FCC Commissioner O’Rielly: Future of AM Decided by ‘Demands of Listeners.’ Speaking at a luncheon of the Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly addressed the issue of AM revitalization. He noted that the changes allowing the relocation of FM translators is something of which a number of AM operators are taking advantage. However, he said there’s still more work to do. “For instance, I’d personally like to see us split off the relief for the main studio rule from the FNPRM so as to complete it before year’s end, and you are likely to hear more from me on this soon. In addition, I am carefully considering the Commission’s proposal to reduce the protected daytime primary service contour for certain AM stations, and of course when doing so, the actual areas and levels of additional interference are of primary interest.” But, O’Rielly also said that, in the final analysis, the “future of AM radio will be decided in the market by stations seeking to meet the demands of listeners, as it should be. No amount of Commission action or government involvement is going to save the medium from irrelevancy if listeners and advertisers abandon stations, although I don’t see that happening in the immediate term. From my conversations with AM radio license holders, that’s exactly how they see it too: they just want the Commission to eliminate some of the barriers to competition so they have the tools to win the hearts and minds of listeners and then let the chips fall where they may.”
Kitchin to Consult The Mix Group. Radio exec Kraig Kitchin is entering into a consultant relationship with radio imaging and production firm The Mix Group. Kitchin is co-president of SoundMind LLC, which manages the businesses of high-profile broadcast personalities and companies. He’s also the chairman of the National Radio Hall of Fame. On joining The Mix Group, Kitchin says, “Once stations discover The Mix Group, there’s no turning back. Jason [Garte] and his team of talented producers create an exceptional sound that differentiates a station from all others in the market. The individual attention to detail for each station client is really remarkable.”
TalkersRadio Launches New International Talk Show Hosted by Award-Winning British Host Graham Mack. The name of the show is “London Calling with Graham Mack” and it is the newest featured program exclusively heard on the TALKERS magazine experimental radio platform, TalkersRadio. Graham Mack hosts a daily morning program on BOB-FM in London’s “Home Counties” region. In this new program, Mack tells TALKERS, “I will present a weekly look for American listeners at what’s happening across the Atlantic – from princesses to prime ministers, from ‘Dr. Who’ to ‘Downton’ and from Beckham to Brexit – things that matter and some things that just don’t.” The debut installment of the show features an exclusive interview with the legendary English actor, comedian, writer, and film producer – John Cleese. According to TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, “We are very excited about this fabulous new show debuting on our experimental talk radio platform. This show is totally major league right out of the box and I expect that it will have a major impact not only here in the states but around the world as well. Graham Mack is an outstanding broadcaster and this show sizzles with information and entertainment.” Mack has been awarded a number of honors over the years. They include: “Best Radio Personality” New York Festivals International Radio Awards – 2013 Bronze; “Best Talk Show Host” New York Festivals International Radio Awards – 2012 Finalist; “Breakfast Show of the Year” Sony Radio Academy Awards – 2011 Gold; and “Best Programme Presenter” Gillard Award – 2011 Gold among others. TalkersRadio was launched several years ago to serve as an experimental workshop to develop new types of radio talk shows as well as provide a showcase for new concepts worthy of broadcast radio consideration. “London Calling with Graham Mack” joins current TalkersRadio programs “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” and “Good for You Radio with Claire Carter.” Past TalkersRadio programs have included “Vox Animali with Lori Lundin,” “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan,” and others. To follow the latest “London Calling with Graham Mack” show info and guests on Twitter: @GrahmMack. Got a question about life in Britain and Europe? Send your question as an MP3 to firstname.lastname@example.org. To listen to “London Calling with Graham Mack,” click here.
Odds & Sods. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Eddie Volkman – half of the highly successful, former Windy City radio duo “Eddie & Jobo” – is leaving his talk show gig with suburban WCKG-AM. Volkman’s been doing a 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on the station since earlier this summer but declares he’s ready to try to get back on the air on a big Chicago signal…..“Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts is producing a podcast series based on her book, Robin Roberts: Everybody’s Got Something (Grand Central 2014). Her production company Rock’n Robin Productions and ABC Radio are working together on the project. Each show will be a 45-minute episode in which listeners will hear Roberts and her guests share “their incredible, real-life challenges that will inspire everyone to face their ‘somethings’ and believe in the power of resilience.”…..Westwood One News is providing live, anchored coverage of all three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate in late September and October, plus is providing live, special reports on each night the debates are held. Coverage will be anchored by Chas Henry, with on-scene reporting by correspondents Bob Costantini, Steve Kastenbaum, Jim Roope, and Karin Caifa. The first presidential debate is September 26 at 9:00 pm ET from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
NJBA President Paul Rotella Reiterates Call to Activate FM Chip in Smartphones. Citing the importance of receiving crucial information during emergencies, New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella is asking senators and congressman to again urge Verizon to activate the FM chips in smartphones that it sells. Referencing the bombings in New York and the bombs found in New Jersey over the weekend, he writes, in part, “One year ago to the day, I wrote to you to urge the adoption of a mandate to light up the FM chip in all smartphones. The tragic events this past week in our state and in New York now make this request a matter the highest urgency, as well as a matter of national security. For almost a century, New Jersey’s radio broadcasters have been the primary source of critical information to the public in the event of disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, snowstorms, earthquakes, tsunamis, solar storms, terrorist violence, mass transportation accidents, and industrial or technological catastrophes. This important role can be both before an impending event, to warn the public as we did before Hurricane Sandy, or help law enforcement through life saving AMBER Alerts, but most importantly, after a catastrophic event. In an emergency, the role of broadcasters is even more important because they serve local communities with essential, fact-checked, reliable information, and they distribute it to all within the broadcast signal. Today, the most common battery operated device readily available to our citizens may be a smart phone, but it is useless without cell service. However, with an activated radio chip, a smart phone will function similar to the time-proven reliable transistor radios found in emergency kits around the globe, providing our citizens with information essential for survival. This includes where food, water and shelter are available; where FEMA and other humanitarian assistance are located.” Rotella is asking that bill be filed to make chip activation a reality.
