Talk Host Mandy Connell Grabs KHOW, Denver Morning Gig. Moving to Denver from Clear Channel’s WHAS, Louisville is talk show host Mandy Connell who takes over the morning drive show on the company’s KHOW, Denver effective August 19. The program host position opened after longtime KHOW morning man Peter Boyles exited the company. Connell states, “Moving to Denver has been my goal for many years. The city is vibrant, beautiful and full of great people. When you throw the mountains into the mix, there simply isn’t a better place to be. When you listen to my show, you’ll hear the things you and your friends talk about. Pop culture, politics and those questions about life you ponder are all fair game – only funnier.” Connell moved from WINK, Fort Myers to WHAS in 2010 to host the mid-morning show. Clear Channel Denver VP of programming Greg Foster states, “We’re fortunate to have a host of Mandy’s caliber at the helm of TalkRadio 630 KHOW’s morning show. Mandy’s entertaining style, humor and passion are sure to connect with TalkRadio 630 KHOW’s listeners and advertisers.” A number of years ago while she was still hosting at WINK, Mandy Connell was selected by the TALKERS editorial board to have the honor of presenting the award for “Woman of the Year” to that year’s recipient, Laura Ingraham. At the time, while still a relative newcomer, Mandy told the crowd that someday she hoped to have developed a strong enough career in the radio business to be the recipient of that award herself. Looks like she may well be on her way to fulfilling that prophecy!
Cumulus Media to Flip FM Side of News/Talk WAPI, Birmingham to Sports in Deal with ESPN for Paul Finebaum. That’s the report from AL.com although confirmation from Cumulus Media and ESPN has not been received. Formerly Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum recently announced a deal with ESPN that would give him a syndicated sports talk show plus other opportunities with the sports media giant. He exited Cumulus Media’s sports talk WJOX, Birmingham in January of 2013 after working out his contract and to explore other options. Now, he’ll return to WJOX via ESPN but the deal appears to include Cumulus adding another sports talk station to the market to carry ESPN’s national programming and the report is that news/talk WAPI-AM/FM will sacrifice its FM signal to the new station. ESPN had an affiliate in the market in SummitMedia’s WZNN – the former ‘ESPN 97.3 The Zone’ – but the company is flipping that station to a still-to-be-determined music format saying it couldn’t make money as the second sports talk station in the market. Finebaum’s new radio show is expected to debut on August 12. AL.com published the ESPN logo you see here reporting it’s been seen circulating in Birmingham on posters.
Mark & Dave Exit News/Talk KEX, Portland; Michael Castner Takes Over PM Drive. Mark Mason and Dave Anderson leave Clear Channel’s Portland news/talk station KEX and Michael Castner, who’d been with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network for the past several years hosting the discontinued “The Daily Wrap” program, is now hosting the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show. Prior to joining WSJRN, Castner worked at Clear Channel’s WRNO, New Orleans.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis’ Dave Glover Talk Star Search Contest Names Winner. Afternoon drive talk show host Dave Glover announces the winner of the talk host search contest executed by the Emmis news/talk outlet. St. Louis native Brian Moncey won the search based on votes cast online. Moncey picked up 52% of the final week’s votes with a record-breaking 263,000 total contest votes cast and he’ll get the chance to host the 5:00 pm hour of Glover’s program (the date for the show has not been set). Moncey comments, “When I was coming up with a name for the show I asked my friends if they had any suggestions. They immediately replied “So, Here’s the Thing” because that’s what I say ALL THE TIME.” Moncey says he will talk about “the insanity that’s going on in the world and the mundane of every day.” He was among 10 talk show hopefuls selected by the Dave Glover show to compete after submitting a two-minute audio entry. The contestants then faced off in a head-to-head battle with the participants receiving the most online votes advancing to the next round. The final round consisted of Tom Wall, a St. Louis surgical instrument technician (16%); Randy Johnston, founder of Lighthouse Architects, Inc. in St. Louis (32%); and Moncey, a creative project manager specializing in videos (52%). “NewsTalk 97.1” program director Jeff Allen states, “We’ve done this contest in the past and wanted to bring it back this year. Our listeners loved it and responded with huge online voting numbers and, who knows, we may find a new talk star.” His submission can be heard at www.971talk.com/star.
Consultant Kevin Mackall Joins Clear Channel as SVP of Visual Branding. Longtime MTV executive Kevin Mackall has been working for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment on a consulting basis on visual packages for the company’s marquee events such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival and projects like the national country and top 40 television spots. Now, he assumes the title senior vice president of visual branding. The company says that in this capacity he’ll “manage the company’s visual branding production including station logos, television commercials, outdoor campaigns and brand packages for Clear Channel events such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeartRadio Album Release Parties and the iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party.” He’ll report to president of national programming platforms Tom Poleman, who says, “By having him on the team full time, I’m excited that we’ll now be able to spread his creative expertise more deeply through Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, including station branding, iHeartRadio Theater productions and logo projects.”
SiriusXM’s Opie & Athony Show Broadcasts Live from Montreal’s ‘Just for Laughs’ Festival. The Opie & Anthony show on SiriusXM is broadcasting live from Montreal’s ‘Just for Laughs’ comedy festival today and tomorrow (7/25-26). The satcaster states that, “along with comedian Jim Norton, O&A are bringing their uncensored, unpredictable SiriusXM show to Montreal…offering fans a rare opportunity to see ‘The Opie & Anthony Show’ live and in person.” Also, the duo will host a special “Midnight Surprise” performance at Theatre Sainte-Catherine on Friday, July 26 beginning at 11:59 pm ET, featuring a special lineup of comedians personally curated by them that will be revealed on that morning’s live radio show. The O&A cast and crew will be on hand for the Montreal festivities.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Visits KDKA, Pittsburgh. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spent Thursday at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh where he spoke about his work concerning the future of the AM band including the related issues of signal quality, HD radio, the future of digital AM, expansion of translator availability for AM broadcasters and regulations in general. Appearing on the Mike Pintek program, Pai stated, “The FCC needs to consider the best of these suggestions because time, frankly, is not on the side of AM, especially among younger listeners because they are going to be fickle as they can be and if we don’t provide an AM radio outlet for them, they’ll go elsewhere.” Pai also addressed the bandwidth issue and explained to KDKA listeners how the digital explosion is eating up available bandwidth. “If you’re watching video on an iPad, you’re consuming 128 times more bandwidth than you would be making a phone call on a cell phone. That bandwidth is a scarce resource, it has to come from somewhere…so, one of the things we at the FCC are trying to do is make more spectrum available…it’s been a big challenge, we don’t have a lot of spectrum just sitting there.” Commissoner Pai (center) is pictured here with staff from CBS Radio Pittsburgh.
‘AM 560 The Answer’ Chicago Host Joe Walsh to ‘March for Peace.’ Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh – currently hosting the afternoon drive show at Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” – will join New Beginnings Church Pastor Corey Brooks for the “Let us Live” Peace March in downtown Chicago on Saturday, July 27. Brooks was a recent guest on Walsh’s radio show in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict. Brooks state, “We have an epidemic and although this is a problem on the South Side in the black community, it’s an issue that we cannot resolve on our own. We need help to figure out a way for young black males to stop killing young black males. We’re asking everyone to join us to raise the level of awareness and let people know this is not a black issue, it’s a humanitarian issue.” Walsh adds, “While so many leaders have been grandstanding, Pastor Brooks is doing a lot to help fix the hurt and reduce the violence in Chicago. I’m honored to join him for this peace march. This is all about unity. No matter what color you are, this problem belongs to us all.”
Industry Mourns Death of CBS Seattle Engineer Arne Skoog. As reported in Radio World, longtime CBS Seattle engineer and RF facilities manager Arne Skoog passed away on Monday, July 22 after a battle with colon cancer. Radio World technical advisor and director of engineering & MIS at CBS Radio Seattle Tom McGinley is quoted saying, “Our beloved Arne Skoog lost his battle with colon cancer on July 22, 2013. A number of us were able to see him in recent days and spent some cherished moments reminiscing about many of the memories and the wonderful contributions he has made to our enterprise over the past 20-some years he has served us.”
Edward Snowden Enters Russia, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, Anthony Weiner Pressured to Drop Out of NYC Mayoral Race, Detroit Bankruptcy Filing and Caroline Kennedy Nominated as Ambassador to Japan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24). Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is granted temporary asylum in Russia; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the exploding controversy over Anthony Weiner’s run for NYC mayor; the Detroit bankruptcy filing; and President Obama’s nomination of Caroline Kennedy for Ambassador to Japan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Faces Suit by Photo Company Alleging Illegal Use. National Photo Group LLC has filed a complaint in United States District Court Western District of Texas alleging Clear Channel radio stations infringed on its copyrights by using pictures of various celebrities on the websites of some of its radio stations. The complaint names 11 CC radio stations and alleges photos of celebrities including Jason Aldean, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore and others were used without permission and with knowledge that the photos were copyrighted. NPG is seeking $150,000 per infringement plus legal fees and any other relief the Court deems just and proper.
WCBM, Baltimore Extends Talk Host Tom Marr’s Contract Through 2017. Baltimore talk radio institution Tom Marr will be heard on WCBM through 2017 as the station’s vice president, Nick Mangione. Jr., announces the station extends his no-cut contract for another four years. The official announcement was made June 24 by WCBM program director and operations manager Sean Casey at the start of Marr’s show that day. Mangione, Jr. states, “I am delighted we have reached the agreement on the extension. To quote my late father, Tom is still at the top of his game both as a broadcaster in general and talk show host in particular. We are delighted he will be on the air until 2017 with WCBM and he just may decide to stay longer. There will always be room for him in the WCBM family. Tom has a good sense for the business. As an example, he is the first one to suggest that we add both Sean Hannity and Mark Levin to our lineup. Tom has a large following within the reach of our 50 thousand watt transmitter and is building a solid national and international following on WCBM’s worldwide reach via the internet.” Marr, who began his career as a high school sports broadcaster on WWDC-AM, Washington, DC in 1960, says, “I am deeply honored that Nick and the Mangione Family Enterprises agreed to the extension. I look forward to the challenges ahead for talk radio and its increasing role in the media especially in view of our relationship with the digital world.”
WBZ-AM, Boston Names Jen Brien Overnight Talk Host. After the retirement of Steve LeVeille last year, the station has been featuring a number of talk radio personalities in the overnight slot. Now, program director Peter Casey announces Jennifer “Jen” Brien is named to the permanent position. The station says the program “will be a mix of pop culture, current events, politics, and the comings and goings of people in New England.” In addition to WBZ-AM’s monster signal that penetrates the entire East Coast at that time of night, the show can be heard on CBS Radio’s Radio.com. Brien joined WBZ from Entercom’s crosstown news/talk WRKO where she hosted a daily program. She has also hosted shows on WPRO and WHJJ in Providence, and WCOD and WXTK on Cape Cod. Before beginning her career in radio, Brien spent more than five years as a soldier in the United States Army where she was selected for the prestigious “Soldier of the Year” award.
SiriusXM Cancels Long-Running Alex Bennett Show. One of modern talk radio’s true pioneers, Alex Bennett, has reportedly been let go “without cause” from SiriusXM Satellite Radio‘s “Sirius Left” channel where he was doing the daily 7:00 am to 10:00 am program. Bennett has been with Sirius for almost a decade and, according to insiders close to the host, was caught by surprise and is “distraught” over what transpired. Bennett has had a colorful, unique on-air career that goes back to the late-1960s when he was the lone talk show host on the old WMCA, New York when it was still the “Home of the Good Guys.” He subsequently went on to do both rock music and talk broadcasting serving as one of the original prototypes for the pop culture-oriented (some call it “shock jock”) and “progressive” genres of modern day talk radio. Between WMCA and Sirius, he served in ground-breaking stints at such great stations as WPLJ in New York and KMEL, KITS (“Live 105”) and KQAK (“The Quake”) in San Francisco. At press time, it is not clear if this was a cost-cutting move on the part of Sirius or indicative of a re-direction in programming. Bennett is still on the air and is reportedly doing his final program for the satellite radio service this Friday. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “In my opinion Alex Bennett is one of the most important talents ever to grace a microphone during my lifetime. His show on WMCA — in which he did extremely progressive talk about the issues of the day such as the Vietnam War — was on a station that was otherwise a hip music station. In the midst of all the fun, cool hipness of the rock ‘n’ roll and the zany DJs of that fabulous station, Bennett was fearlessly talking to the kids about extremely important controversial issues. That show served as the original inspiration for me to launch an issues-oriented talk show (“Harrison’s Mic”) five years later on rocker KMET in Los Angeles and my own talk career that paralleled my music radio work. If I had not heard Alex Bennett in 1969, there might not have ever been a TALKERS magazine.”
HOLLAND COOKE: The Future of AM/FM in the Car. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the Consumer Electronic Association’s Connected Car Conference in New York City and her says that the bottom line after “four-and-a-half-hours of thoughtful discussion, research, and prognostication by automotive, electronics, and media thinkers: Whatever the dashboard is about to morph into matters less to AM/FM radio than what’s already happened.” Cooke writes that people who matter have already connected their media to the car speakers and offers some thoughts about what radio programmers can do to stand out from the digital competition. Read his analysis here.
