WTMJ Boosts Brooks to Program Manager. WTMJ, Milwaukee assistant program director Eric Brooks is elevated to program manager of the E.W. Scripps talker/Milwaukee Brewers flagship. Scripps Milwaukee radio operations vice president-general manager/Scripps vice president, news-talk-sports programming Tom Langmyer comments, “Eric has been an invaluable partner in handling day-to-day programming responsibilities for WTMJ. In his new and expanded role, he will now lead our content team on a daily basis in programming, news, and sports. Eric will work directly with our fulltime program hosts; the news team; and with the digital content team. Between the recent addition of Dayton Kane as program manager of [co-owned country WKTI] and Eric’s new role with WTMJ, both stations have strong and dedicated programming leadership.” Brooks remarks, “I have always been humbled to be a part of a prestigious heritage station like WTMJ. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with our team every day; this place is truly special. Our goal always will be to have great local programming and a strong commitment to being ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station.'” Before joining WTMJ four years ago as news anchor/producer, Brooks was a news director in Jacksonville, Illinois at WLDS-AM and WEAI-FM. While a student at Valparaiso University, he interned at WGN-AM, Chicago. Ranked fifth (6+) in Nielsen Audio‘s August 2015 PPM report, WTMJ declines for the fourth successive time and is off by a combined 3.7 shares since April (10.1 – 8.4 – 8.0 – 7.1 – 6.4, 6+).
‘AM Tampa Bay’ Host Jack Harris Re-Ups with WFLA-AM. Longtime WFLA-AM, Tampa morning show co-host Jack Harris signs a new, three-year deal to continue his role with the station. Harris is part of the “AM Tampa Bay” program that includes co-hosts Ted Webb and Corey Dylan. iHeartMedia Tampa market president Sam Nein states, “Jack Harris is an icon in the Tampa Bay market. Re-signing Jack to insure he continues as the cornerstone of WFLA-AM for the foreseeable future was top priority for us. Having completed that is something we are very happy to share and celebrate with his many listeners, clients and friends!”
Boston-Based Talk Radio Host Howie Carr Details Threat Against His Life by Whitey Bulger. In a piece written for the Daily Beast, longtime Boston Herald columnist and syndicated talk show host Howie Carr writes about his dealings with convicted mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. Public interest in the Bulger story is high with the current film Black Mass in theaters, in which Johnny Depp plays Bulger. Carr, whose work as a reporter in Boston during the 1970s connected him to Whitey Bulger and his politician brother William Bulger, has written extensively about the Boston crime scene. He wrote the 2006 book, The Brothers Bulger, and the 2011 book, Hitman, about Johnny Martorano, and has a new novel, Killers, based in the Boston Irish mob setting. In the article, Carr writes that he believes Whitley Bulger would have liked him dead but questions the details of some of the stories that surround alleged plans to kill him. Read the whole piece here.
Jorge Sedano Paired with Jen Lada for ESPN Radio’s 9:00 pm ET Show. As TALKERS sources predicted several weeks ago, Jorge Sedano moves back two hours on the ESPN Radio schedule to a 9:00 pm ET start with new partner Jen Lada for the two-hour “Jorge & Jen” program. The announcement from ESPN Radio pretty much wraps the changes to the radio network’s schedule that were precipitated by the departure of Colin Cowherd during the summer. TALKERS sources say Sedano will do more basketball work for ESPN in addition to the radio show but the sports giant makes no mention of that in its press release. Lada joined ESPN earlier this year from her previous role at Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
Former FCC Commissioners Copps and McDowell Pen Plea for FM Translator Window. Two former FCC commissioners – Democrat Michael Copps and Republican Robert McDowell – wrote a piece in The Hill that urges the FCC to open an application window for FM translators to AM license holders only. Citing the increased interference with which AM signals must contend in today’s increasingly technical society for one, Copps and McDowell believe the application window must be part of any AM revitalization plan. Read their piece in The Hill here.
Odds & Sods. An expansion of the deal between Radio Express – a supplier of entertainment programming to radio outside the U.S. – and jacapps provides for the former to exclusively market and sell jacapps-branded radio station mobile applications to radio stations around the world. This follows the deal consummated earlier this summer which allows Radio Express to market and sell the V4 platform to radio stations across Latin America and Africa…..The Mix Group is using its booth at next week’s NAB Radio Show in Atlanta to help raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. For each person who steps into the live Mix recording booth to create on-the-spot radio imaging, Mix will make a donation on his or her behalf.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $235,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney. The annual summer fundraiser for the Broadcasters Foundation of America – the 2015 Celebrity Golf Tournament held at The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conneciticut – raised $235,000 for the charity that provides financial assistance to broadcasters in need. BFoA reports that last year, it gave away close to $850,000 in grants. More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the BFoA, including famed sportscasters, athletes, and actors. Celebrity golfers included: Maurice Dubois, WCBS-TV; Rachel Grant, actress and philanthropist; Jay Harris, ESPN; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Sean McDonough, ABC and ESPN; Lonnie Quinn, WCBS-TV; Bruce Beck, NBC -TV; and more. Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross.