The Presidential Race, Terror Attacks in NYC/NJ/Minn., Syria Civil War/U.S-Russia Tensions, Sunday’s Emmy Awards, NFL Action and MLB Playoffs Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the investigation of the terror bombings in New York, the pipe bombs found in New Jersey and the stabbings in St. Cloud, Minnesota; the resumption of violence in Syria and the military tensions between the U.S. and Russia in the region; chatter about the political speeches at Sunday’s Emmy Awards show; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cumulus Makes Change at CFO Role; Abbot Succeeds Hannan. There has been chatter in the industry lately about looming personnel changes in the corporate tier at Cumulus Media and now the company reveals a new face in the chief financial officer post. John F. Abbot is appointed executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer effective July 1. He replaces Joseph P. “J.P.” Hannan, who the company says resigned his position after six years in order to pursue other interests. Hannan will assist the company for several months to ensure a smooth transition. Abbot comes to Cumulus from his most recent position as EVP and CFO of Telx Holdings Inc., a provider of connectivity, co-location and cloud services in the data center industry. Abbot’s experience also includes spent as EVP/CFO for cable’s Insight Communications Company, Inc. and as managing director for the Global Media and Communications Group of the investment banking division at Morgan Stanley. Abbot says, “I am excited to join Mary [Berner] and the senior leadership team at this important juncture in the company’s evolution. I join Cumulus with an appreciation for the headway that has already been made around the company’s four key strategies as well as a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I look forward to using my skills and experience to help maximize value as we work to deliver on the turnaround.”
Day One of FAIR’s Immigration Radio Row Underway. This year’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC is the ninth annual such event and this Federation for American Immigration Reform production is comprised of 50 talk show hosts from all over the country broadcasting their shows and debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that “this year’s event will focus on the aftermath of President Obama’s amnesty and his continued abuse of executive power, the GOP’s internal battle over how to tackle immigration and the ongoing border crisis with its implications for national security risks.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is at the event today speaking with hosts about talk radio’s role in the national discussion of immigration issues. He reports back that “it’s very apparent from the very beginning of this event that there is a more thoughtful attitude toward immigration reform among the hosts and expert guests this year. It seems to be understood that, even among Republicans and conservatives, there are many points of view with regard to the issues surrounding the security of our nation’s borders.” Pictured here at today’s event are some of the talk show hosts taking part in day one – Rob Carson from KCMO, Kansas City; Gary Sutton from WSBA, York; and Tom Marr from WCBM, Baltimore. At bottom left are Michael Harrison (left) and FAIR’s Bob Dane (right).
WEEI, Boston Parts Ways with Evening Personality Mike Adams. Longtime WEEI, Boston personality Mike Adams – host of the evening “Planet Mikey” show on Entercom’s sports talker – exits the station after almost 11 years in the daypart. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary did not cite ratings or any other specific measuring stick regarding the decision to change the evening show, but said, “We made a tough call on Mike but, at the same time, we feel there are some innovative opportunities we’d like to explore over the next few months. As you know, WEEI has extensively – and successfully – revamped every major weekday show over the last three years. The time is right to extend that thinking to nights.” During baseball season, Red Sox baseball airs in the evening daypart most nights, so the station has some time before unveiling anything permanent. Read Finn’s Globe piece here.