SummitMedia to Pull the Plug on Sports Talk In Birmingham. SummitMedia announces it will drop the sports talk format on WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and flip to a different – most likely music – format. SummitMedia EVP and COO David DuBose tells the Birmingham News, “We have been evaluating the sports format in light of multiple factors, including [Paul] Finebaum‘s placement. After nearly two years, it became clear the market did not support two competing sports stations. “Therefore, we have determined we should focus on other format opportunities.” SummitMedia purchased the Birmingham cluster from Cox Media Group earlier this year. The station was flipped to sports in August of 2011 when Cox had its eye on building the station around mega-successful Southeast sports personality Paul Finebaum by bringing him over from Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports WJOX. Finebaum, who’d had legal squabbles with WJOX and wanted out of that relationship, ended up working out his contract there, sat out a non-compete and will begin a new sports talk radio venture with ESPN based out of Charlotte. It’s believed he will return to WJOX via ESPN syndication when the new program debuts later this summer.
Bonneville Seattle Brings Unique Talk to MyNorthwest.com. The Bonneville Seattle cluster that includes news/talk KIRO-FM, sports KIRO-AM and talk KTTH is beginning a series of unique audio programs to the web venture it calls MyNorthwest.com. Dubbed “MyNorthwest Chats,” the weekly, one-hour programs will stream on Wednesday’s from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm beginning with today’s chat featuring nationally acclaimed restaurateur Tom Douglas. MyNorthwest.com editor Stephanie Klein says, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to connect our readers directly to the experts and start an inspiring dialogue that makes an impact. We want the conversation to spark a chain of discussion in our readers’ lives.” Other chats lined up for July include talk show host Michael Medved and Seattle Mariners insider Shannon Drayer.
Programming Changes at WGN, Chicago; Turi Ryder to Exit. Chicago radio pro Turi Ryder has been in the late night slot at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago since the beginning of this year but now the company says it’s going in a different direction and will end her program. Ryder will get a chance to say goodbye to her WGN listeners as she’ll work this evening and Thursday before wrapping things up there. The station has not announced what will air in the time slot. Ryder also hosts “America Weekend” for Envision Radio Networks.
Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence Tackles Immigration Issue with Live Debate. News/talk WPRO-AM’s Tara Granahan is moderating a debate that will take place today at the Providence Marriott from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm called, “Green Light on Green Cards,” featuring a panel of experts from each side of the illegal immigration issue. The discussion will be streamed live online at the station’s 630wpro.com and will be the center piece of a “WPRO Special Report” scheduled to air during the “WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti” the week of July 1. The debate features two immigration lawyers, a state representative, a member of the local clergy and the head of an illegal immigration enforcement organization. The stations states, “The debate will address the issues that have emerged from illegal immigration including; licenses for illegal immigrants, how immigration effects the Rhode Island economy, and potential solutions moving forward.”
TeleSouth Communications to Buy WOSM, Ocean Springs, Mississippi. TeleSouth operates the Mississippi talk radio network known as “SuperTalk Mississippi” and the purchase of WOSM, Ocean Springs (103.1 FM) – between Biloxi and Pascagoula on the Gulf Coast – will be added to that network. The company states, “The addition of WOSM to the network will give coast listeners the best choice in Mississippi programming with ‘The Gallo Radio Show,’ ‘The JT Show’ and ‘Head to Head with Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross,’ all homegrown programs that keep a watch on state government, entertainment, sports, unique happenings in Mississippi, with a local take on national issues.” In addition to Mississippi-based programs, ‘SuperTalk’ is also home to Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee and Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson and Todd Schnitt. WOSM is owned and operated by Charles Cooper and airs Christian programming. TeleSouth CEO Steve Davenport states, “We are excited about growing the ‘SuperTalk Network’ with the addition of WOSM. Mr. Cooper has worked hard for years building an audience loyal to traditional family values. We are confident that WOSM listeners will hear those values in the programs featured each day on ‘SuperTalk.’” Long-time coast talk show host and programmer Kipp Greggory will serve as general manager of WOSM.
CHQR, Calgary Talk Host Dave Rutherford to End Daily Show. Canadian talk show host Dave Rutherford will wrap a 21-year career hosting a daily talk show at CHQR, Calgary after his last show on July 26. The conservative personality and pedigreed newsman tells the Edmonton Journal he believes the broadcast news industry is dumbing down and there may be no place for a broadcaster like him. “I don’t think there’s the desire to ask the next question, maybe to ask any questions. But I sense that the whole industry, the broadcast news business, television and radio, is dumbing down.”
The End of the Line for CNN Radio. The service was a shell of its former self after Dial Global ended its distribution of the news product and replaced it with NBC News Radio last year, effectively becoming a digital-only product. Now, CNN states that after completing “a review of its radio business,” it “has made the decision to cease production of CNN Radio podcasts, effective immediately.” CNN has indicated that some of the staff will be relocated to positions elsewhere in the company.
Allen Hunt to End WSB, Atlanta Program. Christian broadcaster Allen Hunt announces he’ll end his Sunday evening program that has aired on WSB, Atlanta since its inception after the June 30 broadcast. Hunt says he was approached by Cox Media to move the time of his program and he decided that due to his busy schedule with the Dynamic Catholic Institute and the requested change, he decided it would be better to end the show. Hunt built the program at WSB and, for a couple of years, put the show into national syndication.
The Roving Jay Mohr Billboard. Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr’s flagship station, “AM570 FOX Sports LA” (KLAC, Los Angeles) surprised Mohr with a mobile billboard promoting his program. While Mohr was on the air, the billboard stopped by the studio during its route through Los Angeles and the show crew seized the opportunity for a quick photo-op. Pictured here (from l-r) are: intern Ben Haley, technical producer John Ramos, social media producer Matty Cox, assistant producer Justin Frosburg, Mohr, update anchor “Diamond” Dan Beyer, associate producer Mike Lingard and executive producer Greg “Hong Kong” Toohey.
Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Bruce Bradley Dies. Bruce Bradley was a personality on CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis from 1986 to 1992. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports he passed away on Saturday, June 22 in Lake St. Louis at age 79. Prior to his career in St. Louis, Bradley also worked in the New York, Philadelphia and Boston markets.
President Obama’s Global Warming Policy, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, George Zimmerman Trial, Paula Deen Freefall, and Texas Anti-Abortion Bill Fails Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25). President Obama’s policy to bypass Congress to enact greenhouse gas emissions regulations; the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage issues; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the demise of Paula Deen’s media career in the wake of allegations of racist language; and the failure of anti-abortion legislation in Texas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey9: News/Talk Breakout. Consulting firm Jacobs Media held a webinar yesterday in which it broke out data relative to the news/talk format from its all-radio TechSurvey9. A key point for talk radio programmers comes from the answers to the question, “Why are you listening to less AM/FM radio than in the past?” The study indicates 49% said it was because they are not enjoying the programming. The next most common response was because of a lifestyle change. After that, the responses were: 17%, too many commercials; 10% listening to SiriusXM; and 9% listening to internet radio. Some of the key points from the study indicating unique attributes of regular users of news/talk radio:
- They are big users of email – especially for building a relationship with their favorite news/talk station. They are less likely to connect with the station via Facebook or Twitter.
- 74% report their primary reason for listening to AM/FM radio is for news, traffic and weather information and 42% cited the need to find out what’s going on locally – much higher than users of other radio formats.
- News/talk users are #2 in owning a car with a digital dashboard (compared to other format fans) with 13% reporting they own one.
- Social media use for news/talk fans indicates they are far more likely to be on LinkedIn – likely due to the “professional” status of many listeners. They are least likely of all format fans to “like” a Facebook page and are not especially frequent users of Twitter compared to other format P1s (although use of Twitter increased 17% over the 2012 survey).
- 65% of news/talk listeners downloaded digital radio apps and, compared to users of other radio formats, were more likely to download your station’s app and the TuneIn app.
- Compared to the same study period one year ago, news/talk fans’ use of internet radio rose 15%; saw a 36% increase in the use of tablet devices; and a 19% increase in the use of the digital dashboard.
Paul Finebaum to Join ESPN August 1. The formerly Birmingham, Alabama-based sports journalist and talk show host will change his home base to Charlotte for his new gig with ESPN. Paul Finebaum, who had a tumultuous last two years with Cumulus Media at WJOX in Birmingham, will not be moving to SummitMedia’s crosstown WZNN “97.3 The Zone” as many industry watchers had suspected. Instead, Finebaum will take his radio program to ESPN where it will air on ESPN Audio and the ESPN-owned SEC Network, destined to debut in August of 2014. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Finebaum will also make 100 appearances on ESPN’s cable TV channels. After entering into a couple of legal battles with former long-time employer Cumulus Media over the course of several years, Finebaum agreed to work out his contract and exit radio in order to sit out his non-compete and start fresh somewhere else. He left WJOX in January of this year.
Clear Channel Announces Bid to Push Back Debt with Bond Exchange. Clear Channel Communications announces it is seeking to push off some debt until 2021 via a $2.1 billion bond exchange. The company is offering to swap $796.3 million of 10.75% notes due in 2016 and $1.28 billion of 11% payment-in-kind notes due in 2016 for the new debt that would come up in 2021. The notes will pay 12% in cash and 2% through the issuance of payment-in-kind notes. Bloomberg’s Mary Childs reports, “Free cash flow at the San Antonio-based broadcaster hasn’t exceeded $340.9 million in any year since its 2008 buyout by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. Credit-default swaps tied to the bonds of the company, which owes about $20.8 billion total, are at about the lowest in two years, a sign investors are open to refinancing, Bloomberg data show.”
Cox Enterprises Announces $1 Million Donation to Oklahoma Tornado Relief. The parent company of Cox Media Group – Cox Enterprises – announces that in partnership with the James L. Cox Foundation it is donating $1 million in support of relief and recovery efforts. “Cox Enterprises is committed to supporting the victims of this terrible storm,” says Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises. “As a company that operates multiple businesses in Oklahoma, we are committed to helping our employees and the communities we serve recover from this disaster. In providing this assistance, we also encourage others to support the local relief and recovery efforts.” Cox Enterprises operates multiple companies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, including: Cox Communications, Total Resource Auctions – Oklahoma City, Total Resource Auctions – Tulsa, news/talk KRMG, Fox23, My41, country KWEN, Tulsa “K95,” hot AC KRAV, Tulsa “Mix 96” and rock KJSR, Tulsa “Rock 103.” “In this difficult time of recovery and rebuilding, our hearts go out to the families affected by the tornadoes,” states Percy Kirk, senior vice president and general manager, Cox Communications Oklahoma. “This gift is a symbol of our commitment to our community and it is our hope that it will provide comfort and relief to many.” In addition to the cash donation and in-kind public service announcements, Cox’s local media properties in Tulsa are hosting a series of community fundraisers.
CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Hosts Remote Auditions for Sports Talk Host. CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports talk outlet “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan” is hosting open auditions for a weekend sports talk show on the station. The open auditions rounds begin this weekend and will take place at five different locations over the next four weeks. The company states, “Participants will be judged by station personnel on their ability to rant on a random sports topic. Ten entrants from the open auditions will be selected to move on to the semifinal round to be held at the Tilted Kilt in the North Shore on Monday, June 24. From there, the top four entrants will move on to the Finals at Sidelines Bar and Grill in Sewickley to be judged during a live broadcast with Andrew Fillipponi on KDKA-FM on Thursday, June 27 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “We’re looking for the next great Pittsburgh sports talk show host – someone who can grow into a superstar. We’re eager to see which member of this passionate fan base can take advantage of this very rare opportunity.”
‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Returns to WOOD, Grand Rapids for Flagship Station. The Talk Media Network-syndicated program dedicated to all things military and hosted by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Denny Gillem returns to its original flagship station WOOD, Grand Rapids. Talk Media Network’s Josh Leng reports that the weekend “Frontlines of Freedom” program will air live from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on WOOD beginning June 1. Gillem says of the move, “Six years ago my co-founder and I created ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ on WOOD radio. June 1 is the show’s six-year anniversary. It’s a great honor to be returning to our roots at the finest station in West Michigan.” The program began in 2006 as a special Memorial Day show called, “A Colonel’s Salute to Veterans” that won a Michigan Broadcasters Association award. One year later the weekly program was founded at WOOD. Phil Tower, director of news & content programming at Clear Channel’s WOOD, states, “Few persons are held in such high regard as the men and women of our military, so it’s a natural fit to welcome ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ back to our WOOD radio lineup.”
Tony Stiles to Join The Next News Network. Talk radio personality Tony Stiles, host of his eponymous program heard Saturdays on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha “The Mighty 1290,” announces he’s accepted the news anchor position at Chicago-based internet news network The Next News Network. Stiles states, “I am honored that after only seven months on the air in Omaha, that my show, ideas and personality has resonated nationally through a loyal audience by word-of-mouth, radio and internet access. This coming Friday night I will continue my role of frequent anchor until I assume the daily desk in early summer.” The Next News Network founder Gary Franchi says, “As the founder of Next News Network, I became aware of Tony’s ability to attract an audience as I followed his rapid growth and heard his show. Tony is a perfect fit for our 24/7 internet newscast which, like Tony, is the first of its kind.”
