WBZ, Boston and WBZ-TV Win Peabody Award for Marathon Bombing Coverage. The CBS-owned television station and all-news radio outlet are being honored with a 2013 George Foster Peabody Award for overall excellence for their combined coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. The citation from the Peabody Awards states: “Out in force to cover the annual marathon, both WBZ-TV and Newsradio 1030 had a journalistic advantage when the bombs detonated. Neither gave it up as their reporters spent hour after hour on the air providing wide-ranging, enterprising, non-sensational coverage of the casualties, the suspects and the intense, nerve-wracking manhunt. They become crucial sources not just to their city but to a stunned nation.” The awards will be delivered during the ceremony to take place in New York on May 19.
WABC, New York Covers Final Four. As the battle to claim the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship title continues this weekend, Cumulus Media news/talker WABC, New York covers it from Dallas with Geraldo show regulars Noam Laden and Jared Max sitting in for Geraldo live from radio row on Friday and Monday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. They will also produce a special wabcradio.com only broadcast slated for Saturday April 5 at 10:00 am ET. WABC also partnered with WestwoodOne for a series of March Madness promotions including the Greatest Moments in Tournament History vignettes and an exclusive fly-away promotion to the Men’s National Championship game. Program director Craig Schwalb says, “Working with WestwoodOne on these opportunities is a huge win for our listeners and clients. Our audience is into the excitement, the personalities, and the stories surrounding the Final Four, and so is 77 WABC!”
‘102.5 The Bone’ Tampa Personality Cowhead to Drop Nickname; Seek Syndication Deal. In a piece in the Tampa Bay Times, WHPT, Tampa afternoon drive personality Mike Calta – who goes by the nickname Cowhead on the radio – says he will give up the sobriquet and begin the next phase of his career using his real name as of April 14. In fact, he’ll host an on-air funeral for the moniker. He tells the paper, “When I started at the ‘Power Pig,’ everybody had those types of names. I was Big Mike for a while but that didn’t really stick. Then they asked me if I ever had any nicknames in high school and I remembered that a few people called me Cowhead and it sort of stuck. The minute I said it I immediately regretted it…I think times change. Even the ‘Power Pig’ changed its name. As times change and you age, it just gets silly.” Calta also tells the Times that his contract with Cox Media is up in June and he’s looking to have a syndication deal be part of negotiations.
CBS Revamps Radio.com. Calling it part of the evolution of CBS Local Digital Media, the company announces the debut of the new Radio.com. The company says in a statement, “Four years ago, we launched our new digital media business, rethinking the way CBS’s radio and television stations operate online and in the mobile space. Since then, we have evolved into the largest digital business in local broadcast media. There are few companies that have the radio, television, digital, out-of-home, and events platforms we do, and as a result we’re able to better leverage our local market properties with national scale. As leaders in integrating digital and traditional media into experiences that resonate with consumers, we take our next step forward in that regard with the debut of the new Radio.com website and streaming player. More than just live audio and video simulcasts of our stations, Radio.com presents original programming, live webcasts, exclusive editorial features and storytelling, and interviews with some of the biggest artists and personalities in the world. Indeed, we have taken a different strategy than others in the industry by recognizing that this ‘other’ content has tremendous value to our audiences. The popularity of our programs has demonstrated our thinking is correct.” Highlights of the new Radio.com include: a fresh look and feel, with improved interactivity; ability to be embedded on other sites; improved ad insertion capabilities; better-quality playback and streaming; program schedules available in real-time; expanded social media opportunities; play history; artist and track information integration; simple song purchase; and enhanced station guide and navigation experience. CBS promises updated mobile apps in the coming months.
Beck’s TheBlaze TV Added to Cable ONE Menu. It’s another cable company addition for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV. His 24/7 news, opinion and entertainment network channel is being added to Cable ONE. A statement from TheBlaze says Cable ONE is America’s 11th largest cable operator. This addition gives the TheBlaze TV “distribution on 54 television providers nationwide including seven of the top 30.” Cable ONE serves customers in 42 markets in 19 states, including Biloxi/Gulfport, Boise, Phoenix/Prescott, and Sioux City, among others. Cable ONE vice president of marketing Joe Falbab says, “We are very excited about adding TheBlaze to the Cable ONE lineup. Our customers have requested this channel and we are happy to be able to respond to that request. We are committed to listening to our customers and will continue to deliver to them the best possible programming.”
Emmis Reports Q4 Revenue Up 11%. Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corporation operates on a fiscal year calendar and its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended February 28, 2014. The company reports that its Q4 revenue jumped to $32.4 million from $29.1 million a year prior. If you cut out WEPN, New York (which is being operated by ESPN under an LMA), revenue was up 12% for the quarter. For the full year fiscal 2014, net radio revenue hit the $145.4 million mark realizing an increase in net revenue of 5% over 2013. In a press release this morning, the company reports “these results also outperformed Emmis’ local radio markets in which revenue growth improved 3% for the year.” President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Fiscal 2014 marked the fourth consecutive year we have outperformed our local radio markets and the radio industry as a whole. Our strong operating performance is the result of sound strategy and its execution by a phenomenal workforce that makes me so proud. We are very excited about the addition of WBLS and WLIB in New York and the momentum behind NextRadio as we head into fiscal 2015.”
NAB Radio Board Election Results. The results of the NAB Radio Board election are in and the members who will serve two-year terms beginning in June are: Pete Booker, president and CEO, Delmarva Broadcasting Company; Steven Cutler, EVP business development and corporate strategy, Clear Channel; Gary Exline, general manager, Eagle Communications, Inc.; Kim Guthrie, EVP, Cox Media Group; Erik Hellum, EVP, Townsquare Media; Deon Levingston, SVP/market manager, Emmis Communications; Margaret Perkins, president and CEO, First Natchez Radio Group; Mary Quass, president and CEO, NRG Media, LLC; Joe Schwartz, president and CEO, Cherry Creek Radio; Jose Valle, president, Univision Radio; Thomas Walker, president, Mid-West Family Broadcasting.
Odds & Sods. The WPHT Speaker Series – produced by CBS RADIO news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia – continues this evening (4/3) as station personality Dom Giordano interviews Tea Party leader, former Florida Congressman and veteran Lt. Col. Allen West at Valley Forge Military Academy and College. West is the author of the new book Guardian of the Republic…..Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington is sponsoring its “Click for a Cause” online contest that will give Washington, D.C. non-profits the chance to win cash and free commercial air time on WTOP. There will be three grand prizes of $10,000 each with runners up winning $5,000 worth of commercials to advertise their cause on WTOP…..WELW, Willoughby, Ohio changes its calls and brand. The Spirit Broadcasting-owned station is using the WINT calls and has branded the station “1330 WINTegrity Radio.” Station president Ray Somich says the change comes ahead of a major expansion to take place this summer. The station has served communities to the east of Cleveland for the past 50 years.
Deadly Fort Hood Shooting, ObamaCare Criticism, SCOTUS Campaign Donor Limits Ruling, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Russian Aggression and House Benghazi Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2). The shooting at Fort Hood that claimed the lives of four and the preliminary investigation; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism of the White House “victory” presser; the Supreme Court ruling killing limits on personal campaign donations; speculation about political power shifts after the mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; worries over Russia’s plans for Ukraine and other former Soviet bloc nations and President Obama’s tactics versus Vladimir Putin; and the Congressional hearings on the Benghazi incident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel and Tom Brokaw Partner on Daily Features. The three-times-daily feature is being called “An American Story” and will feature a wide range of topics — from newsworthy current events to historic figures to notable moments in history — which impact the lives of Americans today. Tom Schurr, president of major markets for Clear Channel, says, “There are few public figures as respected as Tom Brokaw, one of the most trusted journalists in America. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring his insights and perspectives to our listeners across the country.” Brokaw adds, “I am grateful to Clear Channel for the opportunity to offer observations on the dynamic changes in America as well as the lessons from our past. Radio is where I began and it’s good to add it once again to my television duties.”
