Red Sox-WEEI Streak Continues. While financial terms of the highly expected deal were not disclosed, Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI will carry on its role as the radio flagship of the Boston Red Sox through (at minimum) the 2023 MLB season. WEEI and the Red Sox have been partners since 1995. Entercom chief operating officer David Field states, “WEEI and Entercom are delighted to be extending our outstanding relationship with the Boston Red Sox well into the future. It is a true privilege to be partnered with this extraordinary, iconic organization and their world-class team of professionals, both on and off the field. Red Sox fans across the country will continue to hear outstanding Sox play-by-play broadcasts and 24/7 team coverage on WEEI and WEEI.com, the home of Red Sox baseball.” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy comments, “We are pleased to extend our partnership with WEEI for another seven seasons. We look forward to this new phase of our partnership and sharing more winning baseball through the airwaves with our fans across New England.” The WEEI play-by-play crew consists of Red Sox Hall of Fame announcer Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett, who this year succeeded Dave O’Brien (now doing Red Sox telecasts on NESN); Hamden, Connecticut native Castiglione is in his 34th year in the Red Sox radio booth. In addition to WEEI, the Red Sox Radio Network consists of 55 affiliates throughout the six New England states. To see how WEEI-FM and 28 other MLB radio flagships performed in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM sweep, please read today’s exclusive TALKERS special features piece which appears below.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian introduces Major League Baseball‘s 2016 radio flagships with a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2016 PPM survey period. Highlighted are each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. See the first of Mike’s exclusive special feature pieces about MLB flagships here.
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Is Nearing a Sellout! If you haven’t made your reservations to attend the forthcoming 19th annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, now is the time to do so. It is nearing an early sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place three weeks from now on Friday, May 20 on the fabulous campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY (on Long Island, just outside of NYC). Featuring a powerful lineup of more than 60 luminous speakers, panel discussions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, closing reception, techno exhibits, live broadcasts and more – this is shaping up to be the most exciting and productive industry networking events of its kind in years. Registration cost is $299 per person and can only be arranged with credit card over the phone. The event is only open to media professionals and communications students. Please call 413-565-5413 for registration, sponsorship, and hotel information. Complete up to date agenda info can be found by clicking here.
Knapp, KCMO-AM Cut Ties. After more than five years as KCMO-AM, Kansas City’s afternoon drive host, Greg Knapp departs the Cumulus Media talk outlet. Regarding his dismissal, Knapp writes on his Facebook page, “I was told repeatedly it was not about my performance. My general manager was very kind in telling me how much she appreciated my show and my work [but] corporate decided it was cheaper to run syndicated programming than it was to pay me a salary. I have consistently had the highest ratings on the station; everyone at Cumulus Kansas City has been very good to me. The good news is I learned a long time ago to always have more than one source of income. I am now ramping up my personal development business [but] I am also looking for new opportunities in radio.” Knapp previously did afternoon drive on KLIF, Dallas; was a syndicated Radio America talk talent; and owned a guest-hosting service. Down or flat for the fourth successive sweep (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), KCMO-AM ranks #21 in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM report for Kansas City; Entercom hot AC KZPT “The Point” is the market leader (6.5, 6+).
Presidential Race Tops “Talkers Ten” for Week of April 25 – 29. Activities of the presidential candidates and the battle for delegates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the European terrorism investigations and the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, tied with the United States’ Syria military policy. Coming in at #3 was the controversy over state laws affecting public restroom use and gender identification, followed by North Korea’s recent missile tests 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.
“Robbins & Markley” Becomes “Markley & van Camp.” Owing to health concerns that have sidelined Scott Robbins since late-August (2015), there is a title change for the weekday program on Alpha Media Portland’s KXL “FM News 101” and co-owned WMBD, Peoria (Illinois). David van Camp will permanently join Jamie Markley for the “Markley and van Camp Show,” which airs 9:00 am – 12:00 noon on KXL and from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm on WMBD. Alpha Media executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick comments that, “David van Camp brings a unique perspective to the show and a great balance to Jamie Markley; together, they are magical.” The first official day of the newly-named “Markley and van Camp Show” will be next Monday (5/2).
SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Rises 11%. The increase is to a record $1.2 billion, with SiriusXM net income up 62% to $171 million; adjusted EBITDA improves 11% to $441 million. The satcaster adds nearly one-half million new subscribers, ending with almost 30.1 million. First quarter results exceeded expectations of chief executive officer Jim Meyer who comments, “I am especially pleased we were able to add 465,000 net new subscribers, leading to an 8% increase in subscribers over the prior year. With excellent subscriber growth so early in the year, we are raising our guidance for full year net subscriber additions to 1.6 million. We set first quarter records for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow, and we are on track to achieve all of our financial goals this year. With a new full-time music channel from Kenny Chesney, live broadcasts from major music festivals, special popup channels for David Bowie, and Billy Joel, as well as new talk shows, and unmatched coverage of the presidential primaries, SiriusXM continues to be the leader in audio entertainment. We are always looking to deliver new, compelling content to our subscribers.” Chief financial officer David Frear notes that during the first quarter, “We reduced our outstanding share count by about 3%, spending $588 million to repurchase 159 million shares of our common stock. Our debt to adjusted EBITDA remained low at just 3.4 times, leaving plenty of flexibility to continue capital returns to our stockholders or make acquisitions while also making investments in our technology, content, and new satellite infrastructure.”
State of the New York Market Report Released. Among the findings from a New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) overview is that several industries expanded their footprint in the New York area contributing to a strong first-quarter start. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan remarks, “With luxury retailers and department stores opening locations across the Tri-State area, radio offers high-end businesses an engaging environment for reaching consumers with household incomes of $250,000 and higher. New York market radio reaches 91% of high-income households, $250,000+, [as well as] over 90% of those who own a second home; those planning on buying a luxury car; dined in upscale restaurants; purchased fine jewelry in excess of $500; and vacations in excess of $10,000.” The report addresses latest information about New York’s economy, commuting information, radio and politics, and national radio advertising/usage. Analysis of the New York marketplace is designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its role in the local advertising landscape. NYMRAD’s “State of the Market Report” provides business trends as well as local information from a variety of sources including Nielsen Audio, Media Monitors, and The New York Times.”
Execs Named to Build Digital Content Network for TheBlaze. Three digital media industry veterans have been added to TheBlaze‘s leadership team. Former Core Media Group chief marketing officer Chris Gannett joins as senior vice president of marketing; previously with CNN and the weekend edition of ABC-TV‘s “Good Morning America,” Matt Frucci is appointed senior vice president of content & programming; and Lisa Fowler – from BET Networks – joins as vice president of talent and culture. TheBlaze president Stewart Padveen notes, “TheBlaze is investing heavily in our mission to redefine the way digital media is delivered and consumed. Chris, Matt, and Lisa are a significant part of a new high-performing culture and a diverse lineup of superstar talent.” Ironically, the additions at Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze come after cuts across offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington (D.C.), and Columbus, where a documentary group had been based. Sources tell TVNewser, between 35-45 staffers have been pinkslipped. These layoffs follow what a source calls a “brain drain” of talent over the last year. Chief executive officer Betsy Morgan left the company last summer and her interim replacement, former Premiere Networks chief operating officer, Kraig Kitchen, exited earlier this year. According to The Daily Beast, the latest cuts are meant to “satisfy the requirements of a multi-million dollar bank loan taken out recently to keep Beck’s revenue-challenged enterprise running.” TheBlaze is consolidating the company’s operations to its Irving, Texas headquarters.
