” In a press release this morning, Townsquare reports it is acquiring assets including 53 radio stations (three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust) in 12 markets (Battle Creek; Cedar Rapids; Danbury, Connecticut; Faribault-Owatonna, Minnesota; Kalamazoo; Lansing; Portland, Maine; Portsmouth-Dover-Rochester, New Hampshire; Quad Cities; Rochester, Minnesota; Rockford, Illinois; and Waterloo, Iowa) from Cumulus for cash. Townsquare is also acquiring Peak, which owns assets including 11 radio stations in two markets (Boise and Fresno) for cash and equity units of Townsquare. Finally, Townsquare will exchange certain assets including five radio stations, in Fresno it is acquiring from Peak, for Cumulus assets including 15 radio stations in two markets (Dubuque and Poughkeepsie) and a de minimis cash settle-up payment in favor of Townsquare. In total, Townsquare will be acquiring 68 stations from Cumulus, three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust, and eleven Peak stations, five of which will be exchanged to Cumulus, resulting in a net increase of 71 stations. Townsquare expects to finance the transactions with a mix of secured and unsecured debt financing, Townsquare equity units and cash on hand. Townsquare has received debt financing commitments from its various financing partners in connection with the transactions and will complete its financing in compliance with the covenant package of Townsquare Radio, LLC’s existing Senior Unsecured Notes indenture. “These transactions represent the continued evolution of Townsquare Media into one of the nation’s largest local media companies and allow us to reach a scale which opens the door to new strategic opportunities,” comments Townsquare Chairman and CEO, Steven Price. “The assets we are adding to our portfolio are market leading brands with strong competitive positions in their respective small and mid-sized markets. We are excited by the opportunity to deploy our differentiated local-media strategy across a broader footprint in order to better serve our communities and our advertising clients.”
Cumulus Announces Expected Dial Global Acquisition. Cumulus Media Inc. issues a press release this morning announcing “a series of strategic transactions that solidifies the company’s position as a leading producer of high-quality content and continues to reshape its footprint focused on the top 100 markets.” The transactions announced today include:
• Acquisition of Dial Global, Inc. for $260 million in cash (consisting of approximately $45 million attributable to equity and the retirement of $215 million of debt)
• Sale of 53 radio stations in 12 small and mid-sized markets to Townsquare Media for $238 million in cash (inclusive of the acquisition of net working capital)
• Swap with Townsquare Media of 15 radio stations in two small & mid-sized markets in exchange for the receipt of five stations in Fresno, CA (market #68)
“These transactions give us the necessary scale to provide the marketing and enterprise solutions our advertising and affiliate partners require,” said Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus. “Our goal is to be the leading producer of premium audio content distributed through multiple platforms while continuing to build our broadcast platform in the top 100 U.S. markets.”
The acquisition of Dial Global will add sports, news, talk, music and programming services content – enabling Cumulus to provide a wider variety of options to approximately 10,000 U.S. radio stations, other media platforms and international platforms. New content acquired through the Dial Global acquisition will include NFL, NCAA, NASCAR, Olympics, AP Radio News, NBC News and other popular programming. Cumulus expects the transaction to be deleveraging based upon identified cost synergies of approximately $40 million, with additional upside from revenue growth potential through the creation of new content vehicles for broadcast radio advertisers. Additionally, Cumulus believes the opportunity exists to distribute premium, curated audio content across emerging new media platforms. Further, Cumulus intends to service broadcasters’ demands for premium content and enterprise solutions in Europe, the Americas and Australia.
WGN, Chicago Announces New Lineup. Yesterday (8/29), TALKERS reported the reuniting of Chicago radio personalities Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Now, the station issues a release detailing the programming changes – some of which were reported a few weeks ago – that take place on Tuesday, September 3. As reported earlier, Steve Cochran assumes morning drive duties; he’s followed by Wendy & Bill from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; husband and wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano (pictured at left) air from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Garry Meier continues to host the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. David Kaplan maintains his 7:00 pm show start but wraps at 11:00 pm when Pete McMurray, who expands his role with the station, starts hosting the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am program. As reported earlier this week, Nick Digilio becomes a full-time host with the station on the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot. Weekends are spotlighted by the return of Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (pictured lower right) to the station in the Saturday 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot beginning September 14. Other changes include: “The Design Dude with Frank Fontana” airing from 6:00 am to 7:00 am, followed by “Mr. Fix-it with Lou Manfredini” from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. When not affected by sports preemptions, Bill Moller will follow Kathy and Judy from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Sports Central” will remain in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot. The Sunday lineup will introduce a new show dedicated to the discussion of the Chicago political landscape. Chicago Tribune writer Rick Pearson will host “Chicago Way: Politics with Pearson” on Sundays from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. “The Dean Richards Sunday Special” will follow at 9:00 am, extending an additional two hours until 1:00 pm. In addition to his Saturday show, Bill Moller will air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Brian Noonan remains in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot, followed by the return of Chicago treasure, Rick Kogan, from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Comedian and media personality, Patti Vasquez, will air from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am. Playing a feature role in the future of WGN’s new lineup will be “720 Snackables.” These spotlight segments will live online and on-air as interviews, video shorts, and podcasts. They’ll feature the WGN family of experts including Dean Richards’ “A-List Interviews,” “Legally Speaking with Karen Conti,” “Bertrand on Books” with Steve Bertrand, “Flavor HD” with Hannah Stanley & Dane Neal, “Steve Dale’s Pet World,” Paul Green’s “Paul & The Politicians,” “Good Cents with Ilyce Glink,” and more.
Chris Carl New RTDNA Chair. WDEL, Wilmington, Delaware director of news and programming Chris Carl is the new chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association. Pictured here is outgoing chair Vince Duffy of Michigan Radio (l) passing the gavel to Carl (r). Carl notes that for the first time in the organization’s history, the RTNDF chairman, RTDNA chairman and RTDNA chair-elect are all radio people as Duffy moves to the Foundation chair for the next year, and the membership elects Amy Tardif of WGCU-FM, Fort Myers as the chair-elect.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to make regular appearances on CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.” Every Tuesday he’ll join the “Vinnie & Cook” show at 11:00 am…..Guaranty Broadcasting’s KYPY, Baton Rouge flips from classic country to a simulcast of sister sports talk WNXX “104.5 ESPN”…..New Jersey Devils hockey will continue to be heard on CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM and beyond. The club signs a new, multi-year deal with the station to keep games on for the ninth straight season beginning in October…..Clear Channel moves Portland Trailblazers basketball from news/talk KEX to sister sports talk KPOJ for the coming season to avoid preemptions…..Bob Smith retires from his post as host of “1370 Connection” at pubcaster WXXI, Rochester, New York after a 25-plus-year career with the station. Smith suffered a stroke in April and is still undergoing rehabilitative care.
More Than $3.3 Million Raised in Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Entercom sports radio WEEI and regional cable sports channel NESN have teamed up for 12 years to air a two-day radio-telethon to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This week’s event helped raise more than $3.3 million – about the same amount raised the year prior. This puts the 12-year total at more than $34 million. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “The outstanding generosity of our listeners across New England year after year not only supports a great cause but betters the lives of those who need it most. These past two days have been the most emotionally rewarding for the entire WEEI and Entercom Boston family this year. We remain both humbled and thrilled to have played a role in helping the selfless team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in their fight against cancer.” A check was presented at last night’s Red Sox game. Pictured (from l-r) are: Red Sox owner John Henry, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, Entercom Boston VP/market manager Jeff Brown, Jimmy Fund director Suzanne Fountain, WEEI executive producer Joe Zarbano, WEEI director of marketing Adam Ralston, NESN president Sean McGrail, and Wally the Green Monster.
Wilmington, NC Sports Talk Show Adds Saturday Edition. The weekly “Sports Connection” show hosted by Port City Daily sports writer Joe Catenacci adds a Saturday edition that begins a run on Sea-Comm-owned rock WBNE, Wilmington “103.7 The Bone.” Joe Cat’s show began as a co-operative effort between the Port City Daily and Sea-Comm news/talk WNTB and WLTT airing Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Beginning tomorrow (8/31) Catenacci and co-host Cori Stukes will broadcast live every Saturday from Hell’s Kitchen on Princess Street in downtown Wilmington. He says in the Port City Daily, “Over the last eight months, we have connected the local community with some of the top names in sports from across the country. Even with a focus on local, we continue to get some of the household names when it comes to industry. Locally, every high school football, basketball and baseball coach has made an appearance on the show at least once, as well as UNCW coaches and players.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by a number of new affiliate stations, including: WCKG-AM, Chicago; WBAT-AM, Marion, Indiana; KENT-AM, Parowan, Utah; WRSB, Canandaigua, New York; WASB, Bridgeport, New York; W286AE-FM, Fairport, New York; and WNZS, Bangor, Maine…..“Late Night Health Radio” with host Mark Alyn joins the programming lineup at KABC, Los Angeles…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom” with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is added to WFPA, Fort Payne, Alabama…..The “Unlock Your Wealth” feature by Heather Wagenhals is added to affiliate stations WPGR, Pittsburgh; KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton, California; and WEZO, Augusta, Georgia.
U.S. Syria Action Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 26-30. The question of whether the United States should take action against Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the March on Washington anniversary tied with American race relations. Following at #3 was Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs and at #4 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
KTRS, St. Louis at Center of Skirmish Over Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Industry Recruitment Blitz. CH Holdings-owned news/talk stations KTRS, St. Louis is making national news after station manager Mark Dorsey canceled an ad campaign bought by the state of Texas that sought to convince Missouri businesses they’d be better off moving to the more industry-friendly Texas where “businesses flourish and jobs are created.” Dorsey posted a statement on the KTRS website saying, in part: “When the order was placed, KTRS was under the assumption these commercials were going to promote tourism to Texas. Once we, the management of KTRS realized these commercials were instead focused on stealing locally owned companies away from St Louis, we suspended airing these commercials immediately. We understand people have different viewpoints on public policy and we welcome that debate everyday on our airways. But as one of the few remaining locally owned radio stations in the country, we feel the need to stand strong with other small locally owned businesses and defend our region. Governor Rick Perry, Don’t mess with Missouri, and don’t mess with St Louis.” In the ad, Perry criticizes policies of the Missouri governor and state legislature, accusing them of being less friendly to business. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the ads are running on radio and TV stations in St. Louis and other Missouri markets as Perry prepares to visit the region this week.
Report: ESPN at Center of Nielsen-Arbitron Deal. The New York Post reports today that Disney-owned ESPN could be the media company that has the biggest say in whether the Federal Trade Commission approves Nielsen’s $1.26 billion purchase of Arbitron. At issue here is the multi-media use of Arbitron’s PPM in which – via Project Blueprint – ESPN is licensing the technology to measure audience consumption of its product over television, radio, smartphones, tablets and computers. The Post reports that sources tell it, “The license expires soon, and the ability of ESPN to squeeze a promise from Nielsen that it will be able to continue to license the software is likely integral to the merger getting federal approval.” The FTC’s concern is that if the new Nielsen-Arbitron owns both the old set-top box methodology for rating television and the PPM technology for on-the-go measurement, there will be little ability for competitors to emerge. The FTC is expected to decide this week whether to challenge Nielsen’s purchase of Arbitron.
Nick Digilio New Overnight Host on WGN, Chicago. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WGN, Chicago part-time personality Nick Digilio will assume the overnight talk host position beginning September 4. Digilio takes over for Bill Leff who moves to the daylight hours co-hosting the new 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Digilio will also host the 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight Saturday show. As Feder reports, Digilio first appeared on WGN in 1985 on Roy Leonard’s midday show to talk about movies. It developed into a regular segment and then into part-time work. As a way of paying back his mentor, Digilio will have the now-retired Leonard on his Saturday program in a regular segment to talk about movies. About his new position with Tribune’s WGN, Digilio tells Feder, “I couldn’t be more thrilled. And I really want to thank everyone who has supported me through the years.”
Rush Limbaugh Announces New Deal with Cumulus; Will Move to WOR, New York in January. Confirming what many in the industry have been expecting all along, Rush Limbaugh announced on his radio program Friday that Premiere Networks, EIB and Cumulus Media agreed to terms earlier this week to renew his program for three more years beginning in January of 2014 and running through the end of 2016. He told listeners that the one change would be his move from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR, New York beginning in January. Limbaugh’s program is currently heard on 35 Cumulus Media-owned stations.
WHO, Des Moines Newsman Dick Layman Dies Suddenly at 59. Morning drive news anchor Dick Layman served with Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines for the past 16 years. He died Friday, August 23 suddenly and at this time it is not known publicly what the cause of death was. WHO news director Jim Boyd posted the news of Layman’s death on the WHO website and wrote about Layman, in part: “Dick was also from the old school of broadcast journalism. The school that said ‘confirm and reconfirm the facts’ before they would be put into a story for you to hear. He cared about content and quality. But he also was someone who could take the most complicated of stories and boil them down to the bare fact so you could understand it…and to do so at times in 20 seconds or less…There is a hole right now in the WHO Radio Family…a hole that won’t close easily and there is a chair in our newsroom that will be very, very difficult to fill. That’s what happens when you have a man the caliber of Dick Layman on your team. Our prayers go out to his wife, Janet, and daughter Meredith.”
Tyler Media to Debut Sports Talk ‘107.7 The Franchise’ Today. According to Oklahoma City online publication The Lost Ogle, Tyler Media’s plans to bring a new sports talk outlet to the city will become reality today around 2:00 pm when KRXO flips from classic rock to sports talk. The lineup will be largely local and is reportedly as follows: “The Show” with Steely, Lump and (John) Rohde; “The Mid-day Mayes” with Sam Mayes; “The Gee Men” with Kelly Gregg and Erik Gee; and “Casillas & Company” with Tony Casillas and David Garrett in PM drive. The station will be an NBC Sports Radio Network affiliate. Oklahoma City has about seven other sports talk outlets in and around the market including Cumulus Media’s WWLS-FM “The Sports Animal.”
WHO, Des Moines PM Drive Host Simon Conway Producer Changes. Afternoon drive host Simon Conway (r) reports that his long-serving producer Andrew Downs (l) is moving to the cluster’s sister sports talk station KXNO where he’ll serve as assistant program director. Taking over for Downs is Des Moines native Jenna Wizenburg who moves back to the market from Florida. Conway states, “I always said I had the best producer in the building. Andrew has rightly been recognized and although I will miss him, he richly deserves this opportunity. I have worked with Jenna before at WFLA, Orlando and I’m excited as we begin this adventure together.”
Mike Gallagher to Shave His Head for Fallen Officers Fund. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is preparing for his role in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre Production of “Annie” (he’s pictured here in the Greenville Journal with lead actress Georgia Kay Wise). Gallagher decided that instead of going with a skull cap for the role as the chrome-domed Daddy Warbucks, he would shave his head on Wednesday at Frank’s Gentleman’s Salon on Coffee Street in Greenville if listeners put up $5,000 or more via his Gallagher’s Army Fallen Officers Fund which provides grants to families of police officers killed in the line of duty. The goal was reached and Gallagher will play the role with an authentic pate when the show opens on September 6. Photo courtesy of the Greenville Journal.
Odds & Sods. Retired NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will make regular in-studio appearances on KJR, Seattle’s Mitch Levy program this season. Holmgren, who left his general manager position with the Cleveland Browns after the team changed owners, still resides in Seattle after coaching the Seahawks for 10 seasons…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne adds the “Casey Hendrickson Weekend” program to its lineup in place of “Fox News Sunday.” Hendrickson hosts the PM drive show on Federated’s WTRC-AM, Elkhart, Indiana and WTRC-FM, Niles, Michigan.
Big Changes Coming to WGN, Chicago; Cochran to AM Drive and an FM Signal in Tribune’s Future. The Chicago Tribune lays out some of the changes that will take place at Tribune Company’s legendary radio property on September 3. With the hiring of radio executive and former WLUP-FM chief Jimmy de Castro in the spring of this year, industry watchers knew changes were afoot. De Castro wasn’t hired to run things as they were. And now we know some of the ideas de Castro has been considering over the summer. Former midday host Mike McConnell – a WLW, Cincinnati alum brought in by former bosses Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny – has already moved to the company’s online effort WGN-2. Now, Tribune reveals that air personality Steve Cochran – ousted from the station in 2010 – will return to host AM drive. Current AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier will move to a digital property dubbed wgnfm.com until the company can acquire an FM signal on which to build a new station. The paper reports that husband-and-wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano will likely host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and overnight host Bill Leff will be partnered with a player-to-be-named-later for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Garry Meier remains in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot but is expected to take on a name partner soon. Another return of talent from the pre-Randy Michaels days are Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (former midday “Girlfriends”) who will do a weekend program on WGN. The AM radio property will also build using blocks from its WGN-TV sibling, starting with the branding slogan “Chicago’s Very Own.” De Castro says the station will use WGN-TV personalities more often, including Dean Richards and Tom Skilling. As for the future FM property that will start as a digital station, de Castro says, “We’re going to create it as a radio laboratory. We’re going to build it up until we get an FM and then we’re going to put them all on a talk FM.” The story notes that any purchase of an FM will come after the company sheds its newspaper division. That may happen in 2014 if a buyer (or buyers) can be found.
Jim Watkins Returns to Talk Radio Network. Radio pro Jim Watkins served with Talk Radio Network for 13 years as director of affiliate relations and executive producer for the syndication company. Now, TRN Syndications, Ltd. announces it is engaging Watkins “to spearhead several new projects within TRN and to assist in the growth of the existing affiliate base of the multiple TRN networks and many radio stars that TRN syndicates.” The company states Watkins will oversee new business development and growth-strategy projects for the TRN Networks that distributes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, Erich “Mancow” Muller, Monica Crowley, “America’s Morning News,” Michio Kaku, Louie Anderson, Roy Masters and America’s Radio News Network, and a complete weekend lineup of a variety of talk programming. CEO Mark Masters says he’s thrilled to have Watkins leading his affiliate department at this most crucial time. “Jim is deeply entrenched in talk radio and has developed alliances with key programmers across the country. As the country ramps up into the mid-term elections, talk radio has never been more vital to facilitating the national debate. Jim really understands the vitality of talk radio better than most people in the industry today.” Watkins previously programmed news/talk stations for Clear Channel, as well as South-Florida based Meridian Broadcasting, and also served as producer for some of the top air talent in the country, including Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Barry Farber, and others. He adds, “Talk radio reaches the most affluent and loyal audience of any format, and it does so by allowing for a free exchange of ideas which can and does influence public policy in a big way. To have one of the best rosters of talent to be found anywhere gives me a great sense of pride.”
Nationally Syndicated Host Thom Hartmann Debuts Daily Caller Column. Liberal talk media star Thom Hartmann begins writing a weekly column for the conservative digital publication Daily Caller in which he addresses an issue from his own perspective followed by a conservative or libertarian rebuttal. In his first column – dubbed “Liberally Yours” – Hartmann asks the question: Should the Post Office be in charge of your e-mails? You can read the piece here. Hartmann – whose radio program is syndicated by WYD Media Management – was recently honored by TALKERS magazine ranked at #7 on the Frontier Fifty 2013 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters (see that entire feature here). In addition to his AM/FM radio program, Hartmann’s digital efforts have earned him recognition by TALKERS for his forward-thinking business model that pushes his content into exciting new areas.
Scott Webb Joins Beasley South Florida as Production Director. Beasley Broadcast Miami announces the appointment of Scott Webb as production director for its three-station cluster that includes hip hop WPOW “Power 96,” country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country” and sports talk WQAM “560 Sports Radio.” In this new post, Webb will be responsible for overseeing the voicing and production of commercials for the stations. Webb owns Scott Webb Radio Imaging based previously in Washington/Baltimore that he founded in 2001. Prior to launching his own firm, he was creative services director and morning co-host at WJMO, Washington, D.C. He has also served as creative services director at WHUR, Washington, WMMJ, Washington and KRBV, Dallas. WKIS operations manager Ken Boesen states, “Scott brings exceedingly strong production skills, top-quality voiceover abilities and a fun work ethic to Beasley Miami. He’ll be a great addition to the team and will help make our production department the strongest in South Florida.”
Boston Celtics and WEEI/WRKO Part Company; Will CBS Radio Swoop In? The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom and the NBA’s Boston Celtics have ended negotiations to continue airing games on sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO this season after being unable to come to terms. Now the question is will CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” be able to secure the play-by-play rights? In the ongoing and bloody battle between the two sports talk stations, a snare of Celtics hoops would give WBZ-FM three of the four major sports in town: Patriots football, Bruins hockey and Celtics basketball – leaving WEEI-FM with Red Sox baseball (no small potatoes, obviously). As Finn notes in his piece, CBS Radio owns enough stations in the market to cover any conflicts between the several teams’ games. Finn writes that Entercom and the Celtics had a revenue-sharing agreement under the old deal but it’s unknown if there was also a rights fee. Historically, CBS Radio has been willing to pay big dollars for play-by-play rights if it believes it can justify the expense down the road.
Good Karma Lets Three Go at WKNR, Cleveland. In a report on Cleveland.com, Good Karma trims its staff by three as sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” says goodbye to sports talk host Kenny Roda, Browns beat reporter Will Burge and Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe. Burge tells the news outlet that although he was a little surprised by the changes, he says, “I guess you can never be too surprised in this business when they say they want to meet with you about some big-picture changes.” Roda Tweeted to fans, “Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey. I enjoyed sharing it with you all.”
Art Versnick Named GM at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Resort Broadcasting news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” announces Art Versnick joins the station to serve as general manager. In making the announcement, company president David Schoumacher states, “Art is a seasoned broadcast professional who brings great knowledge to our very important heritage radio station. It was imperative to secure the future of this franchise with a pro, and we’ve done that by bringing his talent to work with our staff.” Versnick comments, “I’m thrilled to be joining this heritage station – with its local air staff – almost unheard of today in news/talk radio. The dedication of this staff and ownership to provide Sussex County with quality and local programming will continue and move to the next level in providing listeners and advertisers a local forum.”
Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Begins Sponsored Live Broadcast Series. Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee announces the debut of the “We Love Wisconsin Tour” that will see the morning show broadcast live from sites across the state. Sponsored by All American Window & Door, the first live broadcast event will be Friday, August 23, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend where “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller” will broadcast from 5:00 am to 8:30 am. The tour will continue in Wauwatosa in September, Madison in October and Green Bay in November. Journal Broadcast Group vice president of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer says, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ is excited to celebrate individual communities that make our region so special as a whole. Gene Mueller and his team will explore the history of each town, introduce listeners to special people and discover fun things to do along the way. We’re pleased to partner with All American Window & Door on this adventure.” During the live broadcast event, Terri Lodwick, owner of All American Window & Door, will present a $1,000 donation to a local charity.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio Washington D.C. properties WTOP and Federal News Radio are honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility for the use of flexibility and other aspects of workplace effectiveness as a workplace strategy to increase business and employee success…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” agrees to a deal through Learfield Sports to carry University of Illinois football play-by-play for this season…..NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath guests on Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan” this week. Morgan’s program is heard on some 80 affiliates across the country. Namath’s podcast, produced by Sports USA, debuts next week…..Indiana Radio Watch tips TALKERS that Zach Bonahoom exits Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne where he hosted a Saturday talk show.
NSA Surveillance Program/UK Threatens Guardian, Egypt Violence, ObamaCare Implementation, OK Ballplayer Slaying, and Clinton Foundation Expenses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The scope of the NSA surveillance program and the UK’s threats against the Guardian paper; continuing violence in Egypt and the U.S.’s relationship with its government; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the killing of an Australian baseball player by teens in Oklahoma; and the report of the Clinton Foundation’s travel expenses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano Upped to Full Time at WGN, Chicago. The husband-and-wife team have been hosting the 9:00 pm Sunday evening program on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and now the company announces they will become part of the legendary news/talker’s full-time lineup. The question is, where? Station officials are just saying the change will take place “later this summer.” But with midday personality Mike McConnell holding down the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm shift, it’s not a bad guess it’ll be sometime in the midday hours. WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “Bob’s respected reputation and vast experiences on radio and television make him the perfect fit for ‘Chicago’s Very Own 720.’ I’m excited to expand Bob’s role and allow him to share more of his rich Chicago stories. And Marianne adds another strong female voice to the tradition of WGN Radio.” Sirott hosted “The Noon Show” on WGN Radio from 2007 to 2010 and currently co-anchors the “Fox Chicago News at 9” weeknights with Robin Robinson. He’s also worked at CBS Radio’s WBBM-FM and Cumulus Media’s WLS radio and garnered national and local Emmy awards for his work on CBS, NBC and PBS television. Murciano has co-anchored WFLD-TV’s “Fox Thing in the Morning” with Sirott and working as a feature reporter for WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight.” Sirott comments, “When I was growing up in Chicago, WGN was the ‘Radio home of millions throughout mid-America,’ and this is still very much true. Marianne and I are thrilled to call WGN our radio home.”
