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By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you haven’t already noticed, you’ve got to see this. Grab a copy of USA Today. Any day will do, but it has to be the newsstand hard copy. No digital version will work.
Radio is reeling from another Clear Channel bloodbath, just in time for Christmas. It wasn’t the first, it won’t be the last, and it’s not just Clear Channel. But heartless timing. The nerve of ’em.
In the words of Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman: “Let me tell you the story of another loser…”
Feature Series – Part 2: Walter Sabo on Finding and Nurturing FM Talk Talent. In the second of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo writes that the best FM talk hosts come from the ranks of successful music jocks. “I look for talent who have invested their time doing excellent radio taking advantage of a strong format. A great CHR jock has remarkable broadcasting skills. He/she is taught the importance and necessity of getting to the next event.” Sabo says talent must be willing to prep two hours for every hour they are on the air and that matching this type of host with a skilled radio programmer presents the best opportunity for great success with targeted talk on the FM band. Read part 2 of this series here.
KMBZ, Kansas City Names Jonathan Weir Late Morning Host. The search for a new late morning talk host at Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City began when Chris Merrill took a talk host position at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego earlier this year. Merrill’s been doing double duty while the search was on. Now, KMBZ program director Jack Landreth announces Jonathan Weir comes aboard to host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show. “Jon’s enthusiasm and unique approach to his audience instantly drew me in as a listener first. His ability to weave his life experiences into the fabric of the show is a real quality that endears him to his listeners.” Weir comes from Entercom’s WSKY, Gainesville, Florida where he was producer and co-host of “The Drive Time Happy Hour” program. Weir, a St. Louis native, states, “I couldn’t be happier to be joining such a landmark station in the Midwest. I’m inspired and so thankful to everyone at KMBZ for giving me this incredible opportunity. I look forward to the challenge of living up to the incredible standards set by KMBZ, and the chance to be close to my family again is a great bonus.” Weir begins his new gig on April 30.
Talk Legend Barry Farber to Receive TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. Talk show host Barry Farber, still heard regularly on both Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk, has been named the 2012 recipient of TALKERS magazine’s annual “Lifetime Achievement Award.” The venerable host, named in 2002 and 2010 by TALKERS as one of the most important radio talk show hosts of all time, has been performing regularly scheduled talk shows on radio since 1960 when he started a groundbreaking program on WINS, New York. He is credited by historians as being one of the seminal pioneers and architects of today’s talk radio. Farber, also a prolific and accomplished author, has a new book coming out this summer titled Cocktails with Molotov: An Odyssey of Unlikely Detours (WND Books). The award will be presented to Barry Farber by Michael Harrison at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. This event, nearing a sellout, is open to members of the working media only. For registration information call 413-565-5413.
Merlin Media LMAs Third Chicago FM Signal. Merlin Media is agreeing to lease the signal of Venture Technologies Group-owned WLFM-LP, Chicago at 87.7 on the dial to program and sell advertising on it. Of course there’s a ton of speculation about what Merlin will do with the low-power smooth jazz outlet. According to the Chicago Tribune, the station has been faring well with the smooth jazz format – garnering a 1.6 share in the March PPM. Since the deal was announced, news from Merlin’s FM News 101.1 has begun airing on the station. Though the Tribune notes Randy Michaels’ Radioactive LLC has applied for the WKQX-FM call letters of the former alternative rock station (now FM News 101.1) and that’s leading to rumors the station will flip to alternative rock. Program director and midday host Rick O’Dell confirms via the station website that a format change will take place Monday (4/30) but doesn’t say to what.
Rodney King Visits Rev. Al Sharpton. The 20th anniversary of the verdict in the case of the Los Angeles police officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King is Sunday, April 29. The acquittal of the four officers sparked the riots that consumed part of the city for days. King (pictured here at left) visited Syndication One talk show host Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss the historic event and his new book, The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption (HarperOne 2012).
Steve Dahl Reduces Staff at Podcast Venture. New-tech broadcasting models are subject to the same economic forces that affect terrestrial radio and Chicago’s Steve Dahl is making changes to keep his podcast initiative going. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the Chicago radio legend let three staffers go recently — technical producer Pete Zimmerman, assistant technical producer Jim Ruffatto and assistant Stephanie Fallara – in order to continue operating in a way that works for him. Dahl wrote on his blog, “It was not a decision I came to easily, but I think that it was the right move for the show. I know when I am not growing as an entertainer and I know what I need to do to keep that process moving forward. It’s ‘The Steve Dahl Show,’ and that at some point is the brand that I need to protect, not only for my own creative integrity, but in order to support my family.” Dahl recently added two staffers – Dag Juhlin, director of creative services and Eric Drogoszewski, marketing/operations director – to his subscription-supported venture.
Backstage in Phoenix. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Glenn Beck (third from right) poses for a photo with KFYI, Phoenix hosts and staffers backstage at the Phoenix stop on his “Unelectable Tour II” on Friday, April 20. Beck is hitting the road this spring bringing his standup comedy routine to audiences in Southern and Southwestern cities. Pictured here with Beck are (from l-r): KFYI GSM Jim Wilson, KFYI early morning host Jim Sharpe, KFYI PM drive host Mike Broomhead, Beck, KFYI program director Neil Larrimore, and Mike Broomhead show executive producer Andrew Fountaine.
2012 Presidential Race, North Korea Nukes Test, Euro Zone Jitters, Secret Service Scandal and SCOTUS Hears AZ Illegal Immigration Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/24). The presidential campaign and Mitt Romney’s Northeastern states primary sweep; North Korea’s threat to test nuclear weapons very soon; economic sluggishness in the euro zone; more dismissals in the Secret Service hooker scandal; and the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.