Cumulus Media Moves Kevin Metheny to KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. From his current position with Cumulus Media as program director of WJR, Detroit, Kevin Metheny will go West to take the helm of Bay Area news and talk stations KGO and KSFO as operations manager, effective July 14. The company says that Metheny is “a career content creator whose other recent work includes the successful launch of CBS RADIO’s country KMNB, “BUZ*N @ 102.9” in the Twin Cities; program director of WGN, Chicago; and 13 years with Clear Channel in various roles, including regional vice president of programming.” Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Dickey states, “Kevin Metheny’s reputation and accomplishments are unparalleled. His deep understanding of spoken-word radio and ability to work with bigger-than-life talents make him the ideal candidate to lead the legendary KGO and KSFO.” Metheny takes over for Ron Escarsega, who exits the stations.
WIND, Chicago Pulls Joe Walsh Off the Air After ‘Conversation About Words.’ Chicago talk show host (and former U.S. Congressman) Joe Walsh was pulled off his radio program on the Salem Communications-owned talk station yesterday (6/19) after he used a number of racial slurs while engaging in what he termed (via Twitter) “an honest, adult conversation about words without resorting to alphabet soup phrases (C-word, N-word etc.).” Walsh was riffing on the controversy over the NFL’s Washington Redskins losing its trademark due a recent Trademark Office decision. He Tweets that he “Found out that if I said Redskins or Cracker or Redneck Bible Thumper I could stay on. But if I said N***er or Sp**k, they cut me off.” As reported in the Daily Mail, Walsh is expected to be off the radio today and will meet with management later this afternoon. Walsh is fairly new to talk radio and apparently didn’t think an academic discussion was the same as outright use of the words he was discussing. Still, management is understandably skittish about the matter. Time will tell if this afternoon’s meeting is about setting it right or a pink slip for Walsh.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Takes Top Honors at IBA Awards Ceremony. Chicago news/talker WGN was honored with the Chicago Market Station of the Year award at the 2014 Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Awards ceremony held in Peoria on Wednesday, June 18. This is the seventh year running for WGN taking home that honor. The Tribune-owned station also was honored with first place wins in six categories, including: Best play-by-play team for Chicago Blackhawks broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray; Best radio series or documentary for “Beyond Bartman: The Story of the 2003 Cubs,” produced by David Kaplan, Trey Elling and Dan Levy; Best radio feature for “Halloween Rescheduled,” with Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder; Best station website for wgnradio.com; Best use of new media for the “Graveyard Shift Tours,” video with Nick Digilio and Dan Sugrue; and Best non-humorous commercial for “Des Plaines Golf Center,” produced by Jason Skaggs. WGN president and GM Jimmy de Castro states, “We are thrilled to have taken home seven awards and to be recognized by our peers at the Illinois Broadcasters Association. You can’t be named Chicago Market Station of the Year without terrific contributions from people like John and Troy of the Chicago Blackhawks and the incredibly talented family at WGN Radio. These awards are a testament to the strong sense of collaboration at our station and the amazing buzz in our hallways.”
Odds & Sods. The chairman of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will take over as general manager of sports talk KLAA, Orange, California after the exit of David Baronfeld. The radio management pro had been GM of the station for the past three years…..Compass Media Networks announces its NFL play-by-play schedule for the 2014 season. Some of the key games the network is offering include: the 49ers at the Cowboys on 9/7, the Raiders at the Seahawks on 11/2, and the Cowboys at the Bears on 12/4…..Sports USA also announces its NFL play-by-play schedule for the coming season. Games available through it include the Saints at the Falcons on 9/7, the Broncos at the Seahawks on 9/21, and the Packers at the Bears on 9/28…..Staradio Corp.-owned rock station WYKT, Kankakee, Illinois will flip to sports talk as “105.5 the Ticket” beginning July 10. The station will use CBS Sports Radio Network programming and will air NFL play-by-play from WestwoodOne as well as local high school football and basketball.
Joy at the United Nations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Joy Browne (right) is pictured here interviewing an unidentified expert from the United Nations at yesterday’s “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” – the massive radio row at the iconic headquarters of the World Organization — produced by TALKERS magazine in association with the Talk Radio News Service and the United Nations Foundation. Dr. Joy Browne will be at the Talkers New York 2104 conference taking place at the historic India House in Hanover Square today. Meet her there!
Iraq Turmoil Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of June 16-20. The political turmoil and violence taking place in Iraq and the Obama Administration’s policy toward the nation was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the crisis of child illegals pouring over the borders in the Southwest and the larger topic of immigration reform. At #3 was the recent primary results and races and the state of the GOP followed by Hillary Clinton’s memoir tied with speculation about the 2016 presidential race at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Paul W. Smith Renews with WJR, Detroit for 7 Years. Telling Crain’s Detroit Business, “I’m thrilled, especially considering the length,” WJR, Detroit morning show host Paul W. Smith announces he’s re-signed with the Cumulus Media station for seven more years. He’s been the AM personality since replacing J.P. McCarthy in 1996. Smith says that, from what he’s heard, the length of the deal is “unheard of.” (He’s right!) The 60-year-old Smith adds, “I like Detroit; I made a commitment to Detroit coming back in 1996. The good stuff is just about to begin with the turnaround. This would be a horrible time to leave.”
Sean Pendergast Moves to CBS Radio’s KILT, Houston. With the departure of Josh Innes to the company’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia where he’ll host the evening show, CBS Radio sports talker KILT, Houston brings Sean Pendergast aboard from GOW Broadcasting’s crosstown KGOW where he’s been PM drive host for the past year. Pendergast will co-host the KILT afternoon show with Rich Lord from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Program director Ryan McCredden says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring Sean to 610 and have him join our lineup. He is a true pro with a loyalty and passion for Houston sports that is unrivaled. As a team, Sean and Rich Lord will present a fun, and informative experience for the everyday Houston sports fan.” Pendergast comments, “In a city with a crowded sports dial, 610′s lineup and programming are the gold standard. This is a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with Rich, interacting with a captive audience and sharing opinions on our local teams.”
Bob Coxe to Retire from Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta. Bob Coxe has been a familiar voice delivering news to Atlantans via news/talk WSB for the past 23 years. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that the 66-year-old Coxe is hanging up his headphones today to enjoy retirement after a radio career that has spanned four decades. Coxe tells Ho that assuming a normal sleep schedule is something he’s looking forward to. He says that like his hero Mickey Mantle, he knows when it’s time to step away. “You don’t have the physical energy, the concentration or mental acuity to do it at the standard you’d hope to set for yourself. Plus, the hours are punishing.” Taking over for Coxe will be Judd Hickinbotham, who will work alongside Marcy Williams on the morning show.
Odds & Sods. FOX News Channel is presenting a special New Year’s Eve program, “All-American New Year,” on December 31 from 11:00 pm to 12:30 am featuring co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Bill Hemmer live from Times Square in New York City. The pair will be joined by FNC’s Kimberly Guilfoyle, Bob Beckel, Ainsley Earhardt and Rick Leventhal. Griff Jenkins will provide viewers with an inside look at the celebrations taking place in the city. Music performances will come from country’s Rodney Atkins and will also feature performances by rock band Blues Traveler and Scottish singer and finalist of “Britain’s Got Talent,” Susan Boyle…..CBS Radio Philadelphia partners and combines forces with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show from Saturday, March 1 through Sunday, March 9. SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “The Flower Show is the region’s premiere cultural event. It is a positive reflection on Philadelphia across the globe. CBS Local Radio is pleased to team up with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society by providing outstanding marketing solutions for our co-partners, which in turn provides essential funding for the Flower Show.” All five CBS properties – including all-news KYW, news/talk WPHT, and sports talkers WIP-AM and WIP-FM – will have a part in promoting, selling and participating …..KIDO, Boise morning drive talk host Kevin Miller (left) is pictured above with the Travel Channel’s Mike Baker (right), host of “America Declassified.” Baker was in the area and stopped by the KIDO studios to talk with Miller.