OK City to Get New Sports Talk Outlet. Tyler Media will move classic rocker KRXO from its 107.7 FM frequency to new translator K283BW at 104.5 (it will also be simulcast on 107.7’s HD2 channel) and 107.7 will become a full-fledged sports talk station. Tyler media president Ty Tyler says in a statement that they are still in the process of hiring local talent and are not ready to release information about how the station will be branded but he says, “We are excited to expand our portfolio of stations. A big league city needs a big league sports station.” Tyler does say the station will air Oklahoma University play-by-play and plans to air a full slate of NFL games as well. The Oklahoman speculates that local sports talk personality Mike Steely, who most recently was heard on crosstown Cumulus sports talk WWLS “The Sports Animal” but hasn’t been on the air since June 29, will join the new station.
Award-Winning Talk Host Bob Lonsberry Offers Advice to Producers. In a powerful, tell-it-like-it-is column posted today (7/12), WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse talk show host Bob Lonsberry writes an open letter-style “Note to Talk Radio Producers” in which he offers advice to the person on the other side of the glass that so many talk show hosts have been grumbling about for years. In this not-to-be-missed piece, Lonsberry advises: 1) listen to the show (claiming producers do not always pay attention to what is on the air); 2) be a broadcaster (if he the host gives you the chance to say something on the air – be ready); 3) handle callers well (don’t just “screen” them – rate them and rank them); and 4) think like a reporter (be proactive and creative in gathering information and booking guests). And that’s just for starters. To read Lonsberry’s entire piece, please click here (and then pass it on to every producer you know).
Longtime New Orleans Sports Broadcaster to Be Remembered. WWL, New Orleans sports radio fixture Kenneth Wilkerson lost his battle with cancer last week and funeral services are scheduled for next Tuesday. Wilkerson began his career with Entercom’s WWL as a sideline reporter for New Orleans Saints games in 1997. He moved into the sports talk radio realm as co-host of WWL’s “Sports Talk” with co-hosts including the late Buddy “D” Diliberto and former Saints QB Bobby Hebert. Wilkerson was diagnosed with cancer 15 months ago.
SRN’s Mike Gallagher Thrilled with Success of First Responders Bible Project. A while back TALKERS wrote about Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher’s First Responders Bible project in which – via his Gallagher’s Army charitable foundation – he distributes King James Bibles to first responders corps across the country to help the individuals deal with the daily stresses of the occupation. So far, thousands of specially produced King James Bibles have been distributed to first responders throughout the country as part of an effort to help these men and women gain the spiritual fitness needed to cope with the stress they face each time they are called to respond to an emergency. The First Responders Bible includes a spiritual fitness guide as well as counseling and spiritual tips on how to stay strong and faith-filled when faced with catastrophic life-or-death situations. Gallagher says, “These police officers and EMTs and firefighters encounter all kinds of ghastly things in the course of their day-to-day duties. This Bible serves as a spiritual fitness manual for these oftentimes husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers.” Mike Gallagher’s foundation director Joey Hudson (who also serves as Gallagher’s business manager) says, “I am excited to say we were well received. Many sheriffs expressed that our ministry was much needed, and we did not have a single person not accept a Bible and they promised to have their chaplains follow up with us to request shipments for more. Additionally, we had a number of requests to attend future state sheriffs’ meetings in the coming year.” For more information on Gallagher’s Army and the First Responders Bible, visit gallaghersarmy.com. In the photo here, Joey Hudson is seen at the organization’s booth at the annual conference of the National Sheriffs’ Association held last month in Charlotte.
Odds & Sods. NPR names Arun Rath host of “Weekend All Things Considered” airing on Saturdays and Sundays. Rath states, “‘Weekend All Things Considered’ manages to cover the full range of human experience in an hour. It’s hard work but the payoff is amazing. I’m especially excited to join the show as it reinvents itself at NPR West. The intense diversity of Los Angeles is invigorating – all the racial, economic and political diversity smashed together – it’s what’s best and most exciting about America.”…..Clear Channel’s rock WPYX, Albany “PYX 106” re-ups with the NFL’s New York Giants to broadcast play-by-play for the next three seasons.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity program is added to the program lineup at Clear Channel’s KQNT, Spokane…..GCN-distributed “Smoke Filled World” hosted by Ethan Bearman has its first hour added to the program schedule at TalkSuperstation.com…..GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs’ daily program is picked up by WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey…..Farm Journal Media’s “AgriTalk” radio program is added to the lineup on SiriusXM’s new Rural Radio Channel and AM stations KFRM, Clay Center, Kansas; KNDK, Langdon, North Dakota; and KMBS, West Monroe, Loiusiana.
Immigration Reform/Amnesty Top Talk Radio Story This Week. The issues surrounding immigration legislation and amnesty for illegal aliens currently in the United States were #1 on the Talkers TenTM this week. Other stories on the chart of this week’s most-talked-about are, at #2, Egypt civil and political turmoil. At #3 is ObamaCare criticism followed by the Asiana Airlines crash landing at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WGN, Chicago Names Todd Manley VP/Creative Content. Todd Manley recently held the same title at CBS Radio’s crosstown triple A WXRT. Now he comes to Tribune’s news/talk WGN with the title vice president/creative content. This isn’t his first gig with Tribune, having been production director and creative director at the company from 1998 through 2008. His programming experience also includes a term as PD at KTRS, St. Louis. WGN still has not named a program director for the station after letting programming pro Bill White go shortly after the arrival of Jimmy de Castro as the station’s president and general manager in late May.
Aaron Klein Does Weekly WABC, New York Show Despite Laryngitis. Not unlike a gimpy football player who takes to the field on game day even though his leg is in bad shape, Israel-based journalist and talk show host Aaron Klein didn’t let a case of acute laryngitis keep him off of WABC, New York last night (7/7). Despite being told to rest his voice for the next two weeks, Klein couldn’t bring himself to call in sick for his popular 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday show. He tells TALKERS, “The news cycle continues full force. There’s a revolution in Egypt. I read the full immigration reform bill and found some major unreported elements. And I’ve got new information on Edward Snowden. There’s just too much to talk about.” Klein did give his voice a rest several times during the program by playing some previously recorded segments.
The Conclave Special Rates Expire After Today. The Conclave announces that the deadline for its $399 tuition for the 2013 Learning Conference taking place July 17-19 in Minneapolis has been extended to Monday, July 8. Citing fiscal year budgets that don’t begin for many until July 1 and the conclusion of many stations’ second quarter budgets on June 30 – not to mention the recent Fourth of July holiday weekend – the Conclave Board of Directors has elected to extend the conference’s $399 tuition. Executive director Bob Shannon says, “We received many inquiries regarding the June 30 tuition deadline, asking for it to be moved into July. Because we want as many industry professionals, students and teachers interested in attending to be here, it was an easy call to make!” After July 8, Conclave 38 tuition rises to its on-site rate of $499. In addition to extending the tuition deadline, the Conclave announced that its specially priced sleeping room rate of $139 at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel would similarly be extended to those reserving rooms by Monday, July 8. After that date, any remaining Conclave rooms at the Doubletree will be offered to the general public at an increased rate. For more on the 2013 Learning Conference, click on http://www.theconclave.com.
Dial Global Names Three to Sports Sales Division. Beefing up its sports sales division, Dial Global announces the hiring of Matthew Colborn as director of sports sales, West Coast; Dial Global account manager Julie Boruchov moves to the new role of director of sports sales, East Coast; and Amilia Poin assumes the role of sports coordinator. Senior vice president/director corporate sports at Dial Global Michael Schreck states, “I’m thrilled to officially announce Matt, Julie, and Amilia in their new roles. Collectively, they bring a tremendous amount of audio and integrated sales experience, which will supplement our already strong sports sales division and benefit our clients and marketing partners. I look forward to working closely with Matt, who brings 15 years’ experience developing strategic ad campaigns for multiple high-profile categories. Julie’s immeasurable knowledge of the industry coupled with success selling our sports assets and Amilia’s understanding of our sports programming have already proven to be invaluable to the success of our sports group.” Colborn comes to Dial Global from US Interactive Media (USIM), where he was the director of client services. Boruchov began her audio career as a sales assistant at Westwood One, moving up to sales planner and account executive. Following Westwood One’s merger with Dial Global, Boruchov became an account manager. Poin most recently worked in Dial Global’s traffic division where she acted as a liaison between sales and production to ensure proper placement and delivery of all commercials in Dial Global’s sports programming.
Talk Host Michael Berry and Staff Help Raise $110,000 for Fisher House Foundation. KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry (also heard on nine other Clear Channel stations across the country) and his staff committed to shaving their heads if they were able to raise $20,000 for Fisher House Foundation. Berry, pictured here getting his head shaved, tells TALKERS he’s proud to announce that he and his staff helped raise much more. Prior to the Fourth of July holiday, Berry and his crew were soliciting donations to Fisher House and had hit the $50,000-mark until Russell Ybarra – owner of Gringo’s Tex-Mex and Jimmy Changa’s matched the total pushing it up to $100,000. More donations upped the total to $110,000 and the money will help pay for a second Fisher House in the Houston area. Fisher House provides housing for the families of American Armed Forces personnel who are being treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty so they can be near their loved ones while they recuperate.
Michael Graham Subs for Laura Ingraham Today and Tomorrow. Talk pro Michael Graham sits in for Courtside Entertainment-syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham on July 8 and 9. Here’s an update on Graham’s work. Graham exited Greater Media after it flipped longtime talk station WTKK, Boston to rhythmic AC earlier this year. He’d been a host there for eight-plus years. Shortly thereafter, he debuted his new show, “The Natural Truth” which airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daily on his creation, New England Talk Network. Graham says, “My daily show is focused on local issues here in New England, giving local talk fans a place to speak out about everything from the Boston Marathon bombings to the Aaron Hernandez case to John Kerry‘s latest display of yachtsmanship.” The program is currently heard on six affiliate stations: WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; WCRN, Worcester; WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WCCM, Salem, New Hampshire; WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts. Graham, who is a frequent guest on Fox News Channel and other cable news channels and is a columnist for the Boston Herald, states, “It’s always an honor when a talk host is willing to share her audience with me. The fact that Laura is the one of the most successful radio talk hosts in history just makes it that much more fun.”
KIRO-AM, Seattle Sports Talker Brock Huard to Sponsor Third Annual Free Football Camp. This Thursday, July 11, KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” talk show host and former college and NFL star Brock Huard will participate in the third annual “Brock Huard Youth Football Camp,” where more than 150 youths, ages 8-18, will take the field at Renton Memorial Stadium. The camp is a partnership with Sports in Schools, the station and former NFL players Dave Wyman and Damon Huard and will teach kids the value of teamwork, perseverance and hard work. Brock Huard says, “For the third consecutive year, I’m thrilled to give back to the community that has given so much to me, and without all of our tremendous partners, none of it could happen.”
Calgary Sports Fans, Broadcasting Community Mourns Death of Bill Powers and Wife. The Globe and Mail reports that Bill Powers’ stepson Derek Puffer has been charged with two counts of second degree murder in the death of the Calgary sports radio legend and his wife Donna. The 71-year-old Powers, who retired in 2009, was the longtime voice of the Calgary Stampeders. He worked as a print journalist before switching to radio. He worked for many years at CHQR, Calgary and CKXL.
Dr. Daliah and Danny Bonaduce. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured here with radio and television star Danny Bonaduce. Dr. Wachs met up with Bonaduce while on her annual cruise – this time to Alaska – with listeners. Wachs and her group enjoyed the opportunity to sit at the captain’s table, get a private tour of the bridge and more. She says of meeting Bonaduce, “We were happy to know we were mutual fans. LOL!!!”
CBS Radio Makes Changes to Programming at Sports Talk KHTK, Sacramento. The big change here is the move of Don Geronimo from AM drive to middays – airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and the return of Carmichael Dave to the station. Carmichael Dave – who exited the station in May of last year and was recently hosting an internet program – is being paired up with Keith Brooks for the new morning show that will debut on July 8. It appears the station will re-brand itself as “KHTK Sports 1140” from its current “CBS Sports Radio Sacramento.” The station also notes that “Jason Ross will rejoin the afternoon sports desk in the ‘KHTK Sports 1140’ update studios and continue to fill in for Grant Napear. Dave ‘Deuce’ Mason will continue to be an important part of Sports 1140 and local sports programming for KHTK.” Don Geronimo has been a successful personality on KHTK in the midday slot going back to the days of the old Westwood One-syndicated Don & Mike show.
Legal Snag Hits Salem’s Attempt to Bring Peter Boyles to KNUS, Denver. Longtime KHOW, Denver radio personality Peter Boyles – recently fired by Clear Channel after a physical altercation between Boyles and his producer Greg Hollenback – was supposed to resurface on Salem Communications’ crosstown news/talk KNUS on July 1. But it appears a legal complication – probably a non-compete in his contract with Clear Channel – is preventing that from happening for the time being. Local reports said Boyles may be hosting the morning show as early as Wednesday (7/3) but as of today the morning drive show is being hosted by regular KNUS fill-in host Jimmy Sengenberger.
Valuable Formula to Determine the Financial Value of Each Listener Measured by Arbitron. What if you knew how much an average listener as measured in your Arbitron ratings contributed in daily, monthly, or even annual revenue to your station? And what if you could use that data to help drive decisions in what promotions make sense for existing listeners and which marketing channels are best for new listeners? You can, and in a new article posted today (7/2), Chris Pendl, the brilliant creative director of Bonneville Seattle and TALKERS columnist, shows you how to do it. All it takes (ugh) is a little math. To read this valuable information, click here.
Steve Cochran Fills in for Jonathon Brandmeier on WGN, Chicago. As Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, longtime WGN personality and former crosstown WIND host Steve Cochran (who exited WIND just last week) is sitting in for the vacationing Jonathon Brandmeier today (7/2) on the morning show – possibly adding fuel to the speculation that Cochran will return to WGN. But WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro is either being coy or truly is still considering the future of the station’s lineup when he tells Feder, “We haven’t even talked about an agreement because he’s just doing fill-ins. I know Cochran really well. I love him. I’d love to figure out if there’s a way to have him in WGN’s family. I don’t know. I’m doing research and looking at a lot of stuff. I want him to fill in on different dayparts — mornings, middays, afternoons — and hear what happens.” The two worked together at WLUP-FM and WLUP-AM (now sports WMVP) in the 1990s.
WGN, Chicago Officially Comments on Staff Changes. TALKERS reported the exit of WGN, Chicago late night talk host Turi Ryder last week as she addressed her departure from the station on her radio program – by the way a classy move for management to allow her to say “good-bye.” Now, WGN announces the evening sports show content and news staff changes confirming “the David Kaplan show will air from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight with a focus on the Chicago sports scene and national sports landscape. Listeners will hear a variety of sports topics discussed by Kaplan and various guests from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, followed by an hour of sports talk from Mark Carman and Jordan Bernfield. Kaplan is a staple in the Chicago sports industry, having joined WGN Radio in 1995. He most recently held the position of afternoon drive sports reporter and host of various shows including, ‘WGN Sports Night’ and ‘Cubs Insider.’ Bernfield is the current host of ‘Cubs Weekly’ and Northwestern basketball and football broadcasts. Carman comes to WGN radio from Yahoo! Sports Radio, where he was previously the afternoon co-host since August of 2012.” The new schedule also includes a lineup shift for news anchors Andrea Darlas and Steve Bertrand. Darlas will anchor mornings and Bertrand returns to the afternoons/evenings. WGN president and general manager Jimmy deCastro states, “We’re making changes in an effort to give Chicagoans more of the things they want to hear. Thank you to our WGN Radio listeners, the most loyal and attentive family, for helping us navigate through this and stay tuned for the best of the old and new coming soon.”
Brian Kilmeade’s Fox News Radio Show to be Featured on his Fox News Channel TV Show. In what promises to be a creative and interesting piece of cross-platform promotion tomorrow morning between 6:00 am and 9:00 am (7/3), multimedia talk star Brian Kilmeade‘s midday Fox News Radio show “Kilmeade and Friends” will be featured in “realty show” style on Fox News Channel‘s “morning show “Fox and Friends” (in which Kilmeade is a co-host). The behind the scenes package will show Brian’s transition as he goes from TV to radio — the cameras followed him and stayed in the radio studio for the three hours where some of Brian’s regular “friends” stopped by and had a little fun with him.
NYMRAD Touts Positive New York Market Revenue Data. Based on numbers from Miller, Kaplan, Arase and Co., the trade group New York Market Radio is announcing spot revenue is up 7.6% for the first five months of 2013. NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan says, “It’s quite a story to see New York Radio Market revenues up by over 7% year-to-date through May, 2013…The key to New York Market Radio’s success is live-and-local content that engages the audience. For the 92% of New Yorkers who listen to radio, this is their hometown and their favorite stations. In addition, New York Market Radio stations have significantly invested in the digital arena to provide multi-platform options to advertisers. The future of effective advertising lies in the smart integration of traditional and digital media. I am extremely enthusiastic about the second half of 2013.”
WLS-AM, Chicago Brings Susan Carlson Aboard for PM News Duties. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS, Chicago is hiring former WBBM-TV “CBS 2” morning news anchor Susan Carlson to serve as news anchor for the afternoon drive show hosted by Roe Conn and Richard Roeper. She replaces Jim Johnson who recently retired from the station after 45 years. Carlson is no stranger to WLS having served as a news and traffic reporter from 1998 to 2002, also working with Roe Conn. Feder reports Carlson is under contract to WBBM-TV until July 18 and will join WLS-AM after that.
Sports Reporting: Dealing with Prickly Coaches. WFAN, New York sports talk host and TALKERS columnist Richard Neer offers advice to sports reporters and talk hosts who interview sports coaches as part of their jobs. Neer’s experience dealing with some of the top coaches leading New York sports teams has taught him a few lessons, especially about dealing with skippers who don’t enjoy post-game press conferences. Neer writes about the tactics of asking questions during post-game pressers and eliciting useful responses from reluctant managers. Read his piece here.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Burt Sherwood of Burt Sherwood & Associates. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Burt Sherwood of Burt Sherwood & Associates. Sherwood brings years of experience (he was one of the early WMCA Good Guys) to his brokerage firm optimistically stating, “Station sales should be strong, ethnic operators will grow, youth will be served by over-the-air stations which will have apps for their iPhones and iPads, and the audience will grow proportionately — I think better than 30%. You will be able to track listeners and TV viewers and get them to respond directly…broadcasting and the internet will be partners.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, click here.
Veteran Talk Show Host Mark Wainwright Dips Toe in On-Air Water After 16 Year Hiatus. He was one of the big players in talk radio back in the 1990s doing stellar airwork – perhaps most notably at WBAP, Dallas – before leaving the industry in 1997 to pursue other endeavors. Now Mark Wainwright is back, at least temporarily as a fill in, returning to WBAP this Friday, July 5 subbing in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot. He’ll also be heard doing fill-in during morning drive on WGY, Albany next Thursday and Friday (7/11-12) and morning drive on WSYR, Syracuse the week of August 12-16 and August 19 and 20. Welcome back to the game, Mark – we hope we get to hear even more of you in the coming days. For old friends looking to reconnect, Mark Wainwright can be emailed at email@example.com.
KMZQ, Las Vegas Re-Brands as ‘Fox Sports 670AM Las Vegas.’ Kemp Communications’ sports talk KMZQ picks up Fox Sports Radio Network programming and re-brands as “Fox Sports 670AM Las Vegas.” The station is airing “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Jay Mohr Sports,” “Fox Sports Primetime featuring Pat O’Brien with Steve Hartman,” “Petros & Money,” “Fox Sports Tonight,” J.T. The Brick and the network’s complete weekend lineup. It will continue to air TRN-FM’s “Mancow in the Morning” on the station from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. General manager Deirdre Palmer states, “We are very excited to add Fox Sports Radio programming to 670AM. We’re confident the Fox Sports brand, combined with the Network’s quality programming, will elevate KMZQ-AM to the next level in Las Vegas.”
Katherine Galanty Joins Yahoo! Sports Radio. Yahoo! Sports Radio has a new vice president of affiliate relations as Katherine Galanty joins the company. Galanty’s resume includes stints with Sports USA, ISP Sports, and Westwood One. Yahoo! Sports Radio program director and chief operating officer Craig Larson states, “Katherine brings a wealth of affiliate relations experience in sports talk radio. We expect her to play a critical role as we continue to emerge in the years ahead.”
NAB Spotlights Importance of ‘First Informers’ in Moore, Oklahoma Video. The National Association of Broadcasters, in an effort to highlight the importance of “first informers” in saving lives during natural disasters and weather emergencies, has posted a condensed version of a documentary by University of Oklahoma media arts professor Scott Hodgson and his students that features interviews and never-before-seen footage on broadcasters’ efforts before, during and after the storm. The video is on the blog post page by NAB vice president, communications, Ann Marie Cumming. See it here.
Arizona Firefighters Deaths, U.S. Spying Program/Edward Snowden Case, Egyptian Violence, Western Heat Wave, Student Loan Rate Hikes and ObamaCare Promotion Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1). The deaths of 19 firefighters battling the Arizona wildfire; the ongoing issue of the United States’ spying program and the fate of Edward Snowden; the anarchy in Egypt as protests demand Mohamed Morsi’s ouster; the scorching heat affecting the Western United States; the debate over government-backed student loan rates; and promotion of ObamaCare by libraries in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Faces Suit by Photo Company Alleging Illegal Use. National Photo Group LLC has filed a complaint in United States District Court Western District of Texas alleging Clear Channel radio stations infringed on its copyrights by using pictures of various celebrities on the websites of some of its radio stations. The complaint names 11 CC radio stations and alleges photos of celebrities including Jason Aldean, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore and others were used without permission and with knowledge that the photos were copyrighted. NPG is seeking $150,000 per infringement plus legal fees and any other relief the Court deems just and proper.
WCBM, Baltimore Extends Talk Host Tom Marr’s Contract Through 2017. Baltimore talk radio institution Tom Marr will be heard on WCBM through 2017 as the station’s vice president, Nick Mangione. Jr., announces the station extends his no-cut contract for another four years. The official announcement was made June 24 by WCBM program director and operations manager Sean Casey at the start of Marr’s show that day. Mangione, Jr. states, “I am delighted we have reached the agreement on the extension. To quote my late father, Tom is still at the top of his game both as a broadcaster in general and talk show host in particular. We are delighted he will be on the air until 2017 with WCBM and he just may decide to stay longer. There will always be room for him in the WCBM family. Tom has a good sense for the business. As an example, he is the first one to suggest that we add both Sean Hannity and Mark Levin to our lineup. Tom has a large following within the reach of our 50 thousand watt transmitter and is building a solid national and international following on WCBM’s worldwide reach via the internet.” Marr, who began his career as a high school sports broadcaster on WWDC-AM, Washington, DC in 1960, says, “I am deeply honored that Nick and the Mangione Family Enterprises agreed to the extension. I look forward to the challenges ahead for talk radio and its increasing role in the media especially in view of our relationship with the digital world.”
WBZ-AM, Boston Names Jen Brien Overnight Talk Host. After the retirement of Steve LeVeille last year, the station has been featuring a number of talk radio personalities in the overnight slot. Now, program director Peter Casey announces Jennifer “Jen” Brien is named to the permanent position. The station says the program “will be a mix of pop culture, current events, politics, and the comings and goings of people in New England.” In addition to WBZ-AM’s monster signal that penetrates the entire East Coast at that time of night, the show can be heard on CBS Radio’s Radio.com. Brien joined WBZ from Entercom’s crosstown news/talk WRKO where she hosted a daily program. She has also hosted shows on WPRO and WHJJ in Providence, and WCOD and WXTK on Cape Cod. Before beginning her career in radio, Brien spent more than five years as a soldier in the United States Army where she was selected for the prestigious “Soldier of the Year” award.