NAB Issues Statement on Virginia TV Slayings. In response to the shooting deaths of WDBJ-TV Roanoke’s Alison Parker and Adam Ward this morning, the following statement was issued by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith: “Today’s news of the tragic murders of broadcast journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward is heartbreaking and horrifying. These were two young journalists who were simply trying to serve and inform their communities. Our broken hearts go out to the families of Alison and Adam, to the staff at WDBJ, and to the employees of Schurz Communications.” Obviously, today’s attack and the subsequent search for the alleged killer and his relationship with the victims and the television station has been the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio today, according to TALKERS magazine.
PodcastOne Adds Five to Sales and Marketing Staff. In the aftermath of the recently announced deal with Hubbard Radio in which the broadcasting company acquired a 30% share in the Norm Pattiz-founded podcast platform PodcastOne, the latter announced five additions to its sales and marketing team. In a press statement, PodcastOne says “now that the recent investment from Hubbard Broadcasting is in the bank,” it is wasting no time as it welcomes Lori Spencer and Linda McHugh in the Los Angeles offices, Keith Goldstein in New York, Dave Boretti in Chicago and Joe Laffey in Dallas. At the same time, Dana Senit – who joined the company in February – is promoted to West Coast general sales manager. McHugh comes to PodcastOne from programmatic audience targeting platform Netmining, previously with GoldSpot Media and Maxim. Spencer joins the team after working with TargetSpot and Sirius XM. Goldstein held posts at ESPN Audio and Jelli and brings an entertainment and technology sales background. Boretti was most recently in an executive position at Spanish Broadcasting Solutions. He’s also previously held executive posts at Westwood One and Univision Radio. Laffey joins from EFG Companies, where he served as SVP, strategic partnerships. Previously, Laffey was a sales executive at Westwood One/CBS Radio Networks, and a partner in digital advertising agency, Slingshot, LLC. PodcastOne president Kit Gray comments, “I am excited to welcome our newest team members to PodcastOne. We’ve put together a talented and experienced group of people and I look forward to working with Greg Batusic, our COO, in leading the team to the many successes ahead.”
Beasley Names Dave Carney and Chad Forster KDWN, Las Vegas Morning Hosts. The official name of the show is “Live in Las Vegas with Dave and Chad” and it’s heard daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on KDWN “News Talk 720.” Dave Carney and Chad Forster have been on the air since the station parted ways with longtime Vegas talk radio pro Alan Stock several weeks ago, but now the station makes their appointment official. KDWN program director John Shaffer states, “Dave and Chad are two high-energy, creative talents, who are merging their terrific track records with a lively, diverse talk radio format that ‘asks the questions most dare not to ponder’ and our listeners respect and enjoy that kind of talk. These two are combining their experience, insight, wisdom and witty remarks, with large doses of comic relief, mixed with controversial commentary on issues ranging from sports to politics to breaking news!” Carney is a Las Vegas radio pro who’s also worked as the voice of the Las Vegas Wranglers pro hockey team and with ESPN Radio on the Jim Fassel show. Forster has worked in Las Vegas radio as a producer, air talent, and ops manager.
KXL, Portland and WMBD, Peoria Talk Host Scott Robbins Suffers Heart Attack, Awaits Open Heart Surgery. According to his radio show partner Jamie Markley (right), Scott Robbins (left) had a heart attack early Monday morning, was resuscitated by CPR and is currently in the hospital while doctors are stabilizing him for open heart surgery. Markley writes on the show’s Facebook page, “He’s pretty much sedated and out of it. While we could talk with him on Monday, yesterday he could only acknowledge different people’s presence but was not able to talk. The docs will keep him in this state until his condition improves to where he’s ready for open heart surgery.” Robbins and Markley co-host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KXL-FM, Portland that is also heard on Alpha Media’s news/talk WMBD, Peoria from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The duo recently inked a multi-year renewal with the company.