Chatting Up Miss America. WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley (left) poses for a photo with the newly crowned Miss America – Betty Cantrell of Georgia (right). Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who led the effort to bring the Miss America pageant back to Atlantic City three years ago, called into the program live this morning. As the 2016 Miss America, Cantrell will be working closely with The Children’s Miracle Network for the next year. She is the first Miss Georgia to win the crown since 1953.
Pope Francis’ Visit to America, Trump Candidacy/2016 Presidential Candidates, Potential Government Shutdown, Chinese President Xi Jinping in U.S., FBI Recovers Hillary Clinton Emails, Iran Nuclear Deal, European Migrant Crisis/U.S. Immigration Policy, and Death of Yogi Berra Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/23). The visit to the U.S. by Pope Francis; the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and the activities of the other candidates for president in 2016; the looming threat of a federal government shutdown; Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States; the FBI’s recovery of some of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails from a private server; the controversy over the nuclear deal with Iran; the migrant troubles being experienced by European nations tied with U.S. immigration policy; and the death of American icon Yogi Berra were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tidwell Tapped as iHM San Antonio SVP/Programming. Inbound from Tucson where he was iHeartMedia‘s senior vice president of programming, Lance Tidwell transfers to San Antonio for similar duties. Executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia major markets Brad Hardin comments, “I am extremely pleased to welcome Lance to the iHeartMedia San Antonio family. Tidwell is a strong talent and has had much success in his tenure with iHeartMedia. His programming acumen and depth of experience will allow him to ramp up quickly and build immediate relationships with the programming and sales team.” San Antonio market president Marlene Trevino remarks, “I am excited that our San Antonio programming operations will be led by Tidwell. He understands our company¹s vision to be innovative with every move. Lance¹s experience collaborating with programming and sales teams will provide us and our partners with unbeatable forward momentum in the continued evolution of our brands in the San Antonio market.” Tidwell notes that he is “grateful” to Trevino and Hardin “for the chance to work with these great brands and team in San Antonio. I am eager to get started and lead the market to continued growth and success.” In addition to having programmed in Seattle, Memphis, Hartford, Monterey-Salinas, and New Haven (Connecticut), Tidwell was chief operating officer for Southern Star Broadcasting. With 6+ share/market ranks from the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM sweep in parentheses (July 2015), iHeartMedia’s San Antonio cluster consists of country KAJA “KJ-97” (6.0, #3); mainstream CHR KXXM “Mix 96.1” (4.8, #5); adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9” (4.7, #6); talk WOAI (4.2, #10); rhythmic CHR KZEP “Hot 104.5” (2.1, #19); regional Mexican KQXT-HD3 (1.8, #20); sports KTKR “The Ticket” (.6, #26); and classic country KRPT “B-Buc” (.2, #27).
CBS Radio Q2 Revenue Off 5%. While second quarter revenue for CBS Corp. increased 1% to $3.22 billion from $3.19 billion in 2014, CBS Radio revenue declined 5%. Executive chair Sumner Redstone states, “CBS is at the center of the action during an extremely exciting time in media. We continue to succeed as a result of our world-class content.” According to president and chief executive officer Les Moonves, “This quarter underscores the key steps we are taking to build out our long-term growth strategy. Our premium content remains the cornerstone of our success, and I am confident this fall’s new primetime lineup will lead us to another victory next season.” The company’s local broadcasting revenue was down 2% to $654 million from $665 million, as television station revenue was up 1%, and local broadcasting operating income (OI) fell 8% to $198 million from $215 million. The company posted net earnings of $332 million, down from $439 million in the year-ago period.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of July 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
National Radio Hall of Fame Nominees Announced. The 24 candidates in six categories were determined by the organization’s steering committee. National Radio Hall of Fame chair Kraig Kitchin brings back public engagement through social media balloting in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” and “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” categories. This is the first time that will be done in the last five years. “This impressive list of nominees represents the best examples of talent with commendable audience relationships past and present,” Kitchin declares. “Each individual and show was selected after extensive deliberation by the steering committee. We are all looking forward to seeing the results as determined by our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” The four nominees to be voted on by a participant panel in the “Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)” category are Tom Barnard (Minneapolis); Johnny Dare (Kansas City); Johnny Holliday (Washington, D.C.); and Ronn Owens (San Francisco). Those in the “Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)” category are “Big Boy” – real name Kurt Alexander (Los Angeles); Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison (Philadelphia); Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart (Chicago); and Garland Robinette (New Orleans). The four candidates in the “Networks/Syndication (10 years or more)” category include Tom Kent (Cleveland); Dave Ramsey (Nashville); Diane Rehm (Washington, D.C.); and Michael Savage (San Francisco). Those in the “Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)” category are Bob Kevoian & Tom Griswold (Indianapolis); Bob Kingsley (Weatherford, Texas); “Marketplace” (Los Angeles); and Harry Shearer (Los Angeles). Nominees to be voted on by listeners nationwide in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” category are Delilah (Seattle); Elvis Duran (New York); Steve Harvey (Atlanta); and Ryan Seacrest (Los Angeles). In the “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” category, the nominees are Sean Hannity (New York); Clark Howard (Atlanta); Jim Rome (Los Angeles); and Dr. Laura Schlessinger (Los Angeles). Voting begins today; names of the winners will be revealed in just over three weeks (8/31). The induction ceremony will be held in three months (11/5) at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.
