Westwood One to Cease Production of NBC News Radio. Affiliates received the word yesterday (Wednesday, 10/15) by way of a note from senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green that NBC News Radio newscasts and other programming will no longer be produced/distributed by Westwood One. As a substitute, Westwood One will soon provide its own CNN-powered branded news network. Green writes that Westwood One News will offer stations “enhanced programming, correspondent reports and news features. Westwood One News is designed to help stations integrate their local branding into newscasts with greater flexibility, including selecting one- to five-minute newscasts based on need and preference.” Westwood One will halt production/distribution of the NBC News Radio network as of 12:00 midnight (ET) Monday, December 15.
Chris Merrill Moves to iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix. It turns out that Chris Merrill – most recently morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego – will not be banished to the evening slot there but will move to the company’s KFYI, Phoenix to take over the afternoon drive show being vacated by Mike Broomhead, who moves to mornings. KOGO shifted to a newsier show format for its morning and afternoon drive dayparts and had slated Merrill to host the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show. But with Barry Young retiring from KFYI and Broomhead taking over his mid-morning slot, an opening on the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show was created that Merrill will fill beginning November 10. KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “We are beyond thrilled to bring Chris into town! He is an up-and-coming superstar who understands the evolution of talk radio. With Chris joining the team, KFYI is perfectly positioned for much success in 2015 and beyond.”
Sean Salisbury Gets More Air Time in Houston. According to a report by the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron, Sean Salisbury will replace Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon on the KFNC, Houston “ESPN Houston 97.5” 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program alongside station sports director Dave Tepper. Salisbury also co-hosts the Yahoo! Sports Radio afternoon show with John Granato heard on KGOW in the market. Solomon is leaving the radio show to focus on his news duties.
Bob Frantz Lands at Toledo Sports Talker. After being ousted in July from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he hosted the evening show, Bob Frantz finds a radio home at Cumulus Media’s sports talk WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket” on the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show. WLQR recently parted company with Norm Wamer who held down that daypart. According to a story in the Toledo Blade, Frantz will broadcast from his home in Northeast Ohio as well as from the station’s Toledo studios. The paper quotes Cumulus RVP and market manager Andy Stuart saying the program will be “a Northwest Ohio sports talk show” that will also cover Detroit, Cleveland and South Bend sports.
WTOP, Washington to Present Live Ebola Program from Newseum. Washington all-news outlet WTOP is presenting a special town hall program on Monday, October 20 at 10:00 am live from the Knight TV Studio at the Newseum in DC. The Hubbard station says it will examine the threat of Ebola in the U.S. and beyond. The program will be hosted by WTOP anchors Bruce Alan and Debra Feinstein and will feature expert guests Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Jesse Goodman, professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and active infectious diseases clinician at the Washington DC VA Medical Center and Walter Reed Medical Center. The station also extended an invitation to the Centers for Disease Control to join the panel. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “WTOP is pleased to facilitate an in-depth discussion on this important subject. The town hall format gives everyone a chance to ask questions directly of two preeminent physicians on the forefront of the battle against this deadly disease.” The Knight TV Studio will seat 150 people for this broadcast.