The State of Radio Advertising and Sales. Fresh from the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference in Hollywood (10/10), the video of “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel moderated by RAB CEO/president Erica Farber is now posted (10/28) on TalkersTV. The panelists participating in this comprehensive discussion about the ongoing challenges of generating revenue for radio broadcasting operations include (from l-r): Terry Fahy, VP/GM, Salem, Los Angeles; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD/WYM Media; Bob Moore, president, Sports USA Media; and Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany. Erica Farber (far right) is introduced by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. To see this exclusive presentation in its entirety, please see the box marked TalkersTV on the upper right hand column of this page.
Cox Media Group’s Hot Talk ‘The Bone’ Buys ‘Fire Schiano’ Billboard. NFL fans in Tampa Bay are not happy with the Buccaneers’ 0-7 record and neither is local hot talk station WHPT “The Bone.” The station bought a billboard in town that simply says, “Fire Schiano” – referencing the team’s coach Greg Schiano – and has the station’s logo in the bottom right corner. Program director Michael Sharkey tells ESPN.com, “Our listeners have voiced their opinion that they are tired of a team that, on paper, should have a winning record. This billboard isn’t a message to the Buccaneers as much as it is a message to our listeners that we are right there with them.” Photo by Brett McMurphy.
Best in SoCal Radio Creative Recognized. The Southern California Broadcasters Association and its General Sales Managers Council honored the Southern California Ford Dealers, AIS Insurance, In-N-Out Burger, and Cedars-Sinai with its annual Outstanding Achievement in Radio Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 24, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. The awards – voted on by the GSM Council – represent the very best in creative radio commercials using both Southern California’s radio and digital platforms. The event was highlighted by the special appearance of Mayor Eric Garcetti who recognized the “enormous contribution that local Radio makes to the Los Angeles region” and personally congratulated each SCBA award winner. SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “This SCBA awards luncheon was a huge success for Southern California radio. We had a complete sell out, recognized great Southern California advertisers, and presented a special lifetime achievement award for Cal Worthington, a southern California auto dealer icon.” Pictured here are: (seated left to right) Nick Worthington, Worthington Ford; Dennis Shannon, FDAASC chairman, Citrus Motors; Kevin Roberts, FDAASC vice president, Lake Elsinore Ford; (standing): Miles Sexton, president, Point Broadcasting; Mark Casas, SVP/sales, AIS Insurance; Greg Ashlock, president/market manager Clear Channel Los Angeles; Michelle Guzman, director of marketing, In-N-Out Burger; Amber Perry, GSM council chair & GSM, KRTH; Jaime Jimenez, SVP/general manager, Univision Radio; Mark Ribisi, president/CEO, AIS Insurance; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Dan Kearney, SVP/market manager, CBS Radio; Thom Callahan, president, SCBA; Marko Radlovic, president/general manager, Cumulus Los Angeles; Val Maki, vice president, Emmis Radio/KPWR.
Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Hugh Hewitt appeared at a luncheon debate event sponsored by O&O WHK, Cleveland dubbed, “Constitution Under Fire” at a local restaurant. The program included a debate between Hewitt and noted civil rights attorney Avery Friedman. Topics discussed included the Affordable Care Act, presidential overreach and the interpretation of the Constitution…..CBS Radio’s WIP-AM, Philadelphia “CBS Sports Radio” agrees with St. Joseph’s University to serve as the flagship station for the school’s men’s basketball play-by-play for the 2013-14 season. In addition to airing games, the station will again serve as the host for Phil Martelli‘s “HawkTalk” radio show which will air live on Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and will be held again at J.D. McGillicuddys in Havertown and consist of a call-in format with Martelli and host Joe Lunardi…..Entercom’s WEEI, Boston continues its coverage of the Boston Red Sox-St. Louis Cardinals World Series as today’s sports talk programs are emanating from St. Louis. After the Dennis & Callahan morning show, the midday Mut & Merloni program airs followed by an extended edition of Salk & Holley beginning at 2:00 pm and leading into the pre-game show with Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione and the first pitch of Game 5 at 8:07 pm.
Busy Fundraising Weekend for Dr. Daliah Wachs. Nationally syndicated talk show host (and practicing physician) Dr. Daliah Wachs – pictured here in her French maid Halloween costume – is very involved in fundraising for causes in which she believes and this was a busy weekend for her. First, on Friday (10/25), Dr. Wachs appeared with Las Vegas radio personality Al B Sure at the “Dressed to Thrill” masquerade ball at Michael Jackson’s “Thriller Villa” to benefit the Shine Foundation that assists homeless veterans. Then on Saturday, Dr. Wachs attended the Monster Mash Car Bash that benefits F.A.S.T. (Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow).
Robin Hood Sandy Relief Fund Drive Takes Place Tomorrow at CC’s New York Stations. On Tuesday, October 29, Clear Channel’s New York City stations are urging listeners to continue assisting those recovering from last year’s devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy by texting STORM to 50555 to give $10 to the Robin Hood Sandy Relief Fund. Clear Channel says that in addition to co-producing last year’s 12-12-12 benefit concert, it is continuing “to assist in the relief work in the coming months, or even years, until all of the impacted communities are on the road to recovery.” The stations are also asking listeners to share their Sandy hero stories with the hashtag #SandyHero to share how those around them managed the storm, and helped others along the way.
Cox Media Trims Two Positions at Hot Talk “102.5 The Bone” in Tampa. The Tampa Bay Times’ Eric Deggans reports the firing of two air personalities at Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” – evening host Matt “Spice” Lloyd and early morning personality Chris Fisher. Fisher tells Deggans he wasn’t surprised by his dismissal saying he didn’t believe Cox was going to continue to pay him a full-time salary to host the 3:00 am to 5:00 am “The Fisher Experiment” program. “I knew overnights were just a placeholder until they could figure out what to do with me. It wasn’t about performance…I just realized this is part of the business.” As for Lloyd – a former member of WHPT-based Bubba the Love Sponge’s morning show – he Tweeted that his ratings were good (#1 in his demo and time slot) but that his contentious relationship with Bubba may have led to his departure. “Revenge is the best revenge…right Bubba? Just checking…” How much influence Bubba has over the station’s lineup is unknown. Regardless, there’s a hole in the station’s lineup from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on the WHPT website for now.
Rumors of the Biggest Radio Deal of the Year Wake Industry from End-of-Summer Doldrums. Numerous industry sources and trade journals are speculating that Cumulus Media is very close to announcing a deal to acquire Dial Global. The enticing story is further enhanced by rumors that the Dial Global programming could soon be heard under one of its previously-owned and utilized banners, Westwood One – the name to which Dial Global still has the rights after the high profile “merger” of the companies back in 2011 in which parent company Triton Media Group absorbed Westwood One into its Dial Global property – and that Cumulus Media plans to offset some of the cost of the acquisition by selling some of its small- and medium-market stations to Townsquare Media which has been in an acquisition mode. If consummated, Cumulus would have the sports play-by-play that’s been the bread and butter of the former Westwood One and would also obtain the Dial Global 24/7 music formats, some of which would be duplicative of its own music formats that came with the acquisition of the old ABC Radio Networks. This is not to mention, of course, the sales and programming staff that come with each. The big question on everyone’s mind is what does this all mean in terms of a master business strategy and how implementation of that strategy will influence jobs and the various players’ control over the marketplace? First of all, everything already published in the industry about this has been based on rumor and speculation with little clarified information being directly provided by the principals involved. That being acknowledged, should such a deal or set of deals come to fruition, it is highly likely that the answers to these questions will come as an afterthought…or certainly after the deals are consummated. As for now, the main impetus at work is the intense need on the part of both Cumulus and Dial Global to avoid or at least forestall the debt crisis facing each of them in a mutually advantageous way and, hopefully, make some sense out of the pieces after the new configuration resulting from such a deal fall into place. As far as Townsquare is concerned, if all of this is true, they are being intelligently opportunistic in their move to build a larger and more potent ownership of viable radio broadcasting outlets and are probably staying up late at night sharpening their pencils. Stay tuned!
