Art Bell and Wife Suing Michael Savage and WW1 for Defamation. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, radio talk host Art Bell and his wife Airyn Ruiz Bell are suing Michael Savage, Westwood One and parent company Cumulus Media for defamation, defamation per se, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Bells are seeking damages “in the amount to be proven at trial.” The complaint stems from a September “Savage Nation” broadcast in which Savage said, “I generally avoid gun questions. I know this from the first day in radio. I learned you never do certain topics where you can destroy your show. Third rail… You say UFOs, you wind up in the Philippines with a 10-year-old hooker and you are off the radio after a number of years. You can’t do UFOs. That’s an in joke, by the way, for people who understand the business. There are other topics you can’t do…” The Bells argue that to anyone who knows the business, it was obvious Savage was referring to Art Bell and further, that the “10-year-old hooker” remark refers to his wife, Philippines national Airyn Ruiz Bell. The Bells say they petitioned Westwood One for a retraction but their request was not honored.
WEEI, Boston Names New Leadership Team. The Entercom sports talker announces its new programming management team. It is promoting assistant program director Joe Zarbano to PD, taking over for Kevin Graham, who announced his exit from the station back in June. This comes after a six-month search that resulted in the station promoting from its “in-house talent bench.” In addition to Zarbano’s promotion, senior producer Ben Kichen rises to executive producer. He’s been lead producer for both the Glenn Ordway and “Dale & Holley” programs. He also produces Kirk Minihane’s “Enough About Me” podcast and hosts “Soccercast” for WEEI.com. Carlson Mozdiez, currently director of integrated marketing strategies for Entercom Boston, assumes the director of operations role for the cluster with special emphasis on the company’s WEEI.com digital platform. Entercom New England VP/market manager Phil Zachary says the search was necessarily long and intensive. “With its massive broadcast reach and associated digital assets, the WEEI brand is arguably among the most influential and complex in all of broadcasting. Many of our outside candidates simply couldn’t get their arms around all of it. As each month passed, it became clear to me that we had the talent right here in Ben, Carlson and Joe. Plus they each have that inimitable DNA of the true Boston sports fan.”
Brandys Promoted to Baltimore SVP/Market Manager for CBS RADIO. From her most recent position as VP, director of sales, Tracy Brandys is elevated to senior vice president, market manager and director of sales for CBS RADIO’s Baltimore stations, including sports talk duo WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan,” WJZ-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1300,” adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9,” CHR WWMX “Mix 106.5,” as well as the CBS RADIO Up Close Performance Studio that hosts local and national sports figures and musicians. She replaces former Baltimore market manager Bob Philips who was recently named chief revenue officer for CBS RADIO. Company COO Scott Herman says, “Tracy’s years of sales and management experience, coupled with her intimate knowledge of our Baltimore stations and the overall market, made her the natural choice to take on this important role. Throughout her tenure with CBS RADIO Tracy has proven to be a powerhouse salesperson who has led and grown our revenue and market share in Baltimore and has been a trusted leader to our valued employees. We are delighted to reward her accomplishments with this well-deserved promotion.”
The News Media Alliance and National Association of Broadcasters Seeking Review of FCC’s Cross Ownership Rules. The News Media Alliance is going straight to President-Elect Donald Trump with a white paper that lays out its case for abandoning the 1975 rule that makes cross-ownership of electronic and print media illegal and the National Association of Broadcasters is petitioning the FCC for reconsideration of the 2014 Quadrennial Regulatory Review’s conclusion to maintain the ban (as well as other policies). Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the argument that the current state of media looks nothing like it did in 1975 and current regulations should reflect the current business conditions. News Media Alliance president and CEO David Chavern states, “While news organizations are innovating and adapting to a vastly different media landscape, antiquated government regulations and imbalanced policies are unnecessarily hindering investment and growth at news media companies. We encourage the new administration to revisit these regulations and policies as it charts a new course for our nation’s economic growth.”