SiriusXM Cancels Long-Running Alex Bennett Show. One of modern talk radio’s true pioneers, Alex Bennett, has reportedly been let go “without cause” from SiriusXM Satellite Radio‘s “Sirius Left” channel where he was doing the daily 7:00 am to 10:00 am program. Bennett has been with Sirius for almost a decade and, according to insiders close to the host, was caught by surprise and is “distraught” over what transpired. Bennett has had a colorful, unique on-air career that goes back to the late-1960s when he was the lone talk show host on the old WMCA, New York when it was still the “Home of the Good Guys.” He subsequently went on to do both rock music and talk broadcasting serving as one of the original prototypes for the pop culture-oriented (some call it “shock jock”) and “progressive” genres of modern day talk radio. Between WMCA and Sirius, he served in ground-breaking stints at such great stations as WPLJ in New York and KMEL, KITS (“Live 105″) and KQAK (“The Quake”) in San Francisco. At press time, it is not clear if this was a cost-cutting move on the part of Sirius or indicative of a re-direction in programming. Bennett is still on the air and is reportedly doing his final program for the satellite radio service this Friday. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “In my opinion Alex Bennett is one of the most important talents ever to grace a microphone during my lifetime. His show on WMCA — in which he did extremely progressive talk about the issues of the day such as the Vietnam War – was on a station that was otherwise a hip music station. In the midst of all the fun, cool hipness of the rock ‘n’ roll and the zany DJs of that fabulous station, Bennett was fearlessly talking to the kids about extremely important controversial issues. That show served as the original inspiration for me to launch an issues-oriented talk show (“Harrison’s Mic”) five years later on rocker KMET in Los Angeles and my own talk career that paralleled my music radio work. If I had not heard Alex Bennett in 1969, there might not have ever been a TALKERS magazine.”
HOLLAND COOKE: The Future of AM/FM in the Car. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the Consumer Electronic Association’s Connected Car Conference in New York City and her says that the bottom line after “four-and-a-half-hours of thoughtful discussion, research, and prognostication by automotive, electronics, and media thinkers: Whatever the dashboard is about to morph into matters less to AM/FM radio than what’s already happened.” Cooke writes that people who matter have already connected their media to the car speakers and offers some thoughts about what radio programmers can do to stand out from the digital competition. Read his analysis here.
SummitMedia to Pull the Plug on Sports Talk In Birmingham. SummitMedia announces it will drop the sports talk format on WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and flip to a different – most likely music – format. SummitMedia EVP and COO David DuBose tells the Birmingham News, “We have been evaluating the sports format in light of multiple factors, including [Paul] Finebaum‘s placement. After nearly two years, it became clear the market did not support two competing sports stations. “Therefore, we have determined we should focus on other format opportunities.” SummitMedia purchased the Birmingham cluster from Cox Media Group earlier this year. The station was flipped to sports in August of 2011 when Cox had its eye on building the station around mega-successful Southeast sports personality Paul Finebaum by bringing him over from Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports WJOX. Finebaum, who’d had legal squabbles with WJOX and wanted out of that relationship, ended up working out his contract there, sat out a non-compete and will begin a new sports talk radio venture with ESPN based out of Charlotte. It’s believed he will return to WJOX via ESPN syndication when the new program debuts later this summer.
Bonneville Seattle Brings Unique Talk to MyNorthwest.com. The Bonneville Seattle cluster that includes news/talk KIRO-FM, sports KIRO-AM and talk KTTH is beginning a series of unique audio programs to the web venture it calls MyNorthwest.com. Dubbed “MyNorthwest Chats,” the weekly, one-hour programs will stream on Wednesday’s from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm beginning with today’s chat featuring nationally acclaimed restaurateur Tom Douglas. MyNorthwest.com editor Stephanie Klein says, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to connect our readers directly to the experts and start an inspiring dialogue that makes an impact. We want the conversation to spark a chain of discussion in our readers’ lives.” Other chats lined up for July include talk show host Michael Medved and Seattle Mariners insider Shannon Drayer.
Programming Changes at WGN, Chicago; Turi Ryder to Exit. Chicago radio pro Turi Ryder has been in the late night slot at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago since the beginning of this year but now the company says it’s going in a different direction and will end her program. Ryder will get a chance to say goodbye to her WGN listeners as she’ll work this evening and Thursday before wrapping things up there. The station has not announced what will air in the time slot. Ryder also hosts “America Weekend” for Envision Radio Networks.
Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence Tackles Immigration Issue with Live Debate. News/talk WPRO-AM’s Tara Granahan is moderating a debate that will take place today at the Providence Marriott from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm called, “Green Light on Green Cards,” featuring a panel of experts from each side of the illegal immigration issue. The discussion will be streamed live online at the station’s 630wpro.com and will be the center piece of a “WPRO Special Report” scheduled to air during the “WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti” the week of July 1. The debate features two immigration lawyers, a state representative, a member of the local clergy and the head of an illegal immigration enforcement organization. The stations states, “The debate will address the issues that have emerged from illegal immigration including; licenses for illegal immigrants, how immigration effects the Rhode Island economy, and potential solutions moving forward.”
TeleSouth Communications to Buy WOSM, Ocean Springs, Mississippi. TeleSouth operates the Mississippi talk radio network known as “SuperTalk Mississippi” and the purchase of WOSM, Ocean Springs (103.1 FM) – between Biloxi and Pascagoula on the Gulf Coast – will be added to that network. The company states, “The addition of WOSM to the network will give coast listeners the best choice in Mississippi programming with ‘The Gallo Radio Show,’ ‘The JT Show’ and ‘Head to Head with Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross,’ all homegrown programs that keep a watch on state government, entertainment, sports, unique happenings in Mississippi, with a local take on national issues.” In addition to Mississippi-based programs, ‘SuperTalk’ is also home to Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee and Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson and Todd Schnitt. WOSM is owned and operated by Charles Cooper and airs Christian programming. TeleSouth CEO Steve Davenport states, “We are excited about growing the ‘SuperTalk Network’ with the addition of WOSM. Mr. Cooper has worked hard for years building an audience loyal to traditional family values. We are confident that WOSM listeners will hear those values in the programs featured each day on ‘SuperTalk.’” Long-time coast talk show host and programmer Kipp Greggory will serve as general manager of WOSM.
CHQR, Calgary Talk Host Dave Rutherford to End Daily Show. Canadian talk show host Dave Rutherford will wrap a 21-year career hosting a daily talk show at CHQR, Calgary after his last show on July 26. The conservative personality and pedigreed newsman tells the Edmonton Journal he believes the broadcast news industry is dumbing down and there may be no place for a broadcaster like him. “I don’t think there’s the desire to ask the next question, maybe to ask any questions. But I sense that the whole industry, the broadcast news business, television and radio, is dumbing down.”
The End of the Line for CNN Radio. The service was a shell of its former self after Dial Global ended its distribution of the news product and replaced it with NBC News Radio last year, effectively becoming a digital-only product. Now, CNN states that after completing “a review of its radio business,” it “has made the decision to cease production of CNN Radio podcasts, effective immediately.” CNN has indicated that some of the staff will be relocated to positions elsewhere in the company.
Allen Hunt to End WSB, Atlanta Program. Christian broadcaster Allen Hunt announces he’ll end his Sunday evening program that has aired on WSB, Atlanta since its inception after the June 30 broadcast. Hunt says he was approached by Cox Media to move the time of his program and he decided that due to his busy schedule with the Dynamic Catholic Institute and the requested change, he decided it would be better to end the show. Hunt built the program at WSB and, for a couple of years, put the show into national syndication.
The Roving Jay Mohr Billboard. Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr’s flagship station, “AM570 FOX Sports LA” (KLAC, Los Angeles) surprised Mohr with a mobile billboard promoting his program. While Mohr was on the air, the billboard stopped by the studio during its route through Los Angeles and the show crew seized the opportunity for a quick photo-op. Pictured here (from l-r) are: intern Ben Haley, technical producer John Ramos, social media producer Matty Cox, assistant producer Justin Frosburg, Mohr, update anchor “Diamond” Dan Beyer, associate producer Mike Lingard and executive producer Greg “Hong Kong” Toohey.
Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Bruce Bradley Dies. Bruce Bradley was a personality on CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis from 1986 to 1992. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports he passed away on Saturday, June 22 in Lake St. Louis at age 79. Prior to his career in St. Louis, Bradley also worked in the New York, Philadelphia and Boston markets.
President Obama’s Global Warming Policy, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, George Zimmerman Trial, Paula Deen Freefall, and Texas Anti-Abortion Bill Fails Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25). President Obama’s policy to bypass Congress to enact greenhouse gas emissions regulations; the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage issues; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the demise of Paula Deen’s media career in the wake of allegations of racist language; and the failure of anti-abortion legislation in Texas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Female AEs Sue Clear Channel Jacksonville Charging Age and Gender Bias. The suit against Clear Channel filed in United States District Court Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division alleges that three account executives – Angela Myhand, Monique Blue and Jessica Downs – had accounts taken from them by management and given to Caucasian and/or male sales staffers without explanation, without hearing of complaints by clients and without receiving any discipline by management for mishandling the accounts. The plaintiffs also alleged they were given no reason for the actions. After contacting the EEOE, they allege listening devices were installed on their offices phones but not on telephones in other sales staffers’ offices. The three are charging management violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, allege retaliation for involvement in a protected activity plus other allegations and are seeking unspecific damages plus attorneys’ fees.
Envision Radio Networks Adds Meteorologist John Wetherbee to ‘America Weekend’ Program. Citing the need to provide information to listeners across the nation about extreme weather, the nationally syndicated “America Weekend” program enlists the expertise of American Meteorological Society-sealed, National Weather Association-certified meteorologist and 30-year radio veteran John Wetherbee as chief stormcaster. Envision says Wetherbee “will be keeping an eye on the skies to provide live reports on major severe weather developments and how they may impact travel, business and our nation.” Program executive producer Kipper McGee states, “As we have learned, many significant weather events happen on weekends. John adds a unique national perspective that is absent from most weekend news/talk programming.” “America Weekend” airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm ET and is hosted by Paul Harris, Turi Ryder, and other top talk talent.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ Honored with Two Awards at NJBA Convention. Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” was honored at this week’s New Jersey Broadcasters Association convention with “Best of” awards in two categories: 1) “Best Public Affairs” Award for the station’s monthly show “Ask the Governor.” The award was presented to Eric Scott (left) and his team of Christopher Knight, Chris Swendeman and Matthew White; and 2) “Best Promotions” Award for the “Big Joe Jersey Talent Show.” The award was presented to Ray Handel (right) and his team of Big Joe Henry and Dan Specht.
More Station Honors from State Broadcasters Associations. This is the time of the year when state broadcasters associations hold their annual awards ceremonies and there are two more to report: In Illinois, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago took top honors at the 2013 Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Awards, held June 19 in Peoria. For the sixth year in a row, the IBA recognized WGN Radio as the Chicago Market Station of the Year at its annual best-in-state awards ceremony. In addition to being named Chicago Market Station of the Year, WGN Radio also earned first place honors in five categories: major market personality for Mike McConnell, best newscast for Judy Pielach, best station website for wgnradio.com, best play-by-play team for Chicago Cubs broadcasters Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland, and best humorous commercial for “Chicago Food and Wine,” produced by Jason Skaggs. WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “It is a great honor to receive the award for Chicago Market Station of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association. To be recognized by our industry peers is a reflection of the tremendous talent and dedication from our staff to continue to provide the quality of programming our community expects from WGN Radio.”
In Georgia, Beasley Broadcast Group’s WGAC-AM/FM, Augusta, for the 12th consecutive year, was named the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year.” New this year is the fact that WGAC was honored in the large-market category, which includes Atlanta. For the past eleven years, WGAC was awarded Radio Station of the Year in the medium-market category. Pictured here are (l-r) Beasley Augusta VP/market manager Kent Dunn, news director Mary Liz Nolan, and WGAC program director Harley Drew with the “Gabby” Award. Dunn comments on the victory, “I am extremely proud of the WGAC-AM/FM staff for bringing home our 12th consecutive Gabby for ‘Radio Station of the Year.’ This year is even more special due to the added competition of being placed in the division that includes stations in Atlanta.”
The Sale Doesn’t End When the Client Signs the Contract. According to H&H Communications president, TALKERS columnist and highly regarded industry sales maven Al Herskovitz, the subject of “making commercials work effectively so the client is more likely to renew” was one of the buzzes of conversation in the halls at the recent Talkers New York 2013. In a column posted today (6/21) Herskovitz writes about the deadly consequences of hosts that rush through live reads, spots that are overloaded with too many words, six-minute spot sets of boring ads that seem interminable to the listener and sales reps who don’t pay attention to the process after the deal is signed. He does, however, offer praise to those hosts who ARE doing a good job serving the advertisers and names names. To read Herskovitz’s entire column, click here.
TOM RAY: Listening to Your Syndicated Show on an Affiliate is Different than Listening in the Studio. That’s a good piece of advice from one of the industry’s most respected engineering consultants. In a new column posted today (6/21) by TALKERS technical editor and columnist Tom Ray, he points out that timing in the real world of an actual on-the-air radio station — in terms of commercial breaks and liners – can be a different thing than running the show in the studio or looking at its elements on paper. He says by listening to the show on an affiliate you will most likely learn something that will help you avoid all-too-common mistakes in timing that create sloppy and embarrassing audio pileups and make the show better for both you as a syndicator and the affiliate carrying your program. To read it, click here.
WOOD, Grand Rapids Morning Host Gary Allen Hosts Last Show Today; Retires After 32 Years at Station. On Thursday, Clear Channel Grand Rapids declared it “Gary Allen Day” as the legendary Grand Rapids radio personality broadcast live from the market’s Celebration Cinema North in recognition of his 32 years on the air at WOOD and his retirement from the station after today’s broadcast. Allen announced his retirement eight months ago stating that at age 65 there are still some things he wants to do. He tells WOOD-TV, “I want to be remembered as the guy that people woke up to on the radio in the morning, you have fun, we gave them the news, we gave them the weather, we gave them the traffic and between the group at WOOD, we gave them some laughs, too.” Photo: WOOD-TV
Odds & Sods. WMAL, Washington morning drive co-host Larry O’Connor is sitting in for Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller on June 24 and 25…..And in another WMAL-related note, former Congressman Ernest Istook will host the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program tomorrow (6/22)…..Sports USA will syndicate the Little League World Series radio broadcasts again this summer. The company will offer the US Championship Game on August 24 and the International Championship on August 25.
Chancellor Perlman in the House. NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” hosted University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman on the “Sharp & Benning in the Morning” program for a full hour on Thursday, June 20 to discuss college athletics. Topics covered included pay for athletes, Nebraska in the Big 10 Conference, athletic department salaries and numerous others. Pictured here are (from l-r) Gary Sharp, Perlman and Damon Benning.
NSA Surveillance Program Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 17-21. The National Security Agency’s surveillance of phone and email activities, its ties to stopping terrorist attacks and the making public of the program by former contractor Edward Snowden were the top stories discussed on news/talk radio this week, landing the issue atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the “Gang of 8” amnesty deal for illegal immigrants. At #3 was President Obama’s Berlin speech and his nukes reduction proposal broached at the G8 summit in Belfast earlier in the week. 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 this week’s entire chart here.
Cool Assistant Engineer Job Opportunity! The Dave Ramsey Show has a really good job opportunity for an assistant engineer at the company’s headquarters in Brentwood, Tennessee. If you have experience running a radio type console, have knowledge of ISDN Codecs, are experienced using video and video router/matrix, have knowledge of level3/Vyvx lines and have the ability to learn and take directions — then this job might be for you. For full details about the position and its requirements/opportunities, click
http://www.daveramsey.com/company/view-all-jobs/ and then click on the Assistant Engineer.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Freedom Feens” featuring Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi and syndicated by Genesis Communications Network is added to the program schedule at KDGO, Durango, Colorado…..Good Parts Media reports the acquisition of its 100th affiliate. The parent company of “The Hookup,” Mr. Prep and The Locker Room prep services reports it has hit this milestone in only its second year of doing business…..The national syndicated “My Cool Inventions” show with Akos Jankura and John Cremeans is added to the program schedule at WRSB, Rochester, New York and KMET, San Bernardino.
FINALLY, IT’S HERE! Talkers New York 2013 Takes Place in the Big Apple Today (6/6). The 16th annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s annual convention takes place in New York City today. Featuring a roster of more than 55 speakers, the event formerly known as “The New Media Seminar” has been sold out since May 1 – a record-breaking 37 days in advance. The entire agenda will be broadcast live and raw in real time on TalkersRadio between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm today. To access TalkersRadio, click here. To see the latest up to-the-minute agenda, click here. “We are very pleased to be able to broadcast this event on TalkersRadio,” says publisher Michael Harrison, “especially since it was such an early sellout.” Harrison adds, “This will be the first official broadcast on TalkersRadio, our new internet streaming talk radio station. It will give our readers, who could not attend, a gavel-to-gavel ear on the proceedings. We are excited to do this.” TalkersRadio is powered by Backbone Networks Corporation. Check with Talkers.com for complete coverage of the conference.
CBS Corp. Announces Joseph Ianniello Named COO. CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves announces chief financial officer Joseph Ianniello has been named chief operating office for the company. In this new role he’ll still hold financial operation responsibilities but will join the negotiating team on content deals with pay TV and streaming providers. In a statement, Moonves says, “He’s been a game-changing CFO, but he’s also so much more than that. He is a tough negotiator, a great manager, and someone who brings energy, passion and a great sense of teamwork to anything he does. He is also someone who has developed incredible trust and admiration on Wall Street, with our shareholders, our board of directors and my superb senior management team, of which he is an integral part. I am proud to promote Joe to this new position, which not only recognizes the many contributions he has already made, but sets him up for all the great work yet to be done.”
Mitch Rosen Sticks with WSCR, Chicago. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports he spoke with sports talk WSCR, Chicago program director Mitch Rosen about the rumor he was going to be the next program director at WGN, Chicago and that Rosen is not interested in the job. Feder writes that Rosen says he was approached by new WGN president Jimmy de Castro about the position but doesn’t want to leave “The Score.” Rosen states, “I was flattered by the interest at WGN. I’m grateful for the team we have here, and I continue to grow this brand that is 21-plus years old. I love what I do. I love working at The Score.” Programmer Bill White was let go from his PD post at WGN earlier this week.
WEEI, Boston Announces Summer Hoops Show. Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the debut of “Celtics Summer Cooler,” a new program hosted by Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell that will air on Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm beginning June 8 and run through September 28. WEEI says, “Grande and Max comprise one of the longest-running broadcast teams in NBA history, having called over 1,200 games between them, and have been the voices of the Celtics since 2001. This new show will provide Celtics fans with the most comprehensive news and analysis of the team, from the draft to the summer league and right up to training camp. Listeners can expect to hear from Celtics front office personnel, players, beat writers and columnists, and national media members from around the league. Entercom Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says, “This is going to be the most interesting offseason for the Celtics since 2007 when Danny pulled off the big trades for KG and Ray Allen. Celtic fans deserve a show that will be devoted to the team’s efforts this summer, and no one knows the strategy better than Grande and Max.”
Radio Mercury Winners Celebrated. The 22nd annual reception for the Radio Mercury Awards took place at the Highline Ballroom in New York City on Wednesday, June 5. This year’s Best of Show Award was given to Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC for their radio campaign, “A Long Day of Childhood” for Ragu/Unilever. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Bill Cimino, Y&R Midwest; Dave Suarez and Danny Gonzalez, Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC; Erica Farber, RAB; and Gerry Graf, Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC. This year’s event was produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau and presented by Clear Channel Media & Entertainment. Speaking about the Best of Show winner, Y&R Midwest chief creative officer Bill Cimino said, “The work from Barton F. Graf 9000 was the standout radio creative, especially the Ragu campaign, and the Integrated Little Caesars campaign.” Cimino served as chief judge for this year’s Radio Mercury Awards. RAB CEO Erica Farber stated, “All of tonight’s winners epitomize the level and standard of excellence that we always hope to award at the Radio Mercury Awards. These winning spots and campaigns are true testaments to radio’s ability to engage consumers, build brands and inspire the next generation of creative minds.”
KOZN, Omaha Welcomes Volleyball Champ. NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” recently welcomed U.S National Indoor Volleyball team member Foluke Akinradewo to the studios where she was part of the station’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program. Akinradewo won the gold medal and the MVP award at the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix. Pictured here are (from l-r): KZON producer Josh Peterson, co-host John Bishop, Akinradewo, and co-host Mike’l Severe.
NSA Phone Records Seizure, Child Lung Transplant Case, IRS Scandal, Eric Holder Under Fire, Dow Drops Below 15,000, and Susan Rice-Samantha Power Appointments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5). The court ruling mandating Verizon turn over Americans’ phone records to National Security Agency; the case of a 10-year-old lung transplant patient; the deepening IRS scandal; Attorney General Eric Holder under fire for DOJ actions; the Dow sinks below 15,000 in anticipation of jobs report; and President Obama’s appointments of Susan Rice and Samantha Power were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Names New Market Manager, Sales Chief for San Francisco. Cumulus Media announces Steve Sklenar has been appointed market manager for the company’s San Francisco stations and Kevin Crespo has simultaneously been installed as national and regional sales manager for the cluster. Sklenar comes to Cumulus Media from his most recent post as assistant vice president and director of sales at Lincoln Financial Media’s San Diego stations. Sklenar says in a statement, “To be tapped as the leader of Cumulus San Francisco is both exciting and humbling. This is without question one of the most coveted positions in all of broadcasting, not just radio. The history and prestige of these stations in the San Francisco community comes with great responsibility. We will not take that lightly.” Sklenar is in charge of talk KSFO, news/talk KGO, sports talk KNBR and KTCT, triple A KFOG and KFFG and classic rock KSAN “The Bone.” Cumulus EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch says, “Steve and Kevin are well-suited to take leadership and sales development roles at this legendary cluster of stations. They will round out a solid team that’s contributing significantly to our growth in San Francisco. After meeting with numerous qualified candidates, John Dickey and I are confident that these two gentlemen will have immediate positive impact on our business moving forward.”
Moody’s Cumulus’ Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating to SGL — 2 from SGL – 3. Moody’s Investors Service announces it has upped Cumulus Media’s Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating from SGL – 2 to SGL – 3 “reflecting improved access to the senior secured revolver due to the recent amendment of the 1st lien credit agreement. The amendment reduces the revolver commitment to $150 million from $300 million, but replaces the total net leverage test with a 1st lien net leverage requirement enabling full access to the revolver.” Moody’s says the B2 Corporate Family Rating remains unchanged and explains why: “Leverage remains elevated due to revenue and EBITDA falling below expected levels for the six months ended March 31, 2013 which prompted the downgrade in the corporate family rating earlier this year. Management indicated that pro forma revenues decreased $5.6 million or 2.5% in 1Q2013 compared to 1Q2012 reflecting lower political revenue, the winding down of unfavorable legacy Citadel barter transactions, and challenges related to its syndicated talk segment.” However, Moody’s cites the turnarounds of a number of Cumulus’ “10 underperforming stations” for the upgrade and goes on to state, “Looking forward, revenue growth is expected to be flat in 2013 due in part to the absence of significant political advertising. Moody’s expects Cumulus to generate roughly $175 million of annual free cash flow versus our prior estimate of $200 million to reflect management’s comments that it expects to invest roughly $25 million annually in CBS Sports Radio, Nash FM and related country format branding, its Traffic network, as well as SweetJack.”
Charles Steinhauer Ascends to Chief Operations Officer at Dial Global. Moving up from his most recent position as president of operations with Dial Global, Charles Steinhauer is promoted to chief operations officer. The company states that in this new position, Steinhauer will be responsible for overseeing the management of the company’s day-to-day operations — including technology, distribution, research, compliance, and strategy. He will continue to be located in New York City and will report directly to CEO Paul Caine. In his previous post, he managed all sales support divisions for Dial Global. The company also notes that Steinhauer “is one of the leads on an industry-wide research initiative working to improve how radio is incorporated into Marketing Mix Models, which are widely used by advertisers to evaluate how product sales are influenced by advertising.” About his promotion, Steinhauer says, “I’m very excited to be working with Paul Caine and to continue to move the company forward with all of the Dial Global family. I look forward to working even more closely with our staff and our outstanding content and distribution partners to create optimum value for our audiences and advertisers. I couldn’t be more fortunate.”