HOLLAND COOKE: The Best of the West. Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s end-of-summer vacation to California provided him the chance to pocket some consultant “gold nuggets” in the form of in-market observations of some the best radio in the West. There’s a lot of good radio being done in the Golden State but Cooke offers up three examples that really stuck with him and that apply to practitioners of both talk and music formats. Take a few minutes to dig into HC’s thoughts about KGO’s Ronn Owens; CBS Radio’s “K-Earth” and baseball on the radio here.
Helen Glover Out at WHJJ, Providence; Ron St. Pierre to Take Over AM Drive. The Providence Journal’s Andy Smith reports that Clear Channel news/talker WHJJ, Providence has let morning host Helen Glover go and will replace her with Ron St. Pierre. Though the hiring of St. Pierre for the morning show has not been confirmed, Glover – a 2002 “Survivor” finalist – confirms to Smith she’s out, “I always knew this would happen one day, I just didn’t know it would be today.” Glover had been with WHJJ for almost eight years. Ron St. Pierre exited WPRO earlier this year. He had served as program director at WPRO for many years, hosted morning drive and was executive producer of the Buddy Cianci program at the time he left the Cumulus Media news/talk station.
Stan Piatt Announces Retirement from WNIR, Akron After 36 Years. Morning drive personality Stan Piatt will retire from Media Com’s WNIR, Akron at the end of July next year – or earlier depending on the success of the station’s search for a replacement. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Piatt has a girlfriend working in Pittsburgh to whom he’d like to be closer and that he’s finally decided to leave for the Steel City. As for WNIR, program director Bill Klaus is beginning the hiring process for the next morning show host at one of the country’s first FM talk stations. He says, “We are seeking a morning drive personality or team with the skills to be fun, funny and engaging in a live ad-lib environment. Applicants should email a resume and aircheck to email@example.com. Media-Com is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Fires at Texas Governor Rick Perry Via Ad on KTRS, St. Louis. Regarding the story TALKERS reported on Monday (8/26) about CH Holdings-owned news/talk outlet KTRS, St. Louis pulling the ads purchased by the state of Texas after it was discovered they were not promoting tourism but were touting reasons Missouri businesses should consider moving to Texas, there’s been a development. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon voiced his own spot that’s been airing on KTRS that counters many of the arguments Governor Rick Perry tries to make in support of Texas’ business-friendly atmosphere. According to a transcript published by KDSK-TV, St. Louis, Nixon states: “One: Missouri has lower property taxes than Texas. And lower sales taxes. Two: Our students score higher on standardized tests. Graduation rates are higher. Three: Missouri’s unemployment rate; below the national average for 4 years. And unlike Texas, Missouri has a perfect Triple-A credit rating…And as for the Governor of Texas, he’ll learn you don’t mess with folks here in the Show Me State.” Nixon says the money KTRS received for his spot makes up for what it lost by cancelling the Texas ad. KTRS morning drive host McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS he will have Rick Perry on his program Thursday morning to discuss the issue.
SiriusXM and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Extend Contract. Sports talk host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo extends his deal with SiriusXM for another three years. The extension means the Mad Dog Radio channel will continue through the end of 2016. In addition to the extension, Russo – who gained his fame as a sports talk host working alongside Mike Francesa on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York – will also host a program on the MLB Network that will be simulcast on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM. In addition to programming the Mad Dog Radio channel, Russo hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed,” – a three-hour afternoon program. Russo states, “I’ve always loved the on-air freedom that comes with being on SiriusXM. I can do the kind of show here that I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else and I’m fortunate to be able to continue to give my listeners my kind of sports talk radio each and every day on ‘Mad Dog Unleashed.’ I’ll also get to emphasize my passion for baseball with my new role on MLB Network Radio and MLB Network, where I’ll be talking to dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans like me throughout the year. This is a terrific opportunity that allows me to do what I do best, while also reaching new audiences.”
WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment Turns to Aguilera. In this case, we are referring to the parent company of “The Kim Komando Show” appointing Christine Aguilera chief operating officer of WME and president of WestStar Merchandising. As part of Aguilera’s duties in this brand new role, she will oversee network advertising and digital sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, and communications.” Christine’s unparalleled marketing, advertising, direct response, and consumer experience make her a natural fit for our company’s future,” comments Kim Komando, who in addition to her high-profile, on-air capacity, is WestStar’s chairman/chief financial officer. Aguilera previously was president of SkyMall, where she spent 16 years. On the board of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Christine – not Christina Aguilera – mentioned in a Huffington Post interview that she frequently has to “explain” her name so she is not confused with the famous pop star, whose string of hits includes “I Turn to You,” “Beautiful,” “Genie in a Bottle,” What a Girl Wants, and “Feel This Moment.” Christine jokes, “That happens a lot.”
Erica Farber to Moderate “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. In what promises to be a “don’t-miss” sequel to one of the highlights of the recent Talkers New York 2013 June convention, RAB president/CEO Erica Farber will follow-up her excellent performance as moderator of the panel discussion, “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10 in Hollywood, California. Only this time around, it will be with a new set of panelists and the focus will be on the local level of radio station and program operations. Scheduled to joining Farber on the panel are Terry Fahy, VP/GM, Salem Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO/president, WYD/WYM Media; Christopher Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany, NY; and one more to be announced. The panel will take a sweeping overview of the issues facing radio sales today including concerns about commercial quality and clutter, selling in a PPM world, maximizing ratings-credit, the image of talk radio on the agency level and marketing across multi-media platforms, among others. The gathering is already closing in on being an advance sellout so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now. A sellout is expected by the end of this week. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
NAB’s Valerie Schulte to Retire. National Association of Broadcasters announces the retirement of NAB general counsel Valerie Schulte, effective Friday. Schulte has served with the NAB since 1980 and, according to EVP of communications Dennis Wharton, “has worked on many of the most important issues before the FCC for free and local broadcasters – including children’s television regulations, the digital TV transition, digital radio issues, and legal issues related to satellite radio. The NAB family wishes Valerie nothing but the best in her retirement.”
Curtis Media Buys Greensboro Translator CP. Through Eastern Airwaves LLC, Curtis Media purchases the construction permit for FM translator W228CM in Greensboro, North Carolina. Curtis is buying the property for $125,000 from Wake Forest University. Bob Heyman of Media Services Group was the exclusive broker representing Curtis.
U.S. Weighs Syria Attack, March on Washington Anniversary, Fort Hood Verdict, Miley Cyrus MTV VMAs Performance, and Spokane Vet Beating Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). President Obama’s looming decision whether attack Syria; the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington; the verdict in the Fort Hood slayings; ongoing commentary about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs on Sunday; and the aftermath of the beating death of a Spokane WWII veteran were some of the most talked about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Lex Staley Apologizes After On-Air Comment Angers LGBT Community. While discussing a news story in which a 16-year-old boy shot a transsexual after a sexual encounter, Lex Staley quipped, “I don’t blame him. I would have shot his ass, too!” The comment received attention – enough to get the United Stations Radio Networks-produced “Lex & Terry” program removed from the Clear Channel-operated “Extreme Talk” channel on SiriusXM. Staley has apologized, issuing the following statement via his agent: “I want to reach out the best way I can to the transgendered community. I deeply apologize for an insensitive remark concerning a news story being discussed on my radio show where a 16-year-old boy shot a transgendered person after they had intimate contact. Please know that my off-the-cuff remark was not intended to offend or hurt anyone, but after listening to the audio I understand why the comment caused hurt and anger. I had originally hoped to explain the context of what I said, but quite honestly, what I said was just plain wrong and there is no context in which my statement is acceptable and I take responsibility for it. I would like to clarify two things: One is that I work every day on a very liberal program. We are an advice show that has helped the LGBT members of our audience for the past 21 years. We have consistently supported LGBT equality rights on our show, well before it was popular to do so. Secondly, as a father of a young daughter, I am always distressed when I hear of adults having inappropriate contact with minors. But instead of properly expressing my distress in this situation I made a stupid comment that had no place and failed to express what I was actually thinking. I deeply regret the insensitive and hurtful remark I made. My on-air partner and I will be devoting a segment on an upcoming show to discuss the serious issue of discrimination in the LGBT community. We’re all human and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity – as members of the media, we embrace our responsibility to use our platform to help our greater community.”