Al Peterson to Cease Publication of NTS MediaOnline in New Year. After 10 years serving the spoken-word radio business, radio pro Al Peterson is announcing he’ll stop publishing his NTS MediaOnline Today and NTS MediaOnline Monthly come January. In a press release, Peterson says, “After serving as the News/Talk/Sports editor for 10 years at the top industry newspaper Radio & Records, to then creating NTS MediaOnline and building it into a reliable hub for news, information and conversation about talk radio for the last decade, it just feels right to start a new chapter in my life – one where I’m not waking before sunrise to a blank page and a daily deadline.” Working with Peterson during the last 10 years (and before that with R&R) has been his sales and marketing partner Brooke Williams. The statement says Peterson plans to enjoy more time with his family and pursue other interests outside the industry.
Report: Pandora and SiriusXM Talking Acquisition. According to CNBC, digital music pure play Pandora is talking with SiriusXM about being acquired by the satellite radio company. The report indicates that the talks are very preliminary but that this shows a change of heart after Pandora dismissed an informal offer of $15 per share from SiriusXM parent Liberty Media back in July. Liberty CEO Greg Maffei is quoted saying, “We think that the free space, whether it be commercial, terrestrial radio or Pandora, is still a very attractive space. And we talked about how we’d like to find a way to participate. I think the streaming business, which Pandora seems to have doubled down on, is a very unattractive business. So there are parts of Pandora that could be attractive. And there’s parts that we’d have questions about.” Read the CNBC piece here.
Trump Cabinet Nominees Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 28 – December 2. The growing list of cabinet nominees for the Trump Administration was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the election recount tied with Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud. Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Carrier deal, followed by Trump’s flag burning comments 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.
Odds & Sods. News/talk WHBY, Appleton, Wisconsin is broadcasting in FM as well now with the addition of translator W287AU at 103.5. Woodward Radio Group brand manager Justin Hull states, “We are thrilled to be taking WHBY to the FM side of the dial. The new frequency, along with our revamped website and app, gives listeners another way to experience WHBY in all aspects.”…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation, the parent company of WVON, Chicago is hosting its 26th Annual Seniors Breakfast tomorrow (12/3) at the House of Hope. Seniors will enjoy a hot breakfast and live entertainment from three-time Grammy nominee Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues and Christmas carols from musical artist Uneqka…..Both satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM and digital platform TuneIn will be broadcasting live from the Baseball Winter Meetings starting this Sunday, December 4, through Thursday, December 8.
Six Days Left for Gracies Early Bird Deadline. The deadline for early bird entries for the 2017 Gracie Awards is Thursday, December 8. The annual awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, recognize “exemplary programming created by, for and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individual achievement.” All submissions must have been released, posted or aired between December 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. Please note, this is a change from previous years’ timeline for eligibility. The final deadline for submissions is January 12, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET. See how to register submissions here.
The Yappy Tour Rolls Through WABC, New York. The recently published book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books), by veteran talk radio producer Bernadette Duncan (left), continues to burn up the airwaves. The coast-to-coast book tour rolled through New York City yesterday (12/1) as the author was interviewed by the legendary talk radio grand dame Joan Hamburg for her Saturday show (12/3) on the legendary WABC. Duncan tells TALKERS, “It was one of the highlights of my career being interviewed by the great Joan Hamburg. Not only is she one of my personal idols, but I can safely describe her as one of the best radio talkers of any era and a national treasure. Being on her show and the airwaves of WABC is deeply gratifying to me and hopefully to the thousands of radio enthusiasts who have been giving this book such wonderful support.” Yappy Days recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. The interview is already posted as a podcast on the WABC website and can be heard by clicking here. Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the first quarter of 2017. Duncan has already appeared on more than 40 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Julie Talbott To Oversee Total Traffic and Weather Network. Oversight of iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic & Weather Network is now a part of Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott’s responsibilities. iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks president Darren Davis makes the announcement that Total Traffic & Weather Network and 24/7 News Network are now a part of Premiere Networks. The company says Talbott will oversee the operations of the newly configured Premiere Networks and will lend her experience, relationships and knowledge of the radio industry to all three network teams. She will continue to report to Darren Davis.