NextRadio, CBI Team To Find Best Radio Spot. College students are encouraged to create/submit a 60-second radio spot, as NextRadio and College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) join forces to find the “best-of-the-best in radio spot ads.” According to NextRadio president Paul Brenner, there are currently 50,000 – 70,000 radio spots that run each month supporting the NAB National Awareness Campaign, which launched in February; “this is a huge opportunity for students to have their radio spot played nationally among thousands of broadcast stations and heard by millions. We will get the opportunity to showcase rising talent for the radio industry.” CBI president Greg Weston comments, “CBI is thrilled to team with NextRadio to offer students from our media outlets this unprecedented opportunity to have their work appear in front of millions of listeners. Not only will the winners get national exposure for their talent, they will be able to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them at the National Student Electronic Media Convention.” First-place winner will have his or her 60-second spot included in “flight four” of the NAB National Awareness Campaign, which starts October 1. The contest begins one week from next Monday (8/17) and will run through September 18; winners will be announced September 28.
Westwood One, PGA of America In Multiyear, Multiplatform Deal. Live hole-by-hole coverage of the PGA championship returns to Westwood One for the first time in a decade. In addition, Westwood One will provide short-form updates, as well as a Brad Heller-anchored recap show, “The PGA Championship Tonight.” Senior vice president of sports for Westwood One (and parent company Cumulus Media) Bruce Gilbert remarks, “Westwood One is proud to present the 2015 PGA championship. It is a very exciting time in professional golf with so many terrific stories this year. Our team is prepared and excited to describe the remarkable performance of the world’s best players live from the PGA championship for the next few years.” PGA of America chief commercial officer Jeff Price states, “Westwood One and SiriusXM are synonymous with live, major sports event broadcasting. The PGA of America is delighted that we will partner with these two world-class radio partners to bring the drama and excitement of the PGA championship to fans.” Broadcast coverage from the PGA championship at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin begins one week from today (Thursday, 8/13). It will run through (Sunday) the 16th and can be heard on SiriusXM, Westwood One Sports affiliates, and WestwoodOneSports.com. SiriusXM PGA tour radio host Earl Forcey will anchor the joint coverage from the 18th tower, while former pro golfer/Golf Channel host Charlie Rymer will be lead analyst. Westwood One’s Ted Emrich will anchor short-form reports from the course, and provide leader board updates during the long-form coverage. Looking ahead, Westwood One Sports will provide PGA championship coverage next year from Baltusrol Country Club in Springfield, New Jersey and, in 2017, from the Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte.
2016 Presidential Candidates-GOP Debates, Nashville Theater Attack, Iran Nuclear Deal, Immigration Policy Debate, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, Baltimore Gets Help with Violence, MH370 Debris Confirmed, and Deflategate Flap Among Top News Stories Yesterday (8/5). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and tonight’s GOP debates; the thwarted attack on a cinema in Nashville on Wednesday; the political battle over the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the ongoing controversy over America’s immigration policy; the Feds supply help to Baltimore’s police in battling the explosion of murders in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray slaying; the plane debris found last week is confirmed to be from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370; and the NFL’s deflategate case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian provides another thorough ratings assessment, as he updates the status of all-news outlets. You might recall that in January, the format – albeit with a qualifying database of approximately 20 stations in PPM markets – managed to do something rather astounding: It kept all of them out of negative “Holiday” 2014 – January 2015 territory. The natural question now is: Did the format keep this incredible momentum going? Using data from Nielsen Audio‘s February 2015 PPM survey, Mike examines the performances of all-news facilities in sweep-to-sweep and year-to-year comparisons, as well as charting them in terms of 6+ rank and 6+ market share. Additionally, we have a side-by-side look of the format’s ultra-impressive January numbers and – in some cases – ironically similar February stats. See the exclusive all-news analysis and overview here.
KOGO Adds DeMaio For Midday Duty. San Diego talker KOGO is pairing Carl DeMaio and Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-hosts of the 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm “DeMaio – Sullivan Report.” KOGO program director Brian Long comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Carl DeMaio to our lineup. I have no doubt that, with his experience as a government watchdog and his inside knowledge of politics, this will be the most talked about show in San Diego.” According to DeMaio, “Our show will give San Diegans a vehicle to learn not only about important issues, but to get involved in making a difference and advancing solutions.” In addition to focusing on local news, the three-hour weekday program on the iHeartMedia-owned station will combine investigative journalism to examine stories behind the stories. The 40-year-old, Dubuque, Iowa-born DeMaio (Republican and openly gay) previously served four years (2008 – 2012) on San Diego’s city council representing district five. DeMaio lost to former congressman Bob Filner in San Diego’s 2012 mayoral contest and he was defeated by incumbent Scott Peters two years later in a race for California’s 52nd congressional district seat. He is a Georgetown University alum.