Tora Fisher to Perform at Talkers New York 2013. At the tender age of 23, she is both a rising pop star and a humanitarian. Tora Fisher of the Fisher family that spearheads Fisher House Foundation – the charitable organization that provides housing around the country for the visiting families of hospitalized American servicemen and women wounded in battle – will be appearing at Talkers New York 2013 tomorrow (6/6). The young singer/songwriter, whose heartfelt song “Finally Free” currently sits at number 29 and number 21 on the RadioInfo pop songs and rock songs charts respectively, will open the event’s Freedom of Speech Award Ceremony with an a cappela performance of the Lee Greenwood anthem “Proud to Be an American.” Ms. Fisher, who is a spokesperson for Fisher House, will be backed up in the performance by two female cadets from West Point, Mary Kay Messenger and Alexis Cole. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Even though this annual event is geared to talk radio, we have a tradition of presenting some of the world’s greatest up-and-coming singers performing inspirational music at key moments in the proceedings. Having Tora Fisher perform this powerful song at Talkers New York 2013 is extremely meaningful and certainly in keeping with this tradition. Not only is this beautiful young woman one of the most talented female singer/songwriters I have heard since the golden days of the great ones like Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro – she has a powerful personal story of courage and will that is both touching and compelling. As a child of 13, she survived a terrible plane crash that took the life of her father and set her on the road to becoming mature beyond her years and a powerful artist of both words and music. Add to that her dedication to the families of America’s brave young service people and…well, you have a very, very special young lady indeed. Everyone who sees her perform at this event will be touched and certainly remember where they first heard and saw Tora!”
TRN Sues Former Attorney in Anti-Trust Case. Talk Radio Network has filed suit in Oregon against California attorney Joseph Alioto alleging that he did not move with the speed promised and in a time frame that would prevent TRN from suffering further damages in its anti-trust suit against numerous sales rep firms and radio programming syndicators. TRN is seeking more than $10 million in damages and relief. In the claim, TRN alleges that after making a $125,000 retainer payment, Alioto repeatedly failed to file the complaint in a timely fashion and when Alioto decided to withdraw from the matter, he caused TRN further losses due to the time that had passed. TRN claims Alioto did not have good cause to withdraw from the matter. Allegations include fraud and legal malpractice.
Programmer Bill White Exits WGN, Chicago. One of the first moves on the part of WGN, Chicago’s new president and general manager Jimmy de Castro is to make a change in program directors for the heritage news/talk station. Talk programming pro Bill White leaves the station after two years in the director of programming and news position. White states, “Having the opportunity to work with such a tremendous team at one of America’s legendary radio stations has been a privilege and an honor. I wish the staff and WGN Radio much success in the future.” Bill White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. In a memo to staffers, de Castro wrote, “Sometimes managers have to make difficult decisions on behalf of a few to build a brighter future for many. Today, we are losing the services of a friend and delightful professional, Bill White. Please join me in wishing him the best in his future endeavors.” There’s no word who will replace White but industry watchers believe de Castro will go with someone who either currently works in the Chicago market or is very familiar with it.
Newsmax Reports #1 Online Reading Status. Conservative media firm Newsmax announces that according to digital measurement firm comScore, during April, of the 65 million Americans using all digital platforms, Newsmax sites led all other sites in web traffic with over 14 million monthly unique visitors. comScore notes that Newsmax exceeded such competitors as HuffPost Politics and Fox News Politics with these recent April numbers. Newsmax also was #1 in the same category for personal computer users who read News/Politics online. According to comScore, Newsmax received 14.4 million monthly unique visitors in April — up from 13.3 million the previous month. HuffPost received 14 million monthly unique visitors from the News/Politics category and Fox News received 10.9 million monthly unique visitors in April, respectively. comScore’s top 10 breaks down this way: Newsmax Sites – 14.4 million monthly unique visitors; Huffington Post Politics – 14 million; Fox News – 10. 9 million; CNN Politics — 9 million; NBC News.com Politics — 7.5 million; Politico.com — 6.5 million; Current TV — 6.3 million; The Economist Group — 3.7 million; The Hill.com — 3.2 million; and Mother Jones.com — 2.9 million monthly unique visitors. Speaking about Newsmax’s achievement, CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “We are once again honored to be the number one digital political news site for the second month in a row. It is a testament to quality of our digital content that consumers online, on smartphones and on tablets continue to look to Newsmax for the latest political news.”
FCC Has New Acting Chief of Enforcement Bureau. The Federal Communications Commission announces that FCC acting chairwoman Mignon L. Clyburn has appointed Robert H. Ratcliffe to the position of acting chief of the commission’s enforcement bureau. Currently, Ratcliffe is the deputy chief of the media bureau. The position opens as P. Michele Ellison moves to the chief of staff post. Ratcliffe is a longtime staffer at the FCC having spent more than 35 years at the agency including as acting chief of the media bureau and as deputy chief of the enforcement bureau. In a statement, Clyburn says, “I am pleased that Mr. Ratcliffe has agreed to serve in this critical role. Bob is a top-flight lawyer who will bring his vast experience, sound legal judgment, and overall sense of fairness to this effort.”
Sexual Assaults in U.S. Military, Looming MLB PEDs Suspensions, Lung Transplant Controversy, Susan Rice National Security Adviser Nomination, and IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). Testimony of military chiefs addressing the high rate of sexual assaults in the U.S. military and Senator Saxby Chambliss’ associated comments; the reports of numerous suspensions coming from Major League Baseball for PED violations; the controversy over a 10-year-old girl’s need for a lung transplant and the government’s transplant program; Susan Rice’s nomination for national security adviser; and the IRS’ targeting of conservative non-profit groups were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Frosty Stillwell Returns to Talk at CC’s KKSF, San Francisco for Middays. Hot AC KIOI, San Francisco “Star 101.3” morning show co-host Frosty Stillwell will continue his work alongside Sandy Stec on the Sandy & Frosty program until a replacement is named but today (6/4) he begins immediately hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show on the company’s talk KKSF “Talk 910.” Stillwell was part of the Frosty, Heidi & Frank trio that spent years at hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles. He also had worked at Clear Channel’s KYSR, Los Angeles and filled in at talk KFI. Frosty says, “I am thrilled to get back to what I’ve done for the past two decades, talk radio. ‘Talk 910’ dominates the format in San Francisco. While I loved being part of the music and personality show on ‘Star 101.3,’ there was just no way I could pass up this enticing opportunity right down the hall to get back to my true passion.”
Peter Boyles Officially Out at KHOW, Denver. Less than two weeks after being removed from the air on Clear Channel Denver’s talk KHOW, station management officially cuts the ties between the longtime Denver personality and the station. Peter Boyles was taken off the air on May 24 after an altercation between Boyles and his producer Greg Hollenback that reportedly escalated into a physical attack on Boyles’ part. The incident made the news immediately as local media was in the building to cover a press conference with politician Tom Tancredo. KHOW program director Dan Mandis wrote an email to the Denver Post notifying the paper Boyles is no longer with the company. Guest hosts have been sitting in on the morning show since that time and no permanent replacement has been announced.
Programming VP Mike Elder Exits Fox News Radio. One of the most respected programming executives in talk radio, Mike Elder, has left Fox News Radio after serving the past eight years as the company’s VP of programming. Elder, a veteran PD of such great stations as WRKO, Boston; WLS, Chicago; WCCO, Minneapolis; KTOK, Oklahoma City and KMBZ/KCMO, Kansas City tells TALKERS, “It was an amicable parting of the ways. My contract was up, cuts were being made to the staff, and we both agreed to move on. And this was the longest tenure of a more-than-40-year career, so I was living on borrowed time anyway.” Elder continues, “This has been one of the best jobs I’ve had, or that radio still had. [Fox VPs] Kevin Magee and Bob Finnerty were very supportive of our efforts and our channel on SiriusXM as well as the internet and affiliates. They allowed me to put together a great staff and I appreciate their support over the past eight years.” What next for the 40-year veteran of talk and music radio? He tells TALKERS he will probably move back to his home in Boston and believes he has at least one more job in him. He will take the time to explore his options as a programmer and talent coach. “I still feel I have another gig left in me, so I am not shutting the door on radio. I would welcome the chance to work with great talent and production staffs again. But I’m open to something new as well. There is a whole new world on the internet that will require content, and not the same ol’, same ol’. I’d love to work on something new, exciting, challenging and dynamic that would allow me to put my over 40 years of experience and skills to use in a new and different way.” Mike Elder can be reached at Mikeelder@me.com or 646-256-5653.
Joe Thomas Puts ‘The Afternoon Constitutional’ on Hiatus. WCHV, Charlottesville, Virginia program director and morning drive host Joe Thomas announces that “after two-and-a-half years of independent conservative analysis of the news and events for Virginia’s great cities of Richmond, Roanoke and Charlottesville,” he’s taking the regionally syndicated afternoon show off the air. Although Thomas says of “The Afternoon Constitutional,” “It’s more like a ‘dry docking’ of a great ship that has taken you to amazing places but now needs to be refitted with some new things for her future voyages. Stay tuned!” Thomas continues his roles as morning host and program director at WCHV. He can be reached at email@example.com
Progressive Talker KTNF, Minneapolis Sold to Chad Larson. Sales manager Chad Larson believes in progressive talk and he’s agreeing to pay current owner JR Broadcasting (Janet Roberts) $1.5 million for the AM signal. JR Broadcasting paid $3 million for the station in 2004 from CBS Radio. Currently, the station airs local morning host Matt McNeil’s “The Morning Grind” plus WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz and Compass Media Network’s Norman Goldman.
Odds & Sods. The Boston Globe reports that rumors are flying in town that Entercom’s sports talk WEEI is contemplating a change to its midday show by moving Mike Mutnansky out and replacing him with Comcast SportsNet New England’s Jessica Moran. Mutnansky co-hosts the “Mut & Merloni” show with former Red Sox player Lou Merloni…..At ESPN Radio, the NBA Finals are the hot topic as Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love and former NBA head coach Doug Collins join “Mike & Mike” as co-hosts. Love will join Mike Golic and Ryan Ruocco, who will sub for Mike Greenberg, on Thursday, June 6 – the morning of Game 1 of the Finals. Doug Collins, who most recently coached the Philadelphia 76ers, will join Golic and Greenberg the morning after Game 3, Wednesday, June 12. Both guests will be part of an NBA-centric programming block from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.
George Beasley Receives Honorary Doctorate. Beasley Broadcast Group chairman and chief executive officer George G. Beasley is pictured here at Appalachian State University’s recent May commencement receiving Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa from the school’s chancellor Dr. Kenneth E. Peacock. A native of Patrick County, Virginia, Beasley has deep ties to Appalachian State University (ASU) in Boone, NC receiving both his undergraduate (’58) and graduate degrees (’60) from ASU. Most recently, he contributed the lead gift making a new broadcasting and media facility on campus possible – the George G. Beasley Media Complex, which is scheduled to open later this year. Beasley vice president of corporate communications Denyse Mesnik tells us that education was a first love of George Beasley’s. “Prior to broadcasting, George was a teacher and ultimately a high school principal. In fact, while building his first radio station he was a principal until the school bell rang, then a radio station owner late afternoons, evenings and weekends.”
Michael Douglas Oral Sex Flap, Senator Lautenburg Dies, IRS Scandal, DOJ Journalists Investigation, Obama Administration Secret Email Accounts and Syria Chemical Weapons Charges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). Michael Douglas’ public statement that oral sex caused his throat cancer; the death of Democratic New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg; the ongoing scandal involving the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; the Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists; the controversy over some Obama Administration appointees using secret email accounts; and the chemical weapons use charges against the Syrian military were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tribune Names Jimmy de Castro President and GM of WGN, Chicago. The Tribune Company announces it has named former AM/FM president and CEO Jimmy de Castro president and general manager of its sole radio station – WGN, Chicago – beginning June 3. The 60-year-old de Castro has most recently been operating The Content Factory which developed the Dan Patrick sports talk radio show. In the Chicago Tribune, Tribune president of local broadcasting Larry Wert states, “There’s been a lot of change in it over recent years, and a lot of controversy around it, given the personalities that have come and gone. We’re just really looking forward to some smart, go-forward stability. I don’t think we could have picked anyone better than Jim de Castro.” For his part de Castro states, “I wouldn’t take this job unless I thought that I could improve the ratings and improve the revenues and improve the EBITDA. Picking the right lane, marketing it correctly, driving some enthusiasm and some energy in the listening community and in the buying community and in the hallways of 720, are going to have an impact.” Jimmy de Castro founded Evergreen Media in 1988 and merged it with Chancellor Broadcasting in 1997. The company then became AM/FM which was acquired by Clear Channel in a subsequent merger. WGN sales manager Jeff Hill has been serving as general manager since former president and general manager Tom Langmyer exited the station in the fall of 2012.
Sports USA-AdLarge Lawsuit? Nevermind! In a rather unusual turn of events, the suit filed by Sports USA in U.S. District Court Southern District of New York by Sports USA seeking injunctive relief from exclusive sales representative AdLarge reported by TALKERS magazine on May 23 has been “dismissed as a misunderstanding.” In fact, the two companies announce they have extended their relationship. Sports USA president Bob Moore says in a statement, “Any pending lawsuit has been dismissed, and we are really looking forward to this upcoming season with AdLarge. Their connection with national advertisers and their agencies provides the opportunity for continued revenue growth in our football programming.” Meanwhile, AdLarge co-founder and CEO Gary Schonfeld says, “We are delighted to renew our arrangement with Sports USA. Sports USA has a terrific line-up of 2013 NCAA and NFL games, and we are looking forward to representing their play-by-play coverage for the upcoming football season.
KHOW, Denver Talk Host Peter Boyles Sits Out Today’s Show After Confrontation with Producer. The Denver Post is reporting KHOW, Denver morning host Peter Boyles is off the air today (5/24) after getting into what’s being reported as a heated exchange with longtime producer Greg Hollenback that escalated into a physical attack. KUSA-TV, Denver “9News” was at the station on Thursday to cover Tom Tancredo’s announcement of his 2014 gubernatorial bid when the incident took place. “9News” is reporting that station employees saw red marks on Hollenback’s neck immediately after the argument took place. Station vice president of programming Greg Foster issued the following statement: “This is a personnel matter. Out of respect for our employees, we are not commenting at this time.” John Caldara is sitting in on the program this morning.
Cakes of Crud and Other Stuff. It is absolutely true. One of the dirtiest jobs at the radio station is the job of chief engineer (or just plain “engineer” – we are not sure if most stations have a “chief” engineer anymore) who regularly has to go where no one has gone before, like out to the transmitter building to encounter cakes of crud and other gunky stuff that accumulate over time and threaten to throw your station off the air. In a new installment posted today (5/24) of his mega-popular TALKERS column designed for programming and management types who now (in today’s challenging environment) have to know technical stuff too, engineering wizard Tom Ray discusses the danger of crud, the significance of IT, as well as the importance of supporting your engineer and the Society of Broadcast Engineers. Check it out by clicking here.
Broadcasters Come to Aid of Victims of Oklahoma Tornado. Radio groups, stations and individual personalities are coming to the aid of the victims of the deadly tornado that swept across the Oklahoma City area this week. The following is by no means an exhaustive list of the efforts of broadcasters but gives a snapshot of the kind of dedication to disaster relief the industry is capable of:
- Cox Media Group Tulsa radio and TV station employees filled three semi-trucks packed with water and supplies that will go to help the American Red Cross with their relief efforts. The team also raised more than $40,600, and the count is rising.
- KYKN, Salem Oregon radio host Bill Post raised $8,500 in donations via his radio program which was sent to Oklahoma via Glenn Beck’s Mercury One non-profit. Donations are still being made via billpost.com.
- Mid-West Family Radio’s Springfield, Missouri cluster and Convoy of Hope packed a 53-foot trailer with flashlights, batteries, work gloves, water, diapers, baby wipes, and ready-to-eat food as part of a 12-hour broadcast effort in which staff and listeners donated, collected and prepared the items for shipment to Oklahoma.
- Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network show hosts – Doc Thompson, Pat and Stu, Jay Severin – have been raising funds for disaster relief for more than a day and have brought in more than $1.5 million in donations to the cause.
- Clear Channel’s KDWB, Minneapolis collected more than 5,200 cases of bottled water and loaded them aboard five semi-trailers destined for Moore, Oklahoma.
- CBS Radio Philadelphia — including radio stations KYW, WIP-AM, WIP-FM, WOGL, and WPHT — helped raise more than $225,000 for the American Red Cross’ relief effort as part of CBS’ “Operation Brotherly Love: Helping Moore.”
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel flips classic country KCCY, Pueblo to sports talk using Fox Sports Radio Network programming…..Longtime radio broadcaster Sara Kalish is named affiliate relations manager for WestStar Multimedia Entertainment’s syndicated Kim Komando show where she’ll maintain current relationships with the Phoenix-based weekly program’s reported 450 affiliates and generate new radio partnerships nationwide…..Ted Robinson signs a five-year extension to continue as the voice of San Francisco 49ers football on the radio. Robinson works for the NFL club whose games are aired on flagship sports talk KNBR, San Francisco and sister rocker KSAN “107.7 The Bone.”
Moll Anderson Collects Gracie Award for Satellite Talk Show. Television personality and best-selling author Moll Anderson (center) is pictured here with fellow broadcasters Kerri Kasem of “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” (left) and Fox Sports Radio anchor Deb Carson (right) at the 38th annual Gracie Awards in Los Angeles. Anderson was honored in the “Outstanding Host – Lifestyle Program” category for her eponymous satellite radio program that airs weekly on SiriusXM. Kasem and Carson presented honors at the awards show sponsored by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at WFLN, Arcadia, Florida…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds five new stations to its affiliate roster: KENT, Cedar City, Utah; WEZO, Augusta, Georgia; WEKY, Lexington; WIRV, Irvine, Kentucky; KRMS, and Osage Beach, Missouri.
IRS Scandal Lands Atop Talkers TenTM for Week of May 20-24. The IRS’ scrutiny of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in right behind at #2 was the Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists and news organizations. At #3 was the ongoing look into the deadly attacks at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and following at #4 was the Oklahoma tornado. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See the entire chart here.
FCC Approves Sale of Cox Media Group Stations to SummitMedia and Connoisseur. Late last summer Cox Media Group announced it was putting stations in six markets on the block as part of a realignment of its business strategy that has it focusing on its larger market stations and operations that dovetail with its other media properties. Now that these two deals have received FCC approval, it shouldn’t be long before they close. SummitMedia will pay $66.25 million for radio properties in five markets: Birmingham (WAGG-AM, WBHJ-FM, WBHK-FM, WENN-AM, WZZK-FM, WZNN-FM, WBPT-FM, and CMG’s contract rights for WALJ-FM); Greenville, South Carolina (WJMZ-FM, WHZT-FM); Hawaii (KRTR-AM/FM, KPHW-FM, KCCN-FM, KINE-FM, KKNE-AM); Louisville (WRKA-FM, WVEZ-FM, WSFR-FM, WQNU-FM); and Richmond (WHTI-FM, WKHK-FM, WKLR-FM, WURV-FM). Connoisseur will pay $40 million for the Southern Connecticut stations that include: WPLR-FM, WEZN-FM, WFOX-FM, and contract rights for WYBC-FM.
The Key to Using Facebook for Marketing: Turn Promotion into Content. There’s something that makes Facebook different from all other social media sites, and in a new article posted today (4/29) noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller explains how you can use it to your advantage. Facebook has a vested interest in showing its users the best content. They’re also clearly suspicious about what most businesses and brands are posting, because they limit us from the start, showing our posts to 10-15% of our followers. According to Miller, most brands don’t do a very good job in social media. They’re stuck in an old model of pumping out marketing messages, and that’s what they do on Facebook. You, as an individual, didn’t get on social media to be advertised to! Neither did your followers. When you cut and paste your promo liners to Facebook, or try and write to your followers like you talk to your listeners, you’re confirming Mark Zuckerberg’s view that it’s in his interest to block your fans from reading your hype. Your promos cut down on his users’ time-spent-engaging. So here’s the secret. Turn your promotion into content. To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.
Two Promotions at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300 AM” Albany. Capital Broadcasting president Paul Vandenburgh announces two promotions at the company’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300 AM.” Angela Rosetti, who has been with the station since it went on the air, becomes operations manager. At the same time, Kate Finnigan returns to the station and takes on the role of sales manager. Rosetti is a Siena College graduate and Delmar native. Finnigan is also a native of the Capital Region having grown up in Glenmont.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago teams with CME Group to produce “The Markets” podcasts featuring station agribusiness director Orion Samuelson. Utilizing Samuelson’s expertise, the online podcasts place an emphasis on the agricultural impact on the NYSE, Dow, S&P, Ag markets, commodity prices and weather. Samuelson provides recaps on the week’s activity and special guest interviews from agricultural professionals. A full list of “The Markets” podcasts are available at the station’s website and new segments are updated every Friday at 4:00 pm…..Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco works out a deal with Compass Media Networks to become the flagship station for Oakland Raiders football. The package includes pre-game and post-game shows, locker room reaction, and listener phone calls, as well as weekly call-in shows with head coach Dennis Allen and Raiders players.
Dr. Ronald Hoffman Signs with Media Management Group. Dr. Ronald Hoffman joins the client roster at Media Management Group. Dr. Hoffman is a clinician, author, lecturer, media spokesperson and an acknowledged leader in the field of complementary medicine. His nationally syndicated radio program “Health Talk” is described as “a compelling balance of relatable treatments of complex medical topics and a common sense approach to health issues.” Media Management Group CEO Jeff Schwartz says, “Dr. Hoffman is a highly respected physician and a great talent, and he has built an impressive media platform. We’re looking forward to working with him to take everything to the next level.”
Norm Pattiz Representing at the Staples Center. That’s Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz pictured at Friday evening’s Lakers-Spurs game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Although the Lakers were swept out of the playoffs on Sunday by San Antonio, Lakers diehard Pattiz was there in his usual courtside seat to offer helpful advice. On Friday, he was looking good in his brand-new PodcastOne.com t-shirt. PodcastOne.com is the latest endeavor from the Westwood One founder’s Launchpad Digital Media, which gives people free, easy access to all the best podcasts anytime, anywhere. On Friday, Launchpad celebrated the launch of the new PodcastOne.com mobile app. The only free app for Apple and Android that lets consumers access, discover and enjoy all the best podcasts with a simple tap. Check it out at www.podcastone.com.
Barry O’ Brien Kicks Off New Career in the Palm Beaches. Many of you know longtime radio industry figure Barry O’ Brien from his two decades of service to the business as VP of sales at the late and legendary trade publication Radio & Records (R&R). For the last several years Barry has been living happily in semi-retirement in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida where he reportedly has been enjoying the warmth, sunshine and pleasant lifestyle. Well, it seems the itch to get back into sales has prompted him to get off the lounger back into the action of “sellin’ & buyin’ with Barry O’ Brien.” Barry tells TALKERS he has launched yet another chapter to his long and colorful career in sales, hooking up with a leading realtor in the region, Keller Williams of the Palm Beaches, where he is now a sales rep. Anyone in the business looking to buy a property in beautiful Palm Beach County should contact Barry who says, “I have bought and sold so many houses and condos in my life, it is time to share this experience in helping others.” To reach Barry call 561-320-1057 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles Names Elisha Krauss Co-Host of Morning Show. From her most recent position as senior producer for the nationally syndicated Sean Hannity show, Elisha Krauss joins Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro as co-host of the morning show, “The Morning Answer,” on Salem’s “AM 870 The Answer.” Krauss says of her new position, “After being behind the scenes in radio for years I know this is a huge opportunity to share my conservative beliefs with the KRLA audience every day.” Salem Communications vice president, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce hired Krauss as an intern at WABC in New York years ago. He says, “Elisha impressed me from the day we first met when she applied to be an intern. She had been home schooled in Oklahoma, but here she was in Manhattan making a name for herself as a freshman and I was immediately impressed with her character, integrity and maturity.” KRLA program director Chuck Tyler says, “Elisha is a great addition to the team. This is a truly unique show for Los Angeles morning drive and I know Brian and Ben are very anxious to get her into the mix.” Krauss takes over for Heidi Harris who exited the program last week.