Talent Moves at ‘105.7 The Fan’ in Baltimore. At CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan,” a couple of talent moves take place, effective today (8/1). Rob Long moves from the midday show to morning drive to serve as co-host with Ed Norris, replacing Steve Davis, who exits. Taking over his spot on the midday show with Vinny Cerrato is Bob Haynie. The station also notes that after “Baltimore Baseball Tonight,” and when the Orioles are off, Jerry Coleman will handle the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show.
Capitol Broadcasting Welcomes Steve Logan’s Return for Sports Programming. Former East Carolina head football coach Steve Logan returns to the Capitol Broadcasting organization after a year coaching quarterbacks with the San Francisco 49ers. At Capitol’s sports talk WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan,” Logan will make one-hour radio appearances on Fridays throughout the football season starting September 2. He’ll also host his own radio show on Saturdays, starting September 3, airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Logan will be paired with WRAL-TV sports anchor Jeff Gravley on Sundays at 11:00 am on WRAL-TV from September 4 through November 27. Additionally, he’ll have television contributions on the Friday 11:00 pm newscasts on WRAL-TV and will produce special weekly video features to stream at WRALsportsfan.com. All of Logan’s efforts will be branded as “The Logan Zone.” Capitol Broadcasting sports radio operations manager and program director Dennis Glasgow says, “We’re thrilled to have Coach Logan back on our team. He’s built up a lot of equity in the Triangle and there’s no one better that will tell it like it is in regard to the NFL and college football.” Logan worked with Capitol Broadcasting from 2013 through 2015 as a football insider.
KRLD-AM, Dallas Chief Meteorologist Bob Goosman Resigns After Twitter Post Controversy. The now former chief meteorologist for CBS RADIO’s news/talk KRLD-AM, Dallas took to Twitter recently to express his thoughts about the appearance of mothers of black men killed by police at the DNC. He Tweeted, “As many of you have probably noticed, I’ve stayed away from politics on FB. The DNC parading the mothers of slain thugs around on their stage has me furious.” Not surprisingly, the comment raised some controversy. Goosman subsequently resigned his position with the station but commented on the Dallas News site saying he did not intend the comment to have racial overtones but understands why his actions caused problems for KRLD and said, had he not resigned, he should have been fired.
The Presidential Race, Rio Olympics Troubles, Chute-less Skydive, Miss Teen USA Controversy, PGA Championship, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, including Trump’s spat with the Khan family; the threats of terrorism at the Olympics and reports of Rio De Janeiro’s state of unpreparedness for the games; the successful parachute-less skydive by Luke Aikins; the controversy over Miss Teen USA Karlie Hay’s past use of the “n-word” on social media; this weekend’s PGA Championship tournament; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Sports programming giant ESPN is reporting that its ESPN Radio division had a very good spring from an audience standpoint. The company says ESPN Radio saw a “27% overall increase in impressions from the same time last year, according to Nielsen Audio in PPM markets. Across all affiliates, ESPN Radio now owns a 50% share of all Men 25-54 sports radio listening, up from 42% over the same period last year. In addition, ESPN Radio grew its female audience by 42% over last year.”…..Former Miami Dolphins star Jason Taylor will be part of the radio play-by-play team broadcasting the team’s games this season. Taylor will be an analyst in the booth alongside Jimmy Cefalo and Joe Rose. Taylor has also worked on the radio with both SiriusXM and Westwood One.
Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts Purchases Irving, Texas Studios Serving as Headquarters for TV and Radio Productions. Since 2012, Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – the parent company of TheBlaze – has been renting The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. Now, the company announces it is purchasing the former television and movie studio to serve as the network’s flagship television and radio facility. Mercury Radio Arts says the 72,000 square foot facility, which will now be known as Mercury Studios, features three sound stages that are up to 14,500 square feet. TheBlaze produces six hours of live programming every day from Irving. TheBlaze also currently leases a studio in Midtown Manhattan. Beck states, “We are proud to call Texas our home and be part of the local community in Irving. We are building a world-class facility that provides TheBlaze with the highest quality talent and top-of-the-line production capabilities so American stories can be told to viewers across the country.” TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood comments, “TheBlaze has quickly built up the capacity to produce over 43 hours of original programming per week and we are excited to now have our own multi-media base as we continue to grow.” The facility was built in 1982, and has been the site of the production of movies and television shows including “Robocop,” “JFK,” “Silkwood,” “Prison Break” and “Walker Texas Ranger.”