Kitroser to Gen Media Partners As VP/Integrated Sales. Regional director of corporate partnerships for The American Red Cross – Sharon Kitroser – joins Gen Media Partners as vice president of integrated sales. Gen Media Partners chief executive officer Kevin Garrity states, “I know the developmental work that Sharon does will deliver higher ROI for advertisers and new business for our media partner clients. She is known across radio and advertising circles for her innovative marketing programs. Programmatic buying is imminent; traditional avails are dwindling; and radio is too often being packaged as a commodity. Gen Media Partners is the only national representation company that monetizes localism across radio, high school sports, community events, shopping malls, and more. I am delighted that [Sharon] is bringing her talent to Gen Media Partners and Gen Media Connect.” According to Kitroser, “Today’s advertisers need to reach and connect with consumers at multiple touch-points throughout their day. With the wide swath of options in the Gen Media Partners’ suite of platforms, we have an opportunity to produce integrated campaigns that meet those needs and deliver results for advertisers and client partners.” Prior to working at American Red Cross, Kitroser was director of sales for ABC Radio/Disney (Interep), CBS, and Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia), as well as director of strategic alliances for Daniels & Roberts; Kitroser and Garrity worked together at ABC Radio/Disney.
Entravision’s CMNH Radio-thon Sets Record. Raising just shy of $2.9 million, Entravision Communications boasts the most successful Spanish-language radio-thon to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in 2015; the actual total ($2,856,182) surpasses last year’s $2.1 million tally. Entravision chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Now in our eighth year of collaborating with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, we are thrilled to have broadcast this phenomenal 72-hour radio-thon. We are very happy to know that its success will benefit more hospitals and children than ever before. The overwhelming accomplishments achieved in this year’s radio-thon reflect the vast reach of Entravision’s national radio platform, our growing digital presence, and our on-air talent and staff who rallied the great force of our Spanish-language listeners.” Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals vice president of Hispanic programs Joe Trevino declares, “We are once again extremely proud of the great partnership we enjoy with the entire Entravision team. This year’s radio-thon success is a testament to the personal dedication, creativity, and commitment by everyone involved to engage Entravision listeners to participate with the radio-thon. It was a comprehensive team effort by Entravision.” Entravision’s “Jose,” “Super Estrella,” and “La Tricolor” network formats kicked off the event, broadcasting from Children’s Hospital Orange County and the following day from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The event concluded from Children’s Hospital Phoenix. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals.
Pinky Kravitz Retires from WOND, Atlantic City After 57 Years. His last live program on Longwood Media’s WOND, Atlantic City was back on May 14, just before his open heart surgery. Now, 88-year-old Pinky Kravitz is officially retiring from the station at which he’s worked since 1958. Kravitz, host of “Pinky’s Corner,” decided to retire after careful consultation with his family following a prolonged recuperation from the surgery. Longport Media president Dave Coskey comments, “We’re obviously sorry to see Pinky leaving our air, but we support him in this decision. Pinky has always been instantly identified with Atlantic City, South Jersey and WOND. Pinky may be leaving our air physically, but he will always possess a special place here at WOND and in the hearts of his many listeners throughout South Jersey.” Kravitz became a fixture on South Jersey radio and television beginning in 1956, when he began hosting a live call-in program on WLDB-AM, now WBSS. Two years later, he found a new home at WOND. Kravitz also hosted a weekly television program, “WMGM presents Pinky!” for many years on WMGM-TV, and for years he wrote columns for a variety of publications, most recently for The Press of Atlantic City. WOND has not announced a permanent replacement for Kravitz on the station.
Trump Debates Hispanic Journo in Iowa, Immigration Policy Debate, Obama Blesses Biden Presidential Run, Hillary Clinton Email Server Investigation, Volatile Global Financial Markets, and Caitlyn Jenner Halloween Costume Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/25). GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Iowa press conference at which he first ejected, then debated a Univision reporter; the ongoing debate over America’s immigration policy; Vice President Joe Biden gets approval from President Obama to run for the office; the investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; investor nervousness over the global markets sell-off and concerns about another recession; and the flap over a Halloween costume based on the Caitlyn Jenner Vogue magazine cover were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.” Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book. It involves extensive research and scholarship. You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc. There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.” Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).
Hoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.
Alpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior vice president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”
Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”
NBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.
Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.