Mohr Wins Big By Horsing Around. As part of its March Madness “Celeb Pick ‘Em” series, USA Today‘s “For the Win” featured an interview with Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr. Within the piece, the star of the 2008 – 2010 CBS-TV sitcom “Gary Unmarried” (which co-starred Paula Marshall) revealed how a bet he made on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament netted him an unusual payoff. It was 16 years ago (1999) and St. John’s was making a run to the “Elite Eight” under head coach Mike Jarvis. Mohr was wagering with a friend who kept saying, “Double or nothing.” His friend – a jockey at Santa Anita racetrack – eventually ran out of money. If St. John’s went another round in the tournament, the friend told Mohr he’d give Mohr the horse on which he (the jockey) was sitting. St. John’s – and Mohr – won but since the actor/comedian had a small yard, the horse was not with him very long. For the record, the St. John Red Storm beat Maryland 76 – 62 in the infamous game-winning bet for Mohr, but lost to Ohio State in a squeaker (77 – 74) the next round. According to Mohr, the primary excuse someone should offer for missing work to watch the Final Four should simply be that you are going to watch the tournament. “If you are not in a sports-friendly work environment,” he says, “I would fake a birth.” It is Mohr’s contention that talk radio show callers should push the envelope and “make the host uncomfortable. The crazier they are, the more fun we have when we play it later when we run out of ideas of our own.” So – how did Mohr do with his NCAA brackets this year? Not bad. He correctly has Kentucky and Michigan State in the Final Four, but also included Iowa State and Ohio State, rather than Wisconsin and Duke. He had Duke losing to San Diego State in the third round and Wisconsin falling to Ohio State in the Elite Eight. His prediction for the final game is that Kentucky’s Wildcats will beat Michigan State’s Spartans.
Newsday Reports Tense Relations Exist Between WFAN Sports Talk Legend Mike Francesa and CBS Brass. According to a report yesterday in Newsday (4/2), sports talk WFAN, New York afternoon star Mike Francesa says his relationship with executives at the station’s parent CBS Radio have “never been worse.” In a story written by Neil Best, the iconic media figure who will be delivering the welcoming keynote at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12, has described his relationship with company brass as “very poor,” “awful” and “terrible.” According to the story, speaking during a break in his show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan, Francesa said that for legal reasons he cannot go into detail about the nature of the dispute. But he acknowledged one source of tension is his ongoing frustration over his often pre-empted simulcast on Fox Sports 1 and 2, and CBS’ inability or unwillingness to find a contractual solution. The story goes on to report, Francesa did not name the executives with whom he is at odds, but he specifically excluded CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, who was a target of harsh criticism from him after Moonves fired Don Imus in 2007. What does Moonves make of Francesa’s status with CBS in 2015? “We love Mike,” he said. “He’s done a great job . . . Let him keep doing what he’s doing and getting the ratings he’s doing and I’m very happy with him.” TALKERS magazine’s annual feature “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America” (also known as the “Talkers Sports Talk Heavy Hundred”) lists Francesa consistently as being THE most important radio sports talk host in the business — local or national – and has been described by Michael Harrison as “one of the treasures of the talk media industry, sports talk or otherwise.” Ironically, Harrison has also described the executives that run CBS Radio, with whom Francesa is likely at odds, as “among the smartest and classiest in the business.” So it would be to the benefit of all parties concerned, including Francesa’s legion of devoted fans and detractors alike, that this dispute is soon settled. To read the entire Newsday piece, please click here.
Proffitt to Pacifica Foundation Radio as Executive Director. In just over five weeks (6/11), former KUHF, Houston chief executive officer and general manager John Proffitt will take over as executive director of Pacifica Foundation Radio. Pacifica national board chair and interim executive director Margy Wilkinson states, “We have spent much of the past year stabilizing Pacifica after a turbulent time. Bringing on permanent, experienced leadership is the next step. While Pacifica still faces significant challenges, I am confident that John can see us through them and put our network back on a path of growth.” National board vice chair Lydia Brazon remarks, “John’s significant experience in radio broadcasting speaks for itself, but it is his recognition of Pacifica’s unique place in today’s media landscape that impresses most. I fully trust John Proffitt can and will rise to the challenge.” Proffitt comments, “I deeply admire the Pacifica commitment to independent news and feature reporting that tell the stories other media outlets frequently ignore or soft-pedal. Its leadership in broadcasting and promoting local art and performance is second-to-none, as is its grassroots support from the community. I consider Pacifica to be a national treasure and feel honored to work for its success.” Recording engineer and producer Proffitt spent 25 years at KUHF; more recently, he was a volunteer fundraiser/host (“Thresholds” and “Open Journal”) at Pacifica Houston’s noncommercial KPFT. He will be based in Pacifica’s Berkeley, California headquarters. The five noncommercial stations Pacifica operates are WBAI, New York; KPFK, Los Angeles; KPFA, San Francisco; KPFT, Houston; and WPFW, Washington, DC.
