Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System. The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region. It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator. TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable. TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates. These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.” TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.” TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.
WTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations. The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011. The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions): Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).
SiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film. Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming. Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.” The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides. The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show. The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family. Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio. He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can. I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told. I am so excited to begin.” Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life. In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”
Villanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB. The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot. That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’” His program debuts this evening.
New Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame. Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey. Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”
WXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig. Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month. In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989. He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling. Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.” Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all? He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing. It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him. The guy is such an awesome personality.” STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.
The Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference. The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use. Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need for tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.” Some of the speakers appearing this year include: Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media. Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS Announces Plans for Atlanta FM Sports Talk Outlet. The rumors of a CBS Radio sports talk station in Atlanta have been buzzing for some time and now CBS Atlanta market manager Rick Caffey announces Triple A Dave FM – WZGC will turn into Sports Radio 92.9 this fall, probably in late September or early October. The company is moving KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh program director Terry Foxx to Atlanta to become PD of the new station. Foxx was instrumental in building Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan into the successful station it is. In a memo to the Atlanta staff, Caffey says of Foxx, “His extensive experience includes stints with ESPN Radio in Bristol, Connecticut and ABC Radio Networks. We’ve had many conversations about the potential of Sports Radio 92.9 and his vision is exactly what we need to win in this market. Working with him will be inspiring and I’m confident you’ll also be motivated by his work ethic and energetic personality.” Atlanta currently has two sports talk outlets: Cumulus Media’s WCNN – Sports Radio 680 The Fan – which also operates on an FM translator in the market; and Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI – Sports Talk 790 The Zone. WQXI’s Dave Archer & Mike Bell; Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino; and “Red Zone” hosts Doug and Ryan Stewart plus Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham made it onto the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk as did WCNN’s “Rude Awakening” morning show featuring Christopher Rude. There are not many markets with three sports talk stations but CBS Radio believes in its ability to be successful with the format and its position on the FM dial will give it an advantage purely based on cume using the FM band. As for Dave FM, the station’s ratings had declined over the past year and the market is served by four other commercial outlets airing a rock-based format.
CBS Signs First Talent to Appear on New Radio Sports Network: Doug Gottlieb. The former ESPN personality joins CBS Sports where he’ll hold down the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET time slot on the CBS Sports Radio Network when it launches on January 2. He’ll also be a studio and game analyst for CBS Sports’ television coverage of men’s college hoops and the NCAA Division I championship. Doug Gottlieb will have a role on CBS Sports’ new cable network hosting a show and will serve as an analyst for college basketball there. Additionally, he will contribute podcasts and columns to CBSsports.com. CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus says, “With his ability to host both radio and television shows plus his studio and courtside analysis on college basketball, Doug is a triple threat, and the perfect fit across CBS Sports’ many platforms. Doug brings a wide fan base and a fresh take on sports, and we are excited to develop a unique show with him on CBS Sports Network.”
Cumulus Media Networks Host Mike Huckabee Weighs in on Chick-fil-A Issue on Tom Joyner Program. Nationally syndicated talk show host, former Arkansas governor and former U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner program yesterday with Joyner and cast member Roland Martin to discuss the Chick-fil-A gay marriage controversy. Huckabee is promoting a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” today to support the restaurant chain’s president – Dan Cathy – for announcing his “Godly values.” Huckabee told Martin and Joyner the issue is one of “supporting the right to free speech.” Huckabee says he wants today’s event to be one of quiet support – not a protest with signs or disturbances. “It’s about supporting the idea that a person who runs a company has a right to free speech, and has not been disenfranchised from his First Amendment rights because he runs a company, anymore than Ben and Jerry should be disenfranchised from their views, or Jeff Bezos of Amazon, or Howard Schultz of Starbucks. This is about whether or not people ought to take action, as was being taken against Chick-fil-A, trying to get them thrown off college campuses, mayors trying to say that they shouldn’t have come to their city because they disagreed with the personal views of a person of the company. Nobody has alleged that Chick-fil-A discriminated against its customers or employees. That would be something to truly protest.”