Todd Schnitt Sues to Get Legal Fees Back in from Fired Attorney. The key decision in this case will probably not be made until September when Circuit Judge Charles Bergmann will decide if Todd Schnitt’s case against former attorney Philip Campbell goes to trial or arbitration. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that WFLA, Tampa-based Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt sued WHPT, Tampa-based talk host Bubba the Love Sponge for defamation earlier this year. The case was eventually settled after a high-profile – and dramatic – trial. During that trial, Schnitt attorney Campbell was arrested on DUI charges after leaving a restaurant with a paralegal from the firm Adams & Diaco representing Bubba the Love Sponge, though Campbell did not know her employment status. Schnitt eventually fired Campbell after paying his firm $1 million for services rendered. But the firm says Schnitt owes another $1 million. Schnitt is suing not only to contest the additional $1 million but to recoup the initial sum asserting legal malpractice. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Campbell’s firm says the case must go to arbitration based on a clause in their contract but Schnitt’s new attorney – Wil Florin – says that’s not so. Regarding allegations Adams & Diaco sent the paralegal there to “set up” Campbell for the DUI, state investigators are looking into that but the firm has released information to the press with the goal of showing there was no “set-up.”
Glenn Beck Freedom of Speech Acceptance Address Now on TalkersTV. Premiere Networks and TheBlaze talk star Glenn Beck received the 2013 Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech at the recent Talkers New York 2013 convention this past Thursday (6/6). See the entire speech by clicking the TalkersTV box at the top of the column on the right hand side of this page.
How to Tweet Effectively. Digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller advises his clients, “When it comes to social media, either you’re building your brand, or spinning your wheels.” He says, “Twitter has turned into a huge wheel-spinning exercise for many businesses!” In a column posted today (6/11) titled “How I Tweet,” Miller shares what he has found works for him. He suggests 1) not waiting to be followed; 2) choosing wisely when it comes to following others; 3) being yourself and writing in a natural, personable voice; 4) don’t sell – share; 5) treat your subjects the way you treat your power rotation; 6) re-tweet effectively, and 7) don’t forget to respond. Read Chris Miller’s entire column here.
Beasley Announces Ruben Perez New Promotions and Non-Traditional Revenue Director for Fort Myers Cluster. Ruben Perez moves from Beasley Broadcasting’s hip hop WPOW, Miami “Power 96” to the company’s five station Fort Myers cluster that includes AC WJPT “Sunny 106,” CHR WXKB “B103.9,” talk WRXK “96 K-Rock,” rock WJBX “99X,” and sports talk WWCN. The company says Perez will be “responsible for the coordination and execution of all promotions for the stations in the Fort Myers-Naples market. Additionally, he is charged with creating and implementing large-scale community events such as festivals and concerts that bring awareness to – and non-traditional revenue for – Beasley’s SW Florida cluster.” Vice president and market manager Brad Beasley states, “Ruben brings a wealth of radio knowledge and experience to our Southwest Florida team. We believe his abilities to generate large-scale events and brands will greatly benefit both our listeners and advertisers.”
David DuBose Sues Cox Media Group for Breach of Contract. In a suit filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Southern Division, former Cox Media Group Birmingham market manager David DuBose (now serving with SummitMedia at the same group of stations) is alleging the company is in breach of contract after failing to pay agreed-to compensation for work done outside the bounds of his normal duties in improving the signals of Cox-owned stations to improve their value as well as a “special retention bonus” for remaining with the company through the sale to SummitMedia. In the complaint, DuBose also alleges Cox Media Group used “inflated and unrealistic figures” in the revenue reports for the Birmingham stations and stations outside that metro “for the purpose of enhancing the sale price of those stations.” In the complaint he also notes that former Cox chief Bob Neil stated the enhancement of the signals improved the value of the company’s station portfolio by some $200 million. DuBose is not seeking a specific damage amount in the complaint.
Odds & Sods. KSCJ, Sioux City talk show host Sam Clovis throws his hat into the ring for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tom Harkin who has announced he will not run for re-election in 2014. No word when Clovis plans to end his radio program…..CBS Radio Minneapolis market manager Mick Anselmo and the late Eleanor Mondale are being inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the Pavek Museum. Mondale, who was a personality on news/talk WCCO, died in 2011 at age 51 after a battle with brain cancer…..Clear Channel-operated Total Traffic Network (TTN), is named the 2013 Telematics Update Award winner for Best Navigation Solution. The Telematics Update Awards recognize the leading players in the telematics space during Telematics Detroit, the world’s largest and most influential business focused conference and exhibition for the entire telematics ecosystem…..SiriusXM talk show host Joe Madison is elected to the board of governors for the American Red Cross…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington picks up eight Chesapeake Associated Press awards including for Outstanding Website, Outstanding Spot News and Outstanding Newscast.
AnG Services Launches Imaging Production Service. Las Vegas-based AnG Services Inc. announces the launch of its new brand, angaudio.com, that offers “top-notch creative radio imaging production services from copywriting, sweepers and promos to radio imaging demos for voice talent at prices that consider the client experience.” AnG Services CEO G.A. Simon states, “There are many imaging companies out there whose customer service is deplorable. A lot of these other guys don’t even pick up their phone when you call. We feel that creative imaging cannot be produced from a template. There has to be open communication between the creatives and the program director to fit the vision for the station’s brand.” The company says that it offers cutting-edge creative from copywriters and producers in New York, Las Vegas and Orlando with one focal point: customer satisfaction. “We are working towards creating a support system for stations that otherwise cannot have internal creative services, or for those in need of support,” says Simon.
Scott Slade Honored by Fisher House Foundation. WSB, Atlanta morning host Scott Slade was recently honored by Fisher House Foundation for his work hosting the organization’s Memorial Day special, “A Grateful Nation.” The three-hour salute to the military and their families raised awareness and funds for Fisher House, which builds comfort homes at military and VA hospitals where the families of wounded warriors and vets can stay at no cost while their loved ones recover. The show aired on 145 news/talk stations, Sirius/XM and Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze.
C.Crane Radio “Talkers New York 2013″ Raffle Winners Named. The winners of cool radios at “Talkers New York 2013″ from C. Crane Company – one of the nation’s most respected manufacturers and distributors of radio receivers – have been pulled out of the jar. They are Peter Tripi of Premiere Networks who won a CC Radio-2 AM/FM/Weather and 2-Meter Ham Band Radio; Michelle Jerson of MichelleJerson.com who won a CC WiFi Internet Radio; John Boltz of Saratoga Public Affairs who won c CC Pocket AM/FM/Weather Radio; and “Diamond Joe” Covais of TalkSuperStation.com who won a CC Solar Observer AM/FM/Weather Emergency Radio. C. Crane Company is a long time friend of and advertiser on talk radio around the country and served as an exhibitor at the TALKERS event this past Thursday (6/6). Congratulations to the winners.