CBS News Reporter Tells WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Her Work and Personal Computers Compromised. In a story that has since gone viral after being picked up by numerous consumer news outlets, with the allegations the DOJ has been investigating AP and Fox News reporters as the backdrop, CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson told WPHT, Philadelphia AM drive host Chris Stigall her work and personal computers are being analyzed as part of an investigation. Attkisson said she could not point the finger at the DOJ but the speculation is that it’s a possibility. Attkisson has been reporting on the Benghazi attacks story.
Sports USA Announces College Football Schedule. Sports USA unveils its 2013 schedule of college football contests saying it “consists of 18 games featuring the best teams in college football. Defending national champion Alabama, unbeaten Ohio State, Texas A&M, (with Heisman Trophy winning QB Johnny Manziel) Michigan, Florida, and LSU will be among the teams featured this year.” Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “We are pleased to provide these incredible matchups to our nearly 400 affiliates nationwide. Additionally, we are providing a sideline reporter for each game.” The season kicks off with USC at Hawaii on August 29 and wraps up with the Independence Bowl on December 31. Other key match-ups include Florida at LSU on October 12, Michigan versus Michigan State on November 2 and Alabama at Auburn on November 30.
Odds & Sods. “America Tonight” nationally syndicated talk show host Kate Delaney is doing some fill-in work this weekend for NBC Sports Radio Network. Delaney, who earlier in her career worked at WFAN, New York, will sit in from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on May 26 and from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on May 27…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series on June 7 as it takes a comprehensive look at the Orange County city of Fullerton. During the live broadcast from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, community leaders including Mayor Bruce Whitaker, council members, Chief of Police Dan Hughes and other special guests will be interviewed. Additionally, a special series by KNX investigative reporter Charles Feldman will look at the double-barreled impact on the city of the “Great Recession” and the high-profile fatal beating of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, by members of the Fullerton Police Department nearly two years ago.
ESPN to Begin Mega-Layoffs. At this point the company’s only public statement has been, “We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs. While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.” It’s unclear how many ESPN Audio staffers will be affected but the company, which employs about 4,000 in the United States and another 3,000 in other parts of the world, could be in the hundreds according to some reports. ESPN is a huge source of revenue for principle parent Disney (20% is owned by Hearst) but some industry watchers speculate that ESPN’s increasing costs in acquiring precious play-by-play contracts – especially considering new entrants into the field including CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 – is forcing it to be more cost-conscious.
IRS Protest Led by WIND, Chicago’s Joe Walsh. Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is pictured here (with megaphone) on the street outside the Dearborn Street offices of the Internal Revenue Service in Chicago protesting the agency’s targeting of conservative and religious groups. The rally was organized and led by Walsh, who hosts his own evening talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago, “AM 560 The Answer.” Walsh states, “It’s time to send a message that our First Amendment rights will not be denied by an out-of-control administration.” Dozens of protesters joined Walsh during the lunchtime gathering.
IRS Targets Conservatives, DOJ Fox News Investigation, Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath, Benghazi Attacks Case, and Anthony Weiner to Run for NYC Mayor Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; the investigation by the Department of Justice into Fox News Channel reporters; the aftermath of the deadly Oklahoma tornado; the ongoing scrutiny of the Benghazi attack and disgraced former NY Congressman Anthony Weiner’s bid for mayor of New York were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bob Pittman to Take Over Chairman of the Board Role at Clear Channel. CC Media Holdings, Inc., in an SEC filing announcing the annual meeting of stockholders on May 17, moves to replace Mark Mays as chairman of the board with current board of directors member and company CEO Bob Pittman. The filing states, “We believe that having the chief executive officer also serve as our chairman of the board provides us with a clear leadership structure. As our chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. Pittman will continue to provide our board with insight into our operations and help facilitate the flow of information between management and the board. Subject to his re-election as a director, Mr. Mays will remain a member of our board and we will continue to benefit from his experience as our previous chief executive officer.”
Good Karma’s WKNR and CBS Radio’s WKRK Team Up to Grab Cleveland Browns Football from Clear Channel. The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Cleveland Browns football – for years heard on Clear Channel’s rock WMMS and news/talk WTAM – will air on WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” and WKRK “92.3 The Fan” beginning this fall. Obviously, the unusual aspect of this is WKNR is owned by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma and WKRK is CBS Radio’s sports outlet in Cleveland – both stations competing for the same listeners. According to the piece, games will also air on CBS’ classic rock WNCX. The Plain Dealer reports that CC, CBS and Good Karma were all bidding for the rights when the latter two decided to work together. Here’s how it is supposed to happen in the fall: a Rob Chudzinski coach’s show will air (on which station it’s not yet known) and the “Cleveland Browns Daily Show” on WKNR will expand from one hour to two. Game days will see WKNR broadcast a four-hour pre-game show and WKRK will broadcast a two-hour post-game program. It is expected that the booth team of Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken will remain in place.
Entercom Ups Weezie Kramer to Station Group President. Weezie Kramer has been with Entercom as a regional president since 2005. Now, the company promotes her to station group president putting her in charge of all 121 Entercom radio stations. In this post she will supervise Entercom regional presidents Michael Doyle and Deborah Kane and chair the company’s operating committee. She’ll also continue to be in charge of a number of the company’s 23 markets and report directly to Entercom president and CEO David Field, who says, “For years we have operated with three wonderfully talented regional presidents, but the time has come to align our station group under a single operational leader to drive stronger organizational cohesiveness and effectiveness. In elevating Weezie to this role, we will enhance our coordination and clarity and drive faster decision-making. She will continue to work closely with Deborah Kane and Michael Doyle, providing an outstanding leadership team for our markets.”
Doug Stephan’s “Good Day Crowdfunding Show” to Put Entrepreneurs in Front of Giant Audience. Doug Stephan’s nationally syndicated morning radio program – now in its 25th year – is inviting entrepreneurs to the largest crowdfunding pitchfest ever. In a statement, Doug Stephan says, “‘The Good Day Crowdfunding Show’ brings the buzz of a broadcast radio reality series and pits crowdfunders in a contest judged by crowdsourcing industry thought leaders. Entrepreneurs and businesses interested in raising capital, social lending and fundraising websites for their products, charity projects and creative ideas are invited to ‘pitch the experts’ on the first crowdfunding radio reality series.” Good Day Crowdfunding has launched its own pre-launch to build community where crowdfunders can engage at http://GoodDayCrowdfunding.com. Inside the community is a unique incubator project, Startup America Crowdfunding, where participants are guided from start to finish through successful money-raising campaigns. The release continues, “As part of the project, creators of the best ideas will get a shot on the ‘Good Day Crowdfunding Show,’ to pitch their idea to millions in a fast-paced reality format. The incentive is simple: The better the idea, the more promotion and airtime to over 3 million daily listeners across the US and online.” The addition of the crowdfunding segment to Stephan’s program comes as the program begins working with Mike Hayes, current host of “StartUp America News” and an expert in entrepreneurship. Hayes states, “This new reality based radio program is the ‘American Idol’ of crowdfunding. Our intention is to help boost the impact of crowdfunding on America’s economy by creating and supporting crowdfunding success stories across any available platform. We want to enable anyone, anywhere to follow, and fund their dream projects.” Others joining Good Day for this project include: PR expert Ronjini Mukopadhyay, who has been central to several highly successful crowdfunding campaigns including StickNFind; entrepreneur Danny Kastner, a contestant on ‘The Apprentice’ and developer of Crowdjammer, a crowdfunding community solution designed to drive campaign backers to any crowdfunding project; and social impact marketer Robin Eschler, host of “Socially Conscious Investing” online radio and a pro in social lending, impact investing and online marketing.
Dentists are Prime Prospects for Radio Advertising. Have you noticed when you visit your friendly family dentist lately that the office has likely evolved from projecting a serious “professional” environment to more “commercial” one with signs promoting elective cosmetic procedures (such as teeth whitening), electric toothbrush sales, awards programs for recruiting new patients and “like us on Facebook” display cards? The fact is, dentistry has changed over the years and today’s young crop of dentists find themselves in a business that requires far more media promotion than their cavity-filling forebears ever thought about (or would consider appropriate). In a helpful article posted today (3/27) noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke sinks his canines into a potentially lucrative sales lead category. Read it here.
Washington-Based Talker Joe Madison Exits WOL, Washington. Talk radio personality Joe Madison’s program has been based at SiriusXM for several years and the show was carried by Radio One’s WOL, Washington after the latter had served as Madison’s base for more than a decade. Now, Madison’s program is off WOL and solely available on SiriusXM’s “The Power” channel. Radio One doesn’t appear to have a permanent AM drive replacement for Madison yet as midday host Ron Thompson has been sitting in.
Birmingham Sports Media Personality Paul Finebaum Inks Book Deal. Former WJOX, Birmingham sports talk host Paul Finebaum has signed a deal with Harper Collins that, according to SBNation.com, will tell the story of his radio show and its effect on the SEC. Finebuam tells Al.com, “Primarily, it’s about the culture of the show and how the culture of the show interacts with the SEC. But it does quickly go through my career and how we got to this point. There will be commentary on why the SEC is better than everyone else. It will certainly talk about the dominance of not only Alabama, but the conference. The radio show will be woven in and out of the book, featuring little vignettes on the callers.” Harper Collins plans to officially announced the deal this week. Finebaum’s regionally syndicated radio show – now off the air after he left Cumulus Media’s WJOX and is sitting out a non-compete period – was also heard on SiriusXM. It is expected that once the non-compete period elapses in late April, Finebaum will cross the street and base his program from WZNN, Birmingham “ESPN 97.3 The Zone” which is in the process of being sold by Cox Media Group to SummitMedia.
BIA/Kelsey Sees Radio Station Online Growth Rising at Faster Pace. The media advisory firm reports that, according to its first 2013 Investing in Radio Market Report, “Radio industry over-the-air revenues inched slightly upwards in 2012, increasing to $14.3 billion, a 1.5% change from the year before.” The company goes on to say that the “slight change is due in large part to the sluggish overall economy for 2012 and the increased competition radio faces in the local media market.” It notes “station revenue mix will continue to shift somewhat and income from online advertising is expected to rise at a rate of about 10.8% annually over the next five years versus 2.5% from over-the-air.” For 2013, BIA/Kelsey forecasts over-the-air radio revenues should see 2.3%, or $14.7 billion, again due to the slightly stronger economy. BIA/Kelsey forecasts radio’s online revenue growth will reach $818 million by 2017, while the industry’s combined total revenue will reach $17 billion by 2017. Vice president and chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “As the digital marketplace continues to rise in all sectors of advertising, radio is improving its listener engagement online and benefitting from the value of its web and mobile assets. Overall, the industry is still recognized as an important part of the media mix as it continues to meander around, rising slightly with the rate of inflation but not keeping up with the economy.”
Arbitron Names Monica Narvaez Hispanic Broadcaster Account Specialist. In a role newly created, Arbitron Inc. appoints Monica Narvaez Hispanic broadcaster account specialist. The company reports her duties will include: promoting the power of Spanish-language radio; generating solutions to help address Hispanic radio group needs; and developing programs for Spanish radio group training initiatives. Narvaez has been with Arbitron for 10 years. Prior to joining Arbitron she served with Nielsen as a web trainer, working with TV station research directors and sales executives using Scarborough Research.
Odds & Sods. Dial Global’s Dennis Miller interviews former Massachusetts Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on his nationally syndicated show today (3/27)…..Legendary actor and CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Robert Conrad says he is doing fine despite rumors on the internet this week that he has passed away. Conrad, who hosts his own show on the network on Thursdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm PT, says, “I’m feeling well and in good health so I’m very surprised to hear that I’ve passed away, I must’ve missed that memo.” The CRN studios received numerous calls from his listeners about the report…..Current.org reports that University of Alabama Birmingham-owned non-commercial WBHM, Birmingham news director Tanya Ott is moving to Georgia to take on the vice president/radio for Georgia Public Broadcasting.
The FCC Approves Move of WAXY-FM, Miami Signal. Lincoln Financial Media’s acquisition of CBS Radio’s former AC WEAT, West Palm Beach was executed with the intent of bringing the now-WAXY sports talk FM simulcast signal closer to the Miami market. After Clear Channel objected to the move, the FCC overruled that objection and LFM gets the okay to move the signal to its new city of license Miramar. The 104.3 signal has been simulcasting WAXY since LFM took control.
New Jersey Broadcasters Association Backs FM in Smart Phones. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association passed a resolution on Tuesday, March 26 at its board meeting in support of the Sprint FM Chip proposal, reaffirming the absolute need to enable all cell phones within the United States to include (and activate) FM receiver capabilities in smartphones and other consumer electronic devices. NJBA president Paul Rotella states, “This is a matter of vital importance to inform and protect our citizens especially in times of natural disaster, severe weather or other emergencies that require the unequalled power of radio to reach the public.” The NJBA believes that because of the strength of broadcast and the power of the airwaves, local radio and TV stations are often the only available communications medium during disaster situations. Rotella continues, “New Jersey Broadcasters see the value of making radio receivers available and installed in all telecommunications devices owned and used by the public, foremost of those is the ‘smart phone’ and, therefore, the New Jersey Broadcasters Association supports the agreement with Sprint to produce and sell over 30 million smart phones in three years with fully functional FM radio receivers as part of their ‘smart Phones’ and service for same.”
