By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Just over two weeks after Christmas and nine days into the new year, admittedly, doesn’t provide much of a sample to gauge an industry “trend.”
At the very least though, it is worth noting three interesting top 20 market developments that contain a common thread.
The last time a major market station transitioned to adult contemporary was in April 2016, when iHeartMedia San Francisco’s urban-rhythmic oldies KISQ became “The Breeze.
Now that the all-Christmas music has come to an end, however, there are three new players under the AC banner.
Sean Hannity Broadcasts from Israel. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar (and Fox News Channel prime time personality) Sean Hannity broadcasts his Premiere Networks-syndicated radio program from a radio station in Tel Aviv (left) while touring Israel to report on the conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hannity will host his show from Israel again today (8/5) before returning to the United States. Premiere reports that on his program Hannity has been reporting on numerous aspects of the conflict including “the Iron Dome anti-missile technology protecting the country from militant rockets, the Hamas tunnels used to capture and kill Israelis, what life is like there under constant threat, and more.” At right, Hannity (center, in denim) is pictured standing on a military-style bulldozer interviewing Israeli troops near the Gaza border.
Dr. Joy Browne Returns to the Air in NYC. Formerly based at crosstown WOR, New York (and syndicated from Buckley Broadcasting’s old WOR Radio Network for many years), Dr. Joy Browne is now heard in New York again via Salem Communications WNYM, “AM 970 The Answer.” WNYM VP and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “Joy is a consummate radio pro. Her show was consistently one of the most talked about shows on WOR. Her voice was prematurely silenced across the street, as was John Gambling’s, and it is my pleasure to allow her many fans to find her again.” Browne’s show is currently syndicated via Radio America. She comments, “I am beyond thrilled to be back on the air in New York and working with John Gambling and Jerry Crowley and Lou Dobbs again makes it feel like coming home. We have been besieged by listeners who wanted to know where I went and how to find me, and now they will know.” Salem Communications market VP Phil Boyce adds, “The talk radio format is nothing without superstars who have built that unique bond with their audience. Not all stations understand that anymore, so we are able to make that happen on our New York stations. The addition of Joy Browne proves that.”
Trimmer to Program WRVA and WRNL, Richmond. Moving from Clear Channel’s Rochester, New York cluster where he programmed news/talk WHAM and sports talker WHTK “Sports 1280,” is Aaron Trimmer who heads south to the company’s Richmond, Virginia station group to serve as director of programming for news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL-AM. Trimmer – a Richmond native – takes over for PD Jimmy Barrett who now focuses on his WRVA morning drive hosting responsibilities.
Entercom Q2 Revenue Dips 1%. Considering the recent Q2 financial reports by some other broadcasters, the 1% drop in net revenue could be considered a plus. Entercom’s revenue was $100.2 million during the second quarter of 2014. The company reported that free cash flow decreased 21% to $15 million. Entercom CEO David Field states, “Revenue declined 1% from the prior year as results were impacted by sluggish business conditions during the quarter. Operationally, we continue to focus on developing our powerful local brands, content and digital capabilities and building our new SmartReach Digital division. These efforts are enhancing our value to listeners and customers and raising our growth potential. Broadcast radio fundamentals are strong with growing, massive audience reach and a superior ROI to competitive forms of media.” Entercom reduced its outstanding debt by $4.1 million (net of cash) during the quarter. As of June 30, 2014, the company had $7.1 million in cash and $489.8 million of senior debt and senior notes.
Pandora Eyeing Talk and Sports Formats. In an interview with Sonali Basak for Bloomberg, Pandora CFO Michael Herring hints the company is planning to add talk and sports talk content to its service, though the type of content and when it might appear on Pandora is not known at this time. Herring points to the popularity of talk and sports by commuters in autos as the reason for his company’s interest in the formats. “Music’s an important piece of radio listening in the car, but if there’s a place where spoken word is also equally, and more important really, it’s in the car…As the car becomes more important, thinking about other types of content that are important for the car becomes more critical. That’s why Sirius spends so much money on Howard Stern, sports and news.” Basak reports that Pandora is currently available in about 33% of cars while SiriusXM can be accessed in about 71% of autos. Usage by Pandora listeners in cars rose from about 2.5 million people during the second quarter of 2013 to about 7 million during the second quarter of 2014. Read the entire Bloomberg piece here.
Hofstra University’s WRHU Named College Station of the Year. The student-operated station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” has been named the best college station in the country, according to The Princeton Review. The publication rates colleges in America and, as part of that, also ranks college radio stations. Hofstra University’s WRHU came in #1 this year after being ranked #5 last year. The station is the flagship radio outlet for the NHL’s New York Islanders since 2010 and is the first and only college radio station to have an exclusive broadcasting agreement with a professional sports team. WRHU is a finalist for a prestigious 2014 Marconi Radio Award from the NAB as the top non-commercial station in the country. The station’s reporters have won top honors from the New York Associated Press Association, the Press Club of Long Island, the Society of Professional Journalists and New York Women in Communications. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison, who began his illustrious radio career on WRHU (when it was still using the call letters WVHC) and is a charter inductee of the WRHU Hall of Fame, states, “I am so proud of this great radio station’s progress and accomplishments over the years since I first broadcast there in 1967. This ranking is a tribute to the fantastic faculty staff running the operation and to the entire Communications Department at Hofstra which, in my opinion, is second to none in American academia.” Harrison sits on the Hofstra University Department of Communication advisory board.
KMG Networks’ Krantz to Work with Sun Broadcast Group. A new partnership struck by Sun Broadcast Group and Krantz Media Group/KMG Networks will have KMG president and CEO Gary Krantz joining SBG as strategic advisor. The companies say that “together, Sun and KMG will focus on new initiatives in content, digital, and services to superserve media partners in the audio entertainment sector. These exciting new opportunities will be separate initiatives from existing and planned partnerships that Sun and KMG are involved with, respectively.” SBG CEO Jason Bailey adds, “Gary and I have known each other for years and have always shared the same exciting vision for this industry. With all that’s going on in the network radio space there are countless opportunities to make a real difference with amazing program partners who share our passion for change. I’m stoked to work more closely with KMG on a professional basis in advancing our mission to make radio an experience for a whole new generation.”
Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Bradlee Dean, host of the “Sons of Liberty” syndicated radio series, has been honored with the Education Liberty Award from the Education Liberty Coalition for his appearances on their behalf at some 350 high schools in 24 states nationwide. Among the goals which Dean has been promoting is ELC’s campaign for students to study at their own instructional level and for parents to make school choices for their children. Dean’s most recent stop was in Marietta, Georgia…..Genesis Communications‘ sports platform – Sports Talk Florida – is providing “exclusive coverage” of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp complete with live practice updates, video interviews, and behind-the-scenes developments with reporters Jenna Laine and Amanda Borges. Genesis says that its digital platform, along with the affiliated radio stations WHOO, Orlando and WHBO, Tampa, are keeping Bucs fans informed. The company says, “With a plethora of exclusive photos, written articles and video content covering the Buccaneers, Sports Talk Florida leads the way in merging radio, web-based media, mobile sharing and social media.”
Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform/Southwest Border Crisis, Russian Ukraine Aggression, and James Brady Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; the threat of the Ebola virus as a possible pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; the battle in Washington over immigration policies and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s support of Ukrainian rebels and the probe of the downing of Flight 17; and the death of Reagan Administration Press Secretary and anti-gun crusader James Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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.
WHAM, Rochester’s Bob Lonsberry Reprimanded for Transgender Benefits Criticism. Just a week after Entercom fired Kimberly Rae and Barry Beck from rock WBZA “98.9 The Buzz” for their on-air criticism of the City of Rochester’s health care plan that offers health care specific to transgendered employees, WHAM talk show host Bob Lonsberry also criticized the policy in a blog post. We don’t know what happened between the Clear Channel station and Lonsberry – he hasn’t been fired – but the company, through VP and market manager Bob Morgan, did offer the following statement: “Though Bob Lonsberry is entitled to his opinion about the City of Rochester’s health care plan, his blog post and comments about members of the transgender community were insensitive. His remarks do not reflect the position or attitudes of the station or its management. We cannot discuss employee personnel matters, but I can tell you that the station has removed the post and is extending an invitation to local leaders of the LGBT community to meet with Bob Lonsberry and speak on the topic.”
WVON, Chicago Adds ‘Chat Daddy’ to Friday Night Programming. In announcing the addition of Art ‘Chat Daddy’ Sims to the Friday evening schedule at urban talk WVON, Chicago, Midway Broadcasting says the new 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm program “is a lifestyle magazine show that will offer listeners local and national lifestyle stories, relationship advice, celebrity interviews and more.” The station says that Sims has “more than 19 years of media experience in radio, television and print.” Executive producer for the program is Daveda Flute.