Cumulus Flips Oldies Trimulcast in Twin Cities to Sports Talk. The CBS Sports Radio Network comes to Minneapolis-St. Paul as Cumulus drops oldies on WGVX, WGVY and WGVZ and brands it as “SportsRadio 105 The Ticket.” (The three sit alongside each other on the dial at 105.1, 105.3 and 105.7, respectively.) The stations are carrying the entire network lineup. In a statement, Cumulus Minneapolis Scott Jameson says, “The passion for sports combined with the power and credibility of the CBS brand makes for engaging and entertaining content. Sports fans in the Twin Cities now have a choice for their daily fox of news and conversation delivered by the best in the business: Jim Rome, John Feinstein, Boomer Esiason, Doug Gottlieb and the entire team on ‘SportsRadio 105 The Ticket.’”
Schnitt Update. These past few months have certainly been interesting for talk show host Todd Schnitt. Despite losing a high-profile defamation suit as plaintiff versus talker Bubba the Love Sponge – then settling the dispute in mediation instead of a return trip to trial court — Schnitt’s nationally syndicated Compass Media Networks’ “The Schnitt Show” been showing continued growth and positive momentum with the recent addition of 15 new affiliates. These include KSTE, Sacramento; WTAX, Champaign; WKBN, Youngstown; KPSF, Palm Springs; WINA-AM, Charlottesville as well as Mississippi Super Talk Radio Network outlets WFMM-FM, Hattiesburg; WFMN-FM; Jackson; WKBB-FM, West Point; WLAU-FM, Laurel; WRQO-FM, Brookhaven; WTCD-FM, Greenwood; WTNM-FM, Oxford; WXRZ-FM, Corinth; WZKR-FM, Meridian; and WWMR-FM, Tupelo. Schnitt’s program originates in the afternoon drive slot at Clear Channel‘s WFLA, Tampa where the local publicity garnered by the recent legal fracas has lifted his profile to the status of household name. Schnitt, a rising member of the “Heavy Hundred” (#26) tells TALKERS that he is continuing to evolve his show with the “right” amount of politics. He states, “I choose the most important issues to cover and do it concisely and informatively with fact, opinion and entertainment value. My content is more diverse than ever and I’m really utilizing my aptitude and experience gained as a 20-plus year CHR morning guy. I feel I’ve constructed a show that my competitors can’t match. The daily political, ad nauseam Obama-bashing and wonk minutiae is burned close to needing dental records.”
NPR to Replace “Talk of the Nation” with “Here and Now.” Calling a move away from opinion programming to storytelling, The New York Times’ Brian Stelter reports that NPR chief content officer Kinsey Wilson says the move to a news magazine from an opinion talk show is “what the audience is looking for and what member stations have been looking for.” The issue was discussed on the March 29 “Morning Edition” program on NPR during which NPR media correspondent David Folkenflick stated that despite the $7 million dollar deficit NPR is facing this fiscal year, that is not the motivation for eliminating “Talk of the Nation” – which is heard on some 400 member stations and, according to NPR, reaches more than 3.5 million listeners. Folkenflick says Wilson told him the move is “more of an effort to insure that the network is investing both personnel and money in places that will make it distinctive and he thinks more original reporting and a greater number of stories from around the country involving member stations will do that trick.” As for host Neal Conan, he was offered to stay with NPR but will exit the program when it ends on June 30. WBUR, Boston-produced “Here and Now” will be produced on the East Coast from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm and updated as needed until 4:00 pm for stations airing it later.
‘The Big Talker’ in Wilmington, North Carolina Flips to All-News. Citing the retirement of morning host Chad Adams from the stations, Hometown Wilmington Media general manager Beau Gunn tells the Port City Daily that “we decided to give Wilmington something it was missing — all-news radio with a focus on local news, sports, traffic and weather.” Gunn says the simulcast on WNTB and WLTT is being branded “Port City Radio” alluding to its relationship with Port City Daily. Port City Radio program director and morning host Aimee Bowen will speak with Port City Daily reporters about the stories behind the stories. Those same reporters will be featured throughout the day. She states, “Port City Radio is your hands-free device for Wilmington news. Everybody is busy. They’re on the go all the time. This is a unique product that gives you unrestricted access to local and national news. Our partnership with Port City Daily creates the ability to provide constant, local content.” The format is using CBS Radio News as well as content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network.
NHL Lockout Shows How Important Sports Play-by-Play Can Be to Stations. In a piece in the Chicago Tribune analyzing the recent BIA Kelsey revenue figures for Chicago’s top billing stations from 2012, the case of Tribune’s WGN stands out. According the BIA Kelsey, WGN absorbed a revenue hit of more than $5 million from 2011 to 2012 ending the latter year with $30.2 million in revenue. In the piece it’s noted that the NHL lockout affected the Chicago Blackhawks flagship dramatically. WGN director of sales and interim general manager Jeff Hill tells the paper, “We probably took a loss of over $2 million just in Blackhawks fourth quarter revenue. That represented a significant loss in our revenue.” To be clear, Hill says that wasn’t the only reason for the revenue decline. He cited a down year for agri-business and a poor political advertising year for the Chicago market.
Len Tillem Out at KKSF, San Francisco. The 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm Len Tillem show is gone from Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco and the hour is being absorbed by the expansion of the Gil Gross program. Tillem – along with former KGO, San Francisco personalities Ed Baxter and John Rothmann – crossed over to KKSF after being let go by the Cumulus Media news/talk station. Now, Tillem is gone and Baxter and Rothmann remain at the KKSF in a fill-in capacity.
Digital Consultant Advises Keeping Radio Websites Free of Clutter. In his weekly column posted today (4/1) digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says “less is more” when it comes to putting appropriate time, energy, and space into play when developing a website to extend a radio station’s or show’s presence. He suggests starting by taking inventory of the pages and features that are drawing the most visits and consider them the “important” ones. Others (with a few key exceptions), he says, you should seriously consider taking down. To read Chris Miller’s entire column “Prune Now to Grow Later,” click here.
Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation to Present Check to Family of Murdered Police Dispatcher. On Tuesday, April 2, WHTP, Tampa-based talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge will present a check for $15,000 to the family of slain Tampa police dispatcher Deanna Mendoza. Mendoza’s three surviving children will be the recipients of the money raised through the Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation. Bubba says, “A lot of times, people forget the high-stress job the dispatchers have. People’s lives depend on the efficiency of police dispatchers and I wanted to remember her life and thank her family for her service.” Mendoza was killed in January. Tampa Police Department Major Brian Dugan will join Mendoza’s co-workers and family for the presentation.
NBC Sports Radio Network Goes Live Today. After almost nine months of promotions and planning, the NBC and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk radio network goes live. The network is boasting a starting affiliate base of 257 and is touting its newly designed, revamped website at NBCSportsRadio.com plus a customized NBC Sports Radio mobile app for Android and Apple devices. The network says, “NBCSportsRadio.com features a fresh, modern look with a number of new features — like programming schedules, talent bios and photos, and a terrestrial radio station finder — plus added capabilities including live streaming, station streaming, and social media chatter. The NBC Sports Radio mobile app, powered by Abacast, showcases a branded home page with rotating sponsorship panels and an integration system that syncs audio ads and rotating display ads — a feature that will help advertisers extend their brands. Among its many features, the mobile app also delivers programming content, Facebook and Twitter promotion, and a station information page linking to phone request lines.” NBC Sports Radio EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran states, “Game on! We are pumped and ready to take the field. When you combine our unmatched talent with our stations, our digital assets and our social media presence, it all adds up to an amazing listening and interactive experience for sports fans everywhere.”
Tom Donahue Show Expands to Five Days on KCAA, Loma Linda. Talk radio personality Tom Donahue expands his program from its initial Friday show on Broadcasting Management Services’ KCAA, Loma Linda, California to five days per week beginning today. The “Tom Donahue Reports” program airs live at 1:00 am PT. Donahue says April 1 holds a special significance for him because that is when he got his big break in talk radio replacing the legendary Chuck Harder as a nationally syndicated host for the Sun Radio Network in 1991. He says he plans to offer his show to other stations. The Talk Superstation remains his primary internet station, while Talk Stream Live serves as his streaming digital directory.
Former WGN and KMOX Exec Tom Langmyer to Consult Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee. The Business Journal of Milwaukee reports that former WGN, Chicago vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer has been hired to consult Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee as it transitions from programmer Joe Scialfa, who has left the post. WTMJ EVP Steve Wexler tells the publication, “I can confirm that we have made a change and are recruiting for a new program director. Tom Langmyer is working with us during the transition to help recruit a new program director and work with our staff.” Langmyer worked his way up from program director to general manager of KMOX, St.Louis. After years in that post he moved to Tribune’s WGN, Chicago where he served as VP/GM until last October.
Todd Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge Settle in Mediation. After a jury found Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) not guilty of defamation in the case brought against him by former crosstown rival Todd Schnitt, Schnitt got a new lawyer and prepared to take Bubba back to court claiming misconduct on the part of Bubba’s attorneys as a result of the DUI and misappropriated briefcase of his former lawyer, Phillip Campbell. But, after a 12-hour mediation session before mediator Jim Murman, the sides have agreed to end their spat – sort of. According to TampaBayOnline, Bubba has agreed to leave Schnitt’s wife and children out of any future radio attacks, incurring a $5,000 fine per mention if he fails to keep his word. Schnitt himself is fair game. Bubba had intended to go after Schnitt to recoup his nearly $1 million in legal fees from the first trial but will withdraw that bid. Bubba is heard in morning drive on WHTP, Tampa and was a rival of Schnitt’s when Schnitt – as MJ Kelli – held down mornings on WFLA-FM. Now, Schnitt does only the PM drive show on news/talk WFLA-AM in the market. But there is still some acrimony and possible legal action – between Phillip Campbell and Schnitt. After Schnitt fired Campbell, the latter went to court seeking about $1 million in legal fees from Schnitt. But Schnitt’s new lawyer, Wil Florin, tells TampaBayOnline that Schnitt should not have to pay the money and that Campbell should have to refund almost $1 million previously paid because Campbell assured the Schnitt’s, after a 2008 DUI, that it would not happen again.
NBC Sport Radio Network Names Newy Scruggs Midday Host. As the NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk radio format is prepared for its round-the-clock debut on April 1, the network announces that KXAS-TV, Dallas sports director and former KRLD-FM, Dallas personality Newy Scruggs will host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart with his program, “Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs.” The theme of the show is Scruggs will be joined each day by a major renowned and recognizable sports “voice” during the entire second hour of the show. Personalities will include Chipper Jones, Adrian Wojnarowski, Stan Van Gundy, Bobby Valentine and Chris Mannix. Jones will begin baseball season in this hourly role on Tuesdays and then move into a weekly major contributor role as NBC Sports Radio’s MLB senior analyst once baseball season is fully underway. Mannix, Valentine and Van Gundy are already part of the NBC Sports Radio roster and are expanding their roles. Dial Global EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran states, “Hands down, ‘Voices of the Game’ is going to be special. Not only is Newy one of the smartest and most reputable personalities around, but our unmatched and incredible daily guest hosts are going to deliver such a unique and informative show for affiliates, listeners and advertisers.”
News/Talk Format Back to Place as Leading Format in February PPMs. With Arbitron’s February PPM data set to be released after 5:00 pm today (3/18), some of the conclusions we can draw are that the news/talk format is coming back from its usual holiday lull and – across all 48 PPM markets, not any market in particular – the format is back to its spot as the leading format. Industry pros who’ve been watching the performance of stations by format over the years are aware that formats in general can be said to be affected by seasonal factors. The biggest and most obvious is how AC stations are buoyed by the public’s affection for Christmas music during the holiday period. News/talk has historically – going back to the days prior to the PPM as well – performed well in the fall and spring periods and dipped a bit in the winter and summer periods. Obviously, baseball tends to help news/talk stations avoid the summer drop. With the recent uptick of concern about news/talk’s future – being aired in both the consumer and trade press – no doubt market managers and corporations will be eager to see how their individual news/talk stations performed in the PPM markets during the February period.
KXTG-AM, Portland’s John Canzano Re-Ups with Alpha Broadcasting. Midday sports talk personality John Canzano, host of “The Bald-Faced Truth” signs a multi-year extension with Alpha Broadcasting’s “750 The Game.” He currently airs in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Canzano is a popular sports media figure in the market serving as lead columnist for The Oregonian and as a regular commentator on KGW-TV. He is also the co-founder of the Bald Faced Truth Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit that helps children participate in music, art, sports and other co-curricular activities. Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “John’s deep connection to the community through his Bald Faced Truth Foundation is just one of many reasons we are proud to have him on board with Portland’s premiere sports radio ‘750 The Game.’”
Sabo Says Radio Stations Are Becoming More and More Like TV Stations. In a provocative article posted today in TALKERS (3/18), noted radio consultant Walter Sabo points out that the radio station of the not-too-distant future will appear similar in many ways to the television station of today. As a matter of fact, this is a trend that is already becoming quite apparent. To read Sabo’s column – which also includes insights into the danger of radio’s economic dependency on retail, the importance of bringing back research, and (for music programmers) the pitfalls of letting labels tell you when the songs they promote are at the peak of their hit potency – click here.
Chad Adams to Exit Wilmington, North Carolina Talk Duo. Hometown Wilmington Media general manager Beau Gunn announces morning drive personality Chad Adams will leave his position as morning host on March 29. Adams is heard on WLTT, Bolivia, North Carolina and WNTB, Topsail Beach – stations branded “The Big Talker.” Gunn states, “Chad has served the community and our company with hard work and dedication for the past three years. We are sad to see him go and wish him the best in all of his new endeavors.” In addition to hosting the morning show, he has appeared as a regular featured commentator on local cable news channel News 14 Carolina‘s ‘Capitol Tonight’ and as a guest political analyst on WWAY-TV.
Americom Las Vegas Shutters Progressive Talk KJFK, Reno. After eight years as a progressive talk outlet, Americom Las Vegas announces it has been losing money on the station for some time – “thousands of dollars a month” – and its hand is being forced. The station says on its website, “Since we launched the station with an appearance by Al Franken in 2005, when nearly 500 people joined us at the Atlantis for now-Senator Franken’s appearance just days after we hit the air, we’ve known a passionate audience has been with us all along. Unfortunately, this station was never able to generate the revenue necessary to sustain, and we simply cannot absorb the financial loss any longer.” The station will continue to make some shows available online for now.
“Brent Seltzer, Still at Large” Syndicated Short-Form Series Picked Up by XM. The quick-witted, two-minute commentary series hosted by legendary Southern California-based news personality Brent Seltzer is now heard daily on XM Satellite Radio talk channels 165, 166 and 168 in all dayparts. Premiere Networks brokered the deal and describes the series as ‘funny, informative, creative and well-produced’. The series, designed to air on both talk and music formats, is heard on KSRO, Santa Rosa, CA and is one of the most popular features on PodJockey.com.
Odds & Sods. Talk about being in the right place at the right time, pictured here is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (right) interviewing Florida State Senate President Don Gaetz during his annual “Legislative Listening Tour” from the Capitol in Tallahassee on the very day Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned amidst a federal probe of internet cafes statewide…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington this week begins a special series called “Spy In The Sky” – an exclusive multimedia series that takes an in-depth look at the use of drones worldwide. A federal appeals court has ruled that the CIA must provide a more detailed response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, seeking records about drone attacks. This decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is part of an ongoing national debate about the use of drones. “Spy In The Sky” is a 10-part series that’s airing on WTOP this week. Each report is also available on WTOP.com accompanied by exclusive photos and video. In the piece, WTOP focuses on the use of drones both abroad and at home and how policy makers, police, and civil rights advocates are shaping their future…..In sunny Arizona, “Rosie on the House,” the home improvement talk show that has reached out to Arizona homeowners for almost 25 years, has added another radio station affiliate KGVY, Green Valley, south of Tucson. The show was founded by Rosie Romero and his son Romey in 1988 and is heard on KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KNST, Tucson and several others across the state. It’s syndicated by the Skyview Network.
KNX, Los Angeles Director of News Programming Andy Ludlum Honored. CBS Radio’s Andy Ludlum was honored at the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2013 awards banquet on March 14. The KNX director of news programming is pictured here (right) alongside KNX news anchor and longtime friend Bill Polish (left) who presented the award to Ludlum. SPJ/LA presents the Distinguished Journalist awards to members of the profession who demonstrate good news judgment, a strong sense of ethics and a passion for getting the story right. Honorees are journalists who have achieved a record of accomplishments over the course of several years.
Talk Radio Network Signs Sun Broadcast Group as Rep Firm. Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun Broadcast Group and Talk Radio Network agree to have the former provide national advertising sales representation and assist in station affiliation for all products of Talk Radio Network effective immediately. Sun CEO Jason Bailey says, “In this day of safe, personality-driven radio, the stable of talent that TRN continues to expand is something we are very proud to present to our agency partners. From new entertaining talk products to amazingly produced long-form news, I believe the iconic brands that have put their faith and trust in Sun over these last several years will be excited to become part of this new direction in network programming.” Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters states, “We look forward to a long and prosperous alliance with Sun Broadcast Group. Jason and his team understand what it takes to succeed in radio today. We are pleased that our products will be well represented with Sun as we continue to grow each and every one of the TRN companies.”
Clear Channel Simulcasts New Hampshire News/Talk Outlets. With the arrival of New Hampshire news and talk pro Jack Heath for mornings at WGIR, Manchester and WQSO, Rochester-Portsmouth, New Hampshire two weeks ago, the stations are now a complete simulcast and WQSO re-brands as “News Radio 96.7” It had been branded “96.7 The Wave.” Heath joined the stations from WTPL, Concord, New Hampshire where he’d been for the past five years.
KOGO, San Diego Moves LaDona Harvey to AM Drive with Chip Franklin. Early afternoon talk host LaDona Harvey moves to the AM drive show alongside Chip Franklin at Clear Channel’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego. Taking Harvey’s place in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is evening host Bob “Sully” Sullivan.
Odds & Sods. Omaha talk show host Tom Becka, who recently returned to the market at NRG Media’s KOIL after a year heading up an FM talk station in Fargo, is profiled in the March/April edition of Omaha Magazine…..WGN, Chicago “Noon Show” host Carol Roth is hired by cable business news/talk network CNBC as a regular on-air contributor. Roth says she will contribute written pieces for CNBC.com. She will continue her role at WGN…..Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee brings Jon Meerdink aboard as a news reporter. He comes to Brew Town Bliss Communications’ Janesville, Wisconsin stations.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $375,000 at “Golden Mike Award” Ceremony. The Broadcasters Foundation of America raised $375,000 to help broadcasters in need at the BFoA 2013 Golden Mike Award ceremony honoring David J. Barrett, chairman and CEO of Hearst Television, Inc at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Monday evening. The event was hosted by legendary sports broadcaster and voice of the San Francisco Giants Jon Miller. Joining him as presenters were popular media personalities Steve Harvey and Dr. Mehmet Oz along with Barrett’s son Casey, former president and CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations. Also taking part were 2011 Golden Mike winner Alan Frank and Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb. Ellen DeGeneres provided some laughs via a video presentation, as did Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. Singer Darlene Love provided entertainment. Pictured here are (from l-r): Phil Lombardo, chairman, Broadcasters Foundation of America; Steve Harvey; Jim Thompson, president Broadcasters Foundation; Dr. Mehmet Oz; Darlene Love; 2013 Golden Mike Award Recipient David J. Barrett and Jon Miller. The Broadcasters Foundation has provided millions of dollars in aid to colleagues who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy. Individual membership is only $150 a year. Donations also can be made to the Guardian Fund, and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative. For more information, to apply for a grant, or to make a contribution, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org or call 212-373-8250.
Dan Patrick Show at Buffalo Wild Wings. KLAC, Los Angeles “AM570 Fox Sports LA” listeners and DIRECTV viewers turned up nearly 2,000-strong to meet sports media personality Dan Patrick and the cast of his DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio program at Buffalo Wild Wings in Huntington Beach, California on Saturday, February 23. Fans lined up to meet Patrick and the Danettes, who spent three hours shaking hands, taking photos, and signing memorabilia during the event. Attendees were treated to the restaurant’s infamous wings and Patrick even stepped behind the bar to serve a few drinks. Patrick is pictured here posing with the staff of the restaurant.
Sequestration Battle, Manti Te’o Gay Controversy, ICE Undocumenteds Release, BP Civil Trial, and Cannibal Cop Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). The Washington PR battle over the looming sequester; the issue of football star Manti Te’o and homosexuality in pro sports; the release of undocumented aliens in response to the sequester; the BP civil trial; and the cannibal cop case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Old Pals. KIDO, Boise morning show host Kevin Miller (right) poses for a shot with HLN star Nancy Grace (left). Miller has contributed to Grace’s program over the years and had the opportunity recently to catch up with her.
Glenn Ordway to Exit WEEI, Boston. Addressing the story of his departure that leaked to Boston.com’s Chad Finn, longtime personality — and one of the original architects of the sports talk station – Glenn Ordway announced on Wednesday he is leaving the station because management wants to make changes. The original story from Finn reports Boston native and current KIRO, Seattle sports talk personality Mike Salk will join Michael Holley on the PM drive show. That has not been confirmed, although WEEI vice president of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says in a subsequent press release that the station will announce Holley’s new co-host soon. In discussing his departure on the air – a very cool thing for WEEI management to allow him to do, in the opinion of TALKERS editors — Ordway said, in part, “I have great admiration for that brand on the wall. I was part of the beginning of it…I’ve been meeting [programmer] Jason Wolfe…It’s obvious we are not getting the ratings on this show that are necessary…I didn’t do a good enough job recently and the company decided to make a change…The ratings are the issue. In the Spring they were through the roof but they haven’t been good enough recently… I’m not gonna lie [and say I’m happy about it]…They have a right to make that decision. You wanna say I got fired? Say I got fired…I am so lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest people in the business – some of them went to other places and are the reason I’m having this conversation right now (laughed). I’ve been here 27 years going back to their deal with the Celtics.” Wolfe says Ordway will finish out the week on the program. He says of his time with Ordway, “Glenn and I have been together since day one. He is an icon in this business and he helped build WEEI into arguably the most successful sports station in history. I am so thankful to have been able to work alongside Glenn for the past 20-plus years and I hope that all Boston sports fans realize how important his contributions have been to this station, to the market and to this industry. He’s a true professional and that was clearer than ever in his comments today (2/13).”
Talk Radio Network and Fox News Channel Star Andrea Tantaros Gets “Love” from the New York Observer. The paper calls Andrea Tantaros “Fox’s new ‘It’ girl” in a piece that highlights her rise as one of the ensemble members of the very popular “The Five” program on FNC as well as her new gig as host of her own radio talk show syndicated by Talk Radio Network. Writer Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke writes of Tantaros, “And although she is solidly conservative, she represents a departure from the old Fox News mold of firebrand yellers and bubbly blondes. Ms. Tantaros lives in Manhattan, talks with equal enthusiasm about reality shows and budget hearings, and is laughingly sarcastic rather than loudly belligerent when decrying a liberal viewpoint. And she will occasionally depart from the party line. She is, in short, the perfect standard-bearer for Fox’s recent subtle shift to a less-divisive model of conservative news.” Tantaros’ talk radio program on TRN filled the gap left by the departure of Laura Ingraham from the network and CEO Mark Masters says the accolades being given to Tantaros don’t surprise him and are indicative of why he is so high on her show. “This is why the Andrea Tantaros show is the most successful nationally syndicated launch in our history.”
EAS LESSON: Protect Your Station from Hackers. By now, you have obviously heard that there was an EAS hack at a TV station the other day. It is the buzz of the industry. An alert went out about a zombie attack. Now, before anyone goes off about EAS, it should be noted that the CAP feed was not affected. This appears to be strictly a case of computer network security. And before we go deeper, it should be stated that when something like this happens, it is only natural that it becomes a news story. And news stories require actualities. If something goes awry with EAS, please keep in mind that it is okay to play the actual audio message that went out (although not advisable) – but it CANNOT contain the EAS data bursts or the two-tone alert signal. It is illegal to transmit those outside of an actual EAS activation or test, per FCC regulation 47 CFR 11.45. Back to the hack. It appears that someone hacked into the computer network of the TV station where the zombie alert originated. More disturbing, the hacker logged into the EAS encoder/decoder, planted an audio file, and sent the test. Consider the implications of this if the hacker had originated a National Emergency code. Any station monitoring the TV station would have had their air seized because of the nature of the alert – and, besides disconnecting the equipment, could not do anything about it. You do not have the option to abort a National Emergency. Noted radio engineer Tom Ray, president of Tom Ray Consulting, – who joins TALKERS today (2/14) as technical editor - offers his educated take on the “Zombie Hack” and offers counsel on how to protect your station from similar breaches in computer security. Read Tom Ray’s article here.