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Costs of ObamaCare, North Korea Threats, Euro Zone Jitters, Dow Continues to Soar, and Amanda Knox Re-Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26). The debate over the legality of gay marriage as the Supreme Court hears arguments; the costs of the Affordable Care Act; North Korea’s military threats; uncertainty in the euro zone after the Cyprus affair; the still-soaring Dow; and the Italian court’s ruling to re-try Amanda Knox were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Les Moonves Still Says CBS Likes Radio. If CBS is interested in selling its radio properties, CBS president and CEO Les Moonves isn’t spilling the beans. CBS presented at Deutsche Bank’s DbAccess 21st Annual Media and Telecom Conference yesterday and when asked by Deutsche Bank’s Douglas Mitchelson about the flat performance of radio in general, Moonves said the company still likes radio for its cash. “We like radio. Once again, low-single digit growth, revenue, OIBDA. It’s still a very great cash business with great margins. We still like running it. We have no intent to sell it as many people are watching terrestrial radio today as watching 10 years ago, even with all these things going on with satellite and everything else. It is what it is. We like the business, it produces cash every year. We like having the amount of cash we have, where our balance sheet is certainly in great shape, partially because of radio.”
Cumulus-Cox Suit Over Birmingham Sports Programmer Settle; PD Returns to WJOX. The battle between sports talkers WJOX – owned by Cumulus Media – and crosstown start-up WZNN – owned by Cox Media Group but soon to be officially acquired by SummitMedia along with Cox’s other Birmingham stations – has been a hotbed of legal action over the past couple of years. But as the closing by SummitMedia on WZNN “97.3 The Zone” nears, one battle appears to have been settled. Programmer Ryan Haney – who jumped from WJOX to WZNN back in late January only to have his move challenged in court by Cumulus – returns to WJOX. The Birmingham News reports neither side is commenting on any such deal. Haney’s contract had expired more than two years ago but he’d been working as an at-will employee. He left WJOX the same day popular sports talk personality Paul Finebaum left at the expiration of his contract. Finebaum is not working in the business as he is expected to join WZNN after his non-compete expires.
So, You Want to be Syndicated? Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke says, “I can help you…but first, can I talk you out of it? Even though being syndicated seems to be the dream of most local or even wannabe radio talk show hosts, having your show run on a string of stations around the country is a goal that 1) is extremely difficult to attain; and 2) might not be worth the effort at this point in the industry’s evolution. Read Holland Cooke’s fascinating, eye-opening explanation of what you will be facing, in addition to suggesting workable and realistic alternatives, in a blunt, informative article by clicking here.
KYW, Philadelphia Promotes Cherri Gregg to Community Affairs Reporter. CBS Radio all-news KYW, Philadelphia ups reporter Cherri Gregg to community affairs reporter. In this new role, Gregg will be shedding light on the numerous issues, neighborhoods and area leaders affecting community life in the Delaware Valley across a variety of time periods for the station. Gregg joined KYW in 2011 as a general assignment reporter while completing a Masters in Journalism at Temple University. She came to the station from the legal field where she had practiced for eight years at two Am-Law 100 law firms. The company says that although she enjoyed the practice of law, her true passion is reporting on stories that matter to the community. In January 2010, she quit her job at a top Philadelphia law firm to pursue her passion full time. Director of news and programming Steve Butler states, “Cherri has been a terrific addition to the KYW Newsradio staff and we’re pleased she will be focusing on developing stories from the grass roots, Covering all aspects of the Delaware Valley community is job-one for our staff, and we’re glad to have her continue that Newsradio legacy.”
KGOW, Houston Shuffles Lineup; Granato and Pendergast to PM Drive. The lineup at Gow Broadcasting’s KGOW, Houston will feature Yahoo! Sports Radio morning personality Steve Czaban and current AM drivers John Granato and Sean Pendergast will move to the PM drive slot beginning Monday, March 11. The Houston Chronicle reports Adam Clanton and John Wessling – the afternoon drive team since last August have exited the station. In the Chronicle piece, owner David Gow addresses the station’s recent poor ratings which have failed to have the station appear in the most recent survey. “We look forward to our ratings coming back up with this lineup. We’ve been frustrated with the Arbitron results for a period of months. But the driving factor is the chance to put together this new lineup that will roll out on Monday.” Czaban will be followed by DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick with John Harris hosting the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm program.
Odds & Sods. Sports USA is presenting exclusive national terrestrial radio coverage of all three legs of horse racing’s Triple Crown. The company is partnering with Mike Penna’s Horse Racing Radio Network for the events. Each two-hour broadcast will begin at 5:00 pm ET and will feature the live call of each race from the track announcer along with live trackside reports…..ESPN Radio’s Championship Week coverage begins with the inaugural “Greenberg & Greenberg in the Morning” show this Friday, March 8 from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET where Mike Greenberg will be joined by former Virginia Tech men’s head basketball coach Seth Greenberg for a hoops-heavy, four-hour broadcast. The network is also airing the Big 12 Semifinals and Championship as well as every game of the ACC Tournament……SiriusXM teams former NFL QB Rich Gannon with Bruce Murray for “The SiriusXM Blitz” program that airs weekdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm ET on its NFL Radio channel.
A Capitol Idea. KARN-FM, Little Rock afternoon drive host and program director Dave Elswick is hosting live broadcasts twice per week from the Arkansas State Capitol in order to keep his listeners up-to-date on the latest state political news (and, of course, Dave’s opinions concerning said news!). Pictured here at a recent broadcast from the capitol building are (from l-r): guest host Laurie Lee, Elswick, Saline County Clerk Dennis Milligan, and Arkansas Tea Party activist David Crowe.
Sequestration Issue, North Korea Threats/Dennis Rodman Remarks, Iran Nuclear Build-Up, Surging Dow, and Jeb Bush in 2016 Rumors Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The ongoing sequestration issue; North Korea’s threats against South Korea and Dennis Rodman’s cozying up to Kim Jong-Un; Iran’s nuclear build-up; the surging Dow Jones industrial average; and Jeb Bush’s not ruling out a run for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Wins First Round in Birmingham Non-Compete Case. A federal judge in Birmingham has ruled that sports talk WZNN “ESPN 97.3” program director Ryan Haney cannot work for the Cox Media station until more evidence is heard at a hearing scheduled for March 4. The Birmingham News reports Cumulus sought the prohibition after Haney – who had been with its crosstown competitor WJOX for the past 14 years – left the PD job there on January 21and began working at WZNN a week later. Cumulus claims Haney breached the six-month non-compete in his contract. Cumulus also states Haney could not work for a competitor during that time without giving Cumulus a chance to match the prospective employer’s offer. The animosity between the two sports talk stations did not begin with Haney’s case. In 2012, Cumulus and Birmingham sports talk personality Paul Finebaum engaged in a legal tussle over his employment situation but Finebaum eventually worked out his contract with WJOX and is sitting out a six-month non-compete after which it is widely assumed he’ll join WZNN. On a side note, Cox Media has put its Birmingham properties – including WZNN – up for sale.
Lew Dickey Tells Bloomberg “We’re Seeing a Shift in Spoken-Word Radio.” During an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey discussed his company’s plans involving marketing vertically based on the lifestyle appeal to consumers interested in certain types of entertainment. Although still bullish on Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, Dickey sounded much more behind sports than news/talk. “We’re seeing sort of a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports.” When asked why he stated, “I think people may be tired of all the partisan bickering so the ratings are a bit down in talk but they’re moving up nicely in sports.” Dickey said the reason sports is so popular among advertisers is because advertisers follow the audience and sports is popular right now.
Question of the Day: Why Do Radio Stations Still Announce School Closings? As the big Blizzard of ’13 begins to rumble across the Northeast (2/8), TALKERS monitors have been hearing morning shows across the region reading the perfunctory long lists of school closings within their listening areas. While there is no doubt that localism is proving to be a valuable asset to radio – especially when the medium rises to the occasion of serving the public interest during natural disasters and weather events – we have to shake our heads and wonder why so much valuable airtime is spent on reading these seemingly endless lists. Is it a matter of serving the public or just trying to sound like you’re doing so? It is a well-known (to parents and students alike) fact that most school districts in America post their snow status on their websites as soon as the information is available. If stations want in on that action they can list all the closings on their websites as well and announce that availability on the air. Considering that most, if not all, schools in a region close for blizzards, it would make a lot more sense to only announce those schools that might be choosing to remain open. Programmers might think that announcing school closings on the air over long chunks of time makes the station sound local and in touch – but in truth, it makes the station boring and seem out of touch.
Cumulus Birmingham Imports Sports Talk Duo from KTCK, Dallas. In a story related to the one above, Cumulus sports talker WJOX, Birmingham is bringing the duo of Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison from its Dallas sports outlet KTCK “The Ticket” in to take over the midday slot. The position opened up after Paul Finebaum exited the PM drive show at the end of his contract and the station moved “The Jox Roundtable” with Lance Taylor, Ryan Brown and Jim Dunaway to the PM drive position. McClearin and Harrison hosted a weekend program at KTCK.
TALKERS Spotlight: The Talk Radio Watchdogs. There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.” He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks. They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there. Does the industry still value this breed of talk host? Does the public still want to listen to them? Do their station managers support them? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft. Read his story here.
CBS Radio’s WHFS, Tampa Makes Lineup Changes. The new FM sports talk station CBS Radio put on the air in Tampa in August undergoes some changes. “Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan” cuts the morning show with Kirk McEwen and Chris Dingman to three hours and shifts Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The PM drive show with Rich Herrera and Anthony “Booger” McFarland moves to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Evening host Todd Wright exits the station and The Fabulous Sports Babe moves from overnights to the evening show. CBS Sports Radio Networks’ Scott Ferrall and Damon Amendolara round out the late night and overnight shifts, respectively.
TuneIn Adds Four Pubcasters to its Offerings. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has agreed to strategic alliances with major public broadcasters KQED, San Francisco; KCRW, Santa Monica; KEXP, Seattle; and American Public Media, which includes Southern California Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Classical South Florida and nationally distributed programs. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley states, “KQED, American Public Media, KCRW and KEXP have a rich history of offering listeners engaging, cutting-edge programming while supporting the radio community. Our goal at TuneIn is to bring the best programming from around the world to everyone, for free, wherever they are, and partnering with these respected public broadcasters brings us one step closer to that goal.” TuneIn also just unveiled a new website design featuring a new content-first display with large album cover photos and trending stations.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Chicago Blackhawks Live” promotional series on February 18 at the city’s Old Town Pour House. The promotion is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the 2012-2013 season featuring current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives with “WGN Sports Night” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan, and Andrea Darlas. WGN began hosting these events during the 2011-2012 season and sold them out in record time…..SiriusXM announces legendary recording artist Tony Bennett will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with an audience of SiriusXM listeners, moderated by Alec Baldwin, at the SiriusXM studios in New York City as part of its “Town Hall” series. It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 13, and will air on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, on the Siriusly Sinatra channel and on the SiriusXM Stars channel…..Clear Channel announces that Houston Astros play-by-play will shift from news/talk KTRH to its sports talk KBME “Sportstalk 790” beginning this season…..In another baseball note, Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with the MLB’s Reds through the 2017 season…..The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which benefits Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – are celebrating their 60th year working together to raise funds for cancer research and treatment. Part of that celebrating will include the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Entercom’s WEEI and New England Sports Network on August 27 and 28. The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.
KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship. CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio awards the Richard Monetti Scholarship to local high school student Kimberly Coterwas (second from right) – one of the 86 students to graduate from KYW Newsradio 2012 Fall Newstudies program. She receives a $2,000 scholarship. The award was announced at the Newstudies Graduation ceremony on January 31. The Richard Monetti Scholarship is awarded every year to the Newstudies student who demonstrates the most potential and enthusiasm throughout the six-week student reporter program. The scholarship is named for Richard Monetti, a 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Additionally, 11 other students who participated in the Newstudies program received awards. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well, and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America’s Peter Schiff program picks up new affiliates for the program including: KPAM, Portland; WGUF, Ft. Myers, Florida; WEZS, Concord, New Hampshire; KFAR, Fairbanks, Alaska; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois….. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WTBF, Troy, Alabama. Also, existing affiliate combo WGVA, Geneva and WAUB, Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of New York adds Free Talk Live’s live Sunday show.
Sequester Cuts and Tax Hikes Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8. The debate in Washington over the coming sequester budget cuts and more tax increases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, earning it the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was immigration reform. At #3 was the costs of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and at #4 was gun legislation proposals. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Greater Media’s Sports Talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Tweaks Daily Lineup. The Philadelphia sports talker promotes two from their Saturday program to a daily midday show. Jon Marks and Sean Brace began holding down the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot on Monday. Marks most recently co-hosted with Tony Bruno and Brian Baldinger, weekdays 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm respectively. Sean Brace (as Jon did before him) also produced the Mike Missanelli show for the past year. As a result of the move, Brian Baldinger moves to the evening show where he co-hosts with Joe DeCamera for the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Program director Matt Nahigian says, “Jon Marks’ and Sean Brace’s on-air chemistry has been on display every Saturday morning for the past two years. The two young and up-and-coming sports talk hosts have created a fun and irreverent show that the Fanatic Philadelphia fans enjoy.”