Clear Channel Adds ‘This Little Parent Stayed Home’ Show to iHeartRadio Talk Lineup. Bringing a weekly podcast to the iHeartRadio digital platform, Clear Channel and Premiere Networks announce Ally Loprete’s “This Little Parent Stayed Home” program will air on iHeartRadio’s extreme talk radio channel live at 3:00 pm ET on Tuesdays. Clear Channel says it has acquired the program “as part of its newest campaign to reach a more modern listenership.” Loprete is the founder of OurMilkMoney.com, an online search directory that lists the products and services of self-employed parents in more than 120 cities across the nation. Loprete has used her own passion to create a society where parents are given an alternative to expensive daycares and long hours away from home, inspiring a movement that has parents everywhere realizing their power as consumers, and uniting together to rebuild a broken economy with home-based businesses. CCM+E VP of programming Ken Charles states, “Ally Loprete brings a fresh and vibrant perspective that will consistently bring in listeners within the hottest consumer demographic.” Premiere Networks VP of programming Bill May adds, “Ally Loprete has provided us a great opportunity to broaden our reach to a progressive and innovative demographic. Women with children and small business entrepreneurs are making significant progress with the stay-at-home workforce. The listeners of ‘This Little Parent…’ have been extremely loyal and dedicated to the educational and motivational content that Ally had been providing on her digital weekly podcast. She was looking to cast a wider net and we were thrilled to offer her show a new home.”
KIRO-FM, Seattle to Award $10,000 Scholarship to Area High School Student. The culmination of a promotion that began at the beginning of the school year wraps on June 6 as Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle honors one local student with a $10,000 dollar scholarship live on “Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross.” The Standout Student Awards promotion has been a partnership with Comprehensive Wealth Management and the Rotary Club of Lynnwood designed to honor Western Washington students who stand out in the classroom, school and community. Nine students were selected as monthly winners during the course of the school year and each received a $1,000 scholarship. They are eligible for the $10,000 educational scholarship grant.
Odds & Sods. The new “Middays with MFB” debuted on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston today. The show – starring incumbent host and former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni, former New England Patriots tight end Christian Fauria and talk show host Tim Benz – replaces the Mut & Merloni show in the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot…..Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco helps raise more than $100,000 for the Fisher House Foundation during a pre-holiday radiothon held on Friday, May 23. Talk host Brian Sussman broadcast from the Fisher House at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.
Beckman Honored for College Football Work. He still does the daily, late morning talk show at Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit, but just seven months after retiring from his 33-year stint as play-by-play announcer for Michigan Wolverines football, Frank Beckman is being honored with the 2014 Chris Schenkel Award from the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. In a press release from the University of Michigan, the school notes that this honor is among several he’s received over the years including Top Michigan Sportscaster and Michigan Sportscaster of the Year.
‘Mighty 1290 KOIL’ Flashes Back! In Omaha, NRG Media’s “Mighty 1290 KOIL” returned to the glory days of the 1960s over the holiday weekend with a three-hour Sunday special looking back to when the station was a leading top 40 powerhouse. Legendary morning host Roger W. Morgan returned for the broadcast, featuring the biggest hits of the 60s, live from “Loessfest” in Council Bluffs. Among those joining the special were: singer Jimmy Clanton and former KOIL personalities Hal Widsten and Clay Michaels. Pictured here (from left to right) are: current KOIL talk host host Tom Becka, Morgan, and Michaels.
Memorial Day Holiday/VA Scandal, Deadly Santa Barbara Shootings, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, ObamaCare Effects, and NBA/NHL Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). The Memorial Day holiday and the ongoing scandal involving care at VA hospitals; the deadly shooting of six people in Santa Barbara by a UCSB student; Russia’s continued aggression in Ukraine; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; and the playoff action in the NBA and the NHL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Foghat’s Roger Earl Is a Hit on the Talk Radio Interview Circuit — Knocks it Out of the Park on Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” Show. Master rock ‘n’ roll drummer, personable schmoozer and 41-year Foghat member Roger Earl has proven to be quite a hit when it comes to being an interview guest, not just on music stations that still play the legendary classic rock band famous for such anthems as “Slow Ride,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” and “Fool for the City” (among others), but on traditional news/talk stations looking to spice up their programming, as well. It seems the glib British-born teller of great road stories and rock historical nuggets is just what the doctor ordered for many traditional news/talkers looking to broaden their subject matter to include lifestyle and pop cultural material beyond the day-to-day, left-versus-right, “wonky” issues that some industry observers say can make talk radio a tedious listen when not broken up a bit by other angles of reality. Yesterday morning, the moon and stars lined up perfectly for such a gab-fest as Roger Earl popped up as a guest on the nationally syndicated morning talk show “Good Day” hosted by Doug Stephan. Stephan, a perennial member of TALKERS magazine’s prestigious “Heavy Hundred,” works the program as a ringmaster in the context of an ensemble and yesterday’s program was made even more interesting by the presence of his good friend, Radio America stable-mate and nationally syndicated talk star Dr. Joy Browne at the table as “special guest co-host.” Together they greeted Earl with enthusiasm and a frolicking spirit. Stephan, a former progressive rock deejay, tells TALKERS that although “Good Day” is by definition (and the lion’s share of its affiliates) a “news/talk” show, he likes to steer it clear for the most part of the “negative, argumentative, confrontational, and narrow topical elements” that he feels holds these programs back from meeting their full potential. He says, “I love the opportunity to get a guy like Roger Earl on who so many of our demo remember from their salad days and is also very interesting to their kids who are fascinated by bands and arts figures from the past few decades. In this case, Roger was wonderful. After only a few minutes — even though I had never before met or even spoke with the guy — it was as if we had been very good friends for years!” Although the premise of the interview was to discuss Foghat’s current hit single, “The Word of Rock n’ Roll” (#15 RadioInfo Rock Songs Chart) and the fact that after 41 years the ensemble is still out there touring and making new recordings, the conversation went in a number of directions covering Earl’s previous band, Savoy Brown; how Foghat was formed and where its name came from. The discussion got into Roger Earl’s childhood and personal life with some candid conversation about the long-time friendship/love affair he shares with his wife and manager Linda Arcello-Earl. Earl told a cool story from earlier days and his being pulled over for driving 140 mph on the Long Island Expressway. He also expressed his excitement over becoming a United States Citizen this year. To listen to the entire conversation please click here. Stephan adds, “Further synergizing the ‘happening’ I made the song ‘The Word of Rock n’ Roll’ the Video of The Day at our website: www.dougstephan.com and we did a feature segment on it in the 8:00 am hour.” An equally enthusiastic Earl tells TALKERS, “Yesterday morning’s interview with Doug Stephan was terrific. I was on my second cup of coffee and Doug was very cool! He was interesting and knowledgeable about what is going on with the band. And even though the old ‘Savoy Brown’ album covers frightened him, I won’t hold that against him. It was great and we all really appreciate that he genuinely likes ‘The Word of Rock n’ Roll’…and played clips! And, in a short period of time, it seemed like we talked about all sorts of stuff. He definitely got the conversation going! Thanks Doug and thanks to his guest co-host Dr. Joy Browne. I thoroughly enjoyed our chat!” Next stop for Roger Earl on his tour of talk radio: a live in-studio visit with Rita Cosby on heritage 50k WOR, New York. Talk hosts (and deejays) interested in booking Roger Earl should contact Chip Ruggieri at email@example.com.
Jody Oehler Takes Over PM Drive at Sports Talk KGME, Phoenix. Clear Channel Phoenix announces sports talk host Jody Oehler is named afternoon drive sports talk host at KGME, “Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix, The Voice of Arizona Sports.” Oehler joins Cardinals Insider Mike Jurecki and Michael “Jak” Bauer as host of the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show beginning September 3. Oehler comes to Phoenix from Journal Broadcast Group’s KFFN-AM/FM “ESPN Tucson” where he currently hosts PM drive. He also works as sports anchor at KGUN-TV, Tucson. Program director Neil Larrimore says the University of Arizona grad brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with him. “Jody is a talented rising star. He’s an incredible communicator and a true sports fan. We look forward to Jody helping to move our brand forward on air as well as online. We are lucky to have him.” Oehler adds, “I’m very excited to join the most dynamic talk lineup in the Valley. I look forward to teaming up with Mike Jurecki and Mike Bauer to bring engaging and entertaining sports talk to our listeners every day. I’m excited to get to know our Phoenix listeners and talk sports.”
Michael Medved Scores Interview with ‘The Butler’ Director. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved is no stranger to talking about film – he co-hosted “Sneak Previews” for 12 years, was the New York Post’s film critic for five years and has co-written four books about movies – so he’ll be in his element this afternoon (8/23) when he interviews “The Butler” director Lee Daniels. The surprise box office hit starring Forrest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey tells the story of Cecil Gaines, a White House butler who served eight U.S. Presidents and was an observer through the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, and other historic events. (“Gaines” is a fictionalized compilation of a number of actual White House butlers who were originally interviewed for a short story by journalist Wil Haygood.) SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup states, “There’s nothing wrong with talk radio having any on-air discussions about the Trayvon Martin case or the more recent racially tinged killing of baseball star Chris Lane in Oklahoma. But as the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s march on Washington, D.C. approaches, ‘The Butler’ has clearly struck a chord with American moviegoers…and we’re honored that director Lee Daniels will share his vision of history with Michael Medved in what promises to be compelling radio.”