WABC to Report from the Final Four. In harmony with Cumulus Media sibling Westwood One, New York City talker WABC will have a presence during this weekend’s “Final Four.” Sports reporter Mike Gunzelman will broadcast from radio row in Indianapolis with extended sports reports within “[Don] Imus in The Morning,” “The Geraldo Rivera Show,” and “Right Now with Doug McIntyre.” According to program director Craig Schwalb,”With the continuing dialogue surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and all the excitement that is college basketball, it is an important intersection; WABC will be in Indianapolis for all of it.” Reports will be featured in newscasts as well as in social media. WABC will produce two live streaming programs, which will debut tomorrow (Saturday, 4/4) and Sunday (4/5) at 12:00 Noon. Live sports streams are separate from the station’s main WABC Radio stream.
KFWB, Clippers to Host Fan Appreciation Night. Flagship outlet of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Clippers – all-sports KFWB “The Beast” – will present a fan appreciation night one week from Monday (4/13) when the Clippers play the Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Various prizes and merchandise will be distributed throughout the game, and a halftime presentation will acknowledge “Beast” on-air personalities and station executives. Performances from the Clippers Spirit will tap things off as part of a 5:30 pm fan festival. Among the prizes is an MVP package that includes Clippers playoff tickets in the private suite of “The Beast” and a meet/greet with a Clippers’ broadcaster.
NAB Reveals Radio Board Election Results. Those voted to the National Association of Broadcasters’ radio board include: Bill Coleman, owner, Team Radio Marketing Group of Ponca City, Oklahoma. Bruce Goldsen, president and general manager, Jackson Radio Works of Jackson, Michigan. Randy Gravley, president and chief executive officer, Tri-State Communications of Jasper, Georgia. Bill Hendrich, vice president and market manager, Cox Media Group Jacksonville. Ed Henson, president, Henson Media of Louisville. Beth Neuhoff, president and chief executive officer, Neuhoff Communications of Springfield, Illinois. Bob Proffitt, president and chief executive officer, Alpha Media of Portland (Oregon). Their two-year terms will begin in two months (June).
Albuquerque Picks Up A Sports Outlet. Newcomer to the format in Albuquerque is KXKS, which transitions to sports from a religious teaching format. According to general manager Eddy Aragon, “We are excited to bring the premier Fox Sports network to the most powerful sports radio signal in the Albuquerque market. Listeners will be able to tune to the 10,000-watt signal of KXKS [at 1190 AM], plus the simulcast signal on 107.5 FM.” Rock of Talk LLC operates KXKS under an LMA with licensee Wilkins Communications. The religious format that previously aired on KXKS moves to Wilkins’ KKIM. KXKS was not among the 21 stations listed in Nielsen Audio‘s fall 2014 ratings book.
St. Louis Sports Outlet Augments On-Air Lineup. Leased by web-based programming provider TalkSTL.com, sports talk KRFT, St. Louis brings in J.C. Corcoran for 7:00 am – 9:00 am duty and Kevin Slaten for 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm chores on the AM day-timer. In just over two weeks (4/20), former East St. Louis, Illinois-licensed WQQX talents Howard Balzer and Charlie “Tuna” Edwards will begin doing a daily 11:00 am – 1:00 pm program. TalkSTL.com co-owner and operator Scott Gertken comments, “We could not be more excited about the lineup we were able to finalize. We have done a whole lot in 10 days.” According to Corcoran, his morning drive show “will be exactly the same thing I have been doing. Anybody who listens to the show is going to hear J.C. Corcoran – they know what they are going to get. It will be a general interest talk show, entertainment, and a heavy dose of my twisted mind.” Gertken says he hopes to have KRFT as a 24-hour operation by next month.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The SBG-syndicated Marilu Henner program is added to the program schedule at: KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana; WLAD, Danbury, Connecticut; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky.
Religious Freedom Act Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 30-April 3. The chatter about Indiana’s religious freedom legislation and Governor Mike Pence’s promise to “fix” the law – along with Arkansas’ vow to pass a similar law – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Coming in at #2 was the Iran nuclear program negotiations. Following at #3 was the investigation into the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525, followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Limbaugh Commenting on Colbert’s Hiring: “War on the Heartland of America.” Clearly – not everyone was doing cartwheels regarding yesterday’s announcement that CBS-TV has selected Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman as “Late Show” host when Letterman departs sometime next year. Colbert will gear up for the new assignment by retiring his fake conservative persona (which he has described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot”) on Comedy Central‘s “Colbert Report” at the end of this year. Perhaps the most vociferous and vitriolic public comments concerning the late-night succession involving Colbert were made by Rush Limbaugh on Thursday’s (4/10) Premiere Networks broadcast. He claims that CBS-TV’s hiring of Colbert has, “declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservative values. Now it is just out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny, and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format.” Limbaugh and Letterman are hardly allies, yet Limbaugh noted that, “The world is changing – people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman gave us. It is the media planting a flag. There is no unity in this hire.” Furthermore, Limbaugh contends that CBS-TV has, “hired a partisan, [a] so-called comedian, to run a comedy show.”