More Legal Tussles Between Cumulus and Cox Media in Birmingham. Sports talk outlets WJOX and WZNN in Birmingham are at it again it court, this time over programmer Ryan Haney’s move from WJOX to WZNN. At issue is the non-compete clause in Haney’s contract. The Birmingham News reports that Citadel (Cumulus) is arguing Haney is in breach of his contract with the company by leaving to work for direct competitor WZNN “ESPN 97.3 The Zone.” Further, Citadel wants a temporary restraining order against Haney to prevent him from working while the case works its way through the system. Citadel also wants the court proceedings blacked out to the media because in arguing its case it will have to disclose confidential and proprietary business information. A judge is set to hear arguments this morning (2/5). Haney’s non-compete was for the period of one year after exiting WJOX which he did in early January. Haney had been with WJOX since 2004.
Your Radio Station is Vulnerable to Identity Theft. We all are aware of the dangers of identity theft and many of us do our best to protect ourselves individually from the dire consequences of having our identities stolen. But what about your radio station? Does it even know that there is a problem? Recently we have learned that both The New York Times and the Washington Post had their computers breached by Chinese hackers and this was not the first time. The hacking into The New York Times and the Washington Post do not appear to be financially motivated, but that is of little solace. Why would an identity thief hack into the computers of your radio station rather than attack the computers of big corporations such as Bank of America? Well, the answer is that they are attacking the computers of the big corporations, but they also are looking toward the computers of small corporations as the low hanging fruit of computer hacking. Radio stations make enticing targets. Hacking into the computers of radio stations and other small corporations that may not be in the Fortune 500 not only can provide information that can be stolen to access your radio station’s bank accounts, but it can also provide personal information about employees (some of whom are famous and even controversial), such as Social Security numbers as well as billing and payment information about your advertisers and other companies with which you do business that can be used to make all of these people and entities victims of identity theft. This is happening to small businesses every day. One of the reasons that it is happening is that not enough businesses, small and large, but particularly small, are doing enough to safeguard the security of the data in their computers. According to TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman the problem is not as bad as you think. It is far worse. Read his important article addressing the problem and offering solutions here.
Programming Pro Alan Eisenson Joins Media Management Group as EVP of Business Development. Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson most recently was in charge of programming Clear Channel’s Northern California news/talk stations: heritage KFBK-AM/FM and KSTE, Sacramento as well as KKSF and KNEW, San Francisco. Now he joins New York-based Media Management Group as executive vice president of business development. The firm states, “In his new capacity Eisenson will enable MMG to expand its range of services, including performance and tactical support, and maximizing client audience growth across all media and technology platforms.” MMG president and CEO Jeff Schwartz states, “I have known Alan for over 12 years, since he was program director at WEVD here in NYC. He is one of the most talented programmers and talent managers in the business and will enable us to offer additional value to our current and prospective clients.”
CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” Promotes Two. Late night sports talk host Chris Mueller is upped to the afternoon drive slot as part of the program hosted by Joe Starkey and Josh Miller weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Mueller is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. He has been with “The Fan” since its February 2010 debut. About Chris Mueller, program director Ryan Maguire says, “In Chris, we feel we have a dynamic personality who really had great chemistry with Joe Starkey and Josh Miller. That speaks volumes because we had some very talented candidates that we were looking at for this position. He earned this, and we’re excited at what lies ahead.” Moving into the late night slot is weekender Colin Dunlap, who was most recently hosting the 8:00 am to 11:00 am weekend program. Dunlap is a former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer. In addition to his on-air duties at “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan,” Dunlap will also serve as the featured sports columnist for 937thefan.com.
How to Pump Up Your Weekend “How-To” Show – Part 2. Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke says, “Few marketing opportunities can generate more new business than local ‘how-to’ weekend talk radio…if you use it properly.” In this follow-up to yesterday’s piece, Cooke offers four basic tips to maximizing the productivity and quality of these shows: 1) Stay relentlessly on topic; 2) Keep your information in layman’s language; 3) Don’t say “goodbye” at the end of the show; 4) Listen to the show yourself, after some time has gone by so you hear it more objectively. Read Holland Cooke’s suggestions for producing quality weekend “how-to” programs here.
Austin Hill and Brian Wiley Join KINF-AM/FM, Boise. Impact Radio Group news/talk KINF-AM/FM, Boise brings talk pro Austin Hill aboard for the morning drive program beginning Monday, February 11. Also being added to the program schedule is Brian Wiley who will bring his “Money Show with Brian Wiley” to the station for the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Both Hill and Wiley previously worked at Peak Broadcasting’s crosstown KIDO. Austin Hill’s weekend syndicated show “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business” airs on Saturdays on KINF.
Obama Gun Legislation Tour, Obama Cabinet Nominees, Super Bowl XLVII, Immigration Reform, and Death of Ed Koch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). President Obama’s tour of the country to promote his gun legislation; cabinet nominations for President Obama’s second term; the aftermath of Super Bowl XLVII; the debate over immigration reform legislation; and the death of former NYC Mayor Ed Koch were among the top news/talk stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Conservative Talk Host Steve Malzberg Begins New Project with Newsmax. Longtime New York City conservative talk host Steve Malzberg – he’s worked at WABC and WOR – is joining the talk media initiative of Newsmax, the Florida-based conservative news and opinion outlet. Malzberg is doing an afternoon drive program (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET) that will air online in both audio and video formats and for which Newsmax will seek terrestrial radio affiliates. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “When I first heard Steve Malzberg on WABC he was an innovator in bridging radio content with other media. He developed that talent further at WOR with ratings success and I think he will bring the same type of innovation and success to Newsmax TV.” The program will emanate from Newsmax’s New York City offices and begin on February 4.
Schnitt Versus Bubba: Day 4. The defamation case Compass Media Networks talk show host Todd Schnitt filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) was back in session Tuesday after a break for the Monday holiday. Plaintiff Schnitt took the stand (as did Bubba producer Brent Hatley) and told the jury how his life and career changed after Bubba returned to the air in Tampa in 2008 and the morning show battle began. In order to win the case, Schnitt must convince the jury that he suffered damages and that’s what he tried to do on the stand yesterday as he painted a picture of feeling harassed both via email and telephone and in person through physical confrontations with the “Bubba Army” as Todd Clem’s radio fans are called. WTSP, Tampa reports that when asked if his reputation had been harmed, Schnitt replied, “Yeah, I consider myself, still, a broadcaster in good standing. But um… not as good as it used to be.” That Schnitt and his wife were affected by the battle being waged by Bubba is pretty clear. The goal for Schnitt’s attorney is to get the jury to believe that Bubba the Love Sponge was responsible for their pain and suffering.
WTOP’s Jim Farley to Retire. He’s not going anywhere right away but WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming Jim Farley announces he’ll work full time through 2013 and step down into a consultant role with Hubbard and WTOP after that. In his official announcement, he says he’ll remain dedicated to the brand. “I bleed WTOP blood and am deeply invested in our continued success. I plan to stay involved until I start to drool conspicuously. I’ll be a proactive resource for Joel Oxley, Laurie Cantillo, WTOP, and Hubbard, and I will visit often. I have so many good friends in this building and spent the best part of my long career here. On to the next chapter, but not until 2014.”
Sports Talk Host Paul Finebaum Begins Sitting Out a 90-Day Non-Compete. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum has exited Cumulus’ WJOX, Birmingham and, according to the Birmingham Business Journal, his representatives say he will not entertain any media offers until the 90-day window has closed. Finebaum had been in a legal battle with Cumulus earlier this year but after numerous back-and-forths in court ended up working to the end of his deal with the company. That deal ended Monday. The smart money is on Finebaum landing at Cox Media’s crosstown WZNN but Finebaum’s camp is saying nothing until the 90-day period is over. (WZNN is one of a number of signals that Cox Media has put up for sale.) The paper also reports that Cumulus does have the right to match any offer Finebaum receives within the 90-day period but after that, Finebaum’s a free agent.
CBS Radio to Flip WNEW-AM, Washington to Sports Talk. For four months, CBS Radio aired “1580 Gov.Biz Radio” on WNEW-AM, Morningside, Maryland in the Washington, DC metro in hopes of competing with Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED “Federal News Radio.” Now TALKERS learns that CBS will flip the AM signal to sports talk using the national programming from CBS Sports Radio Network. The station will also apply for the WJFK-AM call letters to match up with sister DC sports talker WJFK-FM.
Clear Channel Gives WLW, Cincinnati an FM Presence. It’s not a big presence – 99 watts on the translator W233BG at 94.5 – but according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, the signal reaches most potential listeners within the market’s I-275 loop. Clear Channel bought the translator from Northern Kentucky University and then moved the city of license from Port Union, Ohio to Cincinnati. Kiesewetter reports there’s been no comment from Clear Channel about why the need for an FM presence for “The Big One,” but speculates getting the market dominating talk station on FM where more people are listening is what local management wants in the long run. Another thing to consider is smart phones with radio receivers get FM, not AM.
KHRO, El Paso Talk Host Hector H. Lopez to run for Mayor. KHRO, El Paso afternoon drive host Hector H. Lopez has filed papers to run for mayor of El Paso. The election is May 11 and at this time there’s no indication when Lopez will step down from his radio show.
The VP Meets the Governor. New Townsquare Media regional vice president Greg Janoff (second from right) meets New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (second from left) on Tuesday, January 22 before he goes on the air on WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for his monthly “Ask the Governor” program. Pictured here with the governor and Janoff are “Ask the Governor” host Eric Scott (right) and New Jersey 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson (left).
Obama’s Second Term Agenda, Israel Parliamentary Election, Benghazi Attack Testimony, and Gallup American Optimism Poll Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The agenda for President Obama’s second term as outlined in his Inauguration speech; the parliamentary elections in Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu’s likelihood to remain as prime minister; the pending testimony from Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attack; and the Gallup poll that concludes American optimism is at its lowest point since the Carter Administration were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Merlin Media Abandons News Format in New York and Chicago. As indicated earlier today, Merlin Media held a major pair of staff meetings in New York and Chicago this morning and as speculated it was to announce a significant change in the operations of its two major properties in these markets. According to reports, the Randy Michaels-headed company flipped WEMP, New York‘s “FM News 101.9” shortly after 10:00 am ET to “New Rock 101.9.” Chicago’s “FM News 101.1” (WIQI) has been recast as a hot AC, “i101.” It has been less than a year since these all news formats were launched with a tremendous amount of industry buzz – but the ratings and critical evaluations fell terribly short of expectations.
Paul Finebaum, Citadel and Former GM Bill Thomas Settle Lawsuit. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum, Citadel and former WJOX, Birmingham general manager Bill Thomas have reached an amicable settlement in their claims regarding Finebaum’s employment at the station, now owned by Cumulus. The terms are not being released but the upshot is Finebaum will work out his contract with the station that ends in January of 2013. Whether he will negotiate to re-sign with the station beyond that or seek to join another broadcast outlet is unknown. In a joint statement, Thomas and Finebaum say that claims were contested and the settlement in no way constitutes an admission by any party concerning the validity or invalidity of any claim, counterclaim, or defense raised in the litigation. Further, Finebuam says, “I am particularly pleased that the claims involving Bill Thomas are resolved. I have known Bill for many years and have valued his advice. We both regret that we became personally entangled in what was essentially a business dispute with former management and we look forward to repairing our relationship.” Cox Media’s crosstown sports talk outlet WZNN continues to express interest in acquiring Finebaum’s services after his deal with Cumulus runs out, as reported in the Birmingham News. But Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, says his client will issue no comment on his future intentions. The original legal claims included Finebaum’s contention that Thomas and Citadel coerced him into signing a contract addendum that worked against his best interests and Citadel claimed Finebaum negotiated with another party in violation of his contract. Finebaum’s show is heard in some 30 markets in the Southeast and is also available on SiriusXM.
Courtside Entertainment Group Breaks Simone Bienne Out with Daily Features. British psychosexual and relationship therapist Simone Bienne – a co-host on the nightly nationally syndicated “Loveline” radio show – is featured on a new twice-daily vignette called “Lovelink with Simone Bienne.” Each evening Bienne is part of the “Loveline” show with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood. Now Courtside Entertainment offers what it calls “her unique professional insight with a distinctly female perspective through two, one-minute commentaries every weekday.” Courtside owner Norm Pattiz says, “Simone Bienne is a bottle rocket of energy, insight and intelligence. We are delighted to have lured her across the pond to the States and are confident American radio listeners will be as taken with her charm, wit and knowledge as we are.”
Staff Meetings at Merlin Media’s New York and Chicago Stations Scheduled for Today. As the two all-news FMs approach their first anniversary, the word on the street is that staff meetings have been called for this morning at WEMP-FM, New York and WIQI, Chicago. Industry watchers are aware the ratings for the two all-news stations have not budged much since their debut last August and although there is no insight into what staffers can expect to hear this morning, staff meetings like this usually indicate a major change of some sort.