The Presidential Race, Former Secret Service Agent’s Clinton Book, ‘Brexit’ Vote, Battle Against Islamic State, Orlando Massacre Investigation/Gun Legislation, and Olympics-Zika Virus Concerns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). The activities of the candidates for president; former Secret Service agent Gary Byrnes’ tell-all book about the Clinton White House; tomorrow’s vote by Britons on whether to leave the European Union or not; the ongoing military campaign to fight Islamic State in the Middle East and the charge domestic authorities face in preventing attacks in the U.S.; the ongoing investigation into the events at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub massacre and the attempts at gun legislation changes in Washington; and the increasing number of athletes choosing not to compete in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over concerns about the Zika virus were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Fashion Figure Mark Weber to Host WABC, New York Weekend Show. This Saturday (6/25) is the debut of the new weekend program “Always in Fashion” on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. Hosted by fashion industry business leader Mark Weber, WABC says, “The one-hour weekly business talk program features luminaries from fashion’s most successful and innovative brands. Weber and his guests share insights from the heights of the glamorous, fast-paced and highly competitive business of fashion in an exciting, engaging and highly entertaining talk format.” The show is airing on 77 WABC at 10:00 pm ET. Weber says, “Throughout my entire career I worked and commuted to New York City. 77 WABC was my pre-set on my radio and people like Don Imus and Michael Savage are my role models. I listened and learned from these storytellers, and now I have my own stories and lessons that can teach, inspire and entertain listeners interested in business and fashion. I am thrilled to be on the air at 770 WABC!” WABC is the first station of a planned syndication rollout through KMG Networks, a division of Krantz Media Group, in association with Sungate Partners, Inc.
More Murrow’s to Announce. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine wrote about a number of winners of Edward R. Murrow Awards bestowed in 2016. Here are a couple of more: For the fourth year in a row, CBS Radio News wins the Murrow award for “Best Newscast.” The RTDNA recognizes excellence in numerous categories. This award is for CBS’ “World News Roundup” from June 19, 2015, covering the aftermath of the Charleston church shootings. The first section of the broadcast was anchored from Charleston by CBS EVENING NEWS anchor Scott Pelley. It was a comprehensive look at the investigation, the suspect, the victims and how the city was coping. The rest of the broadcast was anchored from New York by CBS Radio News anchor Steve Kathan and covered the Colorado movie shooting trial and the manhunt for two escaped prisoners in Northern New York. Also, CBS RADIO O&O WBZ-AM, Boston – in the Large Market category – received the top honor for “Best Newscast” for its morning report, which included updates on the 2015 snow storm. The company’s WBBM-AM, Chicago was awarded “Best Breaking News Coverage” for its continued coverage following the public release of the video capturing the shooting of Laquan McDonald.
WABC’s Joan Hamburg Honored with Lifetime Achievement Gracie. The 41st Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon took place at Cipriani on 42nd in New York yesterday (6/21). The ceremony was presented by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. Host Robin Meade led the program alongside presenters Beverly Bond, Emme, Erica Hill and Ginger Zee. The Gracie Awards were presented to honorees which were previously announced on March 21 in recognition of their successes in the media industry. Lifetime Achievement Honoree Joan Hamburg was presented her award by close friend Alan Alda (pictured at right). Ginger Zee was not only a presenter but an acceptor for Good Morning America’s win for Outstanding Talk Show- News. In presenting Hamburg with her honor, Alda said, “In a media industry where talk radio is overwhelmingly dominated by men, Joan is a woman’s voice that is graceful and lively but authoritative.” As part of the program, Canadian singer/songwriter Ruth B performed her viral hit “Lost Boy” and her unreleased single “In My Dreams.”
Odds & Sods. According to a report in the New York Daily News, radio personality Zev Brenner was hit with a fine of $2,500 and will serve a year’s probation for failure to file income tax returns. Brenner hosts an online radio show. He was previously with WMCA, New York hosting his “Talkline” program. The Feds charged Brenner with failure to file for tax years 2003 through 2011. He’s already paid $63,764 in restitution…..The audio of NBC Sports Radio – the NBC Sports Group/Westwood One joint venture – is now available for live-streaming via Apple Music. NBC Sports Ventures SVP Rob Simmelkjaer says, “Now, through Apple Music, with its broad reach and immediate availability, NBC Sports Radio content is even more accessible.”…..Lisa Gillespie joins Louisville Public Media’s WFPL, Louisville as the station’s health and innovation reporter. She was most recently working in Washington for Kaiser Health News. Her beat with WFPL will be public health and health care policy…..Pictured here is nationally syndicated “Gun Talk” host Tom Gresham (right) with the host of television’s “Into the Wild,” Jack Hanna (left). The two appeared at the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s annual conference in Kalispell, Montana where Hanna spoke about the role of hunting in conservation and his belief that hunters are the original conservationists.
Cumulus Media’s 2015 Q2 Report: Net Revenue Dips 8.8%. That negative number is not so surprising because Cumulus had issued forward-looking statements that predicted results pretty much in line with what the final numbers turned out to be. Net revenue for the quarter was just shy of $300 million, accounting for the 8.8% decrease compared to the same period a year ago. Broadcast advertising was down 8.4% and the digital advertising category was off 19.5%. Further breaking down the broadcast advertising category, network and national sales took the biggest hits – down 16% and 10.8%, respectively – and local ad sales slipped 3.9%.
Cooke: Local Radio Still an Opportune Career Path. In a brand new installment of Talkers TV, media consultant Holland Cooke calls “this latest round of corporate cutbacks real scary.” And he predicts there are more firings to come saying, “financially, it’s inevitable.” Still, Cooke reckons, “This can be an opportune time for on-air talent,” because, in his view, “so much of what now comes out the speaker has been automated and voicetracked and has become so ‘un-local,’” and because “listeners and advertisers can hear the difference.” In a two-part series in his monthly newsletter, HC outlines where employment