TALKERS 2016 ‘Heavy Hundred’ Published. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine announces the posting of the 2016 installment of the publication’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America.” This is the 21st consecutive year that the talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 26th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list – also known as “The Heavy Hundred.” According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This year’s list includes a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers and some radio pros who are in new situations.” Casey continues, “Needless to say, compiling this list is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.” View the 2016 Heavy Hundred here.
Dan Steele Exits WHP, Harrisburg. Radio pro Dan Steele informs his listeners that he’s exited iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHP, Harrisburg where he co-hosted the morning drive program with RJ Harris. Sixty-nine-year-old Steele tells TALKERS magazine that he was a victim of “economics” and was let go by the station he’d been with for 12 years. Steele – real name Louis Braasch – says he started his radio career in Harrisburg in 1971 as a part-timer at WKBO. Over the years he worked at such signals as KTSA, San Antonio; WPGC, Washington; and WFEC, WSFM and WHBO in Harrisburg.
Rush Limbaugh’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Cure-A-Thon Raises $3.3 Million. Aided by a $650,000 donation from Rush Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn, the Limbaugh program helped raise more than $3.3 million for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America during last Friday’s 26th annual Cure-A-Thon broadcast. Limbaugh dedicated portions of his three-hour show to encourage listeners to join the effort to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Over the past 26 years, Limbaugh and his audience have collectively raised more than $47 million dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, helping provide much-needed research and support for individuals and families affected by blood cancer diseases. Limbaugh says, “Every year I think it’s going to be the year that we finally have topped out and we’re not going to be able to beat the previous year. And I’ve never been right. I and everybody at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America thank you from the bottom of our sizable beating hearts.”
The Presidential Race, Panama Papers Fallout, European Terror Bombings Investigation, Battle Against Islamic State, North Korea Nuke Threats, and North Carolina-Mississippi Anti-LGBT Laws Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/11). The activities of the candidates for president and the controversy over delegate acquisition; the ongoing investigations into the perpetrators of the Paris and Brussels terror bombings; the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; the threats of nuclear attack on South Korea and the U.S. by North Korea; and the fallout over anti-LGBT laws in North Carolina and Mississippi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of March 2016 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of March 2016 PPM ratings 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 March 2016 survey period covered February 25 – March 23. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
KLIV, San Jose to Flip from News to Classic Country; Cost of Operation ‘Too Great.’ Soon the programming at KLIV, San Jose “Silicon Valley News” will flip from news to classic country as Empire Broadcasting makes a change that station president Robert Kieve tells listeners is a function of economics. He posts on the station’s website that “the high expenses of running a news station and declining ad revenues have become too great. Indeed, in the 30 years that KLIV has been a local news station, it has never made a profit; it has lost money every year. 2015 was the worst year in our history. We’ll retain many features that have made KLIV distinctive – Carl Guardino’s weekly programs, our traffic reports, the voice of John McLeod, Phil Cosentino’s Produce Reports, commentaries about local issues, speakers from the San Jose Rotary Club and from the Commonwealth Club…We will miss our small news staff, especially its leader, George Sampson. They’ve done a wonderful job.” The KLIV staff is pictured here with Kieve (bottom, left).
Michael Harrison Interviews KOZT Co-owner Tom Yates About the Past, Present and Future of FM Album Rock Radio. In an extraordinary conversation covering the big picture view of FM album rock radio, the man “still living the dream,” KOZT, Fort Bragg, CA co-owner and air personality Tom Yates, talks about his experiences at the helm of one of the few remaining full-service “AOR” stations (album oriented rock) still in existence on this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Yates and his wife (and business partner) Vicky Watts, bought the small Mendocino County station a quarter century ago, hired an air staff of accomplished “refugees” from major market West Coast rock radio, and installed a format that continues in the tradition of FM album rock radio in its golden era. Yates, one of the pioneers of the genre, was the first program director of KLOS, Los Angeles in the early 1970s and left his fingerprints on such major outlets along the way as PD of KMPX and KLSX in Los Angeles; KSAN and “The City” in San Francisco, as well as stations across the nation as a consultant and managing editor of the then-influential trade publication, Goodphone Weekly. Since its launch, KOZT (known as “The Coast”) has been nationally recognized and honored as a fantastic station picking up, along the way, an NAB Marconi Award for Best Rock station as well as three of that organization’s Crystal Awards for outstanding community service. The station is ranked #1 in adults in the Mendocino County market and is a great example of a small broadcast station developing a huge and loyal online following across the nation and around the world. KOZT is a great radio story and you can hear it in its entirety by clicking here or clicking on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page at Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. In what Westwood One is calling an unprecedented distribution arrangement, five all-news and news/talk stations in New York – WABC, WINS, WCBS, WOR and WBBR – will air the network’s coverage of Thursday night’s Democratic debate live from the Duggal Greenhouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The debate airs live from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm on the radio and on CNN with Wolf Blitzer moderating…..Wyoming radio company Legend Communications names Mark Crump executive vice president and general manager of the Big Horn Radio Network – a nine-station, Cody-based cluster including: hot country KZMQ-FM, hot AC KKLX-FM, classic rock KCGL-FM, hot AC KTAG-FM, oldies KYTS-FM, classic country KCWB-FM, news/talk/sports KWOR-AM and KODI-AM, and oldies KZMQ-AM.