Drew Anderssen Moves from KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa to WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando. Program director Drew Anderssen, who’s been programming Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the past 12 years, moves to the company’s Orlando cluster to take the program director role at news/talk WDBO-AM/FM beginning August 6. Cox Media Orlando vice president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “Drew has had an incredibly successful track record leading the KRMG brand. His talent and passion for digital innovation will be a great asset not only for WDBO but for our entire cluster.” Anderssen replaces Steve Holbrook who left the Cox Orlando operations in June after almost 30 years with the company.
Scottie Nell Hughes Joins Cast of Politichicks. The online media site Politichicks.TV announces SNH Media president Scottie Nell Hughes joins the staff of the “all-in-one web destination that addresses the concerns of conservatives from the women’s point of view.” Hughes’ company handles PR for talk radio personalities Rusty Humphries, Michael Berry and Mark Skoda, among others. Now she becomes part of the Politichicks team. Politichicks executive producer Beverly Zaslow says, “Scottie Nell brings a valuable energy and passion to a group of dynamic women and her background in talk radio has taught her to think on her feet and not be afraid to ask hard questions.” Hughes joins the other “politichicks” – former “Dallas” cast member Morgan Brittany, “The Young & the Restless” cast member Ann-Marie Murrell, activist Sonnie Johnson and talk radio host Dr. Gina Loudon as co-host.
John Bishop Named Co-Host on KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Show; Gary Sharp Named Station’s Sports Director. There’s been another change in the lineup at NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha after Matt Schick – the host recently named to replace Kevin Kugler on the show – accepted a position with ESPNU (ESPN’s college sports channel). John Bishop, most recently program director and co-host of the morning drive show at KOZN’s sister station KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska, will take over the co-hosting duties alongside Mike’l Severe on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.” Kugler had announced he would be leaving the show to take a position with the Big Ten Network and will continue to contribute to KOZN on a limited basis. NRG Omaha operations manager Neil Nelkin says, “We hire great talent on the ZONE as it’s a station sports figures and leaders tune to. Bishop is well known throughout sports circles in Nebraska, namely as a distinguished sportscaster with decades of experience with Husker athletics, Creighton sports and the College World Series. Bishop more than has the credentials, experience and the chops for this role on The ZONE…now I want to keep him for a while.” Additionally, Nelkin announces Gary Sharp returns to Nebraska to take the sports director and morning show co-host position at sister station KZOT. Sharp most recently worked with Minnesota Twins minor league club the Ft. Myers Miracle. Prior to that he was sports director at the Nebraska Sports Network. He’ll co-host the KZOT morning show with Jason Peter. He says, “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to radio at a great station and most importantly to return to Nebraska. We’ve had some great success here in Fort Myers and I will miss the people and relationships I have developed in baseball. I am sure Jason is chomping at the bit to get started and I am sure we will have some spirited sports conversations that will make great radio.”
Clear Channel Seeks WHBA for Calls for Its New Boston FM. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will take over the operation of alternative rocker WFNX, Boston on Monday and the request of new call letters WHBA gives no clue as to what format the station will assume when the change takes place. The Boston Globe is planning to put the alternative format online and has already hired some of the WFNX staff to run it. Talk radio fans in Boston might like to see an FM signal for the company’s WXKS – Talk 1200 – but those calls certainly don’t seem very news/talky, do they? Regardless, the wait is on and let the speculation continue!
Cumulus Promotes Dave Crowl, Shuffles Market Managers. Cumulus Chicago market manager Dave Crowl adds more regional vice president duties in addition to continuing to oversee Chicago’s news/talk WLS-AM and classic hits WLS-FM but the company brings Donna Baker up from Houston to take over the market manager position in Chicago. Cumulus RVP Chuck Bortnick steps into Houston to oversee that market and will take on additional RVP duties for the region.
TALKERS magazine Publishes Debut “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.” The editors of TALKERS magazine are pleased to announce the publishing of the first annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. A companion to its “sister list” – the annual Talkers 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the debut class of this annual feature honoring the sports talk radio industry’s 100 most important hosts, duos or ensembles. In order to create this list, the editors took into account a combination of hard and soft factors and the results are, admittedly, subjective. Staying true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. View the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.
A Tribute to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa. The number-one ranked sports talk host on this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is WFAN, New York PM drive host Mike Francesa, who’s spent the past 23 years as dean of sports talk in the nation’s biggest market. Fellow WFAN personality Richard Neer writes that Francesa’s “relentless curiosity and work ethic, along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting, gave him unique insight” that served as a foundation for a sterling sports media career. Read Richard Neer’s tribute to WFAN’s Mike Francesa here.
2012 Presidential Race, Penn State Report, Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Welfare Work Requirement Issue, and Weak Retail Sales Numbers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). The 2012 presidential campaign; the Louis Freeh-led report on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to post-election Egypt; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s relaxing of welfare work requirements; and weak retail sales figures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
The State of News in News/Talk Radio. The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners. In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey, some of today’s top news/talk programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy, how they are integrating digital tools, news as a cume builder, the relationship between news and talk and their thoughts on the state of journalism. Read this feature piece here.
NOW-Organized Protest of Rush Limbaugh at WMAL, Washington Fizzles. The National Organization for Women-sponsored “Enough Rush” campaign got off to an ignominious start outside the studios of affiliate WMAL, Washington, DC Friday, May 18 as just seven protesters marched. As reported by Fox News, NOW announced the campaign against the Premiere Networks talk radio superstar in April and has partnered with Media Matters for America to target affiliate stations and their advertisers. Friday’s event in DC was part of a national protest scheduled for that day. Reports of substantial protests at other Limbaugh affiliate stations have not surfaced.
Cox Media Offers to End Paul Finebaum Issue with Contract Buyout. The Birmingham Business Journal is reporting that Cox Media – which put sports talk outlet WZNN-FM, Birmingham on the air last September – is again offering to buy out sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s contract with Cumulus Media and its WJOX-FM, Birmingham. Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the ongoing legal battle between Cumulus and Finebaum that goes back to when the station was part of the Citadel group. Finebaum’s popular sports talk show has been based at WJOX-FM and regionally syndicated. While Cumulus would probably like to stop paying legal fees in the ongoing dispute, it may not want to have Finebaum working for a competing station in the market – at least not right away – however it’s likely he’ll end up working there eventually. There’s no response yet from Cumulus on the offer.
RAB Reports Radio Revenue Up 1% in First Quarter of 2012. The Radio Advertising Bureau issued a report on Friday, May 18 concluding advertising revenue for all of radio was up 1% for the first quarter of 2012 – the third consecutive Q1 increase – for total revenue of $3.814 billion. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Q1 2012 results confirm that radio commands a solid position in brands’ total marketing plans. While advertisers continue to capitalize on radio’s spot and network efficiencies, they’re increasingly utilizing local digital capabilities and audience engagement that this medium affords.” From a category standpoint, spot revenue was flat, network was up 8%, digital rose 10%, and off-air was up 3% for Q1 in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. WXKS, Boston – Talk Radio 1200 – morning drive talk host Jeff Katz wins two Associated Press Awards – one for “Best Talk Show in Boston” and the other for “Best Public Affairs Broadcast” for his special remote from the Fisher House in Boston…..Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager co-hosts CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” alongside Brian Sullivan tonight at 7:00 pm ET. SRN states, “With the just-launched IPO for Facebook as well as the unfolding 2012 battle between Mitt Romney and President Obama, Dennis Prager brings his unique background as a talk radio host, author, lecturer and societal observer to CNBC in what will surely be an eye-opening experience for ‘Kudlow Report’ viewers!”…..SiriusXM announces veteran soccer commentator and former player and coach Ray Hudson will host ‘The Football Show’ alongside fellow soccer experts Charlie Stillitano, Neil Barnett and John Harkes. Hudson has been a commentator for Gol TV since 2004 and is widely known for his elaborate and excitable play-calling style. Also from SiriusXM, three-time SEC Coach of the Year Houston Nutt has joined SiriusXM as an analyst on its 24/7 college sports channel. Nutt will host multiple shows each week on SiriusXM College Sports Nation including ‘College Sports Today’ with Mark Packer and ‘College Football Playbook’ with Jack Arute…..Former WGNU, St. Louis talk host Leonardo Drisdel was found guilty of the 2005 murder of Cassandra Kovack on Friday. He’ll be sentenced on June 29.
Clark Howard to Help Break Ground for New Home for Joplin Tornado Victims. Cox Media syndicated talk show host Clark Howard heads to Joplin, Missouri tomorrow along with a team of his listeners to break ground on a new home for a family that lost its home to last spring’s tornado that hit the city. Howard will broadcast his Tuesday program live from the build site to recognize the one-year anniversary of the tornado. Clark Howard is funding the Joplin home himself. However, he joined forces with Cox’s KRMG, Tulsa to promote the build and KRMG even had advertisers chip in for a storm shelter for the house and due to the listeners’ overwhelming support for the build in Joplin, they teamed with Clark to build a home in Tulsa this past weekend. The home is being funded by monies raised by listeners and Howard. He says, “I love Habitat for Humanity because it is a hand up and not a hand out. Homeowners have to meet strict qualification guidelines and put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity to build their own home and other Habitat homes. It is not a free house. It is a low-cost mortgage.”
Vic “The Brick” Jacobs Rides the Zamboni at L.A. Kings Game. Yes, that’s Fox Sports Radio sports talk host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – of the network’s “Loose Cannons” show – on the zamboni during last Thursday’s L.A. Kings NHL playoff game. In addition to being at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the game, Jacobs (decked out in his Kings jersey and crown) did a post-game interview with Kings rookie Dwight King who scored the winning goal.
Larry King Still Going Strong, Plans New Radio and TV Projects. In an exclusive TALKERS TV interview conducted with Bill Moran of PodJockey.com, broadcasting legend and CNN icon Larry King says he doesn’t feel his age and has no intention of retiring anytime in the near future. Speaking on camera during the noisy breakfast gathering (10/20) at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum moments before he delivered the conference’s opening speech, King states that in addition to the four TV specials per year for three years that he has contracted to do for CNN, he is on the verge of announcing (within several days or weeks) his return to doing an LA-based national radio show and the launch of yet another television project. He says that he was comfortable with “Larry King Live” coming to an end this past December stating he knows “it was time” but he does miss having the opportunity to cover the big news stories that break on a daily basis such as the killing of Osama bin Laden. He says he thinks the job being done by present day news media is “mixed” – that the public is provided “massive information” faster than ever due to modern technology, however, in an effort to get it out quickly the media “doesn’t always get it right.” He regrets that there isn’t an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite working in today’s news broadcasting. He points out that there is “a lot of conjecture” in today’s news reporting. He proudly quotes Johnny Depp who recently described him as being “a throwback” stating “I never had an agenda.” King professes his love of baseball, currently serves as a little league coach, and is a member of one of the investment groups bidding on taking ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Immediately following the interview, King opened up the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum with a well-received address in which he discussed his career – past, present and future. To watch and hear Larry King’s conversation with Bill Moran see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page. Larry King’s opening address at the LARTF and detailed coverage (stories, photos and videos) of the panels and speeches at the groundbreaking conference will be coming to this website shortly.
Dial Global Completes Merger with Westwood One. Friday, Dial Global announced it has completed its merger with Westwood One in a stock-for-stock transaction that sees the WON ticker symbol go away and, beginning today (10/24), the company is listed on the NASDAQ as DIAL. Dial Global is being led by the management team of Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams. The newly formed company includes all of the sports programming Westwood One has been known for over the years as well as the original talk content plus the entertainment programming and 24/7 music formats. It also includes the Dial Global sales rep department and continues to partner with the now separate company Triton Digital. Neal Schore serves as chairman of the newly constituted board of directors and states, “Dial Global has always been focused on serving the ever-evolving needs of the radio industry and this transaction will expand the programming and service offerings sought by both radio stations and advertisers. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Rod Sherwood and the entire Westwood One team, whose tremendous efforts have helped make this transaction possible.” Dial Global’s majority ownership is Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. and The Gores Group, LLC which own 44% and 31% of the common shares, respectively.
Cumulus Hammer Falls in New York. News of the corporate dictate hit the industry grapevine late Friday that there have reportedly been about 15 job cuts at New York stations WABC and WPLJ-FM, though at this time only a few are known for sure. Mancow Muller’s New York-only weekend show on news/talk WABC is gone from the lineup. It’s believed that a number of the positions cut were administrative posts but it’s also reported that Jill Vitale (a.k.a Flirty Flipper – former Sean Hannity producer) was let go from her digital media post. So far Cumulus corporate officers have visited Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York as they undertake the process of determining where duplicative positions exit and where money is being spent that they believe is just not necessary.