CBS Atlanta Puts “Sportsline” TV Show on Hold After Firing Steak Shapiro, Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini. It was only a matter of time that in the wake of the highly publicized cancellation of the “Mayhem in the AM” morning show on WQXI, Atlanta that the weekend TV sports talk show the trio did for CBS Atlanta would also see its end. After the Steve Gleason bit that caused the three to lose their jobs at the radio station, the TV station’s general manager Trey Fabacher announced the “CBS Atlanta Sportsline” show would go on hiatus and the relationship between the station and the three co-hosts would end. CBS issued the following statement regarding the incident: “Our employees, our partners and sponsors in no way support the content that was aired by this radio team on Monday morning.”
TOM RAY RECOMMENDS: Check Out the “Alert FM” App. Engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray writes in a new column posted today (6/20), “I just found an app that is a helluva lot more useful than what FEMA has mandated on your cell phone in regards to weather warnings. And, it has great potential to be a tool for your broadcast operation, whether you’re on the street reporters, newsroom, or just the announcers and jocks are equipped with it. The app is available for iPhones and Android devices, and is called Alert FM.” Check out Tom Ray’s entire column by clicking here.
Beasley Broadcasting Names Justin Chase to New Corporate VP of Programming. The promotion of Justin Chase from operations manager for Beasley’s three Las Vegas music outlets – KCYE, KKLZ and KOAS (as well as GGB Las Vegas-owned KVGS) – to the new corporate post of vice president of programming gives Chase the charge of overseeing all programming responsibilities for the company’s portfolio of 40-plus radio stations located in 11 radio markets across the country. The company adds other duties to the position with Chase being charged with “developing creative campaigns that extend the radio stations’ on-air brands to the digital space.” Chase reports to president and COO Bruce Beasley. The company lauds Chase for the ratings and revenue growth the stations have experienced since he came aboard in 2009 – from CBS Radio’s crosstown AC KMXB — making Las Vegas one of the company’s top-performing markets. Bruce Beasley states, “Justin possesses all the traits and strengths we were we looking for in a vice president of programming when we decided to create the position at Beasley’s corporate level. Over the last four years with our company, he has demonstrated his ability to program numerous formats, develop and maintain strong relationships within the industry and create campaigns that extend stations’ on-air brands to digital platforms. We believe Justin is the perfect fit for this new position.”
Charlottesville Talk Host Coy Barefoot Jumps Across Town to WCHV-FM. Talk media personality Coy Barefoot leaves Saga Communications’ WINA, Charlottesville, Virginia to join Monticello Media’s WCHV-FM for the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. Barefoot also hosts a weekly Sunday morning program on Newsplex-owned TV in the market called “Inside Charlottesville” and his radio show at WCHV-FM takes the same name. Barefoot began his program on WINA in 2006. The move to Monticello Media’s news/talk simulcast of WCHV-AM/FM means the station separates programming for the two hours when Barefoot’s show is head on the FM and Premiere’s Sean Hannity continues to be heard on the AM signal.
WJZ-FM, Baltimore Morning Co-Host Ed Norris Returns to Air After April Motorcycle Accident. Former cop Ed Norris who now works as morning drive co-host at CBS Radio’s sports talk WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” returned to the air on June 19 after almost two months off the air. Norris was involved in a motorcycle accident in which he swerved to avoid a truck. He suffered broken ribs, a broken arm and head injuries but has healed well enough to be back on the radio – although he tells WJZ-TV he’s still injured and still in some pain. Norris co-hosts the morning show with Steve Davis.