Norm Pattiz and Michael Harrison to Participate in “Keynote Conversation” at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. One of the many highlights of the one-day, power-packed agenda being set for the Southern California segment of TALKERS magazine’s annual bi-coastal convention, “Talkers Los Angeles 2013,” will be a “keynote conversation” between industry icon Norm Pattiz, CEO of Courtside Entertainment, LLC and founder of Launchpad Digital Media‘s innovative Podcast One and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. Pattiz (the original founder of Westwood One) and Harrison share a long history and friendship that goes back to the late-1970s when Harrison (then of KMET, Los Angeles and Radio & Records) was signed by Pattiz to host the nationally syndicated “Great American Radio Show” – a weekly innovative album track countdown that was one of Westwood One’s earliest offerings. According to Harrison, “Because I worked with Norm so early on at the beginnings of his historic and impactful career in radio as both an insider at his budding company and as an outside observer/associate, I have had the opportunity of really eye-witnessing and digesting a tremendous amount of contemporary radio history as it applies to the man’s contributions to so many of the practices and systems that we today consider standard. Although, this is being billed as a two-way conversation and I know he’ll be asking me some questions as well, I can’t wait to get him up there and have him address so many issues – past, present and future – that will shed light and clarity on where radio is at and where it is going in this new digital era. Keep in mind, Norm not only started and grew Westwood One…he also owned Radio & Records, the Mutual Broadcasting System, and NBC Radio Network in addition to being a member of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors. Now look at him today, not only is he back on the cutting edge of our business, he also chairs the Boards of Governors of Los Alamos National Security, LLC., and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC which respectively operate the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Amazing! I intend to dig into this conversation like an informational gold mine.” For registration and sponsorship information about Talkers Los Angeles 2013, please call 413-565-5413. The conference is open only to members of the working media and is on the verge of a sellout. Complete agenda details to be posted here next week.
Celebrating Six Months. Houston talk show host Sam Malone tells TALKERS magazine his program is celebrating its six-month anniversary in its new format that includes airing on Salem Communications-owned KNTH, Houston “AM 1070 The Answer” from 7:00 am to 11:00 am and simulcast online in a video format via Phonoscope. Malone is pictured here on the set of his program as online viewers see it. In celebration of his anniversary in the new format, Malone produced a promotional video montage of the program that you can see here.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to Co-Host on WFAN, New York. With Boomer Esiason out on vacation, CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York will welcome New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to the studios to co-host the morning drive program with Craig Carton on Monday, August 26. The station says, “With Christie being such a huge sports fan as well as being voted by The Star Ledger as the most influential person in New Jersey sports, there will be lots of talk about the Giants, Jets, Yankees and Mets. Governor Christie is not a stranger to the ‘Boomer & Carton Show’ as he has been on numerous times as a guest of the show and has co-hosted with Craig once before.”
Tim Hager Joins Clear Channel Denver as Vice President of Sales. Most recently serving with CBS Radio as general sales manager at news/talk KMOX, St. Louis, Tim Hager moves west to head up the sales effort at Clear Channel’s eight-station cluster in Denver. In a statement, Hager says, “I could not be more thrilled to return to the greatest media company in the world with the most extensive portfolio of integrated media solutions for our advertisers. The landscape of radio continues to change every day and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment leads this charge with unparalleled digital opportunities including iHeartRadio. I am humbled and honored to lead this great cluster’s sales efforts and rejoin the most talented and passionate media professionals in the business.” Clear Channel’s Denver stations include: news/talk KOA, talk KHOW, progressive talk KKZN, alternative KTCL “Channel 93.3,” CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party,” triple A KBCO, classic rock KRFX “103.5 The Fox,” and active rock KBPI.
Promotions at Fox Sports Radio Network. Jeffrey Schwartz is promoted to vice president of sports sales for Fox Sports Radio. In this capacity he’ll continue to work with the Premiere national account managers to “creatively craft specific programs to drive traffic and awareness for all Fox sponsors.” Additionally, he will work closely with Annie Zidarevich and Clear Channel SVP of sports operations Bruce Gilbert on all other aspects of programming, promotion and business growth for Fox Sports Radio and Premiere Sports products. At the same time, Zidarevich is promoted to vice president of network operations. A day-one employee of FSR, Zidarevich reports to Bruce Gilbert and she’ll continue to oversee all Fox Sports Radio operations, scheduling, production, programming and remote broadcast coordination.
Odds & Sods. Talk show host Mark Wainwright fills in for morning host Chet Walker on Clear Channel’s WHAM, Rochester all next week (8/26-30)…..ESPN Radio personality Colin Cowherd was recently honored with induction into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The host of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars. He also was sports director at KVBC-TV, Las Vegas where he earned multiple Nevada Sportscaster of the Year awards. He joined ESPN in 2004…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces that Rams wide receiver Chris Givens will join the station’s football analysts beginning Tuesday, September 10, when he starts a weekly stint joining “The Fast Lane” PM drive show to discuss the previous week’s game and to provide insight for upcoming match-ups.
Pennsylvania Stations Sold to Backyard Broadcasting. Six Pennsylvania stations and an FM translator are sold by Barry Drake-operated Backyard Broadcasting to Dan Farr-led Backyard Broadcasting PA LLC. The stations are: country WILQ-FM, Williamsport; hot AC WLMY-FM, Williamsport; news/talk WWPA-AM, Williamsport; oldies WBZD-FM, Muncy; rock WZXR-FM, South Williamsport; rock WCXR-FM, Lewisburg; and translator W267BJ-FM (simulcasting WWPA). Buyer Dan Farr says, “I look forward to continuing the tradition of delivering great music, local information and community service with a team of dedicated on-air personalities and office staff along with giving our advertisers a marketing vehicle to promote and grow their business into the future.” The exclusive broker for the deal is Kalil & Co.
Obama Administration’s Syria Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 19-23. The Obama Administration’s policy concerning Syria in the wake of allegations of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the violence in Egypt tied with Middle East tensions. At number #3 was the NSA surveillance program and the shooting death of Australian ballplayer Christopher Lane came in at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WBEN, Buffalo to Flip Programming. Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN will move late morning talk show host Tom Bauerle to the PM drive slot currently held by Buffalo market legend Sandy Beach and Beach will shift to the late morning show. Both personalities have been in their current time slots for long periods – Bauerle for the past 11 years after moving to WBEN from the company’s sister sports talk station WGR. The change is expected to take place at the end of July.
How to Be a Talk Show Host. In a candid, tell-it-like-it-is piece posted today (7/22) WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse talk star and TALKERS columnist Bob Lonsberry draws upon his vast experience and presents a point-by-point tutorial on how to be a talk show host…or at least how to be a GOOD one. He basically breaks it down to five steps: 1) ignore anyone who tries to tell you how to be a talk show host; 2) focus on listeners; 3) don’t suck; 4) remember that callers are only a tool; 5) stand for something; and 6) get out of the studio. To read all the juicy details, please click here.
Kevin McCullough to Host Daily Local Talk Show on WMCA, New York. Salem Communications announces talk media pro and digital entrepreneur Kevin McCullough will begin hosting a daily one-hour talk show on Christian teaching-formatted WMCA, New York on August 5. Salem states this is a return to WMCA for McCullough who has also been heard on the company’s KKLA, Los Angeles and WMBI and WYLL in Chicago. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “Kevin has proven to be one of the true up-and-coming voices in Christian talk radio and we are delighted he will be able to join our team. His afternoon program will be live and local, tackling issues of concern going on locally and in the world with a Christian world view.” In a statement, Salem says McCullough’s program will include discussion with local ministers about their concerns and how our listeners can relate to and understand major world events in a biblical perspective. “The addition of Kevin will allow WMCA to truly reflect the attitude of the city we serve, and be more responsive to community concerns,” according to WMCA vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley. McCullough continues his talk programs produced and syndicated via his own XtreMEDIA.
NBC Sports Radio Network Lands WCAR, Detroit as Affiliate; Move Adds Fuel to Greater Media Sports Talk Flip. Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Detroit is the newest affiliate for the NBC Sports–Dial Global sports talk radio initiative branded NBC Sports Talk Radio. From the sound of the press release it appears the station will carry most if not all of the network’s programming in addition to NFL games distributed by Dial Global. WCAR had been an ESPN Radio affiliate and this move strengthens the suspicions that ESPN will find a partner in Greater Media which is strongly rumored to be prepared to flip AC WMGC, Detroit “Today’s 105.1” to sports talk in August.
‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ Gets Media Attention for ‘Homeless Vet’ Sting. When WGRD, Grand Rapids-based, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated morning show “Free Beer & Hot Wings” heard about panhandlers posing as homeless veterans to gain sympathy and earn more money, they sent Producer Joe to a corner in Grand Rapids where a panhandler named Rudy was doing just that. In fact, Rudy had admitted to local TV station WZZM that he was not a veteran. According to AllMichigan.com, and as you can see in the WGRD photo here, Producer Joe showed up where Rudy was panhandling sporting a cardboard sign reading “Liar,” causing Rudy to ride off on a mountain bike. Producer Joe came back to the location the next day and “panhandled” to raise $1,085 for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. WGRD matched the funds and $2,170 was donated to the home.
The Dismal State of the Radio Remote. According to radio sales and marketing maven Al Herskovitz, TALKERS columnist and president of H&H Communications, the age old programming/sales tool known as the “remote” — which has fallen on hard times — still has the potential to be a winner in the sports talk genre. The remote on-location broadcast was once a staple in the sales rep’s arsenal. It almost has disappeared from the airwaves, particularly from talk radio — and for logical reasons, too. The strength of the talk format comes from the right and left, pro and con, political and social issues topics. A remote could possibly generate a partisan flash mob that might trash Charlie’s Auto Parts and Car Wash. That’s the last thing “good ole Charlie” would want. This is aside from the currently popular radio rows which are not commercially sponsored events for stations or programs and not meant to draw crowds to the location. In a new column posted today (7/22) Herskovitz breaks down the challenges that must be overcome and cites opportunities still ripe for exploitation in doing remotes. To read it, please click here.