KLBJ-AM, Austin’s Barbara McCarley Dies in Auto Crash. The KLBJ-AM news staffer was driving in a station vehicle when her car was involved in a three-car crash in which her vehicle was hit head on. Forty-eight year old Barbara McCarley had been with KLBJ-AM for the past 14 years. She was a wife and mother of two. Upon learning of her death, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan stated, “It saddens me to tell you that we’ve lost a dear member of the Emmis family today. We just received word from Scott Gilmore that long-time Emmis Austin news associate and reporter Barbara McCarley passed away this morning after being involved in a tragic car accident yesterday. Barbara has been a valuable member of our Austin radio team for over 14 years. As Scott said to his team this morning, ‘Barbara was well loved by her co-workers and we will all miss her bright personality terribly.’ Please keep Barbara’s husband, Robert, and her two children, John and Katherine, in your thoughts and prayers. This will be a very difficult time for them, her friends, and her Emmis family in Austin.”
Do You Sound “CompuServe” to Smartphone Users? Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke says that in his travels he hears radio stations all across the country talk about their websites and digital activities in archaic 1990s terms. He advises that promos for your station’s website should end, not begin, by plugging the site. He points out that many stations still discuss their website as if simply having a website is a big deal. Most importantly, he explains that people are way too busy with increasingly shortened attention spans to go to a website to peruse it for its own sake. You MUST give them a specific reason to go there every time you mention it. Find out more about placing your station’s website in a 2013 context by reading Holland Cooke’s article here.
TALKERS TV Spotlights Localism. Today (2/14) TALKERS TV debuts a brief interview conducted by Michael Harrison with KSCO, Santa Cruz, California PD and morning host Rosemary Chalmers who discusses the benefits of local talk radio broadcasting from her dual perspective as a programmer and a talent. Chalmers has been with the station for a long time – 15 years on the air, 22 as a programmer – and has strong ties to the community. She says the local factor is at the heart of what makes KSCO very special. See the video in the TALKERS TV box in the upper right column of this page.
Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes Added to WWIQ, Philadelphia. The daily feature will air at 7:55 am on the “Philly’s Morning News” program hosted by Al Gardner and Lionel. Todd Starnes’ Fox News Radio-syndicated commentary is already heard on some 250-plus stations around the country. He says of his addition to Merlin Media’s WWIQ, “I am so excited to be a part of such a fantastic radio station. ‘IQ 106.9 FM’ is a perfect home for my commentaries and I look forward to sharing real American stories with our new friends in Philadelphia.”
Larry Wert to Oversee WGN, Chicago as President of Local Broadcasting. Tribune Company announces the NBC TV executive with tons of Chicago media experience will assume the role of president of local broadcasting, putting him in charge of Tribune’s 23 local TV properties as well as its lone radio station – WGN, Chicago. He’ll report to Tribune CEO Peter Liguori. Wert served as president and GM for WLUP-FM and AM 1000 beginning in 1989 when they were Evergreen properties. He was president of the merged Evergreen and Chancellor companies and moved on to the president/GM role at WMAQ-TV “NBC5” in 1998. Since September of 2011 he has been EVP of station initiatives for NBC. Liguori says of Wert, “Larry’s talent, creativity, and broad television, digital and radio experience make him the ideal person to lead our local broadcasting and radio businesses. Larry is also a skilled manager of people, an innovative programmer, and understands the important role our local TV news operations play in the communities we serve.”
Longtime Boston Talk Personality Paul Benzaquin Dies at 90. The native of Quincy, Massachusetts, one-time Boston Globe and Boston Herald reporter and Boston radio personality passed away on February 13 at age 90. The Patriot-Ledger notes that Paul Benzaquin made his radio debut on WEEI in 1960 and in 1963 began doing talk radio. In addition to working at WEEI, Benzaquin hosted radio programs on WBZ, WHDH and WITS in Boston. He also penned a best-selling book about the 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in the city that took the lives of 492 people.
COOL JOB OPPORTUNITY. Newsmax Media is looking for a Content Manager, Traffic Coordinator Online TV. Newsmax Media, a national news organization, is seeking a dynamic, self-motivated, and highly organized individual with experience in broadcast, cable or online TV with the gathering, managing, scheduling, and archiving of content for the new position of Content Manager and Traffic Coordinator. Responsibilities include: Gather, develop, and manage content for organization’s web TV channel presence (requires working with content management software); Coordinate programming projects across departments; Track incoming programming/advertisements and ensure complete production functionality; Working with a cross-departmental team, including maintaining and developing the master content calendar for all TV channel properties; Review potential content to determine if it meets company standards; Work cooperatively with key team members, clients, and vendors. Minimum Qualifications: Candidate must have a minimum of 3 years working as a content manager/traffic coordinator at the network or major online/broadcast outlet level; Exceptional communication and organizational skills with a strong attention to detail; Advanced knowledge of HTML and experience utilizing the latest content management/traffic systems; Ability to efficiently manage multiple projects in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment; Bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism, Digital Media or related field a Plus, Not Required. Salary Range: TBA, Location NY or FL. Please submit resume to Ted Goldenberg at email@example.com
ANOTHER COOL JOB OPPORTUNITY: “Help wanted, news/talk, Texas, owner-not insane!” TALKERS columnist and radio consultant Holland Cooke shares this with our readers. “My client is a proud indie, hell-bent-on doing big-city radio in a comfortably small market.” Immediate opening - PD with PD and news experience and demonstrated production and people skills. Sales savvy would make you extra-attractive. You will have an on-air presence to-be-determined.
Yes, we will build-this-job-description-around the right person. No beginners, no calls. Send resume, references, aircheck, and links to web content you’ve created to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send audio files to that address via free YouSendIt.com, or send a DropBox link. Tick-tock. My client is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Obama State of the Union Aftermath, Christopher Dorner Case, Marco Rubio Water Flap, Jack Lew Hearings and European Horsemeat Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13). The discussion and dissection of President Obama’s state of the union speech; the controversy surrounding the Christopher Dorner pursuit; the Marco Rubio water-drinking flap; the Jack Lew treasury secretary confirmation hearings; and the European horsemeat scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
America’s Radio News Network Delivers Inauguration Coverage. Anchored by ARNN’s Rachel Sutherland, the network will provide coverage of the Inauguration Day activities. In addition to live reports throughout the morning, ARNN will cover: The oath of office for President Barack Obama, administered by Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, Jr.; The oath of office for Vice President Joseph Biden, administered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor; musical artists James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, and Beyoncé. James Taylor will sing “America the Beautiful,” Kelly Clarkson will perform “My Country Tis of Thee,” and Beyoncé will sing the National Anthem; the presidential inaugural parade, which includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States.
WRKO, Boston Broadcasts from Inauguration Day in Washington, DC. You’d expect to see a lot more conservative stations broadcasting from Washington, DC today if Mitt Romney had beaten Barack Obama but still, some are covering it as the news event that it is and WRKO, Boston AM drive host Jeff Kuhner is originating his show from the Nation’s Capital this morning. Special guest commentary will include Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky at 7:15 am and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan at 8:30 am. In addition to Kuhner’s morning program, the station will broadcast coverage of the Inauguration from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Herman Cain’s Nationally Syndicated Program Begins Today. The succession of Herman Cain into the daily syndication slot held by Neal Boortz for so many years happens today with the Dial Global program debuting on some 80 affiliate stations. It airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Cain, who hosted a nightly program in Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta before taking a leave from radio in order to run for president, says of his new show, “Buckle your seat belts, because we are in full-blast mode. I’m excited and inspired to be a voice against ignorance and stupidity. This is a year when Americans are confused and worried about how government will impact them personally — with taxes, with health care changes, with their jobs, and the economy. I want to use my life experience to inform them, and to prepare them.” Dial Global SVP and general manager of news and talk Amy Bolton says of Cain, “A true American success story, Herman Cain came from humble beginnings, had a vision, worked hard and became a successful businessman, presidential candidate and now talk radio phenomenon. Known for his no-nonsense style and ability to connect with everyday Americans, Herman Cain promises to deliver great radio. Dial Global is thrilled to partner with Cox Media Group and Herman as we launch the next talk radio star.”
Beasley’s WQAM, Miami Suspends Dan Sileo for Twitter Comments. Sports talk host Dan Sileo’s attack on Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews has earned him a two-day suspension from his midday sports talk show today and tomorrow. The incident started when Sileo criticized the sports media for not covering the Manti Te’o story the way he felt it should have been covered and singled out Erin Andrews. After Andrews Tweeted back she’d never covered a Notre Dame game, Sileo again Tweeted, “Love Erin Andrews either naked or in a porn. Not at a sports desk.” He apologized for that remark. Management at WQAM is not commenting other than to confirm that Sileo will be out for two days.
Based on How People Consume Audio Content, Radio Sorts into Two Categories: Live and Archived. According to radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke, it is important for programmers to be cognizant of the two basic “piles” that radio falls into when it comes to how it is utilized by listeners. They are basically determined by the content’s time-sensitivity. In an exclusive article, Cooke outlines the major programming elements that fall into each of these categories and offers tips on how to best position them. To read Cooke’s piece click here.
Schnitt vs Bubba: Day Three. On the third day of testimony in the defamation suit talk show host Todd Schnitt has filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem), much of the testimony revolved around that of Florida State Attorney Mark Ober. He’s the state’s attorney who prosecuted Bubba the Love Sponge after his ill-fated wild boar slaying back in 2001. The Tampa Bay Times reports Bubba had contended that Todd Schnitt’s wife Michelle, an assistant state’s attorney had conspired with Ober to bring the charges against him. Ober denied there was any conspiracy between him and the Schnitts to prosecute in that case and said that Michelle Schnitt was fresh out of law school and not working on felony prosecutions at that time.
WGN, Chicago’s Parent Tribune Company Has New CEO. Former Discovery Communications COO Peter Ligouri has been named the CEO of Tribune Company by the board of directors. Ligouri takes over the media company that has suffered through a long and tumultuous bankruptcy. But for those at news/talk WGN, Chicago – the company’s only radio property – the fear of being sold can be put on the back burner…for now. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ligouri says he’s not “going into this job with a fire-sale sign.” There has been speculation that there is interest in selling off the newspaper business and just focusing on television. But Ligouri tells the Times that, though he can’t rule out that the new owners would want to sell the newspapers, the company has “unparalleled media assets, iconic brands in major markets and very talented, creative employees.” As for the company’s Chicago properties including WGN radio, Ligouri states, “When you look at Chicago, a great radio asset in WGN radio, a great local TV station in WGN and an iconic newspaper … you know that you have great penetration in that city. I think the opportunity is being outward focused and saying if so many of these people are coming to Tribune properties over the course of their daily lives, what can we do for them that will keep them informed and keep them with us? Servicing the user will create a natural flow from platform to platform.”
Salem Communications Re-Brands WIND, Chicago as “AM 560 The Answer.” The Chicago news/talk outlet WIND is being re-branded by owner Salem Communications as “AM 560 The Answer” a branding that the company’s stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Columbus also carry. Salem vice president and director of spoken word formats Phil Boyce created the brand for WNYM, New York and is installing it in markets where it seems to fit. He says WIND will still continue to reflect its Chicago personality. “There is a unique attitude and spirit in Chicago, and we will capture it with the promos, liners, and on-air imaging.”
Southern California Public Radio Employees Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA. The almost 70 staffers at Southern California Public Radio – reporters, anchors, producers, and program hosts – have voted to join SAG-AFTRA, according to the Los Angeles Times. SCPR is a nonprofit organization that is part of American Public Media and operates KPCC, Los Angeles; KUOR, Redlands; and KVLA, Coachella. SAG-AFTRA issued the following statement: “We’re pleased and excited with the results of the union election at KPCC. We are looking forward to working with the new SAG-AFTRA bargaining unit in partnership with KPCC management to negotiate a first contract.”
Stephanie Miller and the Veep. WYD Media nationally syndicated progressive talk host Stephanie Miller (second from left) is pictured here with Vice President Joe Biden at the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball honoring President Barack Obama held yesterday evening at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Here with Miller and Biden are “West Wing” actress Melissa Fitzgerald (left) and the Green Ball’s Shelley Cohen (r).
Randy Michaels Speaks About Tribune Company in Newspaper Piece. Sam Zell declined to be interviewed for a four-part series in the Chicago Tribune about the parent company’s financial and legal odyssey but former Tribune CEO and radio executive Randy Michaels did contribute to the story. The piece charges that both Zell and Michaels never really understood the business (newspaper) or the culture of the place they were trying to save. But Michaels tells the Tribune he believed he had to get the newspaper’s staff to move quickly adapting to the digital age or it would be too late. Michaels says, “I cared a lot about that company, and while I recognize that there’s plenty that people might disagree with, I worked hard to keep those brands relevant in a changing world. We thought that by knocking down some of the walls, by bringing in a looser culture and getting rid of all the bureaucracy, that we had a chance to outperform. I thought it was my role to challenge everything.” The piece cites the reluctance among the Tribune staffers to accept the forced change in culture and highlights some of the resentment felt when Michaels’ former radio colleagues were brought into executive positions.
Programmer Kevin Metheny Named WJR, Detroit PD. Programming pro Kevin Metheny is the new program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR, Detroit. Metheny had been interim program director at Clear Channel’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “Buz’n 102.9” after leaving WGN, Chicago in November of 2010. Prior to his stint at WGN, Metheny was operations manager a Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster. Metheny states, “I’ve long admired WJR from 90 miles across Lake Erie where I put 760 on a button the day I landed in Cleveland. ‘The Great Voice of The Great Lakes’ is a gold standard collection of impossible-to-duplicate treasures and I’m thrilled to join the Cumulus team.” Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay adds, “Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the spoken-word format to the legendary WJR. We are excited to have him on the team!”
Talk Radio Network Unveils Seven New Weekend Programs. In what Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters calls a focus “on helping our affiliated stations make more money,” the company launches seven new programs this weekend, beginning with “Making America Laugh with Louie Anderson.” The comic brings “his brand of humor and warmth to the radio airwaves – covering topical news, taking listener calls, and riffing with comedic and celebrity guests.” Other programs lifting off this weekend include: “Nutzz & Knight Radio” hosted by Gordon “Lug Nutzz” Stewart and actor Christopher Knight (Peter Brady from “The Brady Bunch”). TRN calls it “a hysterical, fast-paced, and irreverent action/motorsports lifestyle and entertainment radio program, featuring interviews with personalities from NASCAR, the NHRA, and IndyCar to action sports athletes, musicians, and the entertainment industry.” “All Action Sports Radio” is dedicated to complete coverage of the action sports industry – surfing, skateboarding, BMX, Motocross, skiing, snowboarding, and more. “The Brian Oxman Show” features the former high-profile attorney for Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. “Blueprint of a Champion Radio Show” is a proprietary goal-setting and success program for student athletes brought to life through radio hosted by Neil Mason, a standout college athlete, Olympic coach and successful entrepreneur. “The Anthony Vultaggio Show” is a general issues talk program. “The Hibbard Show” is hosted by husband and wife team, Dave and Marhnelle Hibbard and is geared toward helping people in both their professional lives and in their personal lives.
Scott Sands to Program WSPD, Toledo. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces programmer Scott Sands will take over the program director role at news/talk WSPD, Toledo and sister rock outlet WIOT. Sands most recently was involved in launching CHR WWHX, Bloomington, Illinois with Vallie/Richards/Donovan. He also partnered with Vallie/Richards/Donovan to launch and program Main Line Broadcasting’s modern rock WCLI, Dayton “Click 101.5.” Until earlier in the fall, Brian Wilson had been serving as program director and afternoon drive host.
Cox Media Settles with Todd Schnitt; Jury Seated in Complaint Against Bubba the Love Sponge. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the defamation suit by talk show host Todd Schnitt against long-time Tampa market rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) continues as a jury was seated yesterday morning. However, Schnitt’s suit against Cox Media (Clem’s employer) has been settled. The paper reports that Cox Media and Schnitt reached a settlement on Friday, the terms of which were not disclosed. Cox Media Tampa market manager Keith Lawless is quoted telling the Times, “(The settlement) was a business decision, but in no way reflects that we are not in support of Bubba. It’s not such a bad thing that all our focus is now on defending Bubba.” Meanwhile, a jury of six with four alternates has been seated in Schnitt’s suit against Clem but not without some drama as the Times reports both sides initially agreed to the make-up of the jury, then Schnitt’s lawyers asked to reconsider. Immediately Clem’s attorneys asked for a mistrial but the judge declared the jury selection final and swore in the jurors.
Odds & Sods. With Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt tied up in court in his suit against Bubba the Love Sponge, he’ll be missing some time on the radio. KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell is subbing for Schnitt on his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program on Thursday, January 17…..Former WTKK, Boston talk host Michael Graham fills in for crosstown WRKO afternoon drive host Howie Carr on Thursday…..The big Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong will air on Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Thursday evening but SiriusXM will get the first crack at distributing the audio of the interview on Friday on its Oprah Channel…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is hosting a special “Ask The Doctor” program featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, today at 10:00 am to help listeners learn more about the flu. The hour-long Q&A session will answer a number of concerns related to this year’s harsh flu season and more with WTOP mid-day anchors Mark Lewis and Debbie Feinstein hosting and taking calls from listeners…..Michael Patrick Shiels, host of “Michigan’s Big Show,” will broadcast his syndicated morning show live from Monte Carlo, in the principality of Monaco, on Friday, January 25. The special, international broadcast will originate from the historic Hotel de Paris next to the famed Casino de Monte-Carlo and guests on the program will include: actor Roger Moore, singer Shirley Bassey, residents of Monaco, as well as a representative of Monaco’s Royal Family.
Dial Global Sports Distributes NFL Conference Championships. The NFL’s conference championship weekend takes place on Sunday and Dial Global Sports brings affiliate stations exclusive radio play-by-play of the San Francsico 49ers vs Atlanta Falcons matchup and the Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots game. The NFC Championship game is being called by Dave Sims alongside Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and Tony Boselli on the sidelines. The AFC Championship game is being announced by Kevin Harlan with the play-by-play, Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Mark Malone on the sidelines.
WGN, Chicago and NHL’s Blackhawks Agree to Five More Years. Now that NHL hockey is set to return, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the Chicago Blackhawks have announced they will extend their deal for the station to be the exclusive market radio home of the team’s play-by-play broadcasts. The new, five-year deal will keep WGN as the team’s flagship station through the 2018-19 NHL season. WGN Radio DOS and interim general manager Jeff Hill says, “We are proud to extend our relationship with the Blackhawks and bring the excitement of hockey play-by-play to our listeners. The fast pace of the broadcasts provide an incomparable energy and we look forward to delivering the best hockey broadcasts for the next six years.”
Debt Ceiling Debate, Gun Legislation Proposals, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Controversy, ObamaCare Costs, and Lance Armstrong ‘Oprah’ Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The battle between the Obama Administration and Congress over raising the debt ceiling; threats by the president to use executive powers to write new gun legislation; the controversy over the movie “Zero Dark Thirty”; the costs brought about by the Affordable Care Act; and Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Carl Wolfson Back in the Talk Media Business. The former KPOJ, Portland morning drive host returns to the talk media game on Inauguration Day via the internet after raising $52,000 and counting via Kickstarter. Carl Wolfson was the morning host on Clear Channel’s former progressive talk outlet KPOJ, Portland before it flipped to sports talk in the New Year. Wolfson decided to use Kickstarter to fund a new avenue to get his brand of talk to the public and the “Elect ‘Carl in the Morning’ to a Second Term” campaign raised more than $52,000. So, beginning on January 21, Wolfson will stream live from 7:00 am to 8:30 am and make his show available via podcast. Wolfson says the money will go to buy office space, utilities, equipment, server costs and more. KPOJ was one of the country’s longest-running and more successful progressive talk stations and the news of its flip to sports talk that broke in November was disappointing to progressive talk fans in the market. As morning drive anchor and the local host, Wolfson attracted a loyal following on KPOJ. Now, he’ll get the chance to make a go of it in the digital realm.
WLS-AM, Chicago’s Jake Hartford Dead at 63. Chicago talk radio personality Jake Hartford (Jim Edwards) passed away after suffering a heart attack. Hartford was a longtime weekender and fill-in host on WLS, beginning his career there in 1989. Most recently he had been co-hosting the late morning show with John Kass from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. His family, via the WLS-AM website, gives the following statement: “We’re currently mourning the loss of Jake Hartford, a husband, father, and friend. This is devastating news for everyone in our family, and we greatly appreciate all of the kind words that have been offered to us during our struggle. It’s truly incredible how many people he has affected positively through pursuing the work that he loved so dearly. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts as we do our best to ‘spring forward.’”
The Todd Schnitt-Bubba the Love Sponge Case Goes to Trial Today. Actually the jury selection process begins today in Hillsborough County, Florida. The real interesting part will follow and is expected to last about three weeks. Todd Schnitt – who then battled Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive in Tampa – filed suit against Todd Clem (BTLS) in 2008 claiming “false, highly offensive and defamatory statements” made by Clem about Schnitt and his wife Michelle. Specifically, Schnitt’s suit claims that Clem’s attacks on him and his wife – an assistant state attorney – went beyond name calling between public figures. He alleges Clem accused him of illegal activities including rigging the Arbitron ratings and taking “plugola.” Schnitt also claims Clem encouraged his listeners to physically attack him and his wife and that led to four encounters with Bubba listeners including being forced off the road by another car, being harassed at dinner and having their house egged. Schnitt’s claims are going to be hard to prove. First, he’ll have to show actual malice on the part of Clem plus he’ll have to prove some real harm came to himself and his wife. But the cast of witnesses should prove interesting in and of itself. The Tampa Bay Times reports Randy Michaels, Hulk Hogan, Cowhead, and other local media personalities are listed as possible witnesses.
Platform Plays Huge Influence on Public’s Perception of Content. According to noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke, the stage upon which a production is delivered plays a significant role in shaping the potential audience’s expectation of its content and value. Keeping this important piece of media theory in mind, FM and AM radio still have a tremendous advantage over podcasting and internet radio in giving its content instant gravitas simply because it is “on the radio.” Of course, as time goes by, this psychological advantage will dissipate unless radio continues to deliver product worthy of high expectations. Cooke illustrates this point by citing the fascinating story of the world-class concert violinist, Joshua Bell who performed as a non-descript street musician playing a $3.5 million Stradivarius in the Washington, DC subway system. If you don’t know the story, you should — especially if you are a podcaster. To read Holland Cooke’s piece, click here.
Truth is More Effective than Hype in the Online Space. According to noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should be mindful that the kind of hyperbole that marks the tone of on-air promotion doesn’t translate well on the internet. Radio broadcasters should tone down the sizzle and hype when translating on- air messages to their websites. In an exclusive article for TALKERS, Miller writes, “For anyone old enough to tell truth from fiction when the internet first really got hot, there is still a stigma about online information. It’s automatically suspect. What you say online (especially on your site) needs not only be true; you also need to present it in a way that convinces your fans that you are telling the truth. On the air, we like to add sizzle and excitement to what we promote, so we write promos and liners in call-to-action language and we gloss over important detail points. That’s fine on the air. When I was a PD, I would not have accepted a promo that was just a laundry list of rules for a particular promotion. When you go online with that info, your tone needs to change.” To read Chris Miller’s entire piece click here.
The Wall Street Journal Radio Network to End “The Daily Wrap” Program. Launched in the spring of 2011, the early evening program hosted by Michael Castner will end in 90 days as The Wall Street Journal Radio Network has decided to pull the plug on “The Daily Wrap.” WSJRN brought Castner to the show from Clear Channel’s WRNO, New Orleans where he’d been hosting the morning drive program. “The Daily Wrap” is a newsy look at the top stories of the day airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. Whether the end of the program is the result of intense competition in the syndicated talk radio marketplace or the inability to have it make financial sense at a time when ad sales in the news and talk radio realm are extremely challenging, either way the show’s departure from the landscape will leave one less well-produced, newsy product on the air.