NSA Data Collection Case, George Zimmerman Trial Begins, Morning-After Pill Policy, Turkish Unrest, and Tebow Signs with Patriots Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10). The expanding case of the National Security Administration’s massive data collection project and the status of source Edward Snowdon; the beginning of the trial of George Zimmerman, charged with the death of Trayvon Martin; the Obama Administration’s approval of the morning-after pill for girls under 17; the ongoing unrest in Turkey; and the signing by the New England Patriots of controversial player Tim Tebow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Limbaugh-Cumulus Talk Radio Sales Issue Plays Out in Consumer Press. In a piece in the New York Daily News published over the weekend, the war of words over challenged sales of talk radio time at Cumulus Media properties (specifically WABC) became public as the paper quoted a “source close to Limbaugh” said, in effect, that Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey needs to stop blaming Rush Limbaugh for sales trouble at his news/talk stations. Dickey has made public statements – at both investor conference calls and in media appearances – about the negative effect of Rush Limbaugh’s February 2012 Sandra Fluke “slut” controversy that he says is still dragging down sales at his major market news/talk stations. As the Daily News story reports, Cumulus claimed that the high-profile controversy was responsible for lost millions in the first two quarters of 2012. But the story quotes the Limbaugh source stating, “Dickey keeps complaining about falling revenue, but his stations have long lagged behind their competitors in sales by a substantial margin. Rush Limbaugh’s ratings have outperformed every other program on WABC and many other Cumulus stations for years.” The piece notes that Cumulus is not commenting on this latest salvo. Limbaugh’s Premiere Networks contract with WABC, New York expires at the end of 2013 and with Clear Channel’s recent purchase of crosstown WOR, some industry watchers expect his program will move to WOR in 2014.
Michael Savage-TRN Actions Still in the Courts. The legal activity surrounding talk radio host Michael Savage’s successful bid to free himself from his Talk Radio Network contract last fall and subsequently sign on with Cumulus Media Networks is still in the courts. Michael Savage celebrated a Thursday, May 2 ruling in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in which Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers upheld the arbitration panel’s decision to release him from his contract and award him $863,454 plus other money from earnings. Responding to the ruling, Original Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters states, “We are appealing this ruling. We are confident of a successful outcome for OTRN in this next round of appeals.” Speaking to World Net Daily, Savage attorney Dan Horowitz says the case “establishes the ability of radio talent to break away from an employer like any other employee.”
Glenn Beck Delivers Keynote Address at NRA Convention. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio host and television and digital media entrepreneur Glenn Beck delivered the keynote address at this year’s NRA Convention held in Houston over the weekend. He’s pictured here during the speech holding a rifle given to him prior to an appearance in Kentucky. His 1 hour and 40 minute presentation was far more than a typical keynote delivered from behind a podium. Glenn Beck’s skills as a speaker and performer were clearly evident as he kept the audience rapt and engaged during what might have been an interminable amount of time to witness a lesser talented public speaker work. The politics of his message aside and from a purely industrial standpoint, his keynote at this event was a great example of how a top-notch communicator effectively delivers a message and shows why he stands above so many of his colleagues. See the speech here. Glenn Beck will also be speaking at the Talkers New York 2013 industry conference (although for a shorter period of time) on Thursday, June 6 where he will be receiving the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award.
Photograph Case Brings Legal Issues Home for Broadcasters. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the legal issues surrounding the use of a photograph of a young man with Down Syndrome by Cox Media’s WHPT, Tampa on its website are numerous and serve as an excellent case from which broadcasters can learn. As we reported recently, the family of the young man – Adam Holland, who was 17 when the picture of him was taken in 2004 – is suing Cox Media in federal court in Tennessee for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of a likeness, defamation, intentional infliction of emotion distress and violation of a Tennessee statute regarding commercial exploitation of a person’s photograph. Weisman writes that photos such as the one of Adam Holland can become internet memes — images, videos, photographs or phrases that rapidly spread throughout the internet by way of search engines, social networking services, social news sites or video hosting services. Weisman states, “Often these memes may be altered for purposes of parody of the original work, a use that is protected in accordance with a long line of court decisions. However, other times there are serious intellectual property issues when an original work is used or adapted for commercial purposes as was the case with the use by WHPT. While the exception to the intellectual property laws of ‘fair use’ may apply when a piece is altered and used, as often is done on the internet, for non-commercial purposes, this defense does not apply when intellectual property is used for commercial purposes.” Read more of Weisman’s analysis of this case here.
Using Facebook to Turn News/Talk Radio Social Media Initiatives into a “Loyalty Content Marketing” Program: In a new article posted today (5/6), noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chis Miller advises readers, “You can turn your social media into a ‘loyalty content marketing’ program for those ultra-passionate fans you have.” Miller points out, “Unfortunately, just about all news/talk stations with a Facebook page have the same problem. There’s a lot of content posted about news. However, there is almost no content about what the talk shows are doing. I’m sure syndication is one reason for this; if the talk host is not in the building, how are you going to know what he or she is planning to talk about, and when? Even so, this is a problem with local talk hosts, too. I don’t see a lot of social media content about local shows. Those local talk host posts that I do see often don’t offer a lot of specifics. I’m not told when to listen; I’m not told why I would want to listen; I’m not invited to engage.” Miller shares a couple of basic but extremely valuable tips about how to use Facebook and Twitter more effectively for your news/talk station. To read the entire article, click here.
Holland Cooke Asks: Do Your Station Promos Sound ‘Like Blah, Blah, Blah?’ In a new article posted today (5/6) noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke tackles the ever-important goal of increasing Time Spent Listening (TSL). He says one of the keys to accomplishing this is to make effective use of station promos stating: “Nothing we say about the station on air adds listeners, because the only people who hear promos are already listening.” He says it is vital to think about your demos and specifically what they are doing and care about while listening when writing and producing promos. He addresses each of these considerations in the article, concluding, “Give a listen, outside the station and outside the box. Every time you hear your station say-something-about-itself – live format language, or produced promo — ask yourself: Will THAT cause a listener to come back again another time?” To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.
Indiana Sports Broadcaster Greg Rakestraw to Program WFNI, Indianapolis. Emmis Communications announces Indiana sports broadcaster Greg Rakestraw is the new program director for its sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis “1070 The Fan.” The position opened up when Alan Furst left WFNI and sister news/talk WIBC-FM to join Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston back in December. The company upped then-WFNI PD David Wood to programmer for WIBC, leaving the slot open. Rakestraw has worked at numerous Indianapolis stations including sports talkers WNDE and WXLW as well as at cable TV operation Home Town Sports Indiana.
WPRO, Providence Late-Morning Host John DePetro to Host Live Interview Series. WPRO, Providence talk show host John DePetro is hosting a live interview series at the newly re-opened Greenwich Odeum theater in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. On Wednesday, May 8, DePetro will host former Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce, and Father Bernie Healey, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, who also serves as Chaplain of the Rhode Island Capitol Police. He’ll speak with each for 30 minutes before a live audience as part of a fundraiser for the theater as all proceeds will go to the Odeum. DePetro says he chose the three guests for their interesting background and ability to tell good stories. He also likes the chance to facilitate a discussion before a live audience, telling the Warwick Beacon, “All of these people are very, very well skilled in the art of being good conversationalists. I’m more of a mechanism to get them to tell their stories. It’s been really fun to put it together with the speakers. They’ve been very receptive.”
Mike Greenberg Survives “The Mess.” ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg proudly brandishes the trophy he was awarded for completing the “Mike & Mike the Mess” obstacle course at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. Greenberg (second from left) is pictured here with his family – wife Stacy, son Stephen and daughter Nicole – after making good on his wager with co-host Mike Golic in the “Mike & Mike Sheets of Integrity Challenge Presented by Werner Ladder.” The annual challenge pits the two hosts against each other as they fill out their March Madness brackets prior to the annual college hoops tourney.