Political Season Kicking into High Gear. Some key primary elections took place yesterday and with the beginning of August, the political season is heating up after a late spring and early summer cooling off. The primary race in Texas between Republicans running for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison has been one of national interest with Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst facing former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz – the latter the recipient of the support of Texas Tea Party groups. Cruz defeated Dewhurst handily in yesterday’s primary race. Pictured here is KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry (holding the mic) announcing Cruz (approaching from the left) at his victory party in Houston last night. Cruz had been endorsed by Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity plus others and had been a favorite of Michael Berry’s since his announcement. “It is a huge honor to be able to share in this evening of celebration for Ted Cruz and the excitement in the room is only half of what is going to exist in November when we can call Ted ‘Senator Cruz.’”
Talk Host Martha Zoller in Runoff for Georgia Congressional Seat. The vote tally in yesterday’s primary election for the newly configured 9th Georgia Congressional District has Georgia talk show host Martha Zoller down by just 729 votes with about half the votes counted. She and Georgia State Representative Doug Collins each have roughly 41% of the votes with third candidate Roger Fitzpatrick, garnering 17% of the vote. That means Zoller and Collins will head to an August 21 runoff election since neither candidate won 50%-plus-one.
Cumulus Media Simulcasts KNBR’s Damon Bruce in Modesto. San Francisco sports talk host Damon Bruce’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show on KNBR is now being heard 80 miles east in Modesto on the company’s sports talk KESP. The station carries largely ESPN Radio programming along with DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick. The addition of Damon Bruce gives the station a regional show that addresses Northern California sports topics.
Artie Lange Reportedly Suspended for Urinating in Studio. The DirecTV/Premiere Networks duo of Artie Lange and Nick Di Paolo was just Di Paolo for the first two nights of this week after Lange was suspended, according to TMZ. The gossip site reports that, for some unknown reason, Lange urinated on the floor of the studio and then insisted the show’s two female production assistants clean it up. When they refused, another male staffer took care of it.
KOA, Denver Shores Up Broncos Coverage with Team Execs and Players. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KOA, Denver unveils some additions to its coverage of Denver Broncos football this season. First, former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey will take over the color role in the radio booth alongside play-by-play man Dave Logan on the Denver Broncos Radio Network based at KOA. Former color man Brian Griese exits to concentrate on his role covering football with ESPN. Broncos EVP of football operations John Elway, head coach John Fox and quarterback Peyton Manning will have regular roles on the station including Elway’s weekly appearance on the Dave Logan PM drive show; Fox’s weekly shot on the station’s morning drive show and Manning’s weekly hit on Logan’s show. All three will contribute to game day programming as well.
Morning Personality Elvis Duran Extends Contract with Clear Channel. WHTZ, New York-based Elvis Duran signs a five-year extension with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to continue his role as morning drive host on the CHR station and his national syndication effort that currently has him on more than 40 affiliates via Premiere Networks. The company announces, “Duran will work with Clear Channel on a variety of future endeavors including talent and programming development as well as events. He will also serve as a spokesperson for the company.” Clear Channel chairman and CEO John Hogan states, “We are thrilled to extend and expand our partnership with Elvis. He is a true creative genius with an unparalleled ability to connect with and entertain listeners across the country. His intelligence, warmth, enthusiasm and wit really resonate with listeners and work incredibly well with our marketing partners. He is a remarkable talent and an incredible partner for Clear Channel.”
WSB Care-a-Thon Helps Raise $1.5 Million for Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Nationally syndicated WSB, Atlanta-based talk host Neal Boortz recently announced the 12th Annual 95.5 & AM 750 News/Talk WSB Care-a-Thon helped raise $1.5 million for the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Atlanta. Boortz, pictured here with 9-year-old patient Haylee, states, “I’ve been doing this fundraiser for the past 11 years and have been honored to rejoice with kids who beat their cancer and have mourned for those who did not. No words can express the love we all feel for the staff of the AFLAC Cancer Center and the children and their families who come here for treatment. Although I’m retiring, I’ll arrange my travels to make sure I’m right back here in Atlanta every year so I can be there for the Care-a-Thon, as long as they’ll have me.”
Presidential Race, Primary Elections, Indian Power Grid Collapse, and Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31). The U.S. presidential campaign; primary elections across the country, including the highly watched Republican Texas Senate contest; the collapse of Northern India’s power grid; and the London Olympic games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.