Female Erotic-Media Entrepreneur Finding Interested Audiences as “Change-of-Pace” Talk Show Guest. At a time when most news/talk stations are seeking two things to keep the format vibrant and growing – 1) relevant topics that go beyond right-versus-left politics and 2) programming that would be attractive to more female listeners without turning off men – Angie Rowntree (at left) is finding appreciation among hosts and producers as the perfect “change-of-pace” guest. Simply put, Angie Rowntree’s business is communicating about sex. As the operator of the world’s largest “porn for women” site, Sssh.com, Rowntree has spent the last 14 years doing a lot of what you might assume someone running an erotic website does – like writing and directing adult entertainment movies – but a good deal of that time has also been spent doing something you might not expect from a pornographic entrepreneur: listening. She tells TALKERS, “When I first started Sssh, there was just about nothing in adult entertainment that truly had been made with female viewers in mind,” reflecting on how she first got the idea to create Sssh.com. “There was just about every kink and specialty fetish you can think of that a man might be interested in, but aesthetically and thematically, there was basically no appeal to any of it from the female perspective.” To find out more, read a new feature article posted today (12/20) by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein by clicking here.
16-Year-Old Broadcaster Making Waves at Daytona Beach Radio Stations. Her name is Pavlina Osta and although she recently reached her 16th birthday she is already a five-year veteran of professional radio broadcasting having hosted her own music and talk show, “Pavlina’s Kids Place” since she was 11. Most kids at age 16 have no career direction, but Pavlina is well on her way! Fascinated with radio, Pavlina grew up wondering if she could be the person holding the mic. But she decided not to wait, and began making calls to various celebrities that caught her attention. Pavlina likes Alice Cooper, Dr. Oz, and Animal Planet’s Wayde King and Brett Raymer. So that’s who she called, and receiving those calls from a charming teenager was all that was needed. She landed the interviews that she wanted and continued with Teresa Guidice, star of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” She now has her own YouTube channel, her own website, and a half-hour weekly radio show targeted to tweens and teens airing every Saturday at 11:30 am. “Pavlina’s Kids Place” airs on Daytona Beach-area stations WAPN-FM, Holly Hill, Florida; WAPB-FM, Madison, Florida; and WELE-AM, Ormond Beach, Florida as well as the internet channel RealRadioDaytona.com. Pavlina is also an award-winning dancer and has danced and sang in the New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She has been recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution as an outstanding citizen and the American Cancer Society for her contributions to Relay for Life events. According to TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, “Pavlina is a rare find – especially in this day when teens are not as interested in going into radio as they were in past generations. If she sticks with it, and I sure hope she does, she will be a major figure in broadcasting in very short time. Radio needs kids like Pavlina.” Pavlina Osta is available for interviews or to serve as a special correspondent for music and talk stations around the country. She can be contacted at Frazier Public Relations, 703-431-7895 or visited on the web at www.PavlinaOsta.com.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The independently syndicated Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at KTLR, Oklahoma City and WTXY, Wilmington, North Carolina…..The Genesis Communications Networks-syndicated Jason Lewis show is added to the lineup at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin joins the program schedule at KVBL, Portland and the company’s “Red Eye Radio” overnight program joins the WVFT, Tallahassee lineup.
ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for 9th Consecutive Week. The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the ninth straight week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the NSA spying case. Following at #3 was the Target credit card security breach and at #4 was the controversy over “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson’s comments about homosexuality in GQ magazine. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Preparing 2013 Frontier Fifty for Publication this Summer. The editorial board of TALKERS announces the long-awaited 2013 installment of the publication’s popular annual feature, “The Frontier Fifty,” will be reappearing after almost a year lay off with a number of new innovations and features. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We have renovated a number of the systems and basic formatting of this feature because it reflects an area of talk media that is undergoing the most rapid change. That is why there had been no new ‘Frontier Fifty’ in 2012. The Frontier Fifty was originally designed as a showcase for 50 interesting and outstanding internet talk radio hosts reflective of the diversity of styles and formats available on the internet – from long-form streaming shows to podcasts, from the traditional telephone talk/guest interview fare to the outrageous.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “Since we began this project, internet talk radio has exploded into a gigantic universe of literally thousands of individual performers, shows, networks, and concepts. We needed to step back and do justice to this, or not do it at all. The new incarnation of The Frontier Fifty will be based on a ranked listing of the ’50 Most Important Individuals Making A Difference in the Development and Growth of Internet Talk Radio’ as opposed to just being hosts of programs. It will now include entrepreneurs and internet impresarios as well as individual hosts – people who are making a difference.” Readers can expect to see the 2013 installment of The Frontier Fifty posted mid-to-late summer and are invited to send suggestions and “nominations” for individuals to be considered for inclusion to email@example.com.
KKFN, Denver’s Darren McKee Signs Multi-Year Extension. Afternoon drive co-host Darren McKee – who sits alongside former Denver Broncos star Alfred Williams on “The Drive with Big Al and D-Mac” – has signed a multi-year extension to remain with Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk KKFN, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” Program director Nate Lundy states, “As a PD, it’s always a great gift when you can be surrounded by talented people who are passionate about what they do. D-Mac is a great asset to the station and its live-and-local lineup. I’m thrilled to know he will continue to be a part of our success as we embark on our 18th year as ‘The Fan.’”
Clear Channel Makes Changes at Austin Sports Station. Bucky Godbolt exits Clear Channel Media and Entertainment sports talk KVET, Austin “AM 1300 The Zone” where he was morning drive host. In his place, CC pipes in KTKR, San Antonio morning drive host Mike Taylor’s 6:00 am to 8:00 am program. The move allows KVET to clear Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick show and the Jay Mohr show live and shuffle Jon Madani to the PM drive “Sports Buffett” show which is expanding to five hours. In a statement, CC Austin vice president of operations Jay Shannon says, “We’re excited to add Mike Taylor’s show to the KVET morning drive lineup. He has proven his success in San Antonio and we’re thrilled to now have him on the Longhorn flagship station here in Austin.”
Filmmaker and Internet Radio Trailblazer Kevin Smith Visits WJR, Detroit. Filmmaker Kevin Smith — “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy,” “Dogma” – is pictured here with WJR, Detroit program director Kevin Metheny during a visit to the WJR studios. Metheny states, “My favorite living film director, Kevin Smith. We had a nice conversation about his movies and those of other directors.” In addition to his film work, Smith has been a trailblazer in the internet radio and podcast realm with his Smodcast Internet Radio venture. Smith and many of his Hollywood cohorts do regular internet radio shows via S.I.R.
Slash Visits Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr. Musician Slash is pictured here (left) chatting with Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr (right) in the FSR studios in Los Angeles during a visit to Mohr’s radio show on May 21. The former Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist talked about his time with GNR, upcoming projects and how Cher – of all people – helped him quit smoking. Slash is a big horror movie fan and has produced three such films. He’s behind the new horror flick “Nothing Left to Fear.”
Steven J.J. Weisman Receives High Academic Honor. TALKERS legal editor and Harrison Strategies senior partner, Steve Weisman received the 2013 Gregory H. Adamian Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Department of Law, Taxation and Financial Planning at Boston-based Bentley University where, in addition to his stellar radio industry career as a trade editor, legal advisor and talent manager, he is an esteemed professor. Weisman (c) is pictured receiving the honor at the university’s recent commencement ceremony from Mike Page, provost of the University (l) and Greg Adamian, trustee and former president of Bentley (r). Professor Weisman’s many nominations from both graduate and undergraduate students over the years contain descriptions like “intelligent,” “motivating” and “inspiring.” Several students noted that Professor Weisman not only cares about the course content but also about teaching his students to be good citizens out in the world. We at TALKERS agree Steve Weisman is a mighty good fellow and are proud that he will be one of the more than 50 speakers appearing at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6 discussing key industry issues. For more information about the conference click here.
New Rules for Email. Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke writes that “With enabling technology evolving so rapidly, technique is critical. With new-tech comes a new etiquette; or, too often, a lack thereof. You prove it every time you check your email. I’ll bet you delete without reading more messages than you read.” Holland advises that to be as effective as possible in business when using email, be sure to consider what you’re typing in the subject line, when to send more than one email and when not to email at all. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Nationally Syndicated Radio Personality Andy Greenberg Publishes New Book. Omaha-based talk radio personality Andy Greenberg is heard on stations around the country via his Radio America-distributed vignette “Your Daily High with Andy Greenberg.” Now, Greenberg and co-author Marian Shalander Kaiser have published a book called Your High (Tate Publishing 2013) based on Greenberg’s broadcasts. Promotional material for the book states, “The book takes Greenberg’s loveable radio antics and puts them in easy-to-understand vignettes. Every idea is new and unique, yet familiar. Each vignette opens with a situation to which everyone can relate. It then transitions to a motivational technique that is easy to understand and implement. According to the authors, life doesn’t have to be hard; individuals just have to look at it a little differently. Your High uses the popular style of Greenberg’s radio personality to show readers how to be successful in business, life, and everything in between.”
IRS Scandal, DOJ Journalists Investigations, Obama’s Guantanamo Closure Plan, Benghazi Attack Investigation, and Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22). The Internal Revenue Service scandal and the status of Lois Lerner’s testimony; the Department of Justice’s investigation into journalists and news organizations; President Obama’s move to close Guantanamo Bay; the Benghazi attack investigation and cover-up allegations; and the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Q1 Revenue Drops 1.3%. The 2013 first quarter revenue numbers for Cumulus Media were $232 million – a decrease of $3.1 million or 1.3% compared to the same period a year ago. In its filing with the SEC, the company attributes the drop to “lower political revenues and general lower advertising spending in some of our markets.”
Lew Dickey Says Underperforming Stations Improving But Not Fixed; Syndicated Talk ‘Continues to Be Challenged.’ During the Tuesday conference call with investors announcing Cumulus Media’s 2013 first quarter revenue figures, CEO Lew Dickey addressed the syndicated talk division’s performance as well as six of its major market news/talk stations. Quick to address the 10 major market stations he’d blamed for pulling down the entire company’s previous revenue totals, he said, “Several of our big news/talk stations are now growing, including: WABC – which is leading the pack in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, KSFO in San Francisco, WMAL in Washington, D.C. and WJR in Detroit, all are growing. Our team is working very hard, and we’ve adapted to ad market changes. And again, these stations are now posting revenue growth.” He only vaguely touched on the Rush Limbaugh controversy during Q&A saying network sales has been challenged but is starting to pick up. Dickey praised the company’s heritage AM talkers for their potential and stated, “Our charge over the next five years is to continue to expose our audience and all of these major markets to the industry’s most talented performers while developing the next generation of talk radio superstars. By the way, this is true for our sports talk stations as well.” Dickey said that original group of 10 trouble franchises is down to six. “And we confirm our earlier statement that this original group of 10 stations would be negative in the first quarter, flat in Q2 and then rebounding in the back half of the year to post positive full year growth in 2013. And in fact, we can say that we’re actually a little ahead of that schedule right now.” But he also noted that while WBAP, Dallas is starting to come around, KGO, San Francisco – which it turned to largely a news station – is still not where they want it to be. Regarding the company’s deal with CBS Radio and the CBS Sports Radio Network, Dickey reports the rollout has reached almost 300 affiliates and is surpassing expected revenue targets. “We are highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver in 2014 and beyond.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the entire transcript here.
Talk Radio Network and Phil Hendrie to End Syndication Effort. Talk Radio Network announces that it will cease syndication of the Phil Hendrie radio program as of June 25, 2013. TRN began syndicating the program in 2007 after it had been parted from its original syndicator – Premiere Networks – for about a year. TRN CEO Mark Masters states, “I believed in Phil then, and I still think he is a comic genius on air. He will always be a radio icon to me. We are proud to have rebuilt the Phil Hendrie show by adding over 100 stations, along with creating robust growth to Phil’s online presence, but, due to world events, the economy, and the state of radio in this country, we have decided to go in another direction in that daypart – we wish Phil all the best in his future endeavors.” From his perspective, Hendrie issues the following statement: “Phil Hendrie has elected not to pursue any further association with Talk Radio Network. As he delves deeper into his successful digital platform and ongoing television and film work, Hendrie remains open to terrestrial radio opportunities, but only those with strong sales, marketing and programming support.”
Cox Media Group Promotes Kim Guthrie to EVP Radio; Jane Williams to EVP Television and Marian Pittman to VP of News & Marketing for TV. Cox Media Group announces several promotions. Kim Guthrie, who had been serving as senior vice president of radio, overseeing all of the company’s radio stations, is promoted to executive vice president of radio and she reports to new CMG president Bill Hoffman. Guthrie joined Cox Radio in 1998 as VP and GM for its Long Island, properties and has been Regional VP for Cox Radio, where her stations have won multiple honors – including Marconi awards, Crystal Awards, New York Air Awards, AWRT Gracie Awards – for programming excellence and outstanding community service. Hoffman says of Guthrie (and EVP of television Jane Williams), “Both are proven CMG leaders and are highly respected throughout the media industry. Kim and Jane, along with our local leadership, have ensured our broadcast stations’ ongoing success, and I am honored to have them in these vitally-strategic executive positions.” At the same time, Marian Pittman is promoted from her post as station manager of WSB-TV, Atlanta to vice president of news & marketing for television for the company.
J Chapman Heads Up Woof Boom Radio to Buy Indiana Stations. The Backyard Broadcasting Muncie, Indiana market stations that Woof Boom is buying include: hot AC WLBC, oldies WERK, sports talk WXFN, news/talk WHBU, and classic rock simulcast WMXQ and WMQX “Max.” Jerry “J” Chapman’s Woof Boom Radio is made up of a group of local investors, headed by Chapman, who have formed Woof Boom Radio, a nod to the longtime dominance of WFBM in Indiana broadcasting from the beginnings of radio in the 1920s until the mid-1970s. The other owners include: Ray Kennedy, Conormara Investments; Jason Farmer, managing director of WestBridge Investments; and Aaron Reitz. In a statement, Woof Boom says of Chapman, “A 17-year radio executive with Indianapolis-based Emmis and most recently with Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois, Chapman is a graduate of Hanover and literally grew up in the broadcasting industry. His father led Indianapolis WFBM Radio & TV for three decades, and J got an early start in the media business when assigned by his father to mow the grass at the TV station’s north side Indianapolis transmitter site.” Chapman says of his new venture, “I’m very excited to come home and put my years of experience in the vibrant radio industry to good use back in Indiana. The stations we’re acquiring are vital links between listeners and the local community. We intend to utilize those radio resources to help grow our customers’ businesses and to improve the quality of entertainment and information in our new communities. Best of all, the management of this group of stations will be local to serve local needs. We want to make a great thing even better, and Woof Boom Radio intends to start off on the right foot.”