Jeff Katz Commentary Added to Arkansas Talk Station. Boston-based talk radio personality Jeff Katz’s “The Katz Commentary” is heard three times daily on WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts. Now, Katz gets his daily feature added to the program schedule in Central Arkansas on Saline River Media’s news/talk KEWI, Benton. Katz says, “I am thrilled that the voice of Central Arkansas will be adding ‘The Katz Commentary’ to its great lineup. I’m working hard on my Razorback yell, as well.”
Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The “intensive, 10-day event,” organized by Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System in cooperation with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and Western Kentucky University kicks off the Radio Talent Institute at the school today. The Institute begins with opening comments from WKU President Gary Ransdell; Dean David Lee of Potter College, WKU; and director of journalism and broadcasting, WKU, Dr. Loup Langton, along with Rick McCue from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and WBKO TV. Former broadcaster, now assistant professor at WKU, Dick Taylor will moderate the event. Sixteen students from the region have been accepted into this year’s Institute. Those students will hear from 36 radio professionals, including Bud Walters, president/owner of the Cromwell Group, Nashville; Steve Newberry, president/CEO, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Glasgow; Christine Hillard, president/COO of Forever Communications, Bowling Green; with Ed Henson of Henson Media, Louisville, opening the institute with “Getting in, Becoming an Entrepreneur.” Also instructing during the event are: Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media leading a session on “On Air, Developing Your Voice, Your Style…You”; Morning Mouth publisher Don Anthony who will deliver “How to Get a Good Job”; plus news/talk radio sessions by WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and WKU public radio morning host, reporter and producer Joseph Corcoran. This is the second Radio Talent Institute of the summer and Vallie states, “These students are starting their careers in radio, and we are developing the next generation of broadcasters. The students come with enthusiasm and passion for the business, and it’s very impressive how industry professionals sacrifice their time to come to the campus to teach sessions and give back to the industry.”
Odds & Sods. Matt Dery exits CBS Radio’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit where he was afternoon sports anchor on the Valenti & Foster program after the station did not renew his contract…..Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco renews its deal with IMG College to carry University of California football play-by-play and adds Men’s basketball games to the five-year deal.
Picking the right topics when working in multiple markets
By Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo
Radio Talk Show Host
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo – a member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the host of mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on The Weekend show. He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others.)
HOUSTON/SAN ANTONIO/DENVER/EVERYWHERE — “Good morning, Houston.” “Good afternoon, San Antonio.” “Happy Saturday, Denver.” “Good Weekend, America.” These are all things I’m lucky enough to say either every day or every week. It’s a supreme compliment to have the support of the stations in these markets and from Clear Channel and Premiere and quite a challenge. Each show has its own feel, flow and audience make up and reaction. So, over the last 11 years, I’ve learned what works everywhere and what is market specific.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish Takes “Angry is Over” Campaign on the Road. WYD Media nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish is known for being independent minded and not locked into party ideology. Smerconish has been making it known via his radio show, TV appearances and newspaper columns that he believes the country is in real trouble due to the intensely divisive political climate both in Washington, DC and in the media. He writes in part, “Recently, I have been engaged by many corporations, trade associations and academic institutions to address the cause of the polarized climate and how it can be fixed. I’ve been calling my speech ‘Angry Is Over,’ and in hearing what I have to say, many audiences are surprised (but not doubting) when I cast significant blame on the talk radio and cable television industry. Well, it’s true.” Now, Smerconish is taking his “Angry is Over” message on the road with a live appearance in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 9 at the Scranton Cultural Center in what he terms the first live appearance of the tour.
Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Names Jason Furst PD. The Charlotte news/talker announces programmer Jason Furst will take over the program director role at WBT-AM/FM on Monday, October 29. He’ll replace Carl East who exits the station tomorrow. Furst comes to WBT from Clear Channel’s upstate New York outlets WHAM and WHTK, Rochester and WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse. Greater Media Charlotte market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “We are excited to have Jason join the Greater Media Charlotte family. His experience made him the perfect choice to lead the WBT-AM/FM team.”
Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno to Replace Premiere Shows with Local Talent. Stating that the “expansion of its local programming will be phased in over the next 90 days,” Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM says it is accelerating its commitment to live and local programming. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks is not renewing its deal with the stations for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other programs. Peak and KMJ SVP and market manager Patty Hixson states, “We value program exclusivity and have long anticipated the opportunity to control our own programming locally rather than rely on national talk shows available in so many other places that can be taken from us at the whim of their owners. Adding 105.9 KMJ-FM over three years ago allowed us to expose our local news and talk shows to the largest available radio audience with crystal clear reception. Building KMJ NOW, our on-line local news platform, as well as KMJ’s Apple-delivered mobile app have given us tremendous reach to every computer and smartphone on the planet. KMJ’s future lies in its local programming, and we know we have the best people in the business making it right here in Fresno 24/7.” The move by Premiere Networks not to renew with Peak signals Clear Channel is preparing to flip an FM to news/talk in the near future. Currently, CC’s lowest-rated FM is country KHGE. But it also has three FM’s airing rhythmic AC, soft AC and modern AC in the market.
Radio Legend Bob Grant Retires, Then Unretires. Talk radio legend Bob Grant, currently heard weekly on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday afternoons, teased that yesterday’s broadcast would be his last but changed his mind several hours later. According to the New York Daily News, the 83-year-old Grant posted a message on his website on Friday stating, “I am not sick, I am just a tired of [being a] life member of the chorus…I will miss you as much as you say you miss me.” He apparently had a change of heart and later stated that he would broadcast for the foreseeable future.
Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart Host “The Rumble 2012.” “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and Fox News Channel star (and host of the Courtside Entertainment distributed “Talking Points” feature) Bill O’Reilly squared off in a debate of the issues on Saturday at George Washington University. The event was broadcast via a web-only $5 pay-per-view. A testament to the popularity of these two performers came in the form of numerous people being unable to get through to the server to access the live feed. Dow Jones’ Peter Kafka, who writes the AllThingsD column, reports that many people had trouble viewing the show but states he was able to watch without much trouble. At one point Nox Solutions, which hosted the webcast, Tweeted that due to demand, the servers had been overloaded.
Dave Ramsey Packs Long Beach Convention Center. Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey presented his only Total Money Makeover Live program of the fall season to more than 9,000 fans in the Long Beach Convention Center for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles. Station general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Yet another great Dave Ramsey event for KFWB! Having such a successful day with over 9,000 people in attendance is a huge win for us. We continue to value the close relationship we have with Dave and his team.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Rachel Cruze, speaker; Diane Sutter, trustee for KFWB; Valerie Blackburn, general manager for KFWB; Dave Ramsey; Danielle Mosher, marketing for KFWB; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager for KFWB; Jon Acuff, speaker and author; and Andy Ludlum, program director for KFWB.
Don’t Overlook the Unique Value and Power of Email. Leading broadcasting digital media consultant Chris Miller advises radio programmers and marketers not be so blinded by social media that they “fall out of love” with good old simple email. He writes in TALKERS today that email is still a powerful tool to communicate with your listeners, especially if you target adults. He suggests 1) Make your email a thing of value; 2) Give the listeners something to keep; and 3) Write it very simple and concise. He also points out the inherent ability email has as a vehicle to carry advertising – something far less convenient to pull off on Facebook and Twitter. To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.
Talk Host Debbie Nigro Begins New Venture Today. Talk radio pro Debbie Nigro launches a new talk initiative today on Cumulus Media’s WFAS, White Plains, New York and online via the WFASam.com website. Calling it “innovative female-driven but gender-friendly talk radio,” the new program is the brainchild of the woman who brought her “Working Mom on the Go” syndicated talk show to stations across the country during the 1990s. This new show airs at 1:00 pm ET four days per week on WFAS.
Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Operating Internet Radio Station. The Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is operating what may be the country’s only chamber of commerce-owned internet radio station. Radio host Richard Gerstner is the only employee of the station – and a part-time employee at that – but it’s been on the air for a year with the goal of driving new, local business relationships. The station drew 12,000 unique visitors in its first year and chamber president Chris Phelan believes that means about one in every 10 or 11 county residents tuned in at some point. According to a story in the Express-Times, the station currently airs only 10 hours of fresh programming each day, including its 8 am to 10 am daily “Good Morning Hunterdon” flagship program and 38 other shows hosted mostly by Hunterdon business owners. The rest of the airtime is filled by re-runs. Phelan says the station is helping to achieve the chamber’s main goal with the station: to build a sense of community.