WABC, New York’s John Batchelor to Debut Author Video Series on WABCradio.com. WABC, New York and WestwoodOne syndicated talk show host John Batchelor begins a new online video program titled “John Batchelor Author Series” (sponsored by online bookseller Entitle) in which he “takes his appreciation of literature, history, and political intrigue to a new level” via long-form interviews with today’s most intriguing authors. Batchelor comments, “I used to be an author, and I enjoy the enthusiasm of hearing in depth of a new book, well told by the person who survived the research, the writing and the publishing. It’s fun for me to learn the stories of the making of the stories.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “No one does books better than John Batchelor, and the ‘Author Series’ proves that. This is a natural extension of John’s passion and we hope that his listeners in New York and across the country will enjoy it.” The program launches with an in-depth interview of Thomas Cahill the author of Heretics and Heroes. Future episodes include: Robert Klara author of FDR’s Funeral Train, Eri Hotta author of Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy and George H. Nash author of The Crusade Years 1933-1955. Fresh episodes will appear weekly on wabcradio.com.
KARN-FM, Little Rock Names PD; Seeks Afternoon Host. Little Rock news/talker KARN-FM names Adam Thomas program director for the station and the Arkansas Radio Network. Thomas takes over for longtime PD and PM drive host Dave Elswick who, along with morning host Bob Steel and news director Jack Heinritz, exited the station last week. Thomas is seeking a new afternoon drive personality for the station and says, “The afternoon show should be a compelling blend of information and entertainment. Opinion and point-of-view are important, but this program must appeal to a broad segment of the Little Rock community. Candidates must have a mastery of current events, a relentless curiosity, and the ability and desire to talk about more than politics. A willingness and ability to engage the audience outside the show via personal appearances, digital media and other channels is a must.” Send resumes and airchecks or links to email@example.com with “Little Rock PM Host” in the subject line. Cumulus Media is an EOE.
Former Governor, WTIC Host John Rowland Indicted on Federal Elections Violations Charges. A week after former Connecticut Governor John Rowland resigned from his afternoon drive talk show on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford, he has been indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts related to alleged illegal campaign activity. Rowland, who resigned from the governor’s office in 2004 and eventually served 10 months in prison after being charged with corruption, is this time accused of scheming to work for two Connecticut political campaigns and trying to conceal from both the public and the Federal Elections Commission that he was being paid by the campaigns.
WTJK, Janesville to Flip to News/Talk. The newly acquired Janesville, Wisconsin sports talker that Scott Thompson’s Big Radio purchased from Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting is flipping to news/talk as “The Big AM 1380” beginning Monday, April 14. The station – an ESPN Radio outlet under Good Karma’s ownership – will focus on local content and Scott Thompson will host the morning drive show. The rest of the day will feature: Glenn Smith from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Andrew Liebetrau & Andy Gannon from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Tony Huml from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Sly from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Program director Andrew Liebetrau comments, “We are incredibly excited to do more for our local listeners, partners and communities. Not only will we have a lot of great new and local content, but we will continue to offer some of the great local programs we have had for years.”
Odds & Sods. Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer is producing a weekly podcast for Sports USA Network. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Jake Plummer is a true superstar with a huge following in the college and pro football sports world. We are excited to add Jake’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs as we continue to produce current, fresh, and informative sports programming.” Plummer is currently an NFL game analyst on Sports USA’s “Sunday Doubleheader” package as well as a college football analyst on the Pac-12 Television Network…..Alison Cuddy exits Chicago Public Media-owned WBEZ, Chicago where she has been serving as arts & culture reporter and producer. She leaves to become program director for the Chicago Humanities Festival…..The “Sports Business Radio” show, hosted by creator Brian Berger, celebrates its 10th year on the air. It debuted on KXL, Portland and then moved to national syndication via Sports Byline USA Network.
Meet the New Boss. The New York-based staff of ABC News Radio poses for a photo with newly named ABC News president James Goldston (at center). Goldston was given a standing ovation by the ABC News Radio staff when he visited them today just hours after getting the top job at the network. Goldston, most recently senior vice president overseeing content and development, succeeds Ben Sherwood who is stepping down from the president position in a few weeks after assisting Goldston during the transition phase.