The Secret of Managing Controversy. As the talk radio industry grapples with the dilemma of balancing the two realities of controversy (on the plus side, it attracts loyal audience – on the downside, it attracts enemies and scares advertisers) noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo offers a simple solution. In an article posted today (5/8) he cites a simple but powerfully effective method used by some of the greatest talk radio managers of all time: Let the hosts be opinionated, controversial and even outrageous – but keep the station itself absolutely neutral! He goes on to explain why this is key to a successful operation. To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, click here.
Mark Carbonaro Remains with KION, Salinas in News Capacity. Yesterday, TALKERS reported that Mark Carbonaro was out at Clear Channel’s KION, Salinas, California as the company was importing KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty for morning drive. We learn via The Californian that Carbonaro remains with the station handling the morning drive news operations and other news department duties. General manager Rhonda McCormack tells the paper, “We are continuing to evolve our product with new and compelling offerings that will complement Mark’s contributions and allow him more time and flexibility to cover local news and events. It was a business decision. We think Armstrong & Getty will resonate well with the audience on KION. Mark Carbonaro is on Monday – Friday, 6:00 am to 9:00 am with Armstrong & Getty. Mark reports on the local news, sports, weather and traffic, plus expert segments that will run throughout the day, Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings in the 10:00 am hour, ‘The Saturday Insider with Mark Carbonaro.’”
Cheryl Winer Named National Account Manager for Sun Broadcast Group. Radio sales pro Cheryl Winer is named national account manager for Sun Broadcast Group where she’ll work from the company’s New York City office assisting in servicing the company’s fast-growing roster of agency and client partners. Founder and CEO Jason Bailey states, “2013 has been such an exciting time in our company’s growth. With the addition of Cheryl to our first-class sales team I truly believe we send a clear message to the industry that Sun Broadcast Group is, and will continue to be, the leader in a very new kind of service for network radio advertisers and program suppliers.” Speaking about her new position with Sun, Winer says, “Over the past several years I have been searching for an entrepreneurial environment, which would replicate my experience at Premiere in the early days. I am so very excited to say that I have found that in Sun Broadcast Group! I look forward to participating in the growth of this fast-paced, cutting edge company.”
Arbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.1%. Income for the ratings firm was down to $0.60 per share for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $0.64 per share during the same period in 2012. However, income was up 5.1% on revenue of $111.8 million compared to the same period a year ago. The company states that costs and expenses increased 8.3% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013. “In addition to the $3.2 million of expenses related to the pending Nielsen transaction, costs in the quarter increased as a result of planned incremental investments in Arbitron Mobile panels, costs associated with address-based sampling, in-person recruiting, and cell-phone household recruiting.” President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the first quarter, we continued to pursue our long-standing objectives: maintaining our investments in the quality of our radio ratings services, growing our core revenue, and entering new markets such as digital radio, cross-platform, and mobile. Our focus on the quality of our core services helped us achieve Media Rating Council accreditation of four additional Portable People Meter markets in February. Our goal remains achieving or maintaining accreditation in all our syndicated radio markets. We continue working to leverage our investment in the PPM technology and consumer panels utilizing our platform in new initiatives such as advertising and promotion effectiveness studies, while enhancing our measurement capabilities for radio and across platforms.”
Saga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Down 1.3%. To use the words of Saga Communications SVP, treasurer and CFO Sam Bush, the first quarter of 2013 was “challenging” for the company. In a conference call with investors, Bush reports that the company saw a dramatic decline in political advertising from the first quarter of 2012 to the same period in 2013. Gross national revenue was also down by more than $500,000 but a good quarter for local revenue helped combat that drop.
Salem Communications Sees 1.3% Revenue Dip in Q1. That’s across the board for all of Salem’s platforms and comes largely because Salem had such an outstanding 2012 in the political advertising category. Breaking things apart a bit, CEO Ed Atsinger reports that the company’s business news segment is doing well, increasing 4% while the news/talk radio division was down 7%. The Christian teaching formats were down 3% though the Christian contemporary group was up 5% compared to the same period a year ago. The Salem Radio Network was down 10% from Q1 in 2012.
WTOP, Washington Site the Victim of Hacking. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED had their websites hacked earlier this week. The attacks may have affected visitors using Internet Explorer but not other web browsers. A message on WTOP.com states, “WTOP.com is currently dealing with a malicious cyber attack. We are working diligently to contain and stop the attack, and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.” The Washington Post reports that an internet security expert says the hackers installed two types of malware – one designed to look like an anti-virus software service that would get the subscriber’s credit card number, the other designed to control clicks from the user’s computer to inflate the number of actual clicks on digital ads.
Benghazi Whistleblower, Cleveland Women Freed from Captivity, Sanford South Carolina Race, Immigration Amnesty Issue and North Korea Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The testimony about the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; the case of the Cleveland women freed from captivity after 10 years; the South Carolina race for House seat between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch; the amnesty for illegal immigrants issue; and North Korea’s military threats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mike Huckabee Considers Radio Future in Arkansas Business Story. In a piece that ran in Arkansas Business yesterday, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and former Arkansas governor and U.S. presidential candidate – Mike Huckabee speaks openly about his current media projects and how his political experience has helped his media career. Huckabee gives no clear indication he’ll stop doing the daily three-hour show, but neither does he sound all-in when he states, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not. I know we will, but it’s just such an incredibly intensive process that I really have to decide that I want to spend that kind of time…” Huckabee describes the long days preparing for the program and how he works that in with his Fox News Channel weekend program. “I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is. How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully disgustingly profitable. That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.” Read the entire story here.
Can Radio Overcome its Smothering Debt and Be a Viable Business in this New Era? That, according to Michael Harrison is THE existential question facing the industry today — and one that TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo tackle head-on in a blockbuster article posted May 2 in BOTH trade publications. Researched and written by TALKERS/RadioInfo west coast bureau chief/managing editor Mike Kinosian, this extensive piece taps deeply into the experience, wisdom and vision of a stellar panel of industry power-players who share their real world perspectives of this pressing issue that directly ties into the future of radio as both a medium and a business. They include (in alphabetical order): Sandi Bergman of MyMediaBroker, Ed Christian of Saga Communications, Erica Farber of the RAB, Charlie Gross of Newsweb Radio Corp., Michael Harrison of TALKERS/RadioInfo, Jerry Lee of WBEB (“B101″) in Philadelphia, Chuck Lontine of Headwaters MB, David Pearlman of American Radio Systems, Ed Perry of WATD in Marshfield, MA, Tom Quinn of Americom Broadcasting, Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Broadcasting, Peter Smyth of Greater Media and Dave Van Dyke of Radiate Media. Upon the publication of this information-packed article, TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is one of the most important pieces published in the radio trades in years and I advise anyone in this business who cares about its future to take the time to read it thoroughly. It dives right into the most pressing issue facing all of us today and provides insight from all angles – big-time groups, large and small market stations, investment banks, services providers, and advertising advocates. A piece like this gets to the very heart of what will determine radio’s future – its ability to function and options to consider as a viable business in a daunting, obstacle-ridden environment.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
Mark Carbonaro Out at KION, Salinas, California; Armstrong & Getty In. According to a report in The Californian, local morning drive host Mark Carbonaro’s program has been replaced on KION, Salinas with the Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty show. Californian writer Jeff Mitchell reports that calls to local management were not returned prior to his deadline. Both KION and Armstrong & Getty’s home station KSTE are owned by Clear Channel.
WNSR, Nashville to Get FM Simulcast in June. Nashville Sports Radio’s WNSR, Nashville will simulcast on 95.9 in addition to its 560 signal early this summer. The station says it will position itself as “Nashville’s SportsRadio 560 on 95.9 FM.” The new FM signal will be located near the Davidson/Williamson County line, providing excellent 24-hour coverage of WNSR’s programming. General sales manager and afternoon host Thom Abraham states, “Before the Predators and Titans, WNSR brought sports programming to the airwaves in Nashville. This station has stayed true to the format for over 15 years and we are now excited to make it available on the FM band. The new logo puts the emphasis on WNSR, which has stood for Nashville’s Sports Radio since 1997, something we are very proud of, and something I have come to appreciate since coming here four years ago.”
Fox News Radio Offers Memorial Day Weekend Specials. The network is offering two hour-long special programs for air during the Memorial Day Weekend. “Remembering Iraq” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Griff Jenkins and reflects on the 10 years since the United States entered the Iraq War. Jenkins will take a look at the front lines and those who were affected by the war, including the men and women who served as well as their spouses and children. “The Next Disaster” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Janice Dean. It’s a multi-part series that examines disasters, including tornados, earthquakes and terrorist attacks and how to best prepare for them. Additionally, Dean will take a look at how weather forecasting and other technology have helped people prepare for natural disasters in the past and will also report on the impact of early warnings. More information about the specials can be found on the Fox News Radio affiliate website in the specials section.
Sports Talk WDAE, Tampa Gets FM Simulcast on 95.3. The signal is 250-watt translator W237CW that was most recently simulcasting the audio of Clear Channel’s hip hop WBTP “95.7 The Beat.” CC flips it over to sports talker WDAE. The AM 620 signal of WDAE covers the market just fine but now the station will have an FM presence that’s strongest in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Clearwater.
Benghazi Cover-up Allegations, Syria-Israel Tensions, Obama OSU Commencement, and North Korea Missile Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). New information regarding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the political ramifications; military tensions between Israel and Syria; President Obama’s commencement speech at Ohio State University over the weekend; and the North Korean missile threat were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Randy Michaels Speaks About Tribune Company in Newspaper Piece. Sam Zell declined to be interviewed for a four-part series in the Chicago Tribune about the parent company’s financial and legal odyssey but former Tribune CEO and radio executive Randy Michaels did contribute to the story. The piece charges that both Zell and Michaels never really understood the business (newspaper) or the culture of the place they were trying to save. But Michaels tells the Tribune he believed he had to get the newspaper’s staff to move quickly adapting to the digital age or it would be too late. Michaels says, “I cared a lot about that company, and while I recognize that there’s plenty that people might disagree with, I worked hard to keep those brands relevant in a changing world. We thought that by knocking down some of the walls, by bringing in a looser culture and getting rid of all the bureaucracy, that we had a chance to outperform. I thought it was my role to challenge everything.” The piece cites the reluctance among the Tribune staffers to accept the forced change in culture and highlights some of the resentment felt when Michaels’ former radio colleagues were brought into executive positions.
Programmer Kevin Metheny Named WJR, Detroit PD. Programming pro Kevin Metheny is the new program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR, Detroit. Metheny had been interim program director at Clear Channel’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “Buz’n 102.9” after leaving WGN, Chicago in November of 2010. Prior to his stint at WGN, Metheny was operations manager a Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster. Metheny states, “I’ve long admired WJR from 90 miles across Lake Erie where I put 760 on a button the day I landed in Cleveland. ‘The Great Voice of The Great Lakes’ is a gold standard collection of impossible-to-duplicate treasures and I’m thrilled to join the Cumulus team.” Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay adds, “Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the spoken-word format to the legendary WJR. We are excited to have him on the team!”
Talk Radio Network Unveils Seven New Weekend Programs. In what Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters calls a focus “on helping our affiliated stations make more money,” the company launches seven new programs this weekend, beginning with “Making America Laugh with Louie Anderson.” The comic brings “his brand of humor and warmth to the radio airwaves – covering topical news, taking listener calls, and riffing with comedic and celebrity guests.” Other programs lifting off this weekend include: “Nutzz & Knight Radio” hosted by Gordon “Lug Nutzz” Stewart and actor Christopher Knight (Peter Brady from “The Brady Bunch”). TRN calls it “a hysterical, fast-paced, and irreverent action/motorsports lifestyle and entertainment radio program, featuring interviews with personalities from NASCAR, the NHRA, and IndyCar to action sports athletes, musicians, and the entertainment industry.” “All Action Sports Radio” is dedicated to complete coverage of the action sports industry – surfing, skateboarding, BMX, Motocross, skiing, snowboarding, and more. “The Brian Oxman Show” features the former high-profile attorney for Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. “Blueprint of a Champion Radio Show” is a proprietary goal-setting and success program for student athletes brought to life through radio hosted by Neil Mason, a standout college athlete, Olympic coach and successful entrepreneur. “The Anthony Vultaggio Show” is a general issues talk program. “The Hibbard Show” is hosted by husband and wife team, Dave and Marhnelle Hibbard and is geared toward helping people in both their professional lives and in their personal lives.
Scott Sands to Program WSPD, Toledo. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces programmer Scott Sands will take over the program director role at news/talk WSPD, Toledo and sister rock outlet WIOT. Sands most recently was involved in launching CHR WWHX, Bloomington, Illinois with Vallie/Richards/Donovan. He also partnered with Vallie/Richards/Donovan to launch and program Main Line Broadcasting’s modern rock WCLI, Dayton “Click 101.5.” Until earlier in the fall, Brian Wilson had been serving as program director and afternoon drive host.
Cox Media Settles with Todd Schnitt; Jury Seated in Complaint Against Bubba the Love Sponge. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the defamation suit by talk show host Todd Schnitt against long-time Tampa market rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) continues as a jury was seated yesterday morning. However, Schnitt’s suit against Cox Media (Clem’s employer) has been settled. The paper reports that Cox Media and Schnitt reached a settlement on Friday, the terms of which were not disclosed. Cox Media Tampa market manager Keith Lawless is quoted telling the Times, “(The settlement) was a business decision, but in no way reflects that we are not in support of Bubba. It’s not such a bad thing that all our focus is now on defending Bubba.” Meanwhile, a jury of six with four alternates has been seated in Schnitt’s suit against Clem but not without some drama as the Times reports both sides initially agreed to the make-up of the jury, then Schnitt’s lawyers asked to reconsider. Immediately Clem’s attorneys asked for a mistrial but the judge declared the jury selection final and swore in the jurors.
Odds & Sods. With Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt tied up in court in his suit against Bubba the Love Sponge, he’ll be missing some time on the radio. KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell is subbing for Schnitt on his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program on Thursday, January 17…..Former WTKK, Boston talk host Michael Graham fills in for crosstown WRKO afternoon drive host Howie Carr on Thursday…..The big Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong will air on Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Thursday evening but SiriusXM will get the first crack at distributing the audio of the interview on Friday on its Oprah Channel…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is hosting a special “Ask The Doctor” program featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, today at 10:00 am to help listeners learn more about the flu. The hour-long Q&A session will answer a number of concerns related to this year’s harsh flu season and more with WTOP mid-day anchors Mark Lewis and Debbie Feinstein hosting and taking calls from listeners…..Michael Patrick Shiels, host of “Michigan’s Big Show,” will broadcast his syndicated morning show live from Monte Carlo, in the principality of Monaco, on Friday, January 25. The special, international broadcast will originate from the historic Hotel de Paris next to the famed Casino de Monte-Carlo and guests on the program will include: actor Roger Moore, singer Shirley Bassey, residents of Monaco, as well as a representative of Monaco’s Royal Family.
Dial Global Sports Distributes NFL Conference Championships. The NFL’s conference championship weekend takes place on Sunday and Dial Global Sports brings affiliate stations exclusive radio play-by-play of the San Francsico 49ers vs Atlanta Falcons matchup and the Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots game. The NFC Championship game is being called by Dave Sims alongside Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and Tony Boselli on the sidelines. The AFC Championship game is being announced by Kevin Harlan with the play-by-play, Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Mark Malone on the sidelines.