Jacobs Media Summer School 4 to Kick Off Conclave Learning Conference. The Conclave announces the high impact sessions for Jacobs Media’s Summer School 4 which kicks off the 38th annual Conclave Learning Conference on Wednesday, July 17. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “Conclave 38 begins with what has become a tradition, the fourth annual Jacobs Media Summer School. This year, as part of our commitment to provide ideas that folks can actually take back to work and use, we’ll learn how winners think, how great morning shows are built, and how non-media companies are using social media in ways radio has never thought of. And, that’s just the first day of this year’s Conclave. Stay tuned for more agenda announcements this week.” The Summer School curriculum will include: One-to-one with Jaye Albright; Talent Development; Mobile 2.0; Simply Social; Inside the Mind of Dave Hamilton; Jobs To Do and much more. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “We have a great lineup for this year’s Summer School, including the star power of Rockwell inductee Jaye Albright to the legendary Dave Hamilton. Plus, the social media guru from the Mall of America – Bridget Jewell – and Target stores – Joe Curry. And we’ll have great sessions including social media effectiveness, what’s new in mobile apps and the challenge of the ‘digital dash.’”
Fisher Communications to Be Acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting for $373.3 Million. Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. announces that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Fisher Communications, Inc. for $373.3 million. The deal will see Fisher shareholders get $41 in cash for each share of Fisher common stock. That’s 44% over the closing price of Fisher stock on January 9 of this year. Fisher only owns three radio signals – hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” all-news KOMO-AM and news/talk KVI (it manages South Sound Broadcasting-owned KOMO-FM as a simulcast of KOMO-AM). It owns 20 television stations. Sinclair president and CEO David Smith states, “We are excited to acquire Fisher and expand our coverage westward, especially in the two key markets of Seattle (DMA 12) and Portland (DMA 22). Started in 1910, Fisher’s history of operating television and radio stations in the northwest corner of the U.S. has played an important role in its communities and in producing high-quality local news. We look forward to expanding upon those traditions and improving the cash flow of the stations through the benefits that come with our scale.” Sinclair began selling off its radio stations in the 1990s and sold the final bunch in 2000. It seems very likely that the TV-centric company would turn around and sell the Seattle radio stations, however it has not indicated its intent regarding a return to radio.
KNX, Los Angeles to Celebrate 45 Years as All-News Outlet. On Monday, April 15, CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles will recognize its 45th year as an all-news radio station. As the company notes in a statement, “A stunned nation was still in shock following the assassination of Martin Luther King when just 11 days later on April 15, 1968, CBS-owned KNX-AM significantly increased the time it devoted to news coverage, essentially launching an all-news format that continues today…Less than two months after the King shooting in Memphis, KNX would be covering another national tragedy, this one with indelible ties to Los Angeles, when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was killed at the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. Before the 60s drew to a close, KNX would cover a moon landing and a Manson massacre, symbolic of the mix of prominent national and local events that were to become the fabric of KNX’s dedication to reporting major news stories.” KNX director of news and programming Andy Ludlum says, “Since 1968 we’ve seen eight U.S. presidents, six California governors and five L.A. mayors. We’ve had riots, fires, earthquakes, mudslides, hosted the Olympics, lost a couple of football teams, rooted the Lakers to 11 titles, watched OJ run wild on the freeways and recently endured a nightmarish hunt for a fugitive cop-killer. And through it all, KNX has embodied trust, integrity and credibility. We all feel a sense of responsibility to follow in the footsteps of so many great KNX news people like Bill Keene, Alex Sullivan, Jon Goodman, Barry Rohde, Beach Rogers, Dave Zorn and Harry Birrell, to name just a few. You hear the pride in the great heritage of KNX in the work of today’s anchors like Dick Helton, Vicky Moore, Tom Haule, Linda Nunez, Diane Thompson, Jim Thornton and Chris Sedens.”
Roby Wiener Joins Courtside Entertainment Group. Ad executive Roby Wiener becomes part of the Courtside Entertainment Group in a newly created position: executive vice president of client strategy. Courtside says that in this post, Wiener will oversee branding, client strategy and market research for all of Courtside’s divisions, including radio, Launchpad Digital Media and PodcastOne.com. She will be based in New York and will report directly to Courtside chairman Norm Pattiz. Pattiz states, “I can’t think of a better person to communicate the value of the changes that are going on in media today. I’ve known Roby longer than I’ve known my wife and I love her almost as much. I couldn’t be happier to have her as a part of our team on this very exciting ride.” Wiener most recently served with Dial Global, joining the company after its merger with Westwood One which she’d been with since 2006 as chief marketing officer and EVP of marketing. Previously, Wiener served as executive vice president client strategies & services for the Premiere Radio Networks for eight years and spent over 11 years at Warner-Lambert, a leading consumer product company that was among the top five largest national radio advertisers, as senior media manager of the company’s Advertising Services Department. She says, “Technology continues to shape the way people share ideas and my passion has always been to help advertisers be an important part of that dialog. Launchpad’s communication platform provides a remarkable new approach for advertisers to tell their stories with an authenticity that truly resonates with consumers, engaging with them on their terms. I have had the pleasure of working with both Norm Pattiz and Dan Yukelson at various stages of my career and I am eager to collaborate with them and the team in this new venture.”
Longtime Bubba the Love Sponge Producer Brent Hatley Exits. The man who’s been Bubba the Love Sponge’s right-hand man for the past 13 years tells the Tampa Bay Times that there is no acrimony between he and Bubba the Love Sponge – he simply wants to branch out into other things and he’s unable to pursue those interests while continuing to work on the program. Bubba told his audience that Brent Hatley would be leaving, admitting he’s surprised by the move but saying the door is always open to Hatley coming back should he choose to. In the meantime, Shannon Burke – former WTKS, Orlando talk show host and current personality on Bubba’s online radio channel Radio IO – will get a weeklong tryout to take over Hatley’s role with the WHPT, Tampa-based program.
KFWB, Los Angeles Adds Sports Programming. L.A. news/talk outlet KFWB announces it is adding sports talk content to its news and talk programming. Using content from CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio Network, the station will air Jim Rome’s commentaries (CBS) as well as the Amani & Eytan show (NBC) with Amani Toomer and Eytan Shander for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot plus the Eric Kuselias program (NBC) from 3:00 am to 5:00 am. KFWB is also adding the locally produced “KFWB’s Sports Knight with Michael Knight” for the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot. Knight serves as an anchor with the station. KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “As the flagship station of the Los Angeles Clippers, we want to give our sports fans more of an opportunity to be part of the sports conversation. We continue to look for ways to give our listeners and clients the best possible programming options available.”
Local Group to Buy Five-Station Santa Rosa Cluster. The investors – Sonoma Media Group — is headed by former owner of the stations, Lawrence Amaturo, who sold the cluster in 2000 for almost $30 million. The price to re-acquire the stations from Connecticut-based Maverick Media is $4.5 million according to a piece in the Press-Democrat. The stations include news/talk KSRO, classic rock KVRV “The River,” CHR KHTH “Hot 101.7,” country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” and hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9.” Amaturo tells the paper, “The opportunity was irresistible. More than half of this community is listening to these stations each week…They’re more popular than when I sold them in 2000, but their revenue is down and their profit is down. I’m able to reinvest in these radio stations, in programming and promotion, which the current owners were not able to do. There was too much debt.” Amaturo says he has no plans to make changes to the stations and may consider bringing local programs that were recently cancelled back to the air.
IP Codecs, Transmitters, the Future of AM and other Cool Stuff. These are the topics addressed in this week’s column by TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray, inspired by his visit to the 2013 NAB Show in Las Vegas. According to Ray, “Just about everything I saw at the NAB was IP, IP, IP.” The engineering wizard also shares his seasoned insights into the revitalization of AM approaching the subject from angles ignored by most industry observers. On the subject of transmitters (yes, we still use them in radio), Ray says the trend is to deliver more in less space. Read the entire installment of the engineering column that “isn’t just for engineers because in today’s radio environment programmers and management have to worry about engineering a lot more than they used to” by clicking here.
Southern California Radio Writer Gary Lycan Dies at 68. The longtime Orange County Register radio columnist had been battling prostate cancer for the past several years and died in his sleep on Tuesday at age 68. Gary Lycan’s final column ran in the OC Register on Saturday. He began his career with the paper in 1962 as a copy boy and worked his way up to assistant managing editor for features – a post he held until he left his full-time position with the paper in 2002. Since that time and up to his death, he continued to write his radio column as a freelancer. It was widely regarded as a special window into the radio and media world for Southern California readers.