ObamaCare Criticism Top Talk Story for Week of April 7-11. The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the 2016 presidential race tied with this fall’s mid-term elections. Following at #3 was global warming and at #4 was the move to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with contempt tied with Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation as Health and Human Services Secretary. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Clear Channel Releases Results of ‘Audio Space’ Study; Growth in New Platforms Means Audio Consumption Is ‘Additive.’ The study was a combined effort with MediaVest and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and surveyed “thousands of audio listeners who use one or more of the following audio sources personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads), broadcast radio, streaming AM/FM radio, custom online playlists, satellite radio, online music videos and digital music channels on TV shows.” Among the results of the study is the conclusion that “because of the use of alternate audio devices, time spent across audio platforms continues to increase and growth in audio is predominantly additive.” The goal of the study was to determine when, why and how consumers choose different audio platforms and some of the conclusions reached are: afternoon drive (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm) generally sees the highest usage; the car remains the most popular location for audio listening throughout the day; 63% of teens listen to more than two audio platforms a day – the highest of any demographic; broadcast radio is the most popular audio platform; listeners choose broadcast radio to stay connected to “the world,” top drivers for radio usage are its accessibility, timely news, traffic, weather, engagement with radio personalities and discovering new music; personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads, etc.) are about control with 81% choosing the platform to control or customize their listening experience. Custom playlists are also about control and follow with 67% choosing the platform for this reason; 41% of consumers are willing to listen to ads in exchange for free online audio. Ads related to the music consumers like and optimized for the time of day are most powerful. MediaVest EVP and research director David Shiffman states, “In the audio space, most measurement focuses on a single audio platform, rather than a complete view of the landscape. Our goal in working with Clear Channel – with its extensive experience in both live and digital radio – was to generate a real-time and accurate view of the audio space, which we believe is going through an evolution similar to television. Marketers have embraced the concept of multi-screen consumer behavior, but audio media also provides a tremendous opportunity for them to connect with their target audience throughout their day.”
2014 CES: Innovate or… Reporting for TALKERS from the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas is media consultant Holland Cooke who writes that one of the hottest topics during CEA CEO Gary Shapiro’s interview with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was spectrum auction; that all of the five FCC commissioners where there and he was able to ask a question or two about AM revitalization of Ajit Pai; about some very revealing stats that show why smart broadcasters are taking advantage of posting video to YouTube (and why you should, too); and even more about the ‘connected car’ that is the focus of so much of the audio and information sector at the show. Read Holland Cooke’s report here.
Saga Portland President Pahigian Prepares To Exit. Fifteen-year Portland Radio Group president Cary Pahigian broke the news to his staff yesterday (1/8) he will soon be leaving the Maine operation. According to Pahigian, he told Saga vice president Warren Lada about a year ago that he was evaluating his next professional challenge. “I was certainly happy and fortunate to be working with the finest group of people I have ever met,” Pahigian wrote in a staff memo. “Still, the impending 15-year mark was activating an area in my brain that had been quiet for years. Warren asked me to forge ahead and see how I felt at the end of 2013. The only way to properly examine what I wanted to do and aggressively pursue that opportunity, was to focus on it 100%. It would be impossible to conduct that process and still remain at my best with the demands of this job.” Pahigian continues his duties at the operation until his successor is hired. Prior to his 15-year Portland, Maine tenure as president of the eight-station cluster, Pahigian was a 26-year-old station manager at heritage Boston outlet WBZ-AM; corporate vice president of operations for Sconnix Broadcasting; and he programmed Philadelphia’s WIP.
WABC, New York to Air Bob Grant Special. The longtime home to late talk radio pioneer Bob Grant will air a special broadcast in his honor this weekend. Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – where Grant worked daily from 1984-1996 and again weekly from 2009-2013 – is airing the special program that “will feature notable moments from the talk show host as well as comments from broadcasters inspired by Mr. Grant. Also, included in the special are thoughts and comments from members of Mr. Grant’s immediate family.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb said, “WABC is proud to produce this special to honor the late Bob Grant, a true legend in our industry. We hope our listeners will enjoy this opportunity to remember his contribution to WABC and to the city of New York.” The show will air Saturday 1/11 at 5:00 pm and Sunday 1/12 at 4:00 pm. Grant died on December 31, 2013 after an illness at age 84.
WEEI.com Keeps Its Team Intact. All contributing writers and columnists of Boston’s WEEI.com have signed new contracts for this calendar year. Alex Speier, Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean, Christopher Price, and Jerry Spar will continue blogging, opining, and reporting breaking sports news for the site, as well as appearing regularly on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI-FM. They join Kirk Minihane and Celtics beat writer Ben Rohrbach. Last week, “Dennis & Callahan” morning show co-host Minihane signed a long-term deal as the site’s opinion editor. “It is a privilege to work alongside such a talented and dedicated group of sports journalists,” comments site editor Rob Bradford. “There isn’t another sports radio station in the country with WEEI’s commitment to enterprise journalism. Boston sports fans have come to expect us to be first with breaking news and commentary wherever they engage with our brand.” WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham remarks, “[These guys] live and breathe Boston sports and they are respected throughout the Boston sports landscape for their journalistic integrity. In this sports-crazed market that boasts some of the most esteemed writers in the business, they stand among the best-in-breed.” WEEI.com recently won the 2013 RAIN Internet Radio award for “Best Streaming Radio Station in America.”