WGN, Chicago and NHL’s Blackhawks Agree to Five More Years. Now that NHL hockey is set to return, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the Chicago Blackhawks have announced they will extend their deal for the station to be the exclusive market radio home of the team’s play-by-play broadcasts. The new, five-year deal will keep WGN as the team’s flagship station through the 2018-19 NHL season. WGN Radio DOS and interim general manager Jeff Hill says, “We are proud to extend our relationship with the Blackhawks and bring the excitement of hockey play-by-play to our listeners. The fast pace of the broadcasts provide an incomparable energy and we look forward to delivering the best hockey broadcasts for the next six years.”
Debt Ceiling Debate, Gun Legislation Proposals, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Controversy, ObamaCare Costs, and Lance Armstrong ‘Oprah’ Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The battle between the Obama Administration and Congress over raising the debt ceiling; threats by the president to use executive powers to write new gun legislation; the controversy over the movie “Zero Dark Thirty”; the costs brought about by the Affordable Care Act; and Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
Talk Radio consultant
Here’s why I predicted Cain’s success oh-so-publicly at the recent Arbitron Client Conference:
November PPMs Generally Good to Talk Radio. You can call it the “election bounce” if you like but some of the news/talk stations that did well in Arbitron’s November 2012 PPMs were ramping up in October and before. Plus, the fall has traditionally been a good ratings period for news/talk whether there’s an election or not. Of course, Hurricane Sandy played a major factor for stations in the New York and Middlesex-Somerset-Union markets. Some of the stations worth noting include CBS Radio’s New York all newsers WCBS and WINS which jumped from a 3.8 to a 5.3 and a 4.0 to a 4.8, respectively. Clear Channel’s Los Angeles talk juggernaut KFI continues to thrive inching up to a 5.3 from a 5.1 the month prior. Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talker WLS bounced back up to a 4.1 after posting a 3.7 in October. Likewise in Dallas-Fort Worth for Cumulus as WBAP-AM/FM pops up a half share to a 3.9. Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston rose from a 3.4 in October to a 4.1 in November. In Washington, DC Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM jumped from a 3.4 to a 4.2. In Philadelphia, Merlin Media’s WWIQ hopped from 2.7 in October to a 3.6 in November. Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta – which has been maintaining healthy numbers in the PPM for some time – vaults from a 6.8 to an 8.3 this month. Cumulus’ Detroit talker WJR rose more than a full share from a 4.8 to a 5.9. Public radio outlet KUOW, Seattle claimed the top spot in the November PPMs with a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix went up a full share from a 4.9 to a 5.9. Mixed results in Baltimore as Hearst’s WBAL fell from a 5.7 to a 5.0 while WCBM rose from a 3.0 to a 3.8 share. Good news for pubcaster KOPB, Portland which went from a 5.3 to a 6.2 while Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL jumped from a 4.8 to a 5.5 share. Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh leaped a full share from a 6.9 to a 7.9 share while its Sacramento sister KFBK also enjoyed a significant rise from a 5.6 to a 6.8 share. In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW, Trenton) posted an outstanding 8.6 – up from a 6.2 in October – with help, no doubt, from Hurricane Sandy. TALKERS’ sister publication RadioInfo has all the PPM data including Mike Kinosian’s analysis of the numbers. You can find that here.
Laura Ingraham Back on Radio “Soon.” That’s what the author, pundit and talk show host told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. During one of Laura Ingraham’s regular appearances on Fox News Channel with O’Reilly, he questioned her status in the talk radio world and she told him she will be back on the radio with another syndicator (she left Talk Radio Network at the end of her contract on Tuesday) very soon. “I’m close to signing a new deal. I’m very, very close. But I’ll be back on the air probably in the next several days.” Ingraham told O’Reilly she informed TRN she would be “terminating the deal” months ago and that it was time to move on.
Talk Host Tom Becka to Exit KRWK, Fargo “101.9 Talk FM.” Talk radio pro Tom Becka has been serving as program director and talk show host at KRWK, Fargo since it flipped from rock to talk in March of this year. Becka tells the Fargo Forum he’s returning to Omaha where he’s worked for years and has family. Becka says any notion his departure has anything to do with the performance of the new format is not correct. “The station has grown every month. My experience with Radio Fargo-Moorhead was great and I’m proud of what we accomplished here in a short time. To say I’m leaving because of ratings would be erroneous.” Radio Fargo-Moorhead is selling its cluster of stations to Midwest Family Communications. The FCC has approved the license transfers but according to one source, the actual takeover may not happen until the spring.
Todd Schnitt Show to Leave Flagship WFLA, Tampa. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt Tweets that his program – airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – will be off longtime flagship WFLA, Tampa after the December 18 program. Schnitt further Tweets that the national syndication continues and is expanding under syndicator Compass. No word what CC has in mind for afternoons at WFLA. Currently, it delay-broadcasts Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but may have plans to move Hannity to the live PM drive slot.
Jim Isabella Named Evening Host at WNIR, Akron. Journalist Jim Isabella has been doing fill-in work for WNIR for the past two years. He now takes over the evening show formerly hosted by the late Tom Erickson who died on November 3 after a long illness. Isabella most recently worked for the Akron Beacon Journal. Station owners Bob and Bill Klaus note in a press release that Isabella, who was a frequent caller to the show hosted by the late Howie Chizek who passed away suddenly in June, made them more aware of his talents during his fill-in time in addition to receiving positive response from the station’s listeners.
Odds & Sods. Watch for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean from the network’s “America Now with Andy Dean” on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ” this Sunday at 4:45 pm ET as he sits in a panel discussing the latest headlines in news and politics…..SiriusXM brings the Major League Baseball winter meetings to listeners via its MLB Network Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels. The meetings take place in Nashville December 2 through 6 and the satcaster will have front office experts Jim Bowden, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips there hosting various programs with other special expert guests including former pitcher Jeff Nelson.
Bubba the Love Sponge Offers Reward for Arrest of Animal Abuser. After hearing about the case of a dog found in the Bradenton, Florida area that had been attacked by someone with an axe, radio star Bubba the Love Sponge put up $1,000 of his own cash on top of the $500 being offered by the Animal Network for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible. After hearing about the case, Tampa-area philanthropist Gary Kompothecras of the legal and medical referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY added another $1,000 to the reward to make the total $2,500. Bubba reports to TALKERS that the dog, named Axel, is recovering from his injuries and will be available for adoption once he is healthy again.