Odds & Sods. Opie & Anthony alumnus Rick Delgado begins a regular internet talk show called the “Ugly American Radio Show” via inravio.com. Delgado most recently was producer and “third mic” for the “Paul and Young Ron Morning Show” at Clear Channel’s WGBB, Miami. Delgado was executive producer of the Opie & Anthony show at WNEW-FM, New York from 1998 to 2002…..John Andariese retires from his position as the radio voice of New York Knicks basketball. Andariese has been involved with Knicks basketball since 1972, serving as the play-by-play voice since the 1998-99 season. A statement from MSG Networks says Andariese is stepping down to spend more time with his family and to focus on his advertising business. Brendan Brown will take over the Knicks radio broadcasts…..The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron writes that former Houston Astros player and broadcasters Alan Ashby and Larry Dierker are among two of the possible candidates for the Astros radio booth next season. The team announced Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond would not return next year. Former MLB pitcher Steve Sparks is also on the list of possible broadcasters for the club…..SiriusXM is bringing actor/director/writer Chazz Palminteri aboard for his own four-week series called “Ask Chazz.” The acclaimed star of stage and screen will answer questions about show business and will offer advice about the entertainment industry, as well as business, sports, life and anything else on listeners’ minds.
Cincinnati Talk Host and Attorney Eric Deters Resigns from WQRT. According to Cincinnati.com’s John Kiesewetter, Cincinnati talk show host Eric Deters quit his program at Christian Broadcasting System’s “Real Talk 1160” on Wednesday saying, “I do not have any respect for Rob Williams’ programming ability at all. I’m not going to put myself in a stressful situation… I’m going to tell the truth. There’s not a phony bone in my body.” Williams is the operations manager/program director for the station and Deters didn’t want to answer to him. Previously he had been answering to station manager Bob Herrion and Herrion requested the change. Deters says he did not like Williams’ suggestion for his back-up – former “Warm 98” jock Dean Miuccio – and suggested others to Williams. Deters is quoted by Kiesewetter saying, “I don’t mind taking direction. I talk to Willie (Bill Cunningham, his mentor at WLW in 2010-2011) almost every single day. I listen to Willie. I know what I’m doing, and I’m not going to let someone dictate to me…I resigned. I was willing to pull the resignation this morning if they changed their mind, but they wouldn’t. I think they’re making a huge mistake.” WQRT has since made Miuccio the permanent morning host. Deters, a practicing attorney in the area, had served as Cunningham’s back-up at crosstown WLW and hosted a weekend program there until May of 2011 when he was let go for posting a video blog that included a racial joke.
NBC Gives Rodney Harrison Weekend Sports Talk Radio Show. Rodney Harrison is part of NBC TV’s “Football Night in America” but he’ll cut his sports talk radio teeth on the new NBC Sports/Dial Global venture beginning September 8 with his weekly two-hour “Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison” show. NBC Sports Radio debuts soon and Dial Global says it has about 100 affiliates on board for the sports radio network’s launch. NBC Sports Ventures and International SVP Rob Simmelkjaer says, “With the launch of NBC Sports Radio just 12 days away, we are thrilled to add Rodney Harrison to our growing list of talented sports radio personalities. We anticipate Rodney’s transition to radio to be as seamless as his transition was from the football field to television, where he went from being one of the fiercest competitors in the game to one of the most respected voices in the space. He is the latest in what we expect to be many NBC Sports television personalities who will join our radio team.”
Powerful News/Talk Programming Panel Set for New Media Seminar in Los Angeles. A dynamic panel discussion featuring a strong lineup of Western states-based programmers has been set for the forthcoming New Media Seminar 2012 in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club. Titled “The State of Local News/Talk Radio,” the panel includes Robin Bertolucci, PD of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, PD of KNX, Los Angeles; Garret Lewis, PD/morning host of KNST, Tucson; John McMullen, OM/PD Desert Radio Group, Palm Springs; David Sniff, PD of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler, PD of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. It will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey. The New Media Seminar agenda is being set with a total of 60 speakers planned to examine the key issues facing the talk radio/media industries. Its agenda will continue to be posted and updated on Talkers.com. It is expected to be an early sellout. To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Registration is a recession-era low $99 which includes everything. Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
CBS Sports Radio Unveils Talent for Hourly Features. As CBS Sports Radio gradually brings sports talk radio content to the air in advance of its round-the-clock format debut in January, it will begin airing hourly CBS Sports Minutes on September 4 near the top of the hour. Talent include: WFAN, New York morning host Boomer Esiason; sports writer and author John Feinstein; network talk host and analyst Doug Gottlieb; and KNBR, San Francisco talk host Tom Tolbert. CBS Radio says the features will air 90 affiliates including stations in the top 10 markets – all of which are CBS O&Os except Cumulus Media’s KNBR.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Names Bob Morgan VP and Market Manager for Rochester. Bob Morgan is very familiar with the Rochester market having managed the CBS Radio cluster there from 1994-1999. Most recently he’s served as SVP of broadcast for American Tower Corporation in Boston. Clear Channel SVP of operations Kevin LeGrett says of Morgan, “Bob is an experienced broadcaster who knows the Rochester market. He is well respected throughout the area, both within our industry and by our clients. Bob will bring superb leadership skills, passion and expertise to our team. We are excited to have him on board.” Clear Channel operates seven radio stations in Rochester including news/talk WHAM; Sports 1280 WHTK, 95.1 The Brew, 106-7 KISS FM, 100.5 The DRIVE, Oldies 107.3 and 102.3 Sunny FM.
Talk Host Alan Colmes Publishes New Book. Fox News Radio and television personality Alan Colmes has written a new book coming out next week (just in time for the election) titled Thank the Liberals…for Saving America (and Why You Should) (Hay House 2012) and will be hitting the radio trail doing interviews. In the book Colmes claims, “America was born liberal — the Declaration of Independence puts forth a liberal mission statement, and the Constitution lays out a liberal framework for how the business of our nation is to be conducted. At the time, America was, in fact, beyond liberal … and America has become progressively more liberal.” He declares that you are a liberal, even though you may not know it, and further, you should be thankful for it. We’re so immersed in the concept, we might not recognize it, but “try telling someone who escaped from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq that America isn’t a very liberal place to be.” Although most people only know Alan Colmes (syndicated nightly by Fox News Radio) as a serious political talker who gained national prominence during a dozen-year run as co-host of Fox News Channel’s recently ended “Hannity and Colmes” program – his early broadcasting background was as a hilarious morning and late night music DJ. To arrange an interview call David Kass at 212-725-7707.
WEEI/NESN Radio Telethon Raises More Than $3.3 Million for Cancer Charity. The 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon took place over two days this week and helped top last year’s total of $3.3 million raised for cancer care and research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The event is heavily centered around Entercom’s WEEI, Boston and its network stations in New England but donations came in from all 50 states. WEEI VP of programming Jason Wolfe says, “Each year the Radio-Telethon brings us stories of incredible courage and ground-breaking research that continue to show us why the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber are so special and this year was no exception. These two days were as emotional as any we’ve experienced and we are so proud to have been a part of another huge success that will provide the necessary funds to bring new and better treatments to so many who need it.”
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles presents Social Media Summit for Small Business at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on September 14 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The full-day conference will feature more than a dozen speakers who will outline best practices and present case studies to help business owners and entrepreneurs strategize and monetize using popular and up-and-coming social media platforms. It will include pros from Google/YouTube, Facebook, foursquare and Citrix Online…..WSOY, Decatur, Illinois prepares for 11th Annual WSOY Community Food Drive. You can see WSOY morning host Brian Byers (second from right) at this press conference at a local Kroger store as they announced the coming food drive to take place at the store on October 5. Last year the station collected more than 640,000 lbs. of food and is shooting to exceed 650,000 this year. Food and cash donations go to Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army. But last year, because of the wonderful generosity of the community, donations were also given to the Good Samaritan Inn, Oasis Day Center, Northeast Community Fund and the Judy Mason Thanksgiving Basket Project. Amazing accomplishment for a station in market 268!
Radio Row at RNC in Tampa. Sure the halls are empty now but this area of the Tampa Times Convention Center will be teeming with talk hosts, reporters, guests, politicians and more on Monday as the Republican National Convention gets underway (weather permitting). RNC radio director Andy Polesovsky tells TALKERS magazine, “With a fantastic view of Tampa Bay, floor-to-ceiling windows providing abundant natural light, and located in the middle of a high-traffic area, the 2012 Radio Row could not be better situated. The freedom of guests, surrogates, hosts, and producers to traverse the convention center will allow more spontaneous interviews with top guests and Republican officials than ever before. Working closely with the Romney Campaign, the Surrogate Operations Department of the Convention is fully prepared and will be ready to respond to requests on the fly. Providing briefed, knowledgeable guests on time is the Radio Convention Team’s #1 goal. To help with this task, all the volunteers working on Radio Row – which will be staffed nearly 24 hours a day – have experience booking guests and, more importantly, many have worked on Radio Row in past conventions.
It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas! WLAC, Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill recently visited the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon, Tennessee with his friend Gas Can Man who is getting ready to travel the country providing people with gas at $1.84 per gallon – the price it was on January 20, 2009, the day before Barack Obama took office. Gill is pictured here with fair worker Holly who provided him with fried green tomatoes and sweet tea.
Coming Republican and Democratic Conventions and the Tropical Storm Threat Land Atop the Talkers TenTM for the Week of August 20 – 24. The approaching political conventions and the threat that Tropical Storm Isaac will postpone the Republican National Convention were the most talked about stories on news/talk radio this week. Following close behind at #2 was the debate over the Medicare cuts in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. At #3 was the Todd Akins controversy and Israel-Iran tensions followed at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio across America during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
Fisher House Christmas Show “The Gift” Available for Holiday Programming. The three-hour spoken-word special “The Gift,” produced by the Fisher House Foundation, is available for stations to carry around the holiday season. The program is hosted by veteran newsman and war correspondent Greg Jarrett. The program tells the powerful and uplifting stories of wounded warriors and veterans who, with the help of their loved ones, have overcome tremendous obstacles to reclaim their lives. The show helps raise awareness and funds for the non-profit Fisher House, which provides no-cost housing and other support to the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones recover at military and VA hospitals. For more information or to sign up for “The Gift,” contact Randall Bloomquist at Bloomquist Media or Ron Rivlin at Cumulus Media Networks.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America’s Peter Schiff program show is added to WESR-AM, Norfolk; WWPR-AM, Bradenton, Florida; KEUN-AM, Lafayette, Louisiana; WARK, Hagerstown, Maryland; and KLCN, Blytheville, Arkansas…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal” with Michael Castner is picked up by KRDO, AM/FM, Colorado Spring; WLTT, Wilmington, North Carolina; and WGMD in Salisbury, Maryland.…..Kate Delaney’s “America Tonight” adds WEGP, Presque Isle, Maine to its affiliate roster…..Dave Ferguson’s “Beyond the Cheers” feature is added to the program schedule at KFIV, Modesto; KKRN, Bella Vista, California; and non-commercial WFSK, Nashville…..Shannon Rose’s “Mr. Hollywood” feature joins the programming at KRMS, Osage Beach, Missouri.
Dave Ramsey Joins the iHeartRadio Platform. Nationally syndicated personal finance talk radio host Dave Ramsey becomes part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio digital platform beginning today becoming the first independently syndicated personality channel available on the platform. Ramsey’s show won’t air live though. The service will provide fans 24/7 access to the previous day’s content of the Dave Ramsey show and it will be updated daily on weekdays at 5:00 pm ET. Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “We are very proud of what the Dave Ramsey show has achieved with the help of our 500-plus existing radio affiliates. This new partnership with iHeartRadio provides the perfect platform to expose Dave’s straight talk on life and money to a new audience that now consumes media through mobile and online applications.”
Entercom Reports Q2 Revenue Flat. The second quarter of 2012 saw revenue flat at $104.6 million compared to the same quarter a year ago for Entercom. But the reduction in expenses of 5% produced a 10% rise in station operating income.
Entercom’s WEEI to Split AM and FM Signals; AM to Become ESPN Outlet. In a story from the Boston Globe, Entercom’s Boston sports talk brand WEEI will soon split the current simulcast of the radio station and make the 850 AM signal a full-time ESPN Radio outlet. WEEI has had a relationship with ESPN Radio for almost three years now with the station airing some ESPN programming and ESPN personalities such as Buster Olney making appearances on WEEI programs. It’s expected the regular national lineup of ESPN Radio shows will air on the signal when the split takes place in the early fall.
Mike Costa to Co-Host PM Drive at Xtra Sports 1360 in San Diego. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Diego cluster moves Mike Costa from his position as host of “The Show “ on rock KIOZ to co-host of the PM drive show on sports talk KLSD – Xtra Sports 1360 effective today. Costa is partnered up with Judson Richards for the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Costa, who’s been a sideline reporter for San Diego Chargers football for radio broadcasts, will continue in that role.
Award-Winning Journalist. WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta assistant program director Condace Pressley (c) accepts the 2012 Pioneer Journalist Award from actor Malcolm Jamal Warner (l) and Atlanta Association of Black Journalists president Tenisha Bell of CNN (r). Pressley received the honor during the 30th Pioneer Black Journalists Awards on July 29. The awards ceremony is a presentation of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists. Tenisha Bell says of Pressley, “Condace has spent her career mentoring and supporting young journalists who aspire to walk in her footsteps. She has always been an avid supporter of AABJ and its mission and I am thrilled that our membership has chosen her for this well-deserved award.”
Half-Hour Weekend Talk Show’s Success Inspires Music Show Syndicator to Eyeball More Spoken Word Offerings. Los Angeles-based MannGroup Radio, headed by radio vet and co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, Ed Mann, has avoided talk radio for almost the entire 14 years of its existence as an independent syndicator of such fare as GrooveWorx Imaging and music libraries, CPR consulting with Paige Nienaber, She Prep with Beth Bacall and other products geared to music stations. In early 2011, MG took on the marketing of a short 30 minute-per-weekend program for talk stations called “Issues Today with Bob Gourley,” the success of which has obviously meant a great deal to Mann. The fast-paced half hour, hosted by veteran broadcaster and Southern California-based journalist Bob Gourley, chronicles topical subjects from health to the economy. It began at KPPC where Gourley served as public affairs director. In a recent extremely candid conversation with the TALKERS editors, Mann reveals, “Extreme polarized talk has always left a sour taste in my mouth, particularly the very far right and left issues that never resolve on a broadcast forum, yet, as an avid listener of talk radio, I’ve always been starved for an intelligent, entertaining approach to issues for the day. As we’ve taken on this relatively small but meaningful program, Bob Gourley’s ‘Issues Today,’ and watched how it’s grown and how the affiliates and listeners embrace it, I’m more encouraged than ever to hear from producers, stations and hosts in the hope of developing and marketing other like-minded programs for national distribution that can cut a swath in talk radio without sitting on either side of the seesaw and sticking their tongues out at each other. Some have already come my way, and I sense a shift in the marketplace. Our company is jazzed at the notion of collaborating with producers, hosts and radio stations who can see the need on the listener level for level-headed broadcasting.” Independent hosts and producers can contact Mann at 310-346-4991 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fourth Station Joins the “Sports Animal Network.” KITO, Vinita, Oklahoma drops country and becomes the fourth station to join Oklahoma’s “Sports Animal Network.” The station is airing content from the Tulsa version of the network from KYAL, Muskogee/Tulsa. The programming includes shows from Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City as well as Yahoo! Sports Radio. The station will also broadcast Oklahoma University, Oklahoma State University and Tulsa football.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel’s WHAM and WHTK, Rochester will be the local radio home of the 95th PGA Championship to be played next summer – August 5 – 11, 2013 – at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester…..The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers will air on heritage news/talk KGO, San Francisco this season after airing on Cumulus Media’s sports KNBR and rock KSAN…..Stephen Giuttari becomes the operations manager for Townsquare Media’s Albany cluster that includes sports talk WTMM…..WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated personality Todd Schnitt today and Friday…..Account manager Cody Hicks announces his exit from Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk 790 The Zone — WQXI, Atlanta — where he worked his way up from promotions assistant to marketing director to account manager in eight years…..WFED, Washington morning drive host Francis Rose will be a regular substitute for Cumulus Media Networks’ John Batchelor live from New York once per month. Rose will also be a stand by fill-in host as needed for the program working from Cumulus’ studios at WMAL, Washington…..The NBA’s Portland Trailblazers jump across town as the team’s new radio flagship is Clear Channel’s KEX, Portland. Games had been heard on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL for the past 12 seasons.
Katz and West Catch Up. Old friends Jeff Katz, host of the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s Talk 1200 – WXKS, Boston – and Congressman Alan West, representing Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, pose for a photo on a recent Sunday during which the two participated in a series of speaking events around the Greater Boston area. Katz got to know West while the congressman was running for office and Katz was working at South Florida talk station WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale.
FM Talk Winning in PM Drive with Alan Cox Show on Cleveland’s Legendary Rocker WMMS-FM. The Alan Cox show is quietly defying the conventional wisdom about what talk targeting younger demos on FM is all about. Ensconced in afternoon drive on Clear Channel’s legendary rock outlet WMMS-FM, Cleveland, Cox’s success is not a widely told tale in the radio industry, in part because it doesn’t appear to be a piece of a corporately directed programming puzzle with companywide ambitions. Cox credits local management for daring to be innovative with spoken-word programming outside the realms of news/talk and sports talk. “’MMS, everybody knows, is a legendary station and management had the foresight to realize music on FM is kind of going away and to see if it can work with two talk products and it has worked amazingly well. The foresight that brought them to try this hybrid station also makes them realize that you have to honor the heritage the station has but everything has to move forward.” Read this entire story here.
Gil Gross Replaces Gene Burns in PM Drive at KKSF, San Francisco. Talk radio legend Gene Burns is not going away from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment San Francisco as he continues to rehab from a stroke he suffered last December but cluster director of operations Don Parker gives the PM drive slot to Gil Gross, who’s been one of those filling in for Burns since January. Parker states, “I’m thrilled to have Gil Gross aboard full time for the Bay Area’s only live and local afternoon drive talk show. With his extensive background in network news, everyone in news/talk radio knows the name Gil Gross. I couldn’t be happier to have KKSF be his new home. NewsTalk 910 has been very fortunate to have the highest caliber of talent filling in for Gene Burns since January. I’d like to thank John Rothman, Ed Baxter and Rosie Allen for their contributions and for continuing to play a role on NewsTalk 910 moving forward.” Burns will continue to blog at newstalk910.com and his Saturday “Dining Around” program will remain on the program schedule with Joel Riddell hosting . Additionally, John Rothman is named the station’s political analyst. He’ll contribute to the station’s talk shows and newscasts as well as serve as host for KKSF’s 2012 election coverage. Baxter and Allen will remain with the station for fill-in and blogging duties. On his new position, Gross states, “I am thrilled to keep the live, local talk flame alive in the Bay area. From the Occupy movement to Oscar Grant or the struggles of our economy, it’s important for the Bay area to have a platform to discuss today’s most pressing topics. I look forward to having my friend and colleague, Gene Burns, back in the line-up. I also look forward to building the future at NewsTalk 910, a unique station that will not be one point of view all day long.”