WTOP, Washington Touts Page View Growth. Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP, Washington, DC reports that it realized “a 30% overall increase in page views to WTOP.com, averaging more than 22 million page views and reaching more than 1.8 million unique users per month.” The organization adds that “a number of major news stories in the nation’s capital contributed to this growth, including sequestration, the government shutdown, and the Navy Yard shooting. WTOP.com also strengthened its commitment to unique local content with the launch of two new verticals – Living and Technology – and the introduction of the live blog for breaking news…WTOP’s growth can also be attributed to its strategic use of social media. Traffic to WTOP.com from Facebook and Twitter grew by 150% in 2013, making WTOP one of the top five social media players in the DC market.” WTOP director of digital media John Meyer says, “While news judgment will always be the primary factor in story selection, we have editorial meetings throughout the day, using a variety of statistical tools to determine how our homepage is performing. Armed with the most recent data on what people are searching, clicking, and sharing, we can adjust accordingly.”
Mark DePrez Named VP/GM at Farm Journal Media. Former longtime WOWO, Fort Wayne general manager and Federated Media COO Mark DePrez joins Farm Journal Media as VP/GM of the company’s radio business. In this position DePrez will oversee such shows as “AgriTalk with Mike Adams” and “American Countryside with Andrew McCrea.” The company also reports that a new commodity markets-focused show hosted by Chip Flory is being prepared to launch in the early spring. Farm Journal Broadcast SVP Brian Conrady says, “We are thrilled to have Mark join our team. Radio has quickly become an important part of Farm Journal’s integrated go-to-market media strategy, and Mark has the experience, the talent and the tenacity to further spur this growth.” DePrez comments, “It’s fascinating to see the role radio plays as part of an integrated marketing solution in agriculture. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about Farm Journal’s cross-platform content and how radio can fit. I’m excited to be part of this expanding radio business.”
Jimmie Kaska Named Sports Director at WBIZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The new title for Jimmie Kaska comes as he takes over the sports director role at Clear Channel’s WBIZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin from Mike Sullivan who held the position for the past 40 years. The station notes that during Sullivan’s tenure, “he was responsible for getting games on the air involving local teams performing in over 200 venues in 30 states, one territory and two foreign countries. Of those roughly 8,000 games, only two did not get on the air. Sullivan also negotiated rights fees and made other arrangements for airing over 10,000 games involving professional and college teams in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as nationally broadcast events. WBIZ-AM was the first 24-hour sports station in Wisconsin, and one of the first 10 in the United States when the format debuted in 1992. The station format was switched in 1994-95, but then returned to the all-sports format in 1996, and has remained all-sports since then.” Kaska serves as PD for WBIZ and sister news/talk WMEQ. He states, “It’s crazy to think that the first job I had in my life when I was 17 would be the same one I’m doing today. It seems like every year I find something else to take charge of, and of all the roles I have here, this one will be the most visible and most important. It’s my goal that I continue the long tradition of being one of the best and most active sports radio groups in the country. The mentoring I’ve received from Mike Sullivan has been invaluable to both my career in broadcasting and to life. I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity.”
Advantage Systems Brings Reed Bunzel and A. Darryl Davis Aboard. Sales and marketing firm Advantage Systems Inc. announces Reed Bunzel and A. Darryl Davis join the company as revenue development managers. The company says, “Bunzel has been leading a charge for the radio industry to use digital media to grow revenue since digital first appeared, and he has joined Advantage Systems, Inc. to help stations do just that. Bunzel, current president of Bunzel Media Strategies, will be working with broadcasting groups throughout U.S. and Canada to help them with a revenue generation program designed to incorporate traditional media with new interactive solutions provided by Advantage Systems, Inc.” Bunzel comments, “What I find interesting is that RAB’s just-released data shows that radio’s digital revenue was up 3% in the previous quarter and 7% in the first half, but I saw another study today predicting 16% growth in digital advertising next year. That tells me that radio is severely underperforming in the digital era. It needs to be smart and catch up.” Regarding Davis, Advantage Systems VP for sales Frank Kulbertis states, “Darryl has a history of doing programs similar to our Advantage Plan program that included schedules and digital products for television so he was a perfect fit as a new revenue development manager for us.” The company says Davis will work with broadcast groups to grow their advertising revenue. The program includes extensive sales training, new business leads in the local market, a focused workshop to educate local business owners on traditional and new media, 12-month advertising commitments along with turn-key creative services and the ability to generate digital revenue thru inclusion of interactive solutions.
Odds & Sods. Consumer finance expert Rodney Anderson is hosting a daily, one-hour program on Clear Channel’s news/talk KFXR, Dallas airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore inks the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles for another two seasons. The O’s have been heard on WBAL for all but 15 of the team’s 60-year history in the city…..WestwoodOne has the national radio rights to the remaining NFL playoff games – including Super Bowl XLVIII – that resume this weekend. While Scott Graham hosts the pre-, post-game and halftime shows for all four games, the WestwoodOne stable of in-game announcers and analysts are lined up for the four games airing this weekend.
Chris Christie Bridge Traffic Scandal, Robert Gates Book, War on Poverty Anniversary, and Dennis Rodman North Korea Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8). The scandal involving New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s staffers allegedly closing lanes in Fort Lee New Jersey near the George Washington Bridge as a form of revenge against the town’s Democratic mayor; the new book from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in which he’s critical of Obama Administration officials and the president and vice president; the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s “war on poverty”; and former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s tumultuous return visit to North Korea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.