The DirecTV-Produced “Nick & Artie Show” Becomes “The Artie Lange Show.” Affiliates of the “Nick & Artie Show” – featuring comedians Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange – will hear just Artie Lange when the DirecTV-produced late night talk show returns this evening. On the show’s Facebook page, it simply states that Nick DiPaolo is pursuing “some great opportunities” and the show becomes the Artie Lange show immediately. The program airs on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel and is distributed to radio affiliates via Premiere Networks. The program has a handful of radio affiliates including Cox Media’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone,” Beasley’s hot talk WRXK, Ft. Myers and Americom’s sports talk KBZZ, Reno “The Buzz.”
Americom Flips KBZZ, Reno to Sports. The former hot talk outlet adopts the sports talk format using CBS Sports Radio Network. It will continue to air the Don Geronimo morning program (imported from CBS Radio’s KHTK, Sacramento) and the local Panama show in middays.
Hubbard Broadcasting Brings Jeff Dubay Back on KSTP, Minneapolis. Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay returns to the radio after an absence of more than four years due to a high profile drug bust and his rehabilitation. Dubay worked at Clear Channel’s crosstown “KFAN” for 14 years before his dismissal in 2008. Now, Dubay joins Judd Zulgad for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program beginning today. Dubay had been very open about his arrest and subsequent rehab for substance abuse. He appeared on numerous Twin Cities media outlets over the past year or so to talk about his rise and fall. KSTP makes other lineup changes set to take effect in February: Patrick Reusse and Phil Mackey move to 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Joe Soucheray’s “Garage Logic” slides to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. Soucheray and Reusse continue to host the 3:00 pm hour together.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Featured in Philly Magazine Piece. Late morning WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Dom Giordano is the subject of a full-length feature piece by Sandy Hingston in Philly Magazine this month. The piece is written with the November election as its backdrop and with a hint of admiration for Giordano by the writer who is clearly far to the left of Giordano on the political spectrum, but who finds his success and his story fascinating. Read the piece here.
WGN, Chicago and Northwestern Agree to Three-Year Sports Extension. Wildcats football and Men’s basketball will continue to air on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago through the 2015-16 season the two sides announce. The Big Ten school’s football and Men’s basketball play-by-play have been heard on WGN since 1996. The school’s vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips states, “The Northwestern athletics brand has experienced substantial growth over the past several years due in part to the massive reach and presence of WGN radio. We’ve been extremely proud to call the station home for 17 years, and to have a wonderful partner in telling the stories of our world-class student-athletes.”
Dave Ross to Host One Hour with Luke Burbank on KIRO-FM, Seattle. In TALKERS magazine’s report about Seattle radio personality Dave Ross moving to the news-intensive morning drive daypart (1/11/13), we stated that Ross is giving up his talk show with midday host Luke Burbank on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. That’s not exactly true. Ross and Burbank will work on the air together for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour before Burbank goes solo from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
On a Blustery Seaside California Day. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison paid a visit last week to the Monterey Bay area of California and the good folks at Zwerling Broadcasting’s AM talk siblings KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz as part of a fact finding tour on the effectiveness, importance and future of local radio in America. According to Harrison, “KSCO and KOMY are exceptional examples of the magic and special place that the good old-fashioned local radio station maintains in our culture. I came away from my visit there invigorated and optimistic about the future of this industry.” Pictured seated on what is affectionately referred to as the “corporate bench” overlooking Monterey Bay and the blue Pacific are (l-r) Michael Zwerling, owner and CEO, Zwerling Broadcasting; Harrison; and Rosemary Chalmers, PD of KSCO/KOMY and morning host of KSCO.
Part Two of a Special Feature
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — As sure as 2013 has arrived, personal resolutions have been made, and a plethora of prognostications will bombard us.
Here, however, is something that could actually be a trend this year: Don’t be surprised if clusters with multiple talk stations jettison one of those signals to sports.
Associated with that, we very well might witness a spate of under-performing (primarily talk) outlets transition to sports.
WGN, Chicago Revamps Program Schedule; Milt Rosenberg Out After 39 Years. The 87-year-old host of “Extension 720” will do his last program for Tribune’s WGN, Chicago on Thursday evening. In announcing its new programming schedule set to take effect on January 2, the station is eliminating Milt Rosenberg’s “Extension 720” program that began in 1973. New to the schedule will be a late evening show featuring former WLS-AM night host Turi Ryder who’ll broadcast from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Other changes include a later start for Jonathon Brandmeier’s morning show – 6:00 am to 10:00 am – and a split shift for midday personality Mike McConnell who’ll host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. In between, the station adds “The Noon Show” hosted by author Carol Roth. Roth is a business strategist and former investment banker who frequently contributes to the topics of business and entrepreneurship on Fox News, MSNBC, Fox Business, and WGN TV. As for Rosenberg, he tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder he has no hard feelings toward the people at WGN, “It’s certainly amicable as far as my relations with the people I deal with. There’s been no particular bad feeling, no insults, no shouting.” And Rosenberg indicates he’ll seek other opportunities to continue his radio career, perhaps with other spoken-word stations in the market.
Consolidation Hits the Ratings Industry; Nielsen to Acquire Arbitron. Consolidation is not for radio stations only. Today, Nielsen Holdings N.V. announces it will begin the process of buying Arbitron Inc. through the acquisition of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 26% to Arbitron’s closing price on December 17, 2012. Nielsen has a financing commitment for the total transaction amount. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review. Nielsen had tried to compete with Arbitron in the radio ratings business in the United States in the past but shut down that effort after minimal success gaining enough subscribers to make the project profitable. Clearly, Nielsen sees value in the radio ratings business as Nielsen chief executive officer David Calhoun states, “U.S. consumers spend almost two hours a day with radio. It is and will continue to be a vibrant and important advertising medium. Arbitron will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home. The high level of engagement with radio and TV among rapidly growing multicultural audiences makes this central to Nielsen’s priorities.” With cross-platform marketing becoming so important Nielsen sees this acquisition as completing a part of that puzzle for marketers in the U.S. In a statement, Nielsen says – with Arbitron assets – it intends to further expand its “Watch” segment’s audience measurement across screens and forms of listening. “These integrated, innovative capabilities will enable broader measurement of consumer media behavior in more markets around the world,” says Steve Hasker, Nielsen president of Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions. “We will also bring local clients greater visibility to empower more precise advertising placement and campaign effectiveness.”
KKLA, Los Angeles Host Frank Pastore Dies After Motorcycle Accident. The 55-year-old former MLB pitcher and talk host on Salem Communications’ Christian talk outlet KKLA, Los Angeles died after going into cardiac arrest on Monday, December 17. He had been in a coma for several weeks after being involved in a motorcycle accident on the 210 freeway near Los Angeles. Salem Communications president David Santrella issued the following statement: “Frank has been an integral part of KKLA for nine years as our afternoon talk host and, in many ways, as a Salem ambassador to the Christian community in Southern California. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gina Pastore, their family and the KKLA family at this time.”
Beasley’s WQAM, Miami Inks Joe Rose to Contract Extension. Morning drive sports talk host Joe Rose – The Big Dog – signs a contract extension with Beasley Broadcasting to remain in the AM drive seat on WQAM for the next three years. The former Miami Dolphins tight end joined WQAM’s morning show in 1992. He also serves as color commentator for the Dolphins radio broadcasts as well as sports anchor for WTVJ-TV, Miami “NBC 6.” Beasley Miami VP/GM Joe Bell states, “Joe Rose is the gold standard for athletes who become broadcasters. He had a seven-year NFL career, but as good as he was, his broadcast career has eclipsed what he accomplished in the NFL. Joe is an easy listen…he’s the guy next door that you can talk sports with over the backyard fence. He has become the face of WQAM and we’re proud and excited to have him on board through 2015.”
TALKERS Presents Massive Four Month News/Talk Radio PPM Overview. As a follow up to yesterday’s (12/17) analysis by Mike Kinosian about how the non-stop, dramatic events of the past six weeks have presented radio, in general, and news/talk radio, specifically, with the challenge and opportunity to process an enormous amount of compelling material, TALKERS presents a PPM overview of some 140 stations leading up to and including this period. Reflecting on the format’s extremely dramatic November (2012) survey, where more than seven of 10 stations in our large sample were either up or steady (6+), compared to their October stats. Stations qualified to appear in this multi-faceted recap by ranking within the top 20 (6+) in any of Arbitron’s 48 PPM-measured markets (November 2012). Talk has the distinction of being the lone format to have at least one station in the top 20 of all 48 PPM markets. To see the survey please click here.
Rick Ucchino Named Sports Anchor at Blue Chip’s Soon-to-Be Sports WCFN, Cincinnati. When Blue Chip Broadcasting’s WCFN, Cincinnati flips to sports on January 2, local sports talk personality Rick Ucchino will serve as the station’s full-time sports anchor. WCFN will air the CBS Sports Radio Network programming when the new radio network debuts. Whether the station will carry all of the network programming is unknown at this time. Ucchino currently serves at Christian Broadcasting System’s crosstown WQRT “Real Talk 1160” hosting the afternoon drive program. In a Facebook announcement, Ucchino says, “As some of you might know, MOJO 100.3 is flipping to an all new CBS Sports station starting January 2nd. And I am happy to announce that I have officially accepted an offer to become their full-time morning sports anchor! I am grateful for the opportunities ‘Real Talk 1160’ has given me over the years but I am excited for the next chapter of my career!”
Doug Meehan Exits WTKK, Boston for TV Gig. It’s tempting to read into WTKK, Boston afternoon drive host Doug Meehan’s departure from the station as being related to rumors Greater Media plans to flip the station from talk to a music format in the near future, but there’s no indication that’s the case. Meehan, who took over the PM drive slot in 2011 and served as a TV traffic reporter and general assignment reporter at Fox 25 in Boston prior to that, is leaving the station to pursue a “major-market television opportunity” that he’ll announce soon. While Greater Media has been registering domain names that could indicate a flip to any number of music – or even sports – formats, the company has simply stated it is always considering programming options for its stations.
NBC/Dial Global Lays Out Weekend Schedule. The new NBC Sports Radio network announces its weekend programming schedule that affiliate stations will air beginning Saturday, January 5. The Dial Global-NBC Sports Group initiative is already offering “The Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison” and now announces the rest of the weekend lineup. It includes the following talent: Brian Webber of NFL Network’s “NFL AM” morning show, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports, and Clay Travis, NBC Sports contributor and owner/contributor of OutKicktheCoverage.com. Also suiting up for the NBC Sports Radio weekends team is Newy Scruggs, sports director and on-air personality at NBC-5 Dallas/Ft. Worth and formerly of 105.3 The Fan, Dallas; Jason Page, recently withESPN Radio New York, among other stops, and Anita Marks, part ofthe New York Giants TV/Radio broadcast team and formerly of SportsRadio 105.7 The Fan, Baltimore. Plus, NBC Sports Radio update anchor Jon Stashower, formerly of ESPN Radio, adds a Sunday morning show and NBC Sports’ Rob Simmelkjaer will also host a weekend show. Other contributors to the programming will include: Hines Ward, Stan Van Gundy, Michelle Beadle, Amani Toomer, and Doug Flutie. The network has already launched late night and overnight shows and says it will launch the rest of its weekday 6:00 am to 7:00 pm lineup on Monday, April 1, 2013.
Gow-Yahoo! to Offer Bob Costas Programs. The Gow Broadcasting-operated Yahoo! Sports Radio network is offering affiliate stations two programs featuring Bob Costas. The first is a weekly “Costas Coast to Coast” program culled from the archives of the syndicated radio show that aired from 1986 to 1996. Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “Bob is universally regarded as one of the top sports journalists. The ‘Costas Coast-to-Coast’ shows offer timeless content delivered in Bob’s inimitable style. We are thrilled to offer these very special programs to our growing number of affiliate radio stations.” The second program is a vignette titled “Stars and Stories” and is best-of content from his interviews over the years. Gow has secured the licensing of this programming via Olympia Networks.
Odds & Sods. Content aggregator TuneIn offers the 24 college bowl games being played this season and being broadcast by ESPN Radio…..WFED, Washington, DC morning drive host Francis Rose sits in for WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish on his program on December 24 and 31.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Raises $500,000-Plus for Local Foster Kids. During its 24th Annual Holiday Magic Radiothon, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM helped raise more than $500,000 to assist foster children in the Treehouse program. The money raised will help provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support for programs and services throughout the year. Treehouse serves 6,000 foster kids each year through programs that help them succeed in school, fulfill key material needs, and provide important childhood experiences every child deserves. Bonneville Seattle VP/market manager Carl Gardner says, “The KIRO Radio community has stepped up once again We’re so grateful to have listeners and partners who care and stand ready to help wherever there’s a need.” Pictured here are PM drive hosts Ron and Don manning the radiothon mics on Wednesday, December 12.
Newtown Massacre, U.S. Gun Laws, ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria/Egypt Instability, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The aftermath of the Newtown school massacre; debate over gun laws in the United States; the political fight in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” problem; continued violence and instability in Syria and Egypt; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across the country, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
“The Answer” Gets Manhattan Street-Level Presence. Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” has Manhattan street-level presence as the PM drive show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman are now hosting their show from a studio in the department-store type window setting at the historic Hotel Pennsylvania in Midtown Manhattan. Pictured here are Sliwa (r) and Lichtman (l) hosting a recent edition of their program. Salem Communications vice president director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce states, “This not only gives our hosts a bird’s-eye view of Midtown Manhattan, but allows literally thousands of daily passersby to see ‘Curtis & Jeffrey’ and ‘WNYM AM 970 THE ANSWER’ prominently displayed in the heart of our listening area. This marquee location on 7th Ave and 33rd Street, is located across from the Long Island Railroad, Penn Station, a subway hub, Macy’s and is around the corner from the NJ PATH train. The value of this degree of exposure and publicity for our station and two of our best known hosts is incalculable. It’s also across from the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, which on any given night might host the Knicks, the Rangers or innumerable other sporting and entertainment events.”
Russ Rollins and Dirty Jim Re-Up with WTKS, Orlando; Daniel Dennis Exits. The Monsters in the Morning program at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando is one talent fewer after co-host Daniel Dennis declines to sign a new three-year contract with the station. Program founder and host Russ Rollins, along with co-host Dirty Jim, both signed new three-year deals to continue broadcasting the AM drive program on the station but Dennis tells the Orlando Sentinel he didn’t want the contract but would rather have continued as an at-will employee. He hosts a weekly internet talk show called, “A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan” that can be heard at tomanddan.com.
Alan Eisenson Exits Clear Channel Sacramento. Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson leaves his position as operations manager for Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster where he served as operations manager for news/talk KFBK-AM/FM and talk KSTE. Eisenson was also in charge of programming at CC’s San Francisco talk outlets KKSF and KNEW.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM brings iconic film star and polarizing historical figure Jane Fonda to its “Town Hall” series. The actress will be part of the “SiriusXM Town Hall” on Thursday, December 6 at 10:00 am when she’ll sit down with journalist Perri Peltz and speak about her new yoga DVD and take questions from the audience…..On Thursday, November 29, radio pro Turi Ryder will sit in for John Williams on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program…..ABC TV’s “Good Morning America” is preparing to do something it hasn’t done in 17 years: Win the coveted November sweeps. Broadcasting & Cable reports the show is beating NBC’s “Today” in both total audience and viewers 25-54 as the end of the sweeps approaches.
CNN Has a New Chief: Jeff Zucker. That’s not official but The New York Times and Deadline.com are reporting that Time Warner has agreed to terms with former NBCUniversal CEO and current executive producer of Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show, Jeff Zucker. The official announcement is expected to be made very soon. Zucker would replace Jim Walton at CNN. Walton announced he would leave the cable news channel at the end of the year. CNN has been roundly beaten up in the consumer press for its woes in the prime time ratings race but it should be noted that, ratings aside, CNN continues to be a profitable operation for Time Warner. Still, Zucker’s charge would be to revitalize its prime time ratings that have fallen farther behind Fox News Channel and are regularly challenged by MSNBC.
ESPN Begins Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research; Announces $1 Million Donation to the Cause. Yesterday began sports entertainment broadcaster ESPN’s Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research and the company announced it is committing $1 million to the fundraising effort for the endowment fund. ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer made the announcement on Tuesday, November 27 and Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg made it public via their radio and TV program that day. ESPN’s sixth annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research – a multiplatform initiative which drives awareness of and donations to The V Foundation for Cancer Research – tipped off yesterday at 7:00 pm ET with a simulcast of former NC State coach Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPYs speech across ESPN domestic media networks, as well as on the ABC SuperSign in Times Square. The week will conclude with the Jimmy V Women’s and Men’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona Extra on Monday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 4. For more information on Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research, visit ESPN Media Zone.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches Holiday Giving Campaign. The organization that exists solely to assist broadcasters in need is announcing the start-up of its Holiday Giving Campaign. The Broadcasters Foundation of America – which disbursed more than $675,000 in assistance last year – is urging broadcasters to become members and to spread the word about this campaign. BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The Broadcasters Foundation exists solely to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need. These are individuals who we have worked with over the years, and whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances. Aid from the Broadcasters Foundation can be life-saving, in many cases. I urge every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.” Over the past 60 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars in aid to hundreds of broadcasters who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy. In addition, one-time emergency grants are provided in the aftermath of a devastating circumstance or natural disaster, like the Joplin tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy. Individual membership is only $150 a year and can make a difference in the life of a colleague who has fallen on desperate times. To become a member, make a personal donation to the Guardian Fund, or a corporate contribution to the Angel Initiative, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250, email@example.com, or visit the website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, OECD Global Economy Report, Black Friday/Cyber Monday Numbers, Benghazi Attack/Susan Rice-GOP Meeting, and Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/27). The battle in Washington over tax hikes and entitlement program changes; the OECD global economy report that predicts slow growth over the next two years; initial numbers from holiday season’s two big shopping days; the spat over U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice’s meeting with GOP leaders; and the $500 million Powerball jackpot in Wednesday’s drawing were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tribune Gets FCC Cross-Ownership Waivers; Chicago Market Granted Permanent Waiver. The Federal Communications Commission granted the cross-ownership waivers in five markets that the media company needs to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a statement, Tribune CEO Eddy Hartenstein says, “We are extremely pleased with today’s action by the FCC. This decision will enable the company to continue moving forward toward emergence from Chapter 11, a process we expect to complete over the course of the next several weeks.” The commission granted a permanent waiver in Chicago while allowing one-year waivers in Los Angeles, New York, South Florida and Hartford. Technically, the one-year waivers in the four markets cited mean Tribune will have to sell either its newspaper or broadcast outlets there within the year but the FCC is working on loosening the restrictions against cross-ownership in the top 20 media markets and industry observers seem to believe the change will take effect soon. The permanent waiver in Chicago means Tribune is not necessarily forced to sell a media outlet – many suspected its lone radio property news/talk WGN would be the first to go on the block. However, what Tribune’s plans are after it exits bankruptcy are unknown and a sale of WGN, Chicago and/or any of its newspaper and TV holdings are a distinct possibility.
Arbitron Releases Report Clearly Showing Increase in Radio Listenership During Super Storm Sandy. Radio listening data released by Arbitron for the New York Metro during hurricane Sandy shows how strong radio listening is during a natural disaster and the ability for radio to keep communities informed even when the power goes out. The report provides data for the entire New York Metro as well as a breakout of counties hardest hit by the storm as it made landfall during the evening of Monday, October 29. It shows a 70% general increase in listening as the storm hit the coast and an even greater percentage of increase along the coastal communities hardest hit. When the lights went out, when TV and desktop PCs were no longer available, many New York area residents turned on their battery powered radios. Many radio stations along the path of the storm, regardless of their regular format, revamped their programming to provide their listeners with weather updates, news and emergency information. In the wake of the storm, radio remained an information lifeline to the residents of New York, particularly in the coastal areas of the market. Average radio listening on Tuesday, October 30 in New York was 1,525,500 persons in any given quarter hour between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight, up 8% from 1,406,700 persons 6-plus the week before. The average audience in the NY coastal communities (Monmouth, Fairfield SN, Nassau-Suffolk, Staten Island and Middlesex) totaled 670,200 on the Tuesday (6a-Mid) following landfall (10/30) which is 38% higher than the average of all Tuesdays year to date. The Average in the NY coastal communities (Monmouth, Fairfield SN, Nassau-Suffolk, Staten Island and Middlesex) totaled 651,200 on the Wednesday (6a-Mid) following landfall (10/31) which is 35% higher than the average of all Wednesdays year to date. For full details on this important story click here.
Clear Channel Ends FM Simulcast on KOGO, San Diego. The former country outlet “U.S. 95.7” flipped to a simulcast of Clear Channel’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego a year ago. Now, that ends with the FM side going all Christmas music and the word on the street is that after the holidays the station will return to a music format of some sort. Adding an FM signal to a news/talk station – especially a venerable one such as KOGO – generally gives the station a ratings boost. It appears that hasn’t been the case with KOGO and Clear Channel San Diego management must see an opening in the music landscape it’s willing to target. We’ll see where it goes after the holidays.
KSCJ, Sioux City Talk Host Randy Renshaw Retires. Talk show host and newsman Randy Renshaw retires from his long-time gig at Powell Broadcasting’s KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa. Renshaw has been with the station twice – the first time back in 1983. He tells the Sioux City Journal that turning 62 on November 18 was a good reason to end his radio career and that he’d been contemplating retirement since age 55. In addition to news duties, Renshaw hosted the 8:00 am to 11:00 am “Open Line” program. With his departure, Mark Hahn takes over hosting the local talk show.
How to Get a Radio Brand-Building Website. TALKERS columnist and noted digital radio consultant Chris Miller serves up a new article offering powerful tips on how radio web designers can create sites that contribute toward building their station’s or program’s brand without distracting from it or diluting it. He covers the process on four basic but vital fronts: layout, content, graphics and interaction. Miller asks, “What’s the difference between your site and Google, YouTube and Facebook?” He states, “Those sites have a clear reason for being, and clean, well-organized content.” He strongly suggests, “Get your page looking more Facebookish, or YouTubeEsque, and you’ll go a long way toward building your website numbers.” Miller offers some nuts-and-bolts actions to get more people back more often and clicking on more content. Read the entire article here.
Opinion: Talk Radio Must Expand Beyond Politics to Survive. Nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan responds to the effects of the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident and the recent news involving Dial Global and its citing Limbaugh’s comments in a SEC filing. Stephan says the March incident has cost him “hundreds of thousands of dollars” and that the industry must do a better job of convincing agencies and advertisers that all talk radio should not be lumped together. Read Stephan’s piece here.
Filling in This Week. At Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, longtime St. Louis radio veteran and Chicago native JC Corcoran fills in on Garry Meier‘s PM drive slot on the station on Wednesday and Thursday. He’ll also sub for WGN’s Mike McConnell on Monday, November 26. Corcoran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lotus Communications Donates $50,000 to Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club. The cash donated to the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club was not a fundraiser of contributions from listeners but a gift from Spanish sports talk KWKW, Los Angeles owner Lotus Communications. The station recently launched a major partnership with the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club. After KWKW’s community service personnel learned that the Club was in desperate need of funds in order to provide after school programs, station management decided to step in with a $50,000 check. The money wasn’t raised by listeners. Station president James Kalmenson decided to make a difference in the community KWKW serves by adding a line item to its operating budget. “One of the founding principles of our company has been to be of service to our community. As a result of the donation, the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club was able to greatly expand its services for the local community. Word quickly spread and the attendance immediately tripled and continues to thrive today.” KWKW has also launched a PSA campaign this month that will continue throughout 2013. Additionally, the station will sponsor the Club’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner, which typically feeds more than 300 people. In December, KWKW will donate 500 toys to the Club’s Christmas Toy Drive. They’ll also broadcast live at the Club on December 7 to encourage people to drop off toys, all of which go to children ages 2-16 at the Club’s annual Christmas event. KWKW personalities Armando Aguayo, Mario Amaya, Halim Zadat and Erika Garza will attend both the Thanksgiving and Christmas events. Pictured here with kids from the club are KWKW PD/OM Juan Rodriguez (l) and KWKW president James Kalmenson (r).
Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke Comments Cited in Dial Global’s SEC Filing. Talk radio has long been saddled with the label of “controversial programming” that makes it a difficult sell on the national level. Agencies have numerous other marketing options through which clients can get out their message. Especially for family-oriented goods and services, why take a chance on “controversial programming?” But Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments last March brought renewed bad PR to the format and, as was discussed at both of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminars this year (June in NYC and October in Los Angeles), the scarlet letter weighs heavy upon the talk radio business. So much so that Dial Global – in reporting to the SEC – cited Limbaugh (not by name) as part of the reason the company is taking a $67.2 million impairment charge. Here’s what the company says: “We normally perform the required impairment testing of goodwill on an annual basis in December of each year. As a result of several factors, which had a significant impact on our fourth quarter bookings and sales, we performed an interim analysis of our goodwill carrying value as required by ASC 350, Intangibles-Goodwill and Other. We believe our 2012 results were adversely impacted by, among other things, late cancellations in ad buys (which we believe was a by-product of the election and renewed economic uncertainty), competitive factors, such as a greater diversity of digital ad platforms (into which ad budgets have flowed) and increased competition from our major competitors, and advertisers’ response to controversial statements by a certain nationally syndicated talk radio personality in March 2012.” Talk radio is unlikely to become “family friendly” in the eyes of agencies anytime soon and talk sellers appear resigned to having to carve out new niches of advertisers and work hard to get and keep them. For big corporations with a lot of debt, that’s not a comforting thought.
Dial Global Voluntarily De-Lists from the NASDAQ. As a result of the company’s low volume of trading combined with other factors, including the associated costs of maintaining its listing on the NASDAQ, Dial Global announces it will undertake the delisting process beginning on or around November 26 and be completed on or around December 6 of this year. Dial Global will remain a publicly traded company – it reports no plans to go private – but the stock will be traded on the OTC Pink Sheets.
Envision Radio Networks Develops “America Weekend” Program. Calling it the “next generation of weekend talk radio,” Envision Radio Networks says the new “America Weekend” program is “a break from the usual brokered programming and rerun political fare of most news/talk stations, ‘America Weekend’ covers the lighter side of news and lifestyle issues facing today’s on-the-go talk listeners while maintaining revenues from paid hosts.” Envision states the show provides six hours of live programming on both Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm EST and accommodates up to four local expert slots per hour, with frequent break-away points for sports, weather or other local programming. Since the programming is broadcast live via satellite, ‘America Weekend’ is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. Anchoring the show will be “top-level, nationally recognized” hosts joined by high-profile guests. Programmer and consultant Kipper McGee is executive producer of the show and he states, “It’s been said that ‘weekdays are for ratings, weekends are for revenue.’ However, now we’re seeing the damage that poorly rated weekend programming is causing weekday shows. Listeners are forced to find other weekend options, and increasingly are not finding their way back to the radio station.” Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “‘America Weekend’ is all about maintaining revenue opportunities for radio stations from long-form brokered programs in a new and innovative way. We have always believed that there is a better way for radio to monetize its Saturday and Sunday programming without sacrificing quality. Finally, ‘Content is King’ again on weekends.” Interested stations can visit www.envisionradio.com or contact Melissa Bachtel at 216-831-3761 or email@example.com.
CBS Sports Radio Network Names Damon Amendolara Overnight Host. When CBS Radio’s new national sports network debuts on January 2, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” evening host Damon Amendolara — “D.A.” — will be the network’s overnight host manning the 2:00 am to 6:00 am shift. Amendolara has been with the Boston sports talker since it debuted in 2009. He is also the sideline reporter for the New England Revolution on Comcast and a frequent guest and fill-in host for CSN’s Sports Tonight/Sports Sunday. He serves as an anchor on CSNNE’s “Pregame Live” and “Postgame Live,” appears on Fox 25 Boston, while contributing to NFL Films and the NFL Network’s Top 10 series, ESPN News’ Air Check and NFL Films Presents on ESPN. CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “D.A. is an all-star in Boston and his energy and understanding of the sports world will no doubt translate to a national platform. Damon is certainly the man to keep listeners engrossed overnight, and his work at stations across the country, covering a multitude of different sports, will be beneficial to our listeners. His success and following on our local radio station and his charitable endeavors in the community prove he will make a great addition to our already outstanding lineup at CBS Sports Radio.”
WTOP Newsman Donates iPhone to Newseum. It’s unclear whether WTOP, Washington news reporter Neal Augenstein was the first American radio news reporter to use the iPhone as his “sole” reporting tool, but Augenstein sure has attracted a lot of interest after it became known how he was using the device. Poynter.org reports the donation to the Washington, DC museum of news and related technology. Newseum Curator of Collections Carrie Christoffersen tells Poynter.org, “We collect all sorts of things that relate to changes in news technology. It was really interesting to us, since he’s doing all of his audio interviews, editing, video work, all on his iPhone, with some supplement from an iPad. He’s enabled himself to be very, very on-the-go.” There are no immediate plans to display the device but Christoffersen says their exhibits are always changing. Augenstein is pictured here being interviewed recently for Talkers TV about his use of the iPhone for reporting. Check out the cool five-minute video here.
Odds & Sods. Radio pro Turi Ryder fills in on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago for midday talk host John Williams today…..Filling in today for Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries is KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock.
Inside the Locker Room. In the photo here, KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio Network hosts Petros Papadakis (l) and Matt “Money” Smith (r) interview Los Angeles Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (second from left) and Jerry West (second from right) at a recent live listener event. Abdul-Jabbar and West offered Lakers faithful their takes on the team’s new coach and the team’s prospects for the 2012-13 season.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” weekend program is added to the lineup at KAVA-AM/FM, Pueblo, Colorado; WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire; and KOHI, St. Helens, Oregon…..“America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is picked up by WLSC, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…..Fox Sports Radio Network programming is added to new affiliate KOPJ, Portland…..ESPN Radio programming is picked up by Cox Media’s WDBO-AM, Orlando.
Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 12-16. The ever deepening scandal involving ex-CIA director David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. At #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation. At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” Washington lawmakers are facing followed by Obama Administration Cabinet changes at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly ranking of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is published at Talkers.com every Friday. View this week’s entire chart here.
Is CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle the Next Progressive Talker to Flip? Seattle-based blog Blatherwatch (cool name!) is reporting the WYD Media-produced Stephanie Miller talk show indicated on Monday’s broadcast that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle would flip from progressive talk after the holidays. No report on what the station may become and the report has not been confirmed by CBS Radio. If this comes to pass, it would be the second West Coast progressive talk outlet to recently shuck the format as Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland did Monday (11/12). It’d also be the second progressive talk station that’s been in the format for a relatively long period of time – eight years for each station – and located in “progressive” cities, to change formats.
Stacey Simms to Exit WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. “Charlotte’s Morning News” co-host Stacey Simms announces she will exit the Greater Media news/talk outlet after the December 14 edition of the program due to personal reasons. Simms has co-hosted the show at WBT for 10 years, first with Al Gardner (now in Philly on WWIQ) and currently with Bo Thompson. Simms is a well-known media personality in the market having worked in television news at WBTV-TV before beginning her talk radio career. Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says of Simms, “Since 2002, Stacey has been instrumental in the development and success of ‘Charlotte’s Morning News’ and has always displayed the highest level of professionalism and dedication to WBT and all our listeners. We wish Stacey the best as she pursues new opportunities and adventures.”
KFNS, St. Louis Parts Ways with Host Kevin Slaten After Racial Rant. Sports talk host Kevin Slaten wasn’t an employee of Grand Slam Sports – owner of KFNS, St. Louis – rather he brokered the time and sold his own advertising. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his contract was cancelled after he went on a rant last Thursday charging African Americans who voted for Barack Obama with being bigoted if they voted for Obama because he’s black. Station manager Katy Pavelonis tells the paper she asked Slaten to take his conversation in a different direction. “The topics of Thursday weren’t homing in on where I want to go.” Slaten was with KFNS previously but was fired from the station in 2008 after putting St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan on the air without informing him the conversation was being broadcast. Speaking of the mixing of sports talk and political talk; WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on the matter. See the next story…
The Risk of Talking Politics on a Sports Station. The 2012 campaign is behind us but WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on mixing politics and sports talk that some may want to consider for the next election cycle. Neer says that the very close popular vote in the presidential election – almost a 50/50 split – means it’s possible almost half your audience could disagree with you no matter whom you support, so is it worth “campaigning” for your guy? Neer writes, “A few undecideds may be persuaded by your arguments, but more likely you’ll either be preaching to the choir or turning off the other side. Another unintended consequence is if you show yourself to be poorly informed or blindly biased, it could undermine steady listeners’ trust in your authority when it comes to an area that you know more about — sports.” Read the rest of Richard Neer’s argument for avoiding politics here.
Opinion Piece: Five Trends About to Make a Buck. Noted industry idea man and Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo offers five companies and concepts that he believes are closing in on what he describes as “the event horizon for making profits.” They include internet radio, Jumpwire Media, kid-targeted tablets (Toys“R”Us), Kickstarter.com, and companies that learn from TMZ. For the juicy details, click here.
Major Development at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…New Call-in Number. Okay, so it’s not the biggest news to come out of Tribune Tower recently, but mid-morning talk host Mike McConnell played up the announcement of the changing of the station’s 46-year-old call-in phone number dramatically in a bit that surely had a fair number of WGN P1s on the edges of their collective seats. WGN promoted a “change of historic proportions” announcement during morning drive and when it came time for McConnell to break the news, he did so in a dramatic – some might call it melodramatic – fashion, building up to it by reading a list of the names of famous WGN broadcasters who’ve graced the station’s studios over the years. After delivering the punch line – the new call-in number – he explained that the new studios and the change to all-digital equipment required a new phone number as of today (11/13).
St. Louis Talk Hosts in War Over A-List Guests. The kinds of battles that happen between mega-broadcasters like David Letterman and Jay Leno can also happen between local talk radio hosts. The race to get the guest “first” is something most listeners are not aware happens among the hosts at their local media outlets, but St. Louis talk radio fans are learning about an kerfuffle between former station-mates Charlie Brennan at KMOX and McGraw Milhaven at crosstown KTRS (Milhaven previously worked at KMOX). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about how the competition has escalated after Milhaven went public with what he considers Brennan’s unfair play. He points to a memo from publisher Random House’s public relations office regarding a St. Louis appearance by Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham on December 6 that details the cancellation of Meacham’s appearance on Milhaven’s show due to a conflict with a KMOX live broadcast event at the St. Louis Library and that state’s KMOX’s requirement it be the first radio appearance. Brennan’s Fontbonne University book club has been booking author appearances in the market for some time. Brennan tells the paper, “And it’s only a radio exclusive if the author wants to be a KMOX/Fontbonne University selection, which means the book will get a month’s worth of publicity and anywhere from 400 to 800 book buyers at the club’s monthly meetings…I’m not sure why (Milhaven) is making an issue of it. If he could offer the author a better agreement, I’m sure the author would take it. Then it would be ‘goodbye Charlie.’”
Bonneville Seattle and NFL’s Seahawks Agree to Multi-Year Extension. Bonneville’s KIRO-AM was the original radio partner for the Seattle Seahawks when the franchise joined the NFL back in 1976 and has been its sole partner ever since. Now, Bonneville extends its relationship with the team in a multi-year deal that will have Seahawks games and programming continue on sports KIRO-AM and news/talk KIRO-FM. The deal also includes the two stations’ coverage of Seattle Sounders soccer, which will have the football club’s matches heard on KIRO-FM. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “After 37 years, fans in the Northwest have come to think of Seahawks Radio and KIRO as one and the same, and we’re proud of that tradition. We also love helping build a new culture and tradition around Sounders FC and Major League Soccer, extending our strong partnership is a win for the fans, for the clubs, and for Bonneville.”
CBS Radio’s Sports WJFK, Washington Improving its Signal. According to Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com, CBS Radio sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington is getting some engineering attention to help improve its signal. By altering the coverage patterns of two of its adjacent channel outlets WJFK should see improved penetration to the northeast, into DC itself and into Prince George’s County. In order to accommodate WJFK improvement, CBS will move the transmitter for WWMX, Baltimore “Mix 106.5” which will, to a degree, adversely affect its coverage. Over the years, more than one person associated with WJFK has told TALKERS that the sports talk station suffers from signal problems that are limiting its ratings potential.
Timely Guest. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here on the stage at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach interviewing U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in the 85th edition of the Town Hall speaker series at the school. Nelson, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, answered questions about the scandal involving former CIA chief David Petraeus before a full house of students and the public.
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Businesses Prepare for ObamaCare, and Post-Sandy Frustrations in New York Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). The widening David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi attack investigation and Petraeus’ role in it; Washington addresses the “fiscal cliff”; American businesses prepare to pay for ObamaCare; and the post-Sandy frustrations still affecting some New Yorkers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TRN’s Jerry Doyle Says Consolidation is Stifling Objectivity. Speaking to legendary Southern California radio newsman and current PodJockey personality Brent Seltzer on Talkers TV at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jerry Doyle says he believes the vertical consolidation of the talk radio business is stifling objectivity much the same way consolidation stifled creativity in Hollywood in years prior. “It’s killed objectivity to a degree, where you become a cheerleader for whatever side it is that wants to see their side win. I would like to think of myself as — what we should be doing more of in the business – as a coach. A cheerleader will cheer for you when you drop the ball in the end zone but on a critical fourth down, they don’t ask the cheerleaders what they think, they ask the coach…I think we need to coach more and by people just cheering for their own side it allows those sides to be lazy and get away with mistakes…and I think healthier competition has a better outcome for all of us…I think that we have a responsibility in the bully pulpit that we have, to speak the truth.” See Brent Seltzer’s entire interview with Jerry Doyle in Talkers TV on the right side of this page.
Interim WGN, Chicago GM to Address Staff Today. A week after Tom Langmyer was ousted, interim GM Jeff Hill will meet with the entire staff of the station in Campbell Hall at Tribune Tower this morning. Hill spoke with Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder and says his goal is to rally the troops, dispel some rumors and explain the bankruptcy process and what it may mean for station staffers in the future. Hill tells Feder, “I am dedicated to the success of this radio station and to serving the needs of the listeners, the advertisers and the employees here. I’m a little exhausted by the kicking around that we’ve dealt with from a lot of outside sources, and think that we need to stay as positive and as focused as we can.” The news that afternoon host John Williams would give up his WGN gig to focus on his WCCO, Minneapolis show came on the heels of Langmyer’s departure and Hill must deal with the staff’s concern about the future of the station. Hill is combating chatter on message boards that Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen will attend the meeting to begin preparing the staff for job cuts. Hill tells Feder, “I don’t know where the message boards come up with this, but that is by no means the case. I’m sure there are people out there that want to create havoc and confusion and distress amongst current staffers or want to create headlines that aren’t there. But the memo came from me to our staff. In my conversations with Nils he has said flatly that it’s my meeting and my agenda.” But Hill does say he’s not eager to have the “interim” removed from his title since a sale of WGN is possible and new owners would want to make those types of management decisions.
Chalk One Up for the CHR Station. Consultant and brilliant radio idea man Walter Sabo – a resident of Manhattan – tells TALKERS that from the perspective of a person who lives in New York City and whose life was seriously disrupted by Hurricane Sandy, he found the absolute best and most valuable coverage and information provided by any station of any format on either the AM or FM dial during the blackout and aftermath of the storm was – believe it or not – Clear Channel’s CHR outlet, Z100! Sabo says, “They did a much better job of conveying the real news and helpful information to the listener than any other station – some of which, of course, weren’t even on the air because they weren’t technically prepared for such an emergency. Z-100 provided blocks of about 20-25 minutes of really important information – the stuff people need to know – followed by a top five song. Then when the song was over, they went right back into providing the information I needed for me and my family…transportation updates, health concerns, school and road closings, and safety guidance for another 20 minutes or so. It wasn’t long-winded, superfluous filler, but rather vital facts and stuff people could use. And then they would play another top five song. This went on throughout the day.” Sabo states, “It was brilliant – a credit to good radio – and they are to be congratulated.”
Media Broker Says Opportunity is Knocking Right Now for First-Time Station Buyers. Sandi Bergman, whom TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a dynamic rising star among today’s crop of media brokers,” has positive news for the many recently laid-off radio management figures looking to apply their seasoned skills in a new and productive direction in the industry. They should consider radio station ownership! Ownership is not just for the mega-corporations who are burdened with seemingly insurmountable debt. As a matter of speculation, it is indeed possible that many of them will be spinning off unwieldy properties in the months and years ahead creating new opportunities for fresh blood in the business. According to Bergman, who owns the innovative website www.RadioTVDeals.com and the New Mexico-based brokerage firm MyMediaBroker.com and is one of the relatively few major female brokers in the game, there are many incredible opportunities for first-time buyers. She states in an exclusive interview that will be carried in its entirety tomorrow (11/1) in both TALKERS and RadioInfo, “In the large markets, AMs can be purchased for a fraction of the price they sold for five years ago. I have listings for AMs in top 10 markets that are priced very reasonably, and, one of those sellers will carry some paper. There are some great groups in medium and small markets that can be purchased at a six-to-seven-times cash flow multiple, and many of those sellers may offer some portion of seller financing. In my opinion, a first-time buyer should consider looking into small markets where the station or group is the only show in town. Local businesses will support a local owner first and foremost, especially if the station group is enmeshing itself into the community and schools. It is a good situation where he operator does not have to deal with the competing stations going for the same local dollar.” Bergman points out, however, that sales is the key to making it: “The very most important factor in operating a station or group is sales. Without adequate sales, the owner can very easily miss the loan payment. Miss the loan payment, you lose the station. This must be kept in perspective at the very onset of ownership! A new owner/operator needs to keep operating costs in check and make the loan payment. It is also important to keep all bills current. It is not an ideal situation in any marketplace to have a reputation for being behind on bills. Not good for business. First-time owners/operators should become entirely involved in the communities they serve, and give on-air time to local clubs/organizations. Many operators sell sponsorships for public service announcements which is good business. Broadcasting local high school/university sports is most always a “ticket” to advertising and overall business success in radio. Combine these items with superb local news coverage, and you’ll have the local advertisers in your pocket.” Read the entire interview with Sandi Bergman here tomorrow.
Arbitron and Magic Broadcasting Settle Dispute. Magic Broadcasting, LLC and Magic Broadcasting Alabama Licensing, LLC owned stations in the Dothan, Alabama market before selling them in February of this year. Previously, Arbitron had taken legal action against Magic for copyright infringement and breach of license agreement. In a suit filed last November, Arbitron alleged that Magic Broadcasting improperly used proprietary or copyrighted Arbitron materials, information, and data after the expiration of its license agreement with Arbitron. The lawsuit was filed as part of ongoing Arbitron initiative to protect its intellectual property rights. Now, the two sides agree to settle the complaint for an undisclosed sum. Magic also agrees not to engage in any activities that would infringe, misappropriate, or breach Arbitron’s intellectual property rights in any of its reports, data or software. Magic acknowledges that its on-air personalities are not authorized to refer to Arbitron ratings data and agree to refrain from making any unauthorized use of Arbitron’s ratings data in the future. Arbitron agreed not to pursue legal action against Magic as long as Magic complies with the terms of the settlement agreement.
Hulk Hogan Settles Suit with Radio Host Bubba the Love Sponge. Pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan and talk radio star Bubba the Love Sponge have reached a settlement over the release of a video of Hogan having sex with Bubba’s then-wife Heather Clem. TMZ reports that a settlement has been reached but does not publish the details. The story states that Hogan is still suing Heather Clem and the gossip sit Gawker for $100 million. The video is some six years old and shows images of Hogan and Clem having sex in Bubba the Love Sponge’s home. It was recorded with a security camera unbeknownst to Hogan – making it illegal under Florida law – and how Gawker got a hold of it remains unclear. However a lawyer for Bubba the Love Sponge says Bubba did not release the video and does not condone the release of it.
Home Improvement Hosts The Carey Brothers Offer Tips to Sandy Victims. Nationally syndicated home improvement talk hosts James and Morris Carey – hosts of “On the House” – are offering to give advice to radio listeners affected by Hurricane Sandy via stations in the East. Program general manager Bob Agnew says the Careys can address “the issue of survival without electricity, how deal with issues such as restarting pilot lights for furnaces when power returns, how to salvage areas affected by the flooding, safety tips when going back into their homes and more.” The Careys are available to stations via ISDN beginning at 8:00 am EST and interested parties should contact producer Kate Wolfson for requests at 877-612-8280 ext. 705 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Industry Mourns the Death of Greg Jessen. Cumulus Media VP/market manager for Green Bay, WI, Greg Jessen has died after a courageous battle with cancer (10/28). Funeral services will be held in Green Bay on Friday (11/2) at Malcore West Funeral Home. A fund has been established by Greg’s radio family in Green Bay, the “Kyle and Andrew Jessen Fund” as a way to honor Greg’s memory and care for his sons. For information please contact Jeff.Schmidt@cumulus.com
Mike & Mike “Gangnam Style.” ESPN Radio and ESPN 2 morning drive stars Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic dressed up as versions of South Korean pop star Psy for today’s Halloween program. In addition to merely looking the part, they produced their own version of the internationally popular music video and posted it on ESPN.com. This screen shot captures Mike & Mike in all their pop video glory!
Sandy Aftermath, Presidential Polls, Campaign Resumes, and Benghazi Attack Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/30). The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy; the presidential polls and the resumption of the campaign; and the controversy over the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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.
Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group forms Podcast Giant Launchpad Digital Media. Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz (pictured below at left) enters into a partnership with digital, online and podcast sales pioneer Kit Gray (below at right) to form a new division of Courtside Entertainment Group called Launchpad Digital Media. Courtside states that the podcast platform includes some of the biggest names in digital entertainment including: Adam Carolla, Bill Burr, CBS News, Afterbuzz TV with Maria Menuounos, Jay Mohr, Dr. Drew, Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist), Mark & Lynda, Brian & Jill, and Penn Jillette. Launchpad will also be home to the Sideshow Network, The Fake Mustache Network, Riotcast Network, Splitsider Network and the Toad Hop Network making Launchpad one of the industry’s largest players. Kit Gray will serve as president and COO of Launchpad Digital Media. In a statement announcing the new company, Pattiz says, “Podcasts represent one of the fastest growing segments of digital media. Kit Gray has a great track record of success in this important space and brings with him not only knowledge and energy, but the revenue and cash flow to prove it. He brings Courtside instant access not only for our existing programs but for the development of future programming that will live on the Launchpad platform.” Gray states, “Forming a partnership with Norm Pattiz, the founder of Westwood One, with his incredible vision and history of working with the top talent is an unbelievable opportunity. This partnership, as a division of Courtside, allows us to offer all of our existing clients more resources to expand their products and deliver more audience to develop the advertiser support that will benefit us all.” Speaking about this new effort, Patty Newmark of Newmark Advertising says, “The digital space for audio is growing exponentially and has allowed us to extend additional opportunities to our clients. Having a highly respected leader of the radio industry like Norm Pattiz form a new venture with Kit Gray, an expert in the area of digital media, is very exciting. These two innovators working together will create important opportunities within the changing media landscape.” Courtside notes that Kit Gray has represented programming that exceeds a half-billion podcast downloads annually. He’s worked with media agencies throughout the nation, served as a division manager for Clear Channel (Katz 360 Digital), was the director of advertising for Verizon’s EV-DO networks Amp’d Mobile and was the recipient of the “Seller of the Year” award for Katz Media Group.
Mel Karmazin to Leave SiriusXM in February. Just how and when Mel Karmazin was going to leave SiriusXM was really the question – that he was leaving was pretty much a foregone conclusion to most industry watchers. Now we know Karmazin will exit his CEO role with the satcaster and he will resign from the company’s board of directors on February 1, 2013. In a public statement, Karmazin says, “SiriusXM is an extraordinary company with an incredible team. It is an honor to come to work here every day where we truly deliver the best radio on radio. I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. Given where we started, it is amazing that SiriusXM has grown to become the largest radio company in the world. With a deep bench of corporate talent, a roster that includes the most in-demand on-air personalities and a wide range of exclusive programming, SiriusXM has never been better positioned than it is today. We continue to grow our subscriber base to record levels and our financial position has never been stronger. Importantly, the commitment to delivering innovative new products and technologies is very strong. SiriusXM has a strong foundation to build on for the future and there is a great team in place to keep the company moving forward. I am confident that SiriusXM’s best years are ahead.” The press release includes a statement from SiriusXM board chairman Eddy Hartenstein. He says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Mel for his significant contributions to the company. Under his leadership, the company underwent a transformative merger and a financial restructuring that has enabled SiriusXM to deliver significant value for shareholders. Our record breaking financial results are a testament to Mel’s leadership and strategic planning and we continue to exceed our expectations with all-time high subscriber numbers. Thanks to Mel, we are well positioned for long-term growth and value creation. We will miss Mel – and the board wishes him the very best in his future endeavors.”