Deepak Chopra Launches Online Radio Show with Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio. Cinchcast, a company that provides solutions for businesses and consumers to create, share, measure and monetize audio content, today announced that Deepak Chopra has launched a new online radio show leveraging Cinchcast’s audio publishing and management platform and its online radio network, BlogTalkRadio.com. Deepak Chopra, a leading expert in the fields of spirituality and alternative medicine and New York Times best-selling author in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, has created Deepak Chopra Radio to provide an online forum for compelling and thought provoking conversations on success, love, sexuality and relationships, well-being and spirituality. According to Chopra, “Cinchcast’s technology and the BlogTalkRadio network are enabling me to create my own media platform. The simplicity of broadcasting using only a phone enables me to bring together thought leaders from across the globe from the worlds of spirituality, science and politics to create and share a dialogue on today’s most important topics.” Alan Levy, CEO of Cinchcast and founder of BlogTalkRadio tells TALKERS, “That’s the beauty of our technology, it turns the phone into a publishing platform making it easy for individuals and businesses to bring important conversations to life. We’re thrilled to have Deepak Chopra on the BlogTalkRadio network.” Deepak Chopra Radio is now available at BlogTalkRadio.com, DeepakChopra.com and on iTunes. Cinchcast was developed by BlogTalkRadio to enable businesses with a simple and powerful solution to produce and share original audio content. Headquartered in New York City, Cinchcast powers audio creation and publishing for companies such as United Business Media, Business Insider, SAP and Sears, and is the technology behind BlogTalkRadio. For more information, visit www.cinchcast.com.
KGMZ, San Francisco Names Mitch Moss Producer. Entercom’s 95.7 The Game – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces former KBAD, Las Vegas program director Mitch Moss is the new producer for its midday “The Wheelhouse with John Lund” program.
Timing Is Everything. On the night following the death of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) presented Fox News national security correspondent and author Catherine Herridge (r) in a live town hall-style event to discuss the next threats against the U.S. and her new book, The Next Wave: On the Hunt for al Qaeda’s American Recruits (Crown Forum 2011). Bernier tells TALKERS this was the 67th event in the long-running interview series. It featured a book signing as well.
Paul Finebaum and Staff Visit Iowa Fan. Birmingham, Alabama-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum – in the news a lot recently for his legal battle with the former Citadel Broadcasting and WJOX-FM – and some of his staff visited 33-year-old Robert Fisher on Friday, October 21. Fisher, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is a huge college football fan and a regular caller to Finebaum’s show that he’s able to hear via Sirius XM. Finebaum, call screener Tammy Hethcox, and frequent Finebaum guest and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Lemak flew from Alabama to Iowa in Lemak’s private plane to surprise Fisher at his parent’s home. Finebaum tells the Cedar Rapids Courier that though a few hateful callers have taken issue with him putting Fisher on the air, most of the show’s fans have embraced Fisher. Hethcox and Fisher have struck up a friendship as a result of his calls and Fisher was thrilled to meet Hethcox and argue in person over their respective love of college football rivals Alabama and Auburn. Finebaum says, “Everybody loves the guy on the show. He’s known from coast to coast.”
iHeartRadio to Invade American Living Rooms. In an innovative development that significantly bolsters traditional radio programming’s digital distribution potential, Clear Channel’s expanded deal with Microsoft to include its iHeartRadio in the Xbox LIVE service could put CC stations into the homes of millions of Americans. Clear Channel says this is an expansion of its multi-year deal with Microsoft that integrates iHeartRadio on Windows Phone 7 and brought the recent two-day iHeartRadio music festival into homes exclusively on the Xbox 360. Beginning this winter it will work this way: The New iHeartRadio will be available for free to Xbox LIVE Gold members. Through this new agreement, Gold members who have Kinect for Xbox 360 can use the product’s revolutionary sensor to experience an entertainment first: the ability to control digital radio in their living room using their voice and body. Gold members who have Xbox 360, but do not have Kinect, can operate the New iHeartRadio using their controller. Regardless of whether they have Kinect or not, all Xbox 360 Gold members will have access to the New iHeartRadio’s features, including more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus custom stations with more songs, better music intelligence and more user control. The deal will also give users access to social features through CC’s deal with Facebook. Clear Channel CEO John Hogan tells TALKERS, “Clear Channel is committed to innovation and deep social integration. We want to continually deliver new experiences that consumers have never seen before – like the recent launch of the New iHeartRadio, which combines broadcast and digital-only stations and user-created stations in one service for the first time. The New iHeartRadio’s integration with the Xbox 360 enables Kinect users to control digital radio in their living room using just their voice and body. There is nothing else like it on the market and it’s another example of how we are committed to being wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect.”
Financial Expert Charles Payne to Launch National Radio Show Via Sun Broadcast Group. Charles Payne is well known to viewers of Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel as well as to KFI, Los Angeles where he’s hosted a Saturday afternoon program. Now, Payne partners with Sun Broadcast Group to begin a nationally syndicated two-hour financial talk show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily starting October 17. “Payne Nation with Charles Payne” will emanate from Fox studios in New York. Chad Wilkinson is named executive producer, Gabe Hobbs and Jim Robinson are aboard in a consulting capacity and the show will feature the voice talents of Edd Hall. Sun CEO and founder Jay Bailey states, “We’re very excited to welcome Charles to the Sun Broadcast lineup. We believe the industry is ready for an uplifting, positive financial show that will provide real answers for real people in this turbulent time in our nation.” Payne says, “Everyone asks me how I am going to be different from other hosts out there, and I tell them that I am simply going to be real. No scare tactics. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything in fact I go right at the issues by digging beneath the surface, seeking facts, relying on history and connecting all the dots for real assessments and real solutions.”
Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Scores Exclusive Perspective of Airline Passenger Arrest. WJIM, Lansing-based talk show host Michael Patrick Shiels happened to be returning from Amsterdam to Detroit when a man on the Delta plane began ranting about a hijacking. The man was quickly restrained by air marshals. Shiels tells TALKERS, “While observing from up close, I discreetly used the e-mail function of Delta’s in-flight entertainment system to send e-mails and texts to my producer and other media outlets. The result was an exclusive story for my radio network and a press gaggle waiting for me when I emerged from the aircraft, resulting in national publicity on the major TV networks.” Shiels says the man appeared to be American and in his 30s. He says many passengers became agitated since it was an Amsterdam to Detroit flight that the infamous “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up on Christmas Day 2009.
Paul Finebaum Gets Favorable Ruling in Legal Tussle with Cumulus. Regionally syndicated and WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum was successful in getting his civil suit against Citadel – now Cumulus – returned to state court in Alabama. Federal judge L. Scott Coogler ruled Cumulus was not able to prove the dispute went above the $75,000 threshold to make it a federal civil suit. Legal experts say Finebaum stands a better chance in state court due to the legal standards. Finebaum has two suits filed against Cumulus: one in which Citadel agreed to bankruptcy reorganization without his consent and the other that he was coerced into amending his contract and that Citadel violated its deal with him by manipulating revenue for his program away from him.
KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri Comes Out with Parkinson’s Diagnosis. In a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, KNBR sports talk host Ralph Barbieri – co-host of “The Razor and Mr. T” alongside Tom Tolbert – confesses to having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2002 and telling no one except Tolbert until now. Barbieri tells the paper he decided to reveal his diagnosis now since he is coming to the end of his contract and wanted to be honest as he and Cumulus negotiate a new deal. He tells the paper, “If I am to continue at KNBR, I’d like to start with all our cards on the table, face-up. I’ve gotten to know Lew Dickey a little bit, and my gut feeling was that he could deal with my situation at an honorable level, so I gave him a call and told him everything. He let me know that KNBR wants me back. He didn’t say on what terms, but the fact that he didn’t view the Parkinson’s as a red flag, that was a huge relief to me.”
Premiere Networks Scores Large Market Add for Glenn Beck: Phoenix. Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix agrees to add the Glenn Beck show to its daily program schedule in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot bumping Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage from the slot. Clear Channel Phoenix director of programming and operations Smokey Rivers states, “Glenn has a sizeable and loyal local following. His unique and stimulating perspectives will be a welcome addition to the station.”
WROK, Rockford-Based Michael Koolidge Show Names New Producer. Michael Koolidge’s regionally and independently syndicated talk show is based out of Cumulus-owned WROK, Rockford, Illinois and syndicated to WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and WLBK, DeKalb, Illinois. Koolidge announces he brings on Natalie Zee Fenwick as his program’s first full-time producer. “Thanks specifically to our outstanding advertiser support over the last year, we can afford to officially create our first bona fide job. Even though it’s just a single job, we’re proud to join the ranks of ‘job creators’ of America. I’ve had a rotation of great part-time producers and interns over the years, but we’re finally in a position where we’re ready to hire a regular producer. And we’re thrilled that we found Natalie.” Koolidge’s business model – serving as an independent contractor to regional radio stations – is one the industry is likely to see more of as companies and stations seek quality local or regional talent without taking on the expenses of traditional employees. Koolidge’s highly rated program is one industry watchers are keeping an eye on.
Talk Host Jim Walsh and KFYR, Bismarck Part Company. It’s only been two weeks since talk personality Jim Walsh returned to Clear Channel’s KFYR, Bismarck – a station he worked at in 2003 and 2004 – to host the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program formerly held by Scott Bachmeier. Not sure what happened there but Walsh cryptically tells TALKERS, “I have stepped down from the afternoon talk show at KFYR, Bismarck by mutual consent. I’m still there part-time, at least for the time being. I’m currently exploring my options and can be reached at 701-226-8449.” Bachmeier had exited the full-time shift to concentrate on non-radio work but the station lists him as host of the time slot – at least for now.
Occupy Wall Street, Steve Jobs Passes, 2012 GOP Candidates and Obama Jobs Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5). The growing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the death of Apple innovator Steve Jobs, the Republican candidates for president in 2012 and President Obama’s job creation plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Paul Finebaum v. Citadel: A Lesson in Fine Print. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that the case of WJOX-FM, Birmingham sports talk host Paul Finebaum suing employer Citadel for breach of contract is an example of why employment contracts should always be reviewed by the talent’s lawyer before being signed – regardless of what the employer prefers. Employment situations can be complicated by addenda, bankruptcies and ownership changes and Weisman says this case certainly has its twists and turns. Read his analysis of the case here.
Talk Host Martha Zoller Mulls Run for Congress. WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia-based talk host Martha Zoller tells Roll Call she’s considering a run for U.S. Congress and will make a decision within a “couple of weeks.” Population shifts are creating a new congressional district in Northern Georgia soon to be approved by the Georgia legislature and the new 9th district would be a very Republican district, according to Roll Call. Zoller tells the publication, “I’ve been a fiscal conservative my whole career. I’ve criticized Clinton budgets, Bush budgets and Obama budgets…I believe the tea party people that have been elected to Congress have represented their districts well and they need reinforcements. That’s why I’m considering this.” Zoller is heard throughout Georgia via the Georgia News Network.
Teresa Strasser Exits the KABC, Los Angeles Morning Show. LARadio’s Don Barrett reports Teresa Strasser has left the Peter Tilden morning show at Citadel’s KABC, Los Angeles. Barrett quotes KABC program director Jack Silver stating Strasser chose not to renew her contract with the station in order to focus on her TV, commercial voiceover and camera work. Strasser – known for her television work on TLC’s “While You Were Out,” her co-host position on the Adam Carolla radio show and her book Exploiting My Baby (NAL Trade 2011), became part of the Peter Tilden program in August of 2010.
Chicago Talk Radio Personality Cisco Cotto Considers Starting New Church. Cotto most recently hosted the midday show at WLS, Chicago and served on crosstown WIND’s morning show prior to that. He was replaced at WLS by Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft earlier this summer and is now thinking about starting a non-denominational church in his Chicago suburb of Oak Park. Cotto studied at the Moody Bible Institute and tells the Chicago Tribune he’s been working with the Evangelical Free Church of America to start the church and has filed the paper work for getting non-profit, tax-exempt status. Will his radio past complicate things? Cotto says, “I think I am going to be labeled ‘that guy who used to be the conservative talk show host,’ and that is going to be a significant barrier.”
2012 Presidential Race, Middle East Turmoil, Obama Economic Policy and Irene Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the 2012 presidential race, political unrest in the Middle East, President Obama’s economic policy and the aftermath of Hurricane Irene were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/31).
All-News and Talk Radio Stations Keep Public Informed During Hurricane Irene. The hurricane/tropical storm that swept up the East Coast over the weekend pushed radio stations, especially news and talk radio stations, into their familiar and historical roles as providers of timely and emergency information as Irene bore down upon their markets. While radio of all formats can deliver this kind of information, news and talk radio does so without breaking format – they just alter the type of news, information and talk they provide. Their P1s expect to be kept informed during these times and the many news and talk stations up and down the East Coast did an exemplary job of being there for their listeners. (There were simply too many examples of stations serving their listeners this weekend to name them all!) According to TALKERS monitoring of radio during the Irene event, the approach to coverage went through three basic phases: First, tracking and speculating on the direction, timing and tips for preparing for the storm. Second, being in the storm itself when the power goes out and all hell is breaking loose (a crucial phase for radio). Third, the aftermath — the details and politics of recovery. The past 10 months have provided ample opportunity for coverage of natural disasters with a higher-than-usual occurrence of these, from intense snowstorms to floods to tornadoes and recent earthquakes. News and talk radio remains the best link to accurate and timely information when the power goes out. The bigger questions now include: Should emergency preparedness and local, on-the-ground coverage become a more institutional component of the competitive terrestrial radio infrastructure? Also, should talk radio of all genres focus primarily on super-serving its most loyal fans (who are still in the habit of using radio) or break out of that role and aggressively try to bring new listeners to the format (or in the case of those who have left, back to the format)? (Photo courtesy of NOAA.)