Perez Appointed VP/GM of Salem Miami. At the Salem Communications Miami cluster, Felix Perez is tapped to be vice president and general manager. Perez – who has nearly 23 years of experience in Spanish media – was most recently vice president and general manager of Univision New York. Salem radio division senior vice president Allen Power comments, “We are excited about having Felix at the helm in Miami. His years of leadership in media; his focus in Spanish radio; and his track record for exploiting new opportunities and solving problems make him uniquely qualified for this role.” Perez remarks, “Salem’s values and mission are a great match for my own personal business philosophy. The company’s record of delivering for all of its constituencies while holding true to its mission makes it unique.” Salem’s Miami cluster consists of Christian talk WHIM “The Answer”; Spanish Christian talk WKAT “Radio Luz”; Spanish variety WOCN “La Nueva”; and business talk WZAB “The Biz.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Incredible talk show talent needed. WORD 106.3, the news/talk leader in Greenville, SC, has a rare and immediate opening for an exceptional talk show personality. The ideal candidate will be an excellent communicator able to connect with the conservative values of our on-air and social media audiences and will have the skills and desire to become a trusted talent that WORD 106.3 listeners can depend on for local, state and national topics. You will have a team of like-minded professionals, with on-air skills. You will work in a fast-paced, challenging environment and you will have unbridled desire to dominate your time slot and make your brand iconic in the 59th largest market. You’ll work at the largest cluster in the State of South Carolina for Entercom, the best broadcaster in the radio space. You’ll live in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina and have the support and tools you need to be successful and create a powerful local brand. Is this you? You have experience preparing and executing an interactive, engaging, successful talk show. You are a master of creativity, imagination and professional judgment in writing, producing, interviewing and creating content. You are wired to what’s important to your audience and know how to deliver it to your audience on air and with social media. Required Experience: A demonstrated track record of on-air success that will translate to success at WORD 106.3. Please submit your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entercom Greenville is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Ebola Pandemic Threat/CDC Criticism, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Financial Markets Activity/Falling Oil Prices, Battle Against ISIS, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15). The threat of an Ebola pandemic, criticism of the Obama Administration’s and CDC’s handling of the matter and concerns over the lack of travel bans from countries with Ebola outbreaks; the looming mid-term elections and talk about the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the tumultuous global financial markets and falling oil prices; the battle against ISIS, and the two MLB championship series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2013 a Success. Approximately 500 media pros from talk radio (AM/FM, satellite, internet), talk television, the music industry and press gathered in New York City this past Thursday for the 16th annual installment of the national Talkers Convention. The highlights of this event were too numerous to immediately cover (more than 55 speakers, presentations, award ceremonies, and exhibits packed into nine dynamic hours) but the editorial staff of TALKERS magazine is busily working on sorting out the stories, photos, video, and comments from the day for a series of articles and coverage beginning today with additional stories, photos and video every day this week. Today, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s overview coverage of the conference, along with detailed reporting on some of the panels and speeches, can be found here. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “It was a historic day for the talk radio industry. We can proudly say this conference was pitch-perfect and we are going to have tremendous content for coverage in the days ahead. All of us at TALKERS are extremely humbled and grateful for the widespread industry support and valuable individual participation marking this milestone in our long series of conferences dating back to the early 1990s.” Next on the agenda: Talkers Los Angeles 2013 set for Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles, presented in association with the LA Press Club. Also a working-media-only event, registration opens at 10:00 am ET today (6/10). Registrations – $149 per person – are only taken by phone for this conference at 413-565-5413 and it is expected to be a very early sellout. Pictured above is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison moderating the “Radio: The Big Picture” panel. From left to right are: Harrison; Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; Walter Sabo, chairman, Sabo Media; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Jeremy Coleman, SVP, talk & entertainment programming, Sirus XM Satellite Radio; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Ray, president, Tom Ray Consulting; Dennis Wharton, VP communications, National Association of Broadcasters; and Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media. The lower photo shows Radio Advertising Bureau CEO/president Erica Farber (left) moderating “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel from the audience during the attendee Q&A segment. H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz (mic in hand) is pictured asking a question of the panel.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Delivers International Content to Millions of Listeners Across America and Around the World. The seventh annual installment of “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” took place this past Friday (6/7) meeting and surpassing all expectations. The ambitious mega-radio row that took place the day after “Talkers New York 2013″ featured approximately 25 radio talk show hosts from across the US and around the world (including China International Radio) broadcasting live and/or recording interviews with UN officials, ambassadors, international issues experts and leaders from the iconic headquarters of the world organization on Manhattan’s East Side. A presentation of TALKERS magazine produced in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and the United Nations Foundation, participants in the event include such broadcasters as Alan Colmes, Doug Stephan, Dr. Joy Browne, Thom Hartmann, David Webb, Lisa Wexler, Ethan Bearman, Mark Riley, Dr. Evelyn Higgins, Martha Zoller, Ed Woodson, Timothy Spangler, Vinnie Penn, Gary Duff, Brent Seltzer, Meg McDonald and many more. The event was carried live on the brand new TalkersRadio. Pictured at the radio row is Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes interviewing Lyall Grant, the UK Ambassador to the United Nations. Look for stories, photos and additional coverage of the event right here throughout this coming week.