Ready for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”
Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
Congressmen Question FCC Chair Wheeler About ‘Fairness Doctrine 2.0.’ In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) requests Wheeler take immediate steps to suspend the field test for the research design of the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” the FCC is undertaking. Supported by Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and 14 other congressmen, Upton charges the initiative is nothing more that the “Fairness Doctrine 2.0” and that the FCC has no jurisdiction to be undertaking a field test of this sort and that its actions are unconstitutional. Upton states, “Although the Commission’s stated reason for the reports is to inform the Commission in taking regulatory action to lower ‘market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses,’ it is hard to read this and see it for anything other than what it is, Fairness Doctrine 2.0.” Upton references the study plan which states its goals are to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percentage of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.” Upton then states, “The Commission has no business probing the news media’s editorial judgment and expertise, nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of ‘critical information.’ These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.” Upton requests Wheeler’s office respond to seven specific questions about the field test by January 10. You can read the entire letter here.
WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia PD Jeff Sottolano Promoted to Corporate Director of Programming for CBS Radio. CBS Radio EVP of programming Chris Oliviero announces the promotion of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia program director Jeff Sottolano to director, programming, CBS RADIO, effective January 2. Oliviero says, “Jeff has consistently and successfully answered every challenge he’s faced during his career at CBS RADIO. With such diverse format experience and a respected reputation, both in and outside our company, I have no doubt he is ready to tackle this exciting and critical next chapter. Jeff will be a great complement to our corporate programming team.” Sottolano’s duties include supporting program directors in 27 major markets who oversee 126 stations. The company says he “will focus on identifying and recruiting on-air talent, both established and up-and-coming, as well as seek out new format opportunities. Additionally, Sottolano will maintain ongoing communications with external industry and charitable organizations, and work closely with the division’s digital media business to ensure a seamless cross-platform product and brand experience.” Sottolano came to CBS RADIO in 2001 as an intern at WZNE, Rochester. He worked his way up to promotions director in 2002 and to PD and air talent in 2004. In 2006, Sottolano transferred to WYSP-FM in Philadelphia where he assumed a variety of programming and marketing roles during his tenure, including program director beginning in 2008. He was instrumental in launching the Danny Bonaduce show that same year, and worked closely with record labels, concert promoters and artists to create one-of-a-kind events and promotions. In 2011 he assumed programming oversight of sports talk WIP when it began simulcasting on WYSP as “SportsRadio 94WIP.”
Cox Media Group Names Tim Clarke Director of Digital Audience. Moving up from his role as program director for the company’s CHR WPOI, Tampa “Hot 101.5,” Tim Clarke is promoted to director of digital audience for radio at Cox Media Group. The company says that in this role Clarke “will be the liaison between CMG’s radio and digital divisions to help drive the digital brand strategy and product development for growing audience and engagement at all CMG’s radio stations.” EVP of radio Kim Guthrie adds, “We have some of the more cutting edge efforts in the digital space, and it is exciting to be able to dedicate one of our best talents to that effort. We are evolving our super brands into the digital future, and Tim will play an instrumental role in that overall success.” In addition to programming “HOT 101.5,” Clarke was director of social media for all six Tampa stations. His other career highlights include time as PD at WAPE, Jacksonville and music director at WBLI, Long Island. Clarke comments, “The digital future for CMG’s super brands is extremely bright and filled with tons of opportunity to engage our audiences in even deeper, more personalized and more meaningful ways. I’m looking forward to working with our teams to serve our users on these growing platforms.”
iHeartradio Adds Jay Mohr Sports Channel. Actor/comedian Jay Mohr does his daily Fox Sports Radio Network program from Clear Channel-owned Los Angeles flagship KLAC. Now, the “Gary Unmarried” star launches “Jay Mohr Sports,” a live digital iHeartRadio station. “This channel is about the fans and giving them 24/7 access to the show wherever they are,” Mohr enthusiastically states. “I am so happy to be able to share this with listeners in celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of ‘Jay Mohr Sports.'” The digital iHeartRadio channel features sports talk and entertainment, as well as Mohr’s conversations with athletes and celebrities.