WJOX-FM, Birmingham Sports Host Finebuam’s Suit Against Citadel Revealed. Thanks to a judge for unsealing the suits filed by Paul Finebaum against Citadel’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham, we know more about the claims. The Birmingham News reports Finebaum – who has a deal with Citadel to host a show on WJOX-FM that is regionally syndicated – accuses WJOX-FM of breach of contract when Citadel declared bankruptcy in December 2009. Finebaum further alleges he was subsequently forced to agree to contract changes under duress that have caused him “great financial impact.” Finebaum alleges WJOX-FM, GM Bill Thomas threatened to remove his show from its affiliates and Sirius XM if he didn’t agree to a reduction in revenue from the show. Citadel says Finebaum was fully aware it filed for bankruptcy when he signed the contract addendum in January 2010. The company also states any talk of removing the show from affiliates was due to poor financial performance that the company did not want to continue. Finally, Citadel questions why Finebaum is filing the suits now since Citadel exited bankruptcy protection more than a year ago and calls the suits a “pretense by which Mr. Finebaum hopes to avoid fulfilling his obligations under the employment agreement.” Finebaum is under contract to Citadel through January 2013.
Clear Channel Ousts Vassilaros from WPTI-FM, Greensboro; Simulcasts Raleigh AM Show. WRDU-FM, Raleigh’s “Morning Rush” program hosted by KC O’Dea and Carmen Connors is now heard on the company’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro as well. Morning drive host Dimitri Vassilaros – who left his newspaper and part time radio gigs in Pittsburgh in January to take the WPTI-FM job – is out. Vassilaros hosted a weekend show at CBS Radio’s KDKA and wrote a column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review prior to heading south.
Michael Harrison Writing a Book with Mike Kinosian about Talk Radio Set for Publication February 2012. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has announced he is writing a book about talk radio, in collaboration with TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian. Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be published by Talkers Books and will be part history, part memoir and part commentary based upon radio pioneer Harrison’s 21 years as publisher of TALKERS, 45 years as a professional broadcaster, and his lifelong love affair with popular culture and media. The primary focus will be Harrison’s observations of many leading figures of contemporary talk radio set against the backdrop of key events connected to the scene’s colorful history. Material will be drawn from his professional and personal experiences with these extraordinary individuals and supplemented by the extensive database accumulated over the decades in the TALKERS archives. He also delves back into his own roots as a kid listening to New York City Top 40 in the 1950s and 1960s to becoming an FM album rock groundbreaker on both coasts in the 1970s, an innovator in the trades and eventually one of the driving forces behind the modern talk radio era. With more than a quarter century of insight and experience at Radio & Records, Inside Radio and now TALKERS — and as one of the radio trade publication world’s most prolific interviewers — collaborator Mike Kinosian brings his formidable radio background and writing skills to the project. According to Harrison, “Between the two of us we know just about everyone who’s anyone in the talk business from a number of angles. Mike Kinosian has personally interviewed and written biographical profiles of more than 100 spoken-word radio stars in his illustrious career as an industry chronicler. His legendary “Mike Kinosian Interviews” remain the gold standard of radio trade journalism. Having a professional of his stature supporting my efforts in this undertaking is nothing short of inspirational!” Commenting on his joining forces with Harrison on this ambitious endeavor, Kinosian states, “It is a high honor and a rare privilege to serve as this book’s collaborator, not solely since the subject matter is so personally appealing, but also — and much more significantly — because it is with Michael Harrison. No one else in the talk radio industry commands Michael’s immense level of respect and credibility. His behind-the-scenes knowledge of the industry, credentials, accomplishments, detail to recount facts and especially his character are impeccable.” Among those examined beneath their professional personas are Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Glenn Beck, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Savage, Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and many more. Harrison shares never-before-published stories about his personal conversations and dealings with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush regarding their relationships with the media. He finally reveals the back story and truth about his controversial encounter with Al Franken during the future U.S. Senator’s Freedom of Speech Award acceptance at the New Media Seminar. He talks about his longtime friendship with Alan Colmes, going back to the dreams they shared as part-time MOR jocks on a small Long Island AM daytimer 43 years ago. He resurrects the colorful decade (1975-1985) he spent as one of the first FM “youth talkers” hosting a trailblazing talk show on L.A.’s legendary rocker, KMET. Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio by Michael Harrison with Mike Kinosian promises to reveal a side of talk radio never before exposed to the public. Summing it up, Kinosian states, “Unsurpassed quality is the dominant theme the two of us have stressed to each other in writing this book. Based on the early drafts, we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal.” The promotion of Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be supported with a national tour.
Scott Hennen Signs with Genesis Communications Network for National Distribution. Talk radio pro Scott Hennen’s Fargo-based talk show, “Common Sense Club,” (heard in North Dakota on KNOX, Grand Forks from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm) will be distributed for national syndication via the Genesis Communications Network. Hennen tells the Fargo Forum he expects to debut on about a dozen stations.
“The Talk” May Be Adding Two New Hosts for this Season. The CBS daytime TV talk show “The Talk” lost hosts Leah Rimini and Holly Robinson Peete – their contracts were not renewed for the show’s second season. The network is preparing to fill their slots alongside Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen and Sharon Osbourne with radio host and comedian Sheryl Underwood and Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner. Jenner is signed to fill in for Osbourne for the show’s first two weeks of the new season but may stay on as Osbourne’s regular fill in. Underwood will also be part of the first two weeks but is expected to be a regular this season.
Recognition of a Job Well Done. CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recently recognized by Los Angeles City councilman Dennis Zine for its coverage of Carmageddon – the July shutdown of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. Pictured here from left to right are: traffic reporters Jeff Baugh, Tommy Jaxson and Meghan Reyes; Councilman Dennis Zine, news director Julie Chin, and director of programming Andy Ludlum.
Glenn Beck Israel Event Featured on GBTV Media Station. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Courage” rally in Israel did not get the same press his “Restoring Honor” rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC one year ago did. However, Beck’s address before the reported crowd of 1,700 near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the reported 3,000 watching from a nearby viewing station was both beamed live to and archived on GBTV.com – the new media station programmed by Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company. Beck’s new live, streaming “TV show” debuts on September 12 on GBTV.com and no doubt Beck hopes it will replace his Fox News Channel program that ended in June in the minds of many of his hard-core P1s. Regardless of criticism leveled at Beck by consumer media journalists for his message, one can argue that Beck and his staff may just be building a sterling example of well-programmed, revenue making digital news/talk content (media station) for the new era.
Cox Announces FM Sports Coming to Birmingham While Crosstown WJOX-FM Host Paul Finebaum Sues Employer Citadel. Cox Media Group confirms to the Birmingham Business Journal that it will flip country WNCB-FM to sports on Tuesday, August 30. General manager David DuBose says Eli Gold and Stan White will co-host the morning drive show, Matt Coulter – a former WJOX-FM host – will handle the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and the station will be a Yahoo! Sports (formerly Sporting News Radio) affiliate. Meanwhile, across town Citadel’s WJOX-FM and popular market sports personality Paul Finebaum are in a legal tussle. At issue it appears is Finebaum’s contention that Citadel has not shared revenue for his program according to the terms of his contract and the sum in question exceeds $75,000, again according to the Birmingham Business Journal. Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, refused to comment to the Journal but WJOX-FM general manager Bill Thomas issued a statement saying, “I feel very confident that the actions of Citadel and its employees with respect to Paul have been appropriate, and I expect that to be demonstrated if his lawsuit continues.” Finebaum, whose popular show is known for superserving rabid fans of SEC football and basketball, is under contract with WJOX-FM through January of 2013. The Citadel station serves as the flagship for Finebaum’s program. Cox’s DuBose says if Finebaum’s legal situation clears up, they would be interested in talking to him.
Cox Media Group Names Format Captains. Cox Media Group elevates seven program directors to format leaders for the company who will report to new director of radio programming Steve Smith. WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton OM/PD Nick Roberts (who also oversees news/talk programming in the Louisville cluster) is named the format leader for news/talk. CMG Group VP Ben Reed says of the move, “CMG has tapped into the amazing talent that exists within our radio businesses to help chart an even more competitive course that will provide the best music and news/talk formats for our valued listeners. Industry veteran Steve Smith, who joined CMG last month, will oversee this proven team and will provide a cohesive link between our local markets and our group vice president leadership team.”
Norm Pattiz’ Courtside Entertainment Group Teams with Westwood One for First Special Broadcast: Bill O’Reilly’s Presidential Town Hall. The three-hour special broadcast event in which Republican candidates for president in 2012 will answer questions from Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly is scheduled for November 7, airing live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. Pattiz announced the formation of Courtside Entertainment and its relationship with Westwood One to distribute content at the beginning of the year. Now, the partners offer their first special program. Westwood One president Rod Sherwood states, “Bill O’Reilly knows the Republican political landscape inside and out, and his ‘Presidential Town Hall’ will bring his unrivalled wit and wisdom to radio listeners early in the campaign season.”
KMBZ-AM/FM, Kansas City Wins Kansas Association of Broadcasters Station of the Year. Entercom’s news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM is named the Large Market Station of the Year by the Kansas Association of Broadcasters for 2011. The station also wins seven other news and programming awards. Program director Neil Larrimore says this is a great honor for KMBZ. “This is truly the result of a TEAM effort across the board! Everyone at KMBZ works hard every day to make sure that the best news and talk radio product is put on the air, and these awards are testaments to their dedication to that mission! There is a reason Kansas City trusts NewsRadio 98.1 FM & 980 AM KMBZ.”
Salem Radio Network Announces 9/11 Anniversary Programming. SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says SRN will produce a 90-minute live special titled, “9/11: America 10 Years Later,” on Sunday, September 11 anchored by SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston. The program airs from 8:30 am to 10:00 am. SRN News Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon — who was at the Pentagon the day of the attack — and SRN News House correspondent Wally Hindes will join Greg on the program live from SRN’s Washington, DC studios. Salem also plans a weeklong series of reports leading up to the September 11 broadcast.
Ric Edelman Celebrates 3,000th Broadcast of TV Program. Independent financial advisor, author and broadcaster Ric Edelman announces his public television program “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” just celebrated its 3,000th airing. The program, produced by 3 Roads Communications, has been picked up by more than 175 public TV stations. Edelman hosts an independently syndicated weekend radio program of the same name that is heard across the nation.
WHO, Des Moines PM Drive Host Simon Conway to Emcee Political Rallies. Iowa talk show host Simon Conway announces he’ll be emcee for the Presidential Candidate picnic taking place at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Saturday, August 27. Attendees already confirmed include: Texas Governor Rick Perry, Congressman Ron Paul, Congressman Thad McCotter and former New York Governor George Pataki (who is rumored to be ready to announce his candidacy). Conway says he’ll also emcee the Sarah Palin “Restoring America” rally in nearby Indianola, Iowa on September 3 where some believe Palin will announce her candidacy.
Sports USA’s Joe Morgan Show Debuts. Baseball Hall-of-Famer and broadcaster Joe Morgan debuted his new one-hour daily radio show on Monday, August 22. For its first week on air, Morgan’s interview-intensive program featured conversations with baseball greats Morgan conducted at the recent Baseball Hall of Fame induction. Sports USA president Larry Kahn says of Morgan’s new show, “‘The Joe Morgan Show’ is unique content for sports fans to tune in to because Joe has conversations with athletes and allows us to listen to stories most people have never heard before. Listeners will have more insight as a fan because Joe can get closer to these athletes in a relaxed setting compared to regular members of the media doing interviews.”
Urban Talk Host Bev Smith Reportedly Ending Radio Show. According to the Redding News Review, American Urban Radio Network talk host Bev Smith’s show will end soon. The reports are not clear. Redding News Review reports one source saying Smith is battling breast cancer although there has been no official word from AURN on the status of Bev Smith’s program. The program is fed live from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly.
2012 Presidential Race/Obama Vacation Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 22-26. The GOP candidates and the issues facing the nation as the 2012 presidential campaign season heats up – combined with chat about President Obama’s vacation – landed atop the Talkers Ten chart for the week of August 22-26. Coming in at #2 was the turmoil in Libya. At #3 was the violence in Syria and at #4 was the financial markets instability. The Talkers Ten is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click the banner below.
Honoring a Pioneering Company. KDKA, Pittsburgh morning drive host Larry Richert (l) is seen here with KDKA promotions staffers Lisa Herald (to Richert’s right), Chelsea McCartney (far right), and Ed Reis (in top hat) portraying the celebrated entrepreneur and engineer George Westinghouse. KDKA broadcast from Westinghouse’s Cranberry, Pennsylvania campus to help celebrate its 125th year in business. Westinghouse Corporation put KDKA on the air on November 2, 1920 and the rest, as they say, is history!
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network clears “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” on WTKK-FM, Boston…..TRN’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski picks up KWKC, Abilene, Texas.