Dave Ramsey Enters the Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Luncheon on Tuesday, nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. He’s pictured here (r) with NAB chief executive officer Gordon Smith (l) accepting a commemorative plaque.
Gun Legislation Proposals, Immigration Overhaul Bill, North Korea Missile Threats, Mitch McConnell-Ashley Judd Case, and Obama’s Budget Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/10). The continuing efforts to pass gun legislation; the immigration overhaul bill offered by Senate Democrats; tension over North Korea’s missile threats; the controversy over the recording of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell’s Ashley Judd strategy; and President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Gow Communications to Pay $5.17 Million for KFNC, Houston. The sale of sports talk outlet KFNC, Houston to Gow and Educational Media Foundation that was announced in the spring is coming close to the finish line as David Gow and company should begin LMAing the station Cumulus put into bankruptcy protection as early as September 1. The station – positioned as ESPN 97.7 – is expected to continue to broadcast ESPN programming at least for a while. Gow also operates crosstown sports talk KGOW and Yahoo! Sports Radio and there have been some changes there with Travis Rodgers moving to the early afternoon slot on both KGOW and the national network. KGOW is preparing to debut Adam Clanton and John Wessling in the afternoon drive slot, according to David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. Clanton currently works for KPRC-TV but will wrap up his role with the station this weekend. As for the Yahoo! Sports Radio network, a new PM drive show is being developed and will be announced soon. The network’s Craig Shemon returns to weekends from the midday slot.
Heidi and Frank Return to the Terrestrial Airwaves in Los Angeles. Cumulus Media names Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer the new morning show on KLOS, Los Angeles, taking over for Mark & Brian beginning September 4. Brian Phelps surprised the industry last week announcing he would also be leaving the Cumulus classic rocker at the same time Mark Thompson would, although Thompson made his decision to retire public earlier this summer. Cumulus COO John Dickey told TALKERS over the weekend that Brian Phelps was “part of a large consideration pool” of candidates for the new morning program. In announcing “The Heidi and Frank Show,” Dickey states, “After a long and thoughtful search which overwhelmed us with great, established talent and new talent waiting to be discovered both in and out of radio, I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of ‘The Heidi and Frank Show’ to continue on the tradition that Mark and Brian set in place with 25 years of Hall of Fame radio.” Hamilton and Kramer have been producing an internet radio show since CBS Radio shut down hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles in a format flip. The Frosty, Heidi and Frank program (with Frosty Stillwell) aired there successfully for years. They also worked at KABC after the demise of KLSX. Prior to the KLSX era Hamilton and Kramer hosted the morning show at crosstown Hot AC KYSR. On the new gig, Heidi Hamilton states, “KLOS is rock. KLOS is the definitive iconic rock radio station in the world. It’s one of those stations that evokes a feel good emotion while you’re driving in your car. I’m beyond honored that Frank Kramer and I have been invited to become a part of something so legendary! The ‘Heidi and Frank Show’ fans are second to NONE and I know they will be with us on this long fun ride together.” Frank Kramer comments, “If it would have been any other station than KLOS, I would have said no. We have a huge following across the world and only a station as large and iconic as KLOS could lure us back to radio. To be given this opportunity is an honor and a privilege. With the continued support from my partner, Heidi Hamilton, and the fans that never left us, and the fans waiting for us to return, the next 25 years are going to be one hell of a ride.”
The Battle for Control over Sirius XM Continues and the Momentum Seems to be Shifting in Favor of John Malone’s Liberty Media. Yes, what seemed like an odd story just a matter of months ago has developed into a high stakes big business drama. John Malone and Liberty Media, the company that rescued the merged satellite radio company from burning up in the atmosphere back in 2009 by gobbling up 40% ownership at what has turned out to be a super good deal for them has asked the FCC for approval to take outright control of Sirius XM Radio, noting it plans to raise its stake in the satellite radio company above 50%. The request follows disclosure earlier this week that Liberty, SiriusXM’s largest shareholder, was inching up its collection of shares in Sirius from approximately 46.2% to an aggressively postured 48%. In last week’s filing, Liberty said it will “have purchased sufficient shares of Sirius’s common stock and will convert its preferred shares such that the transfer of control will be completed within 60 days of commission consent.” Raising its stake above 50% and being granted FCC approval to take absolute control opens the way for Liberty to replace Sirius management and spin its Sirius stake off to Liberty shareholders. But would replacing Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin be a wise move? Probably not. Although coldly brash and hard-nosed as they come, Karmazin is an extremely effective radio broadcast executive and business strategist who has done a world class job of getting Sirius XM to its present state of health. Reports from inside Liberty indicate that John Malone recognizes that and is giving “Mel” wiggle room to back pedal off his earlier blurts that he wouldn’t work for anyone else. There is a huge lesson here for wannabe broadcast industry moguls (and there sure are a lot of them out there): When you turn to venture capitalists and outside big money investors to save your ass, they will likely wind up owning it.
In Search of the Effective Commercial. There’s a trend away from humorous commercials in radio, according to H-and-H Communications president Al Herskovitz. Research indicates Madison Avenue is questioning the effectiveness of funny ads and, as it applies to talk radio advertising, Herskovitz writes that the “recognizable spokesperson” – read, the talk show host – is much more effective. But there are still problems there that need to be solved. Read Al Herskovitz’s piece here.
Courtside Entertainment’s “Loveline” Clears Tampa Market. Cox Media’s FM hot talker WHPT, Tampa – The Bone – adds Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne for the 1:00 am to 3:00 am slot. “Loveline” becomes part of Cox’s young male-targeted talk outlet that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive and Cowhead in PM drive.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington hosts a special “school” edition of its “Ask the…” program today at 10:00 am. Mark Seagraves serves as moderator for the commercial-free hour featuring a Q&A session with superintendents and school board officials from Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Fairfax County and the District of Columbia…..Entercom’s New England sports talk juggernaut WEEI produces the 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon beginning today and running through tomorrow. The fundraising extravaganza takes place live from Fenway Park from 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight both days. Last year the event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute…..Nationally syndicated radio host Phil Grande of the “Phil’s Gang” program will broadcast his show live from the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week with broadcasts starting at 3:00 pm ET. Grande will have special guests Donald Trump, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sarasota Republican Chairman Joe Gruters plus many other guests. In addition, he will have up to the minute news, updates and of course his own commentary. The 2012 Republican National Convention is being held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum August 27-30, 2012.
CBS Radio News Announces Convention Coverage. Dial Global and CBS Radio News will deliver coverage from the two national conventions – the Republican National Convention in Tampa August 27 through 30 and the Democratic National Convention September 4 through 6. Coverage plans include anchored coverage, updates, special reports, special features, and one-on-one interviews with correspondents, pundits and political experts. CBS Radio News states it will “provide expert reporting and analysis, featuring an experienced lineup of respected and award-winning correspondents and commentators, including Howard Arenstein, Pam Coulter, Peter King, Dan Raviv, Peter Maer, Andrew Mollenbeck, Brian Montopoli and Professors Dotty Lynch and Leonard Steinhorn.
Los Angeles Radio Personality Paul Crosswhite Passes Away. Southern California newsman and DJ Paul Crosswhite died on August 17 after a long illness. Crosswhite served as a news person at both KFI and KNX-FM during his career. He also was an evening and morning drive host at KTWV, Los Angeles – The Wave – for 10 years. According to LARadio.com’s Don Barrett, “Crosswhite did news during most of his tenure in Southern California radio and has received Golden Mike Awards for documentary, feature and best newscast. He did news during the glory years of KNX-FM. During the Gulf War, he won the Associated Press Award for best newscast. When he moved to “the Wave,” he gave up news to become a DJ, originally in the evenings and, later, mornings after the female morning drive team collapsed.”