McMullen Named WMBD, Peoria PD. Talk radio programmer John McMullen joins Monterey Licenses-owned news/talk WMBD, Peoria. McMullen most recently served as program director at Morris Communications’ “KNEWS” news/talk trimulcast KNWZ and KNWQ, Palm Springs and KNWH, Yucca Valley where he’s been since 2007. During his career, McMullen has also served with Sirius Satellite Radio.
Steve Bertrand Reunites with Kathy & Judy on WGN. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago newsman Steve Bertrand will trade off a weekday shift for the Saturday shift during which he’ll be reunited with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey during their weekly 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Bertrand will also work with “Mr. Fix-It” Lou Manfredini whose show airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturdays. Bertrand, O’Malley and Markey worked together when the Kathy & Judy show was a regular midday program on WGN from 1989 through 2009. Feder reports that WGN VP of creative content Todd Manley says Bertrand will continue to work the news desk during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show as well as during Garry Meier’s afternoon program.
WKZO, Kalamazoo Names Lawrence Brand Manager. At Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo cluster, Jeremy Lawrence is named brand manager for news/talk outlet WKZO and sports talk WQLR. In addition, Lawrence serves as the afternoon drive co-host on WKZO’s “The Trifecta” program alongside Jim McKinney and Roger Taylor. Lawrence takes over for Jay Morris who leaves that post to focus on his work as brand manager for the company’s alternative rock outlets WZOX, Kalamazoo and WVIC, Lansing.
New Market Manager and Director of Sales at Clear Channel Syracuse. Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces Rick Yacobush has been named market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in Syracuse and Barbara Miller has been appointed director of sales for the cluster. Yacobush has been with the CC Syracuse stations for more than 26 years, holding a variety of roles including account manager, general sales manager and director of sales. SVP of operations for the Northeast Region Kevin LeGrett says, “We are very excited to have Rick Yacobush lead the extremely talented team in Syracuse. Rick’s sales leadership over the last 18 years has led to unprecedented performance. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment reaches more people in Syracuse than any other media and Rick’s unique ability to maximize our assets will allow us to serve the community as well as our advertisers in a multi-platform fashion.” Meanwhile, 18-year CC veteran Barbara Miller moves up to director of sales for the cluster and LeGrett says of her, “Barbara has a proven track record of developing revenue growth opportunities. She has demonstrated the vision and creativity necessary to implement 21st century competitive media strategies for our organization. She has consistently exceeded revenue targets, while providing leadership and ensuring high quality standards are maintained across the organization.” The CC Syracuse cluster includes news/talk WSYR, AC WYYY “Y94,” country WBBS “B104.7,” CHR WWHT “Hot 107.9,” and urban contemporary WHEN “Power 620.”
Tom Ray Warns Radio Broadcasters to Avoid EAS Confusion and Potential Fines. TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray passes along the following important information to our readers who program and operate radio stations. Perhaps you heard about the recent $25,000 fines given out by the Commission regarding EAS violations. The violations concerned airing either an EAS alert tone, EAS data burst, or sound alikes. Both are prohibited under part 11 of the Commission’s rules. Why? If you are airing the EAS data bursts, this is something that could be decoded by downstream EAS decoders. This can be confusing for station personnel, but more importantly, may in fact trigger an EAS alert when an emergency condition doesn’t exist. And airing of something that sounds like the EAS data bursts and/or the two-tone alert signal starts to desensitize the public to an actual message. It could, in fact, panic the public. The recent cases involved EAS like sounds involved in commercials for movies. In one case, when the cell phone alert apps were downloaded to person’s phones without their knowledge, I heard a television newscast run the sounds the phone made – which sound close enough to an EAS alert that it was a violation – regardless of whether it was news. Some of this stems from our ways of operating these days. Spots used to arrive on reel-to-reel tape, and you had to listen to the spot to transfer it to cart before airing and could catch the fact that EAS tones were in a spot. Today, the spot arrives as a file and most automation systems can take the spot in without anyone listening to it ahead of time. In the case of the TV newscast, the news producer obviously did not know the FCC regulations. In the case of ingesting spots directly into your system, they should always be listened to not only for content, but also for problems like distortion. To take something in without listening to it is irresponsible. The bottom line – don’t air something that sounds like an EAS alert. The FCC takes it seriously. The public takes it seriously. And it shouldn’t happen. For more information about this topic Tom Ray can be phoned at 845-418-5065 or emailed at email@example.com.