Tony Kornheiser Negotiating for Long-Term Deal to Remain on WTEM, Washington. Washington, DC-based sports media personality Tony Kornheiser tells his audience he hopes to be assured his radio talk show will be heard on Red Zebra’s WTEM – ESPN 980 for “another two years, at least.” The Washington Post reports director of programming Chuck Sapienza hinted the two sides are negotiating, quoting him saying, “Our goal has always been to have Tony with ESPN 980 long term, and we hope to have an official announcement soon.” Kornheiser will take much of the summer off from his radio show telling his audience he will do a few weeks of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” but will not do radio in July or August.
Terry Gross Celebrates 25 Years of National Syndication for “Fresh Air.” Tomorrow “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross will celebrate her 25th anniversary in national syndication via NPR. Gross began the program on WHYY-FM, Philadelphia – where the show is still based – in 1975. Gross tells the Philadelphia Daily News’ Dan Gross (no relation), “I fell in love with radio the moment I started doing it. I still find it a privilege to be able to talk to and engage in a pretty personal level with people whose work I respect.” Surprisingly for some, Gross tells the paper she counts Howard Stern among those whom she’d like to interview but has not. She says she’s a fan of his radio show.
Carmichael Dave Out at KHTK, Sacramento. The producer and sidekick to morning host and PD Don Geronimo and host of his own midday show exits the CBS Radio sports outlet. His tweets about his exit are vague but it appears Carmichael Dave is the victim of a budget-related maneuver. He tweets, “As of today I am no longer a part of CBS Radio…I’m getting a lot of response that this was contract related. I asked for nothing. I can’t go into details. Just know that I love the station and the people.” The station is airing DirecTV/Premiere’s Dan Patrick show in middays.
Analysis: The Legal Basis for the Bob Lonsberry Decision. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reviews the recent ruling by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department of New York in the defamation case filed against WHAM, Rochester talk show host Bob Lonsberry. Weisman writes that for talk hosts who make a living expressing their opinions, it’s important to note that “not all opinion is protected, but when it is made about a matter of public concern, the speaker is protected by the First Amendment.” Read Steven J.J. Weisman’s piece here.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio names Brian Thomas vice president of programming for its Tampa cluster that includes sports talk WQYK – 1010AM Sports…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc. begins distribution of Chuck Woolery’s “Save Us Chuck” political commentary feature on June 4. The game show legend states, “I started in radio and just love it! During all my years on television, I’ve come to realize that radio is truly the only medium where I can connect one-on-one with the audience and help to create real change.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles visits the foothill cities of the San Gabriel Valley as part of its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series. The broadcast will emanate from the Monrovia Coffee Company in the heart of Old Town Monrovia on June 1…..WTKK-FM, Boston midday talk host Doug Meehan’s listeners are launching a campaign to get the host an on-air audition with Kelly Ripa on ABC TV’s “Live! With Kelly.” Meehan has recorded his pitch to be on the show and posted it on WTKK’s website. He’s encouraging listeners to visit the “Live! With Kelly” website touting Meehan for a shot at a guest host appearance…..Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte regular fill-in host Wayne Powers wins his primary contest for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
First Caller Puts Curse on New Talk Show Host. What a way to start a new gig! Gregg Henson, the station’s program director who replaced afternoon drive host Pat Miller on WOWO, Fort Wayne, was greeted with a first call that sounded like something out of a Steven King novel. Not only did the listener with a heavy accent voice his disapproval of Henson and insult him by saying he is “a snake” who “doesn’t bring anything to the table” — he went on to actually put a curse on him! Check THIS out. Listen to the audio here.
2012 Presidential Race, Obama Gay Marriage Issue, Feds to Sue Arizona Sheriff Arpaio, and Putin Snubs Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9). The 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama’s change of heart on the gay marriage issue, the federal lawsuit being filed against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s backing out of meeting with President Obama and the G-8 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Media Veteran and Fenway Park Announcer Carl Beane Dies in Auto Crash. Fenway Park’s voice of the Boston Red Sox, Carl Beane, died Wednesday at age 59 after suffering a heart attack and crashing his car while driving. Beane won the Fenway Park gig after the 2002 season. He was a radio sports announcer, talk host, news reporter and more during his long career. In addition to stringing for AP, ESPN and SiriusXM, Beane had worked at WBZ, Boston and spent many years in the 1990s working at then talk/music hybrid WESO, Southbridge.
By Steven J. J. Weisman
BOSTON — The success of any talk show is based on lively, entertaining and sometimes offensive speech. This is guaranteed by the First Amendment. In the landmark 1964 United States Supreme Court case of New York Times v. Sullivan, Justice William Brennan wrote for the majority that we have a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks…”
The protection provided by the First Amendment is not unlimited however. When the speaker states mistruths with malice, that is he or she knows that what he is saying is a lie or makes statements with a reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statements, the speaker can be held responsible for libel or slander.
There is another source of protection, however, for those of us who make our living making sometimes controversial statements and that is “opinion.” Not all opinion is protected, but when it is made about a matter of public concern, the speaker is protected by the First Amendment and that was the recent ruling of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department of New York when it ruled in the case of Gisel v. Clear Channel Communications, Inc..
The plaintiff, John Gisel had been found not guilty of criminally negligent homicide in regard to his fatally shooting a man in a hunting accident. The day after his acquittal, Gisel’s sister, Jacqueline Inzinga, went on Bob Lonsberry’s talk show on WHAM, Rochester to discuss the case. During their on-air discussion, Lonsberry asked Inzinga how it felt to have a brother who was a “cold-blooded murderer” and whether he “put a notch in the stock of his gun as he kills people?” Lonsberry also stated “that the hunting incident could not have been an accident…”
As a result of those statements, Gisel sued for defamation.
However, the court dismissed the case as a matter of law without even an evidentiary trial by concluding that Lonsberry’s comments qualified as pure opinion. The court stated that reasonable listeners would not conclude that Lonsberry was making statements of fact, but rather of his opinion in regard to underlying facts that were well known to the general public through extensive media coverage of the incident and the judicial hearing. The court also emphasized Lonsberry’s talk show as a “forum for public debate on newsworthy topics, and his statements were made during an on-air debate with his listeners regarding plaintiff’s culpability and whether the jury had properly acquitted plaintiff.” The court noted that the “tone of Lonsberry’s statements were obviously intended to be caustic and confrontational rather than factual” and they found nothing wrong with that. The court concluded that his statements were constitutionally protected expressions of pure opinion and therefore protected by law.
Don Martin Interviewed on TALKERS TV. He is one of the most influential management figures in sports talk radio. Don Martin wears both national and local feathers in his sports cap serving as vice president/general manager of Fox Sports Radio and general manager/program director of sports talk KLAC, Los Angeles. TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian caught up with Martin at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20/11) and interviewed him about the state of sports talk radio including the local and national perspectives, where to find new talent and the importance of stations having play-by-play associations with a popular sports franchise. Martin also discusses the impact that the PPM is having on the sports talk genre saying that it is showing the format in a positive light. According to Martin, sports talk radio is one area of the talk media world that is less impacted by these difficult times than most. He credits the fact that so many talented hosts are out of work as providing a vibrant talent pool from which to pick when openings come and points to the continual crop of retiring athletes as being another source of potential sports talk broadcasters. Check out this must see video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
KSFO, San Francisco Makes Program Changes; Melanie Morgan Returns to AM Drive and J.D. Hayworth Takes Over Late Mornings. Almost four years after exiting the AM drive show she co-hosted with Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan is back on the Cumulus Media station alongside morning host Brian Sussman. KSFO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to have Melanie back on KSFO. She’s very popular with listeners and we’re looking forward to her many contributions on the revamped morning show.” Cumulus fills the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot vacated by Rush Limbaugh when the Premiere Networks star moved across town to Clear Channel’s new KKSF with former Arizona congressman KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth. Hayworth says of his new gig, “As a ‘recovering’ Congressman, I’ll ‘pull back the curtains’ and explain why politicians do the things they do. With the help of KSFO listeners, we’ll endeavor to provide common sense and clarity in these challenging and confusing times.”
Bob Lonsberry to Host Local Show for Clear Channel’s WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse. Bob Lonsberry tells the Syracuse Post-Standard he’ll make his new show local for Syracuse listeners even though he’ll be a commuter from his home market of Rochester where he hosts the midday show on WHAM. Lonsberry takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program beginning January 9. The shift was formerly held by Jim Reith who exited the station at the end of October. Lonsberry tells the paper, “I want something that literally speaks to a Syracuse listener, is representative of them and is a service to them.” Lonsberry will lead into WSYR-AM/FM’s 5:00 pm news-oriented “Daily Wrap with Joe Galuski and Kevin Schenk.”