Romney-Ryan Team, Obama Medicare Cuts, Facebook Stock Plummets and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket hitting the campaign trail full-swing; President Obama’s cuts to Medicare; the sagging stock price of Facebook; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ed Schultz Added to Growing Lineup of Movers, Shakers and Stars at New Media Seminar. “Big Eddie,” star of MSNBC’s nightly “The Ed Show” and nationally syndicated progressive talk radio sensation has been named to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment” address at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. The speech, which has a rich history dating back more than two decades, is a longtime tradition in the talk show industry and will take place during the Freedom of Speech Ceremony at this year’s event. WTOP, Washington VP of news and programming, Jim Farley will be this year’s recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award. This year’s NMS/NY will feature a lineup of more than 50 industry speakers addressing a variety of topics including the state of programming in talk radio, methods of generating revenue during tough times, the challenge of selling controversy, designing successful digital and social media strategies, the changing role of news, the continuing growth of sports talk, and lots more. A detailed agenda for the June 7 event will be posted at Talkers.com this coming week. This year’s New Media Seminar marks the innovative launch of an updated model sensitive to the tough economic and stressful conditions of the times. Significant restructuring has been applied to lower the costs of registration (only $99), accommodations and travel as well as moving the event from the weekend to a weekday. According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Both conferences will be national in scope and regional in flavor, a recipe that worked amazingly well at last year’s successful experiment, the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.” NMS 2012 will consist of two one-day conferences. The first will be held in New York City on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. According to its organizers it is on the verge of a sellout. The second – presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club – will take place on Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Harrison says, “We learned a tremendous amount at last year’s ‘happening’ in L.A. There is something very exciting, fulfilling and productive about one single, power-packed day with no time-wasting fat or money-wasting frills. It was executed purposefully under the radar to test the waters for this new model on a national scale and it succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching maximum registration capacity in a matter of days. Although the New Media Seminar has actually grown consistently larger and has been a sell-out every year of its existence, we recognize that conditions are such that a change would eventually be necessary as well as beneficial to the working person in our business – at least during this stressful period of tight budgets and high industry economic uncertainty. At TALKERS we insist on being ahead of the curve. Industry conferences need to include and be accessible to professionals in the trenches as well as the corporate elite. This new model is a gift to the business.” Because quick sell-outs for each event are expected, registration is limited to working media. (As indicated, New York is on the verge of a sellout.) For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE!!! HOTEL INFORMATION FOR NEW YORK ATTENDEES. The Doubletree by Hilton Metropolitan New York at 569 Lexington Avenue (3 blocks away) has rooms available for $359 per night for a limited time. You may register online via www.dtnewyork.com. On the main page, click on reservations and type the letters TNM in the group code box. Or you can call 800-222-8733 and give the code TNM when speaking to the guest services staff.
Arbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.5%. The first quarter of 2012 has been good to Arbitron Inc. as the company states net income increased 9.6% on revenue growth of 5.5% during the period that ended March 31. Total revenue for the quarter was $106.4 million and it came primarily from annual rate increases, including the continued phase-in of price increases for the PPM. Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr states, “Our results and our activities in the first quarter are well aligned with our long standing priorities for enhancing our core services and for generating revenue growth. We unveiled our marketing mix modeling service at the recent Advertising Research Foundation convention. We expect to have the complete service up, running and ready to improve radio’s visibility among the top agency media planners by the middle of the summer.” Kerr also said, “Digital radio remains a key priority as we continue our work to follow radio onto its new digital platforms in order to quantify this growing audience segment thereby enabling customers to monetize it.” Guidance for the rest of 2012 indicates Arbitron expects revenue to be up between 5% and 7%.
Cox Media Announces Talent Lineup for New Tampa FM Talker “The Bone.” Last week Cox Media Group announced it would drop the rock music on WHPT-FM, Tampa – “The Bone” – built around the success of AM drive talent Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive counterpart Cowhead. Now, the company announces the rest of the lineup consisting of talent already working in the Cox stable. Following Bubba from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is former WTKS-FM, Orlando – Real Radio 104.1 – personality Drew Garabo, who currently is AM drive host on the Cox Tampa cluster’s rock WSUN-FM. From 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Cox imports Billy Madison and his KISS-FM, San Antonio morning show crew for a midday talk program. Following Cowhead in PM drive is Bubba cast member Matt “Spice” Lloyd who’ll host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Cox Radio Tampa vice president and market manager Keith Lawless says of the new direction of The Bone, “The top-rated performance on our current shows clearly tells us that Tampa Bay likes what they hear and is asking for more. We have worked hard to insure we are giving them what they want with these compelling new shows. This is an exciting time in Tampa Bay radio.”
Clark Howard Sponsors 46th Habitat for Humanity House. Cox Media nationally syndicated financial and consumer issues talk host Clark Howard announces he’s challenging the Tulsa community to help him build a Habitat for Humanity house in the city. Howard is putting up half the money it’ll take to build the house — $35,000 – and is asking listeners to Tulsa affiliate news/talk KRMG-AM/FM to donate the rest. The Tulsa Habitat build will be parallel to a build in Joplin, Missouri that Clark is also sponsoring on the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado as part of his on-going “Project Home” campaign. The Tulsa home will be the 46th Habitat for Humanity home that Howard has helped sponsor.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. New York talk radio personality Loose Kannon – Rob Stevens – is heard on the WOR, New York internet stream from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily beginning Monday, April 23. Stevens previously was heard on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York internet stream. He tells TALKERS he’ll be heard between former New York Governor David Paterson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on the stream…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk is publishing a new book on May 5 titled The Poetic Gourmette (Changing Lives Press 2012). The book is billed as a “compilation of uniquely formed recipes inspired by emotional challenges experienced by the author at the time of creation.” Silk says, “I would move on to cooking and experimenting with various ingredients, which to me were like words. Every time I mixed an ingredient, I was expressing another feeling. When I completed my recipes, I felt that I had dealt with whatever the world had sent my way.”…..ESPN Radio and USC agree to a multi-year deal to allow the sports giant the exclusive national broadcast rights to Trojans home football games…..The Automotive Journalism Society of America names talk host Jeff Shade’s syndicated, KRKO, Seattle-based “Talk About Cars” the “Best Automotive Radio Show” for 2012. Shade’s program is heard on KRKO, Seattle; WIXC, Melbourne, Florida; and WAMT, Orlando to name a few and is gaining new affiliates each week…..KYKN, Salem, Oregon talk host Bill Post’s program is expanded from two to three hours daily, now airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. General manager and station owner Mike Frith states, “I’m delighted with the way in which Bill Post has taken the show from a compelling hour to a second hour and now a third hour of great local, Oregon oriented talk. He has consistently kept the show topical, fun and informative and our listeners have responded very positively to the show.”
2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 16-20. The ongoing 2012 presidential campaign returned to the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. Following at #2 this week was President Obama’s proposed oil industry regulations. At # 3 was ongoing debate in Washington over the federal budget deficit and the death of the ‘Buffett Rule’ in the Senate. And at #4 was the scandals involving the Secret Service and the Government Services Agency. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Revolution on the Hill. That was the name of the first event held on the Capitol Hill lawn on Monday, April 16 and sponsored by former presidential candidate Herman Cain. The purpose of the rally was to draw attention to tax reform, fiscal responsibility and the importance of electing true conservatives in government and included such speakers as Dick Morris, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist. Also taking part were some important talk show hosts. Pictured here at the event are (from l-r): Cox Media’s Neal Boortz; Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta’s Rusty Humphries; and WLAC, Nashville-based Radio America-syndicated host Steve Gill.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and Montana tri-mulcast KYLW, Billings; KBSR, Laurel; and KHDN, Hardin…..Better Health Network’s Dr. Bob Martin health talk program is added to the weekend lineup at KFWB, Los Angeles.