Malkin Sells Website to Salem Communications. Conservative media commentator Michelle Malkin has sold her Twitchy.com site to Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum. Malkin founded the site which serves as a curation destination for Twitter posts and commentary on said Tweets. Salem Communications has had success with its digital efforts and already operated TownHall.com and HotAir.com in addition to numerous Christian-themed sites. Salem VP/GM Jonathan Garthwaite comments, “Since its inception almost two years ago, Twitchy has fast become a leader in online news reporting. They have harnessed the power of social media to create a real-time newswire for the modern, interconnected world. With the addition of Twitchy to our growing network of news and political websites, there is no better collection of conservative news and opinion on the web.”
Local Focus Purchased by McGavren Guild Parent. Genesis Media Holdings picks up Kay Olin and Dave Demer‘s Atlanta-based Local Focus rep firm. GMH owns McGavren Guild Media, which will operate independently of its new sibling. In addition, Genesis Media Holdings brings in Cumulus Media director of national sales Kevin Garrity as manager. GMH chief financial officer Billy McEntee comments, “Local Focus is an innovative firm powered by a team of highly accomplished sales professionals. We look forward to working with them to provide an even greater level of service to radio stations and advertisers. Kevin Garrity has excelled at every level of radio sales management. With his addition and the acquisition of Local Focus, we are poised for rapid expansion and growth. Management will continue to drive revenue for their respective station partners, while capitalizing on opportunities afforded through the larger Genesis Media group.” Garrity remarks, “Genesis Media Holdings’ commitment to building their platform and investing in the long-term growth of their properties is very exciting. I look forward to playing an integral part in shaping that growth.” McGavren Guild Media president Lisa Sirotka-Sonnenklar adds, “I am extremely excited to be working with Kevin to further build McGavren Guild Media. I look forward to the additional support I will gain from his depth of industry experience.” Garrity’s background includes 20 years at Interep, the last five of those as president of ABC Radio Sales. In tandem with these announcements, vice president of revenue Dave Demer becomes president of Local Focus, while the rep firm’s founder Kay Olin will act as a consultant to Genesis Media. “Kay has been instrumental in facilitating the evolution of Local Focus and preparing it for this next step in its growth,” Demer notes. “She will add immense value to Genesis Media.” Previously, Demer held marketing and sales positions with Clear Channel and Cox Media Group. Local Focus represents more than 350 stations.
24/7 Comedy Celebrates Christmas with Gabriel Iglesias. Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – is celebrating the holiday season with special guest host Gabriel Iglesias. From December 14 through December 27, the format will feature “The 12 Days of Fluffy” (for 13 days), giving listeners a peek behind the stage persona of the internationally acclaimed comedian and highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits. Connecting with listeners every hour throughout “The 12 Days of Fluffy,” fans will also have the chance to hear select tracks from his latest Comedy Central DVD special, “Aloha Fluffy.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Obama Selfie Flap/Castro Handshake, New Budget Deal, India Gay Sex Ruling, Iran Nukes Talks, and NSA Targets Video Gamers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10). The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and HHS director Kathleen Sebelius; the flap over President Obama’s “selfie” taken at the service for Nelson Mandela and his handshake with Raul Castro; the new budget deal struck in Congress; India’s high court ruling outlawing gay sex; foundering talks with Iran over its nuclear program; and the NSA’s targeting of video gamers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.