Gene Burns to Begin KKSF, San Francisco Show Next Week After Apparent Health Issues. The new lineup at Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco began this week but former KGO talk host Gene Burns was missing in action. Numerous reports in the media trades cite a mini-stroke suffered by Burns as the reason he’s not on the air. However, Bay Area blogger Rich Lieberman reports that Burns did not suffer a stroke of any kind, that he has another unspecified medical condition and is expected to be on the radio next week.
WXOS-FM, St. Louis Tweaks Lineup; Former Cardinal Chris Duncan Moves to PM Drive. Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan from his role on the evening show to “The Fast Lane” PM drive program where he’ll work alongside Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr. Bob Ramsey, who had been part of the “Fast Lane” show, moves to the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show with co-host Brian Stull for the newly named “Stully & Rammer” show. Ramsey also maintains his role as voice of the St. Louis Billikens calling St. Louis University men’s basketball games on the station. Program director Kent Sterling states, “We are excited to put Chris Duncan on ‘The Fast Lane.’ He is a unique communicator with an incredible work ethic, and a great guy. He has lived a life in the eye of the sports hurricane and he speaks with an authority that is captivating. Media is all about finding great communicators and Chris is one of the most gifted in America.”
CBS Radio Announces Debut of DC All-News Outlet. CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington will hit the airwaves on January 19 and will feature the following talent lineup: Bill Rehkopf and Amy Morris in AM drive, Jenny Glick and Chas Henry in middays, Evan Haning and Nancy Lyons in PM drive, and Sarah Jacobs and Cheryl Simone in evenings. Program director Robert Sanchez says of the new station, “We are very excited to have put together such a great group of professionals who have spent many years covering local and national news. Each brings a specialty to WNEW creating a great team which will deliver important and compelling news that matters to local residents. When Washington needs to know, this team will have them covered.”
Rob Williams New OM/PD at WQRT, Cincinnati; New PM Drive Show Debuts. The Florence, Kentucky-licensed talk station owned by Christian Broadcasting System Ltd. names former Clear Channel programmer Rob Williams operations manager and program director for “Real Talk 1160” – WQRT. Williams replaces Cary Pall. At the same time, as talk host Andy Furman begins his new position hosting morning drive on the Fox Sports Radio Network, he leaves WQRT and makes way for “The Other Guys” afternoon sports talk show featuring Fox Sports Ohio’s Jeff Piecoro, former producer and co-host of the Furman show Rick “the Brick” Wall, and Metro Networks’ Jeremy “J-Lance” Lance.
Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Fracking-Related Earthquakes and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3). The GOP Iowa Caucuses held yesterday, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and warnings to the U.S. about carriers in the region, reports of earthquakes in Northeastern Ohio thought to be related to oil and gas fracking and the first financial markets activity of the new year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mona Lipschitz Debuts New Column. Full of gossip, rumors, personal asides and unbridled opinion about the industry and the people in it, Mona Lipschitz debuts her new column “Straight from The Lip” today at Talkers.com. In it she offers some keen insights about recent changes at Merlin Media and Cumulus Media as well as some pointed advice for Anderson Cooper. Mona has been the news editor of TALKERS magazine for the past 21 years and she knows where all the bodies are buried in this business. Let the dishing begin! To read the first installment of “Straight from The Lip,” click here.
TALKERS Top Talk Media Industry Stories for 2011.
TALKERS looks back at the top talk radio/media stories of 2011. It was a year marked by financial stress, corporate shuffling, format flips and the relentless march of technological change.
1. Radio Faces Continued Economic Hardship. Mired in debt and hampered by soft advertising sales, most radio broadcasting companies found 2011 to be challenging. Marked by cutbacks, limited budgets and job insecurity, talk radio – as well as all commercial radio – was a tough business in which to work.
2. Big Deals: Cumulus Closes Deal Buying Citadel. This was an enormous deal by any year’s standards with far ranging impact and implications on station formats and personnel — highlighted by serious material changes in format and personnel at KGO, San Francisco. Another significant deal of the year — Bonneville sells 17 Midwest/east major/large market stations to Hubbard Radio.
3. The Invasion of FM by Talk. 2011 was the year that the long-awaited migration of talk to the FM dial actually could be called a “trend” with numerous AM bastions picking up accompanying FM outlets for their programming. All signs point to this continuing in 2012 and beyond. Read the entire story here.
Geraldo Rivera Still a Possibility at KABC, Los Angeles? KABC, Los Angles talk host John Phillips’ recent e-mail to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan once again fires up the rumor mill leaving open the possibility that Geraldo Rivera – soon to be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – will also be heard on the company’s KABC. KABC management released the new program schedule on December 23 with Phillips listed as the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host but now Phillips states he’ll do that shift through January 27. After that? No one’s saying. So read into that what you will but if Cumulus is spending good money to develop a Geraldo radio show, why not put it on in the nation’s second largest market to give the sales team more to work with? As for Phillips and his show that will follow Doug McIntyre’s morning program beginning next week, he tells Lycan, “The thought is your morning commute doesn’t end at 9:00 am, so neither will we. McIntyre and I are good friends, and by that I mean he’s yet to run me over in the KABC parking lot with his car, so we’ll share the same ethos and won’t stop beating the drum about L.A. and OC issues that directly impact our listeners’ lives.”
WHAM, Rochester Adds More Bob Lonsberry and More Local News to Schedule. Clear Channel’s WHAM, Rochester announces a new program schedule to begin in 2012 that adds another half hour of popular Rochester personality Bob Lonsberry to the schedule. In addition to Lonsberry’s solo 9:00 am to 1:00 pm program, he’ll join the WHAM Morning News crew – Chet Walker, Shari Smith, Randy Gorbman and John DiTullio – for the new “1180 WHAM Free for All” show from 8:30 am to 9:00 am. Additionally, the station expands the “WHAM Afternoon News” to a two-hour format from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Speaking to the changes, CC Rochester VP/GM Kevin LeGrett states, “We are very excited about this new 1180 WHAM lineup, which features 12 hours of local Rochester programming daily. When it comes to Rochester’s adults, 1180 WHAM owns the franchise and consistently achieves excellent results for our listeners, community and advertisers.”
Brian Michel New Operations Manager at Clear Channel Atlanta. The five-station Clear Channel cluster that includes news/talk WGST has a new operations manager. Brian Michel comes to Atlanta from Salt Lake City where he was OM at Simmons’ stations there. While he’ll serve as program director for country WUBL-FM, OM for the entire Atlanta cluster and he’ll also be acting program director for WGST, which as reported earlier this week, may be getting an FM simulcast in the near future according to local rumors.
Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race, Iran’s Saber Rattling, 2011 Retrospective, Kim Jong Il Funeral Parade and Preliminary Holiday Retail Sales Figures Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The fast-approaching Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the year of 2011 in retrospect, the funeral parade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and positive preliminary holiday retail sales reports were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Clear Channel Names Jason Furst PD at WHAM, Rochester. Jason Furst adds programming oversight of Clear Channel’s news/talk WHAM, Rochester and sports WHTK-AM/FM to his duties. Furst programs WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse and will continue in that role. He will, however, give up the PD reins at CHR WWHT, Syracuse. Furst fills the vacant programming position in Rochester that opened when Jeff Howlett was let go from the station he’d been working at for the past 25 years.
Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Partners with WRTV-TV for News and Weather. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis announces a partnership with McGraw-Hill’s local ABC affiliate WRTV-TV for news and weather coverage. Emmis VP and market manager Charlie Morgan says of the new deal, “In our 21st-Century world of news and information consumption, it just makes sense for our TV and radio newsrooms to work together to ensure we are delivering the most relevant information to our consumers wherever they are…at home, at work, in their cars, wherever. This partnership will allow us to provide Indianapolis viewers and listeners with the latest information wherever they are, whether they are listening to the radio, watching TV, going online or on their mobile phones.” WRTV meteorologists Kevin Gregory, Todd Klaassen and Stephanie Ortmann will provide forecasts throughout the day on WIBC. They will also provide live updates during severe weather situations.
Buckley Broadcasting Adds FM Signal to KNZR, Bakersfield. The Buckley Broadcasting news/talk outlet at 1560 on the AM dial states on its website, “KNZR made Bakersfield radio history by being the first news/talk station in the market to simulcast on the FM dial. Our market leading 1560 AM news/talk programming is now also heard on 97.7 FM. The move to simulcast on FM allows us to better serve our local community as well as provide increased audience reach and value to our advertisers.” To accommodate the move, Buckley drops AC music on KSMJ licensed to Shafter, California.
WTOP-FM, Washington Hires Former CNN Correspondent. Jeanne Meserve worked at cable news giant CNN for the past 20 years – most recently as homeland security correspondent. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington brings her aboard as a freelance anchor.
KTRH, Houston’s Matt Patrick Has Busy Black Friday. It’s safe to say KTRH, Houston morning drive host Matt Patrick will not be at the shopping mall on Friday. Patrick hosts his regular AM drive show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then fills in for Bill Cunningham on WLW, Cincinnati from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. But wait there’s more! Patrick will sit in for fellow Clear Channel Houston host Michael Berry on KTRH from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Thanksgiving Holiday, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Super Committee Failure, Immigration Law Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/22). The Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the GOP contenders for president in 2012, the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis, the effect the Super Committee’s failure to address U.S. debt and challenges to states’ immigration laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.