Los Angeles Broadcaster David Courtney Dies at 56. The Southern California radio community is mourning the loss of omnipresent “big voice” David Courtney, who passed away on Thursday, November 29. Many considered Courtney the voice of Los Angeles sports, since for the past 23 years, he was the public address announcer of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He performed similar duties for MLB’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 18 years and NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers since October 2008. Greater Los Angeles area radio listeners knew him for his frequent traffic and sports updates as part of the Total Traffic Network. Over the last 20 years, Courtney was heard on a number of major Los Angeles radio outlets including KABC and KSPN, as well as KOLA in the Inland Empire. His other radio background included stints at Houston’s KULF as executive producer of sports programming and that market’s KTRH, where he was weekend news anchor before landing a nightly, three-hour news/talk program. New York City-born Courtney moved to Los Angeles in 1963 when his father, Alan, became president of MGM Television. According to Courtney’s Twitter feed, he needed to miss Wednesday night’s Clippers game against Minnesota owing to the fact he was in the hospital awaiting an angiogram. The 56-year-old Courtney is survived by his wife, Janet Fisher-Courtney.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Remains Top Talk Radio Topic for Second Straight Week. The struggle between the Obama administration and GOP congressmen to deal with impending tax hikes and spending cuts was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Benghazi investigation tied with the Susan Rice-GOP leaders meetings. Following at #3 was the Israel-Gaza tensions with the clean-up of Hurricane Sandy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Talk Radio Spruces Up the Programming Tree without Benefit of Christmas Music. While music radio has an obvious tool in the music itself to “decorate” its programming with the flavor of Christmas and the holiday season – whether it is via the all-Christmas music format or simply sprinkling in abundantly available holiday tunes of just about every genre – talk radio must utilize more subtle methods. Programmers turn to production, topics, promotions, specials and even the commercials themselves to convey the live-ness and vibrancy of the holidays. At Dial Global‘s “Jim Bohannon Show” and “America in the Morning,” host Jim Bohannon tells TALKERS, “We have several ways of reflecting the season. For one thing, since we’re not all-politics-all-the-time, we’ll intersperse various holiday guests and topics. I also do a daily humorous “Offbeat” feature which takes on decidedly holiday material. We think being seasonal now and then is an important break from the usual political blah blah blah.” Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno OM/PD Skip Essick shares, “I like to ‘decorate’ the station through the on-air production - lots of holiday imaging, military salutes, staff holiday greetings, and holiday bumpers. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I will look for special holiday programming which might include relevant holiday sports play-by-play, holiday specials like ‘The Gift’ and I always run the original radio performances of ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ ‘Wonderful Life,’ and ‘A Christmas Carol.’” In New England, Greater Media’s WTTK, Boston “News Talk 96.9 FM” PD Grace Blazer adds, “‘Tis the Season’ for News Talk 96.9 FM-WTTK to embrace holiday topics, talk with seasonal guests, play popular Christmas bumpers, and most importantly attend special community events that transcend news and politics, but touch the hearts and inspire the souls of the less fortunate in our New England communities.” Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago PD Bill White emphasizes the importance of charities in establishing the feel of the holidays at his heritage news/talker as well as leaving it to the creativity and personal expression of each of the station’s personalities. “Our talent reflect the holidays in many different ways. Some work with charities such as Neediest Kids Fund. Garry Meier hosts a very special annual event ‘A Very Garry Christmas. Each talent brings their special brand of the holiday season to WGN.” Even sports talk radio – which as CBS Radio VP of sports programming Mark Chernoff tells TALKERS has plenty to talk about in December (NFL crunch time, big college bowl games, NBA and college hoops, even hot stove baseball) – gets into the holiday spirit. Chernoff says, “We do have some ‘happy holidays’ jingles. We do some holiday stuff – like speculate on what presents to give certain coaches or players. Mike Francesa usually does a holiday movies segment. Our studios are spruced up for the holidays by our TV partners. Mike Francesa’s studios already have the holiday trains and winter decorations set up. We also use holiday bumper music closer to the holidays.” Chernoff adds, “The bigger issue is filling all the time slots with many of the full-time hosts taking vacations.” That inconvenient truth being established, nationally syndicated morning host Doug Stephan is celebrating the holidays by offering what he calls a “gift” to program directors and their audiences. In response to talk radio’s traditional schedule of holiday fill-ins, Stephan states that he and his team will be hard at work. He tells TALKERS that his daily program, “Doug Stephan’s Good Day,” will be live throughout the holiday season including Christmas Eve and Day and News Years Eve and Day. Stephan states, “We welcome any station that is looking for live programming during the holidays to try our show for free. Rather than feeding holiday music programs or dated reruns, we offer stations topical, fun and informative talk during these important family holidays.” Stations interested in trying Doug’s Show without contractual commitments should check out www.DougStephan.com or call Bob K. at 650-654-3969.
Michael Harrison: Radio Must Focus On Being Indispensable When the Lights are On. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison states that radio must focus its programming efforts on being a lifeline to the public when things are normal as well as during disasters. In a piece scheduled for publication in next month’s year-end retrospective, Harrison writes, “Radio has performed admirably during the storm crises we experienced this past year and that hard work has been reflected in the well-deserved ratings bump those stations – music and spoken word – have received for their good service. But the real lesson here is not being discussed. We as an industry mustn’t get carried away in overly promoting our technological reliability when the lights go out as our major asset. That is akin to the candle industry saying it is better than electric light bulbs because they don’t work during storms. We must approach our programming as being an urgent 24/7 remedy to the less-obvious storms, disasters, emergencies and plain old passions of life. That is the true lesson we can learn from our successful handling of Sandy and its nasty predecessors.”
Dr. Drew Goes to Washington. Hubbard Radio’s Washington, DC all-newser WTOP hosted Dr. Drew Pinsky (c) this morning (11/29) from 10:00 am to 11:00 am for its weekly “Ask The…” program. Pinsky – who is nationally syndicated to radio stations across the country via the Courtside Entertainment-produced “Loveline” and a daily vignette “One Minute Clinic” – sat down with WTOP’s Mark Lewis (l) and Debbie Feinstein (r) to talk about his visit to the White House in conjunction with World AIDS Day and his one-hour MTV special, “I’m Positive,” set to air Saturday at 7:00 pm ET.
KGMZ, San Francisco Names Guy Haberman Evening Host. Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” fills the evening slot with KFIG, Fresno PM drive host Guy Haberman. He takes over the slot that opened up when the station promoted Chris Townsend to the PM drive show. Program director Jason Barrett says, “Guy has strong passion for our Bay Area teams, understands what local fans want, and delivers an entertaining, interactive sports show. Having been in the broadcast booth calling games, he’s a great fit to lead into our Athletics play-by-play programming and be an outlet for fans following the game.” As part of Haberman’s duties with the station, he’ll host the weekday Oakland Athletics pre-game “Dugout Show” and post-game “A’s Talk” programs during baseball season. In addition to his experience hosting a sports talk show at Osterlund-owned KFIG, Fresno, Haberman has extensive experience in play-by-play that includes calling games for the Fresno Grizzlies (San Francisco Giants AAA), College Basketball for the WAC Sports Network, and Fresno State Women’s Basketball and Softball. Haberman also served as a sideline reporter for Fresno State Football on the Bulldog Sports Network.
Larry King Visits Business Rockstars. Larry King (l) is pictured here with “Business Rockstars” host Ken Rutkowski (r) in the KFWB, Los Angeles studios. King appeared on the program recently to talk with Rutkowski about his new entrepreneurial venture, internet television station ORA TV – a collaboration with Mexican media billionaire Carlos Slim. “Business Rockstars” airs daily from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and brings together some of the world’s biggest and most successful CEOs as well as successful small business owners. Recent guests on the show have included: Nolan Bushnell (founder Attari & Chucky Cheese), Michael Robertson (mp3.com), Mark Verge (CEO Santa Anita Park) Cheryl Tiegs (Celebrity Apprentice, business woman) Scott Painter (True Car, Cars Direct) Brock Pierce (Founder Internet Gaming Entertainment), William Quigley (partner ClearStone Ventures), and Heinrich Fisker (Fisker Automotive). “Business Rockstars” partner, Steve Lehman was the founder and former chairman/CEO of Premiere Radio Networks. Lehman says the program is designed for multi-platform content distribution and its new location will be outfitted with three video cameras for streaming video content.
Armstrong & Getty and Clear Channel Lauded for Fundraising Efforts for Fisher House. KSTE, Sacramento morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – whose program is also heard on KKSF, San Francisco and KWSX, Stockton, California – raised $225,000 during the week of November 12 to help build a new Fisher House at Travis Air Force Base outside Sacramento. The duo has raised a total of $650,000 in the past two years for that project. On the national level, Clear Channel aired Fisher House public service announcements on all 850 of its radio stations in the days leading up to Veterans Day. That national effort, valued at an estimated $3 million, was supplemented by the efforts of numerous local Clear Channel radio stations, which ran a special 30-minute public affairs program and/or spotlighted Fisher House with interviews and fundraising appeals. Fisher House Foundation is best known for the network of comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. The Fisher Houses are 5,000 to 16,800 square-foot homes, donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs, where families can stay while a loved one is receiving treatment. Additionally, the Foundation ensures that families of service men and women wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan are not burdened with unnecessary expense during a time of crisis.