Latest Gallup News Poll Puts Radio at Back of the Pack. The just-released Gallup poll of Americans’ news consumption habits provides good news for television but not such good news for radio and print. According to the study, among persons 30 to 49 years old, 50% named television as their preferred news medium, 28% said the internet was their first choice; 7% said radio and 6% said print. Among the 18 to 29 demographic, radio fell behind print at just 3%. While this study will be interpreted by some as another nail in the coffin for radio news, the reality is it’s not as cut-and-dried as that. First, even radio practitioners would be hard pressed to expect radio to be considered a primary news source across a broad spectrum of the population in this day and age. It’s hardly surprising that television and the internet are first and second, respectively. It’s the very reason that forward-thinking radio news operations are moving into the digital world. Most radio news people would admit that they are focused on serving people during their commute – something that television cannot do although is something that the internet is becoming better at doing as it gains access to moving vehicles. Other factors to be considered are more nebulous. In major markets with heritage radio news operations radio probably enjoys a better place in the minds of news consumers. Survey the top 10 media markets only and radio may fare a bit better on a percentage basis. Also, as part of a morning radio show (in just about any format), the news segment may not even be thought of by the listener as a “news program” yet it remains an indispensable part of most radio morning shows.
And Speaking of News. Longtime radio programmer and media creative officer Lee Abrams is preparing to debut his new video news service called TouchVision. Abrams, along with co-founders Steve Saslow and Brandon Davis are calling the new service “the revolutionary way to reach America’s new mainstream on all devices with a complete re-imagination of news and information.” The live, 24/7 channel will differ from most news platforms in that it will feature no anchors. Content airs simultaneously online, on TV, on phones and tablets. TouchVision says, “The story is the star.” TouchVision also states the programming is “a partnership with broadcasters on a DMA-exclusive basis using their digital assets.” The programming clock indicates time for local news, weather and sports in addition to the unique programming elements and world and national news coverage. You can check out TouchVision’s site here.
Audience Research: The Dunkin’ Donuts Method. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from his summer tour of client stations across America. He writes that programmers can learn a lot from eavesdropping on conversations at donut shops and lunch counters. He predicts, “You’ll note a disconnect between what you hear, and lots of what talk radio is trying to force-feed ‘em. Example: While cable and radio pundits are shocked…SHOCKED…by revelations about beyond-Patriot Act NSA surveillance, coffee gulpers shrug that they’ve suspected it all along. I’ve overheard parents say they’re using the story as an opportunity to wag a finger in their kids’ faces about what they disclose online.” Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Jerry Proctor of The Proctor Group, Inc. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Jerry Proctor of The Proctor Group, Inc. Proctor brings years of experience to the broker business and describes the deal scene as follows: “Television is undergoing a consolidation revolution such as occurred in the radio business a few years ago. Consequently, television station prices are returning to pre-recession levels and the consolidations continue with prices still climbing. Radio is still suffering some of the lingering effects of the recession. Station prices are recovering but that part of the broadcast industry is being held back due to the lack of available financing. That’s one of the reasons you see so many LMA opportunities….many with purchase options attached. The larger and dominant companies in radio are primarily trading among themselves with some small amount of consolidations continuing. That leaves the lower tier of stations more available to smaller operators. Many owners in this tier of stations are now retiring and want to sell. I view NOW as being an excellent time to acquire those stations….if the buyer can find the financing to buy. Unfortunately, a buyer today MUST have more than two nickels to rub together if they’re going to boot-strap a station purchase!” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
KCBS, San Francisco’s Hal Ramey Returns to Work After Lengthy Vocal Problem. Sports anchor Hal Ramey returned to work at KCBS, San Francisco on July 1 after almost four months off the air due to a nodule on his vocal cords. The Walnut Creek Patch reports that back in February, Ramey noticed his voice was getting a little hoarse. Doctors advised him to give it a little rest but it just got worse. He was told to rest it completely – no talking at all – but after a while it only shrank 60% and doctors decided to operate. The non-cancerous growth was removed on May 9 and Ramey was able to return to work seven weeks later.
Odds & Sods. WHP, Harrisburg afternoon drive host Bob Durgin will retire from his position there on August 2 after a 24-year career at the station. Clear Channel is beginning a search to replace Durgin…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles announces the next in its “On Your Corner” series in which the all-news outlet will spotlight San Pedro and the Palos Verdes Peninsula on Friday, July 19 with a day of live broadcasts from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. The station says it will focus on key issues and happenings in San Pedro and the Port of Los Angeles, along with the peninsula communities of Palos Verdes, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates. Civic leaders and other guests will be featured during the special broadcast to give Southern Californians insight into the unique attributes, history and future development in the area.
‘Radio and the Connected Car’ Super Session Scheduled for 2013 Radio Show. The National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau announce the 2013 Radio Show in Orlando will feature a Super Session titled, “Radio and the Connected Car” taking place on Thursday, September 19 at 9:15 am. The NAB and RAB say the panel will feature “leading strategists, analysts and researchers discussing developments in the connected car, what consumers want and where the technology is headed. This session will reveal data from surveys, focus groups and consumer clinics along with sneak peeks at what car makers and their suppliers have in store for the dashboard of the future. Participants will offer specific recommendations on what radio can do now to maintain its prominence in the automobile for years to come.” Participants will include: Roger C. Lanctot, associate director, Global Automotive Practice at Strategy Analytics; and Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media. Bill Rose, senior vice president, marketing at Arbitron, will provide introductory remarks.
Charlie Vogt Appointed CEO of Harris Broadcast. Charlie Vogt comes to Harris Broadcast from his most recent position as president and CEO of GENBAND where he led a company transformation that encompassed six acquisitions, including Tekelec SSG, NextPoint Networks and Nortel’s VoIP Business. Harris Broadcast, recently acquired by The Gores Group, defines itself as “a global supplier of networking, routing and software solutions that create, manage, transmit, distribute and monetize multimedia content.” Vogt succeeds Harris Morris, who was appointed president of Harris Broadcast when it was a subsidiary of Harris Corporation in 2010, led the company through its divestiture process and guided the transition period to The Gores Group ownership, including the completion of fiscal year 2013. Harris Broadcast chairman and board member of Dish Network, Carl Vogel, states, “Charlie’s proven track record of taking companies with powerful and promising technology to the next level uniquely positions him to lead this business. His decision to join Harris Broadcast as president and CEO likewise reflects the promise and potential behind the company’s market-leading technology, marquee customers and exceptional employees. Charlie will bring to Harris Broadcast vision, leadership, creativity and operational discipline as well as an entrepreneurial and customer-first culture.” Vogt says of his new position, “I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about joining Harris Broadcast, especially at a time when broadcasters, cable networks and multi-channel content distributors are experiencing so much change – from the impact of on-demand to content delivery on multiple screens and the digital transition to video and audio over IP. I have spent my professional career building businesses, fostering an entrepreneurial culture and introducing disruptive technologies that transform business models. I look forward to leading the Harris Broadcast team to accelerate innovation in areas that will enable the company to experience market-leading growth.”
ESPN Radio Begins Annual ‘Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction.’ ESPN Radio announces it is presenting the “9th Annual Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” going on now through July 17. The online and on-air public auction features hundreds of items and experiences for bid to raise money and awareness for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The event has raised more than $5.7 million over the first eight years of the fundraiser. A majority of the nearly 200 experiences and items in the auction will be available online via www.espnradio.com or ebay.com (now through July 17) while a total of 18 fan “experiences” will be auctioned live on air across ESPN Radio’s national shows on July 17 from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Listeners can call 1-800-4JimmyV or log onto www.jimmyv.org to both donate and bid on items and experiences in the radio-thon, with the highest bidder at 59 minutes past each hour winning the experience.
Asiana Air S.F. Crash Landing, Egypt Turmoil, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Reform/Amnesty, and Eliot Spitzer Comptroller Candidacy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The crash landing of an Asiana Airlines jet at the San Francisco airport; the violence and turmoil in Egypt after a military-forced change of regimes in the Middle Eastern state; ongoing concerns over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; legislation addressing illegal immigration and a proposal for amnesty for illegals already here; and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plans to run for comptroller of New York City.