NAB Files Comments with FCC Requesting Indecency Policy Provide Clarity. The National Association of Broadcasters has filed a 42-page report containing its comments in regard to the FCC’s request for such on Adopting Egregious Cases Policy. The crux of the NAB’s comments is that the commission’s policy on indecency needs to be clear and contain examples. “The Commission’s broadcast indecency policies must, at the very least, adhere to the constraints of Pacifica — and thus, unlike the 2004 Golden Globe decision and its progeny, they must be limited and restrained. Golden Globe and subsequent decisions focusing on fleeting expletives and isolated nudity led to unpredictable, arbitrary and unconstitutional enforcement of indecency rules and policies that chilled broadcaster speech. Any policies going forward not only must be cautious and restrained, as Pacifica requires, they also must be as predictable, consistent and clear as possible.” The NAB also states it believes: 1) the commission should no longer treat fleeting or isolated expletives and images as actionably indecent; 2) that, to be actionably indecent, challenged material must fall within the scope of its indecency definition —that is, the material must describe or depict sexual or excretory organs or activities. The NAB also asks that the commission must use language that is as precise as possible and provide relevant examples and context in its policies and decisions. If the commission cannot establish sufficiently clear indecency regulations so that broadcasters know what is expected of them, then broadcasters cannot be subject to liability for alleged violations of those standards.
Arbitron Modifies TLR Policy Affecting Out-of-Market Streaming. Arbitron announces a modification to its Total Line Reporting policy beginning with the Summer Diary Survey and the July 2013 PPM. Arbitron explains: Over-the-air stations and streams that simulcast have been eligible for Total Line Reporting (TLR) for a number of years. Combos that receive TLR are reported with a combined total line using the “primary” station’s call letters, selected by the combo from among the over-the-air stations. Until May 2013, in order to be eligible for TLR, a stream had to simulcast 100% with its over-the-air partner, including any commercials, throughout the stream’s reach. Starting May 2013, Arbitron introduced a change in the policy that enables a stream to receive TLR while substituting commercials outside the home market of its over-the-air partner, subject to certain restrictions. After carefully reviewing this policy and with input from the Radio Advisory Council, Arbitron is modifying this policy to provide greater flexibility to stations that stream. Starting with the July 2013 PPM report month and Summer 2013 Diary survey, a stream is eligible for TLR as long as the stream simulcasts all content 100%, including commercials, in the home Metro and DMA of its over-the-air partner. Under this new policy, the stream is not required to simulcast any content outside the over-the-air station’s home Metro and DMA. The 100% simulcast requirement for streams will remain in effect in the over-the-air station’s Metro and DMA. Over-the-air stations requesting TLR with one another will also need to simulcast 100% without exception, as required under the long-standing Arbitron TLR policy.
RTDNA/Hofstra Survey of Radio and TV News Directors Paints Unclear Picture of State of Radio News. The annual survey of radio and television news directors and general managers by Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper in conjunction with the RTDNA was released on Wednesday and regarding radio news, Papper states, “Overall in the survey, 77.7% of radio stations run local news — 78.8% of AM stations and 77.2% of FM stations. The overall percentage is up a surprising 8.8% from last year, with AM stations up 9.8 points and FM stations up 4 points. As I do each year, I would urge caution on those numbers. The numbers are based on stations that return the survey, and since it’s a news survey, stations that run news could well be more likely to return the surveys than stations that do not. It’s possible those percentages are too high.” Papper reports that regarding changes in radio news and plans for the future veered from past years. “Historically, these numbers have tended to be pretty consistent, but this year is different. The percentage of stations reporting an increase in news fell from 30.1% last year to 22% this time around. The percentage reporting a drop edged up from 4.9% to 6.7%. Non-commercial stations were a little more likely to increase the amount of news; so were stations in the biggest markets.” You can see the summary of the entire study here.
Obama Nukes Plan/Berlin Speech, ‘Gang of 8’ Amnesty Deal, NSA Surveillance Program, DOJ News Organization Monitoring, and FBI Domestic Drones Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/19). President Obama’s nukes reduction plan and his speech in Berlin; the “Gang of 8” illegal immigrant amnesty deal; controversy over the National Security Administration’s surveillance program; the effect of the Department of Justice’s monitoring of phone and email records of news organizations on sources; and the FBI’s admission to using drones in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.