Steve Gill Show Uses Powerball Fever to Raise Funds for Charity. The WLAC, Nashville-based Steve Gill show capitalized on the Powerball Lottery fever to raise almost $5,000 for local charities. Gill announced that anyone making a $100 contribution to one of two charities would also receive a chance at the huge Powerball jackpot. Some 44 qualifying donations were made and the Helping Hands Ministry and the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes were the beneficiaries to the tune of $4,850. Steve Gill says, “Win or lose when it comes to the lottery tickets, the kids and families benefitting from these charities have already won thanks to the generosity of those who chipped in.”
WJR, Detroit’s Mitch Albom Helps Raise $400,000-plus for Detroit Charities. Detroit-based multi-media star Mitch Albom spent 15 hours on the radio on Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit on Tuesday, November 27 during a radiothon to raise funds for his S.A.Y. (Super All Year) Detroit charity and its partner programs, including Working Homes/Working Families, 100 Houses, A Time To Help, S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic and Detroit Dream Scholars. The Detroit Free Press reports the total raised was $401,321.34 but that the total will go higher as phone donations continued after the broadcast ended.
WXOS, St. Louis Talk Host Bernie Miklasz Named to Local ‘Power List.’ The St. Louis sports talk host is one of three sports people – and the only sports media person – to make St. Louis Magazine’s “100 People Who Are Shaping St. Louis” cover story known as “The Power List.” Bernie Miklasz was included in this listing as an “influencer” due to his many years of experience as a trusted and respected sports columnist and radio show host. 101 ESPN program director Kent Sterling states, “Bernie definitely deserves to be recognized as a thought leader among St. Louis sports media. He not only challenges himself every day with his tremendous work ethic, he also encourages the 101 ESPN team to do their best, day in and day out. Because of Bernie’s diligence in his work and his popular presence in the St. Louis media, our listeners are more informed and better fans of St. Louis’ sports teams.” Miklasz (left) is pictured here with another of the list’s influencers – St. Louis Cardinals chairman/CEO Bill DeWitt III (right).
Cool News Director Job Opportunity. Ithaca’s heritage news/talk radio station, WHCU has a career opportunity for a news director. There are not many opportunities out there of this nature – a chance for the right person to guide and grow the city’s primary news source in this gorgeous college town at the foot of the Finger Lakes in New York State. They (Cayuga Radio Group – a division of Saga Communications) are looking for someone who understands contemporary news writing and presentation, has strong on-air delivery skills and is able to train and nurture an up-and-coming staff. Creative use of web and social media to deliver and support the on-air product is a must. In TALKERS magazine’s editorial opinion, Saga is clearly one of the best companies in radio to work for and this is truly a rare opportunity. Send materials immediately to: Brand Manager/WHCU, Cayuga Radio Group, 1751 Hanshaw Road, Ithaca, NY 14850 or email: NewsTalk@sagacom.com.
Bringing the Coverage to Radio. ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (c) helps “Dancing with the Stars: All Stars” champions Melissa Rycroft (l) and Tony Dovolani (r) hoist the mirrorball trophy after their victory. Dresdale and ABC News brought coverage of the pop culture event to radio stations across the country.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate, Susan Rice-GOP Meetings, Powerball Jackpot, and Post-Sandy Cleanup Cost Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/28). The debate between the Obama Administration and House Republicans over the coming tax hikes and spending cuts; ongoing meetings between U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice and GOP leaders over the Benghazi attack; the large Powerball Jackpot; and the cost of cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8. For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together some 20 talk radio and TV hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast interviewing a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage sexual abuse. Major broadcast participants at this event over the years include Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio, Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio and Fox News Channel, Doug Stephan of “Good Day,” Mark Riley of WWRL in New York, Thom Hartmann of Dial Global, Lionel of LionelMedia.com and WPIX-TV Channel 11 in New York, Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and many more. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events. It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries. There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling. Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people. It doesn’t get better than that. We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.” Broadcasters interested in participating in this year’s installment of “It’s Time to Talk Day” should e-mail Barbara – firstname.lastname@example.org – while space is still available.
Cumulus Cuts Hit Providence, Detroit and Colorado Springs Markets. The staffing cuts at Cumulus-owned stations continue and while most of the following staff reductions have not been officially confirmed, here are some of the folks on the news and talk side who are reportedly out: At KVON, Colorado Springs, news and on-air staffers David John McCoy and Jackie Craddock are out (although at the time of this posting their names still appear on the station website); in Detroit, WJR news anchors Donna Barbera and Dayna Clark plus reporter John McCulloch have been let go; and in Providence WPRO/WEAN-FM evening producer and fill-in host Tony Cornetta is out as is digital reporter Bob Plain. More cuts are expected to come in these markets so stay tuned.
KOGO, San Diego Adds FM Simulcast. Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego is heard on the FM band beginning today (11/7). The company drops country on KUSS-FM at 95.7 and KOGO is now branded “FM News and Talk 95.7 and AM 600 KOGO.” Clear Channel San Diego president and market manager Debbie Wagner says, “AM 600 KOGO has an incredibly strong brand in San Diego with its award-winning news and talk format. The simulcast of KOGO on 95.7 FM allows us to provide complete expanded signal coverage of KOGO’s market leading news and talk programming to better serve our local community as well as our advertisers.” The station is also announcing the addition of KFI, Los Angeles weekend talk host Bryan Suits and Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-hosts of a new local daily program. Longtime KOGO talk host Roger Hedgecock – whose program is syndicated by Radio America – is not mentioned in the press statement from Clear Channel, which leads to the next item…
Roger Hedgcock Announces Move to KFMB, San Diego. Roger Hedgecock has been a part of Clear Channel’s KOGO San Diego since its flip to news/talk in 1994. For the past several years he’s been syndicated nationally by Radio America but still operating from his base at KOGO. Now, Hedgecock tells TALKERS that, as rumored, his nationally syndicated program will move its San Diego base to the PM drive slot at crosstown KFMB beginning in the new year. Rick Roberts currently hosts the PM drive show at KFMB and there’s no announcement from the Midwest Television-owned station on his status. Hedgecock is excited about the move and states, “KFMB offers me the TV connection and, with their new 8.2 cable station, the simulcast that will be available (probably March) for all digital devices.”
Clear Channel’s Sports KJR, Seattle Expands to FM. Clear Channel drops country on KNBQ-FM, Seattle and begins a simulcast of sports KJR. CC expects the move to improve the station’s geographic reach in the metro – not to mention the younger demos listening to FM. KJR PD Rich Moore says, “This is an extremely exciting day for our brand, clients and listeners. It has always been our goal to deliver the most compelling and entertaining sports talk to the Puget Sound region. We will increase our coverage and will now broadcast KJR in crystal-clear FM, providing more fans our unique local content with a Louder Sports Voice.”
Longtime KDKA, Pittsburgh Talk Host Perry Marshall Passes Away. KDKA, Pittsburgh program director Marshall Adams tells TALKERS legendary KDKA talk personality Perry Marshall passed away at age 86 after suffering a heart attack while on a cruise several weeks ago from which he never recovered. “Perry was an institution in local radio, hosting the ‘Marshall’s Office’ overnight talk show for 25 years on KDKA, in addition to work on stations WWSW, WTAE, WJAS, WEEP, KQV and WIND Chicago…I think we all agree a big piece of Pittsburgh radio history died today with him.”