John Gallagher to Cumulus Toledo for Market Manager Post. Most recently serving as vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s Kansas City operations, John Gallagher heads East to Toledo where he assumes the vice president and market manager position for the company’s Toledo stations that includes: country WKKO, hot AC WMMM, classic hits WRQN, sports talk WLQR, classic rock WXKR, and AC WMIM, Monroe, Michigan. He takes over for Matt Spaulding who moves to Cumulus’ Ann Arbor cluster as market manager. Cumulus regional vice president Dave Crowl states, “John’s operating experience and background in this area of the Midwest as well as his strong skill sets in generating revenue growth make him a perfect choice to manage our Toledo/Monroe radio stations. He has led our Kansas City radio stations to outstanding sales results. We expect his leadership to provide continued growth momentum for Cumulus Toledo/Monroe as well.”
WPTR, Schenectady Flips from Oldies to Sports Talk. Empire Broadcasting’s oldies WPTR, Schenectady/Albany flips to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network programming. Chief operating officer Neerav Patel tells The Business Review’s Barbara Pinckney the goal was to bring Jim Rome back to the market. “Plus CBS is hot when it comes to football and March Madness. We thought this was a better fit for us.” Using CBS Sports Radio also gives the station a morning drive show that stars former New York Giants star Tiki Barber. As noted in Pinckney’s piece, WPTR is the third sports talker in the market that includes Clear Channel’s WOFX, Albany and Townsquare Media’s WTMM.
WTCN, Minneapolis Talk Host Tom Emmer Quits to Run for Congress. Tom Emmer, one half of the Davis & Emmer morning drive show on Clear Channel’s news/talk WTCN, Minneapolis “News Talk 1130,” is leaving the program to begin campaigning full time for the congressional seat currently held by Republican Michelle Bachman who has announced she will not seek re-election in 2014. Clear Channel Minneapolis operations manager Gregg Swedberg tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune the company is still considering what to do with the morning drive show. “This hit us fairly quickly. We were caught by surprise. We’re hammering out different ideas, including leaving Bob Davis alone, teaming him up with someone else, or doing something completely different.” The paper reports that the Davis & Emmer show ranks 11th in the morning drive competition in the Twin Cities among adults 25-54 and is 8th among men 25-54.
BIA Kelsey Predicts Auto Spend on Radio Up 15% Over Five Years. According to BIA Kelsey’s Media Ad View Plus forecast, the auto industry will increase local auto ad spending on radio by 15% between 2012 and 2017 with the total local ad spend reaching $17.5 billion. Not surprisingly, online and mobile will see the biggest increases in ad spending from the auto industry, according to chief economist Mark Fratrik, “By 2017, automotive dealers will focus on video, spending 11.4% of their $2.4 billion online ad budget on video display.” Additionally, the categories of real estate and restaurants are both expected to increase over that period of time as well.
‘AM 560 The Answer’ in Chicago Raises $20k for Honor Flight Chicago. Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” afternoon drive talk show host Steve Cochran (at right) is pictured here doing his program live from Bolingbrook Golf Club after the June 7 charity golf outing that raised $19,224 for the Honor Flight Chicago program that will send 27 WWII veterans to Washington, DC to see the WWII Memorial built in their honor. The sold-out fundraiser was sponsored by Culver’s and saw 142 golfers join Cochran and WIND morning show co-host Amy Jacobson to raise money for the cause. Pictured here with Cochran are WIND program director Marcus Brown (c) and operations manager Eric Thomas (l).
Musings on the United Nations. Radio consultant Holland Cooke visited the United Nations on Friday, June 7 while the “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” radio row was taking place. In addition to his take on the radio row, Cooke offers his thoughts about stepping into and touring the iconic building on the East Side of New York City. Read Holland Cooke’s column here.
It’s a Tony Award for Mike Gallagher! Although Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher is an accomplished stage actor, he didn’t pick up the Tony Award for his stage work – he got it for being an investor in the revival of “Pippin” for helping finance the production and making revival on Broadway possible. Gallagher is a member of Actor’s Equity and says his investment was “well south of $1 million” but he’s thrilled to receive his latest award for his avocation in professional theatre. “Having appeared on Broadway myself in the musical “Memphis,” it really thrills me to own this piece of theatre history.” Gallagher is currently appearing as Mayor Shinn in “The Music Man” at Lyric Stage in Dallas/Ft. Worth and he will play Daddy Warbucks in “Annie” in South Carolina this September.
Big Talk Show Topic This Week. ABC Radio’s Aaron Katersky is pictured here outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida at the trial of George Zimmerman – charged in the death of Trayvon Martin – as the jury selection process begins. The defense asked for a delay in the trial telling Judge Debra Nelson the prosecution was slow in turning over evidence but she denied that request and the case is proceeding. The shooting death of Martin was a big topic on news/talk radio when it took place and it’s expected to be a major topic throughout the summer as issues of racial profiling, Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law, and gun violence come into play.
New York Sports and Urban Worlds Reeling from Emmis-ESPN Deal. Yesterday’s announcement from ESPN that it has signed an LMA deal with Emmis Communications to air sports talk WEPN’s programming on 98.7 – the home of urban Kiss FM – sent shockwaves through the sports and urban radio communities. The drive to get sports talk on FM – by either CBS Radio or ESPN…or both – has been closely watched for the past several years. Many thought CBS Radio would make a move to put WFAN on FM before ESPN but that was not the case. On the urban side, the melding of Kiss FM and WBLS-FM as Emmis will sell the intellectual property of Kiss FM to YMF Media so it can create a Kiss FM at 107.5 has some in the urban music community crying foul. As for the financials, Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports that Emmis gets $8.4 million for the first year of a 12-year LMA with an increase of 3.5% annually. It expects to realize $10 million for the intellectual property of Kiss FM and, all told, the deal means $96 million for Emmis. Now, industry watchers will be intent on CBS Radio to see how fast the company moves to get an FM signal for the venerable sports giant WFAN.
Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Inks Deal with NBA’s 76ers. Philadelphia sports talk duo WPEN-AM/FM – 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio – agree to a multi-year deal to air 76ers basketball on the stations beginning with the first round of this season’s playoffs. All of the games this year and through the course of the contract will air on 97.5 and many will be simulcast on 950 AM. 76ers broadcast voice Tom McGinnis will continue to serve as the play-by-play announcer for the games. Greater Media market manager John Fullam says, “We know the future of the Sixers is bright, and we look forward to being a central part of the fan experience on Sixers game nights. Adding NBA play-by-play to 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio is yet another significant step forward in fulfilling our commitment to offer Philadelphians the finest in sports programming. We are especially gratified that we will not have to wait until next fall for Sixers games to start broadcasting on our air.” Prior to this deal, 76ers basketball had aired on CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talker WIP.
WJIM, Lansing and Michigan Talk Network Name Steve Gruber and Jo Ann Paul AM Drive Hosts. Former WILX-TV, Lansing news anchor Steve Gruber and WLNS-TV, Lansing personality Jo Ann Paul are the new co-hosts of the WJIM, Lansing-based morning drive show that’s also heard across Michigan on via the Michigan Talk Network. Gruber and Paul will work with current producer Amanda Wall and news anchor Gary Austin. They take over the role held previously by Michael Patrick Shiels who left the Cumulus Media operation in February. Cumulus tested a number of potential hosts before going with Gruber and Paul.
WLQR-AM/FM, Toledo Adds New PM Drive Show. Cumulus Media sports talk outlet WLQR-AM/FM, Toledo announces the debut of “Drive Time with Miller and Bellino” hosted by Mike Miller and Anthony Bellino. The duo’s program will air in the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot beginning Monday, April 30. In order to make room for the new program, WLQR cuts an hour from Norm Wamer’s “The Front Row” program which will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The show will emanate from local car dealership The Monroe Superstore. In a statement, Anthony Bellino says, “We want our listeners to be able to interact with us, and have the opportunity to interact with our guests.”
United Stations Radio Networks Renews with Bloomberg. New York-based United Stations Radio Networks announces a deal that will continue to have it sell, market and distribute various financial news and business programs created and produced by Bloomberg Radio. USRN’s Jim Higgins states, “Bloomberg is at the very top of the financial industry when it comes to the delivery of news, data and analysis, and in turn, they recognize that we’ve been solid partners for them. Our affiliates, advertisers and sponsors are all proud to be associated with the Bloomberg brand, and so are we.”
2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Fourth Straight Week. The 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio for the fourth straight week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for the week of April 23-27. Coming in at #2 was the Supreme Court hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration law case. Following at # 3 was the euro zone economic jitters tied with weak U.S. jobs growth and at #4 was the Environmental Protection Agency’s attack on the gas and oil industries. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio in America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle…..“The Handyman Show” with Glenn Haege picks up new affiliates WBCK-FM, Battle Creek, Michigan; WMMI, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan; WBCO, Bucyrus, Ohio; KATX-FM, Eastland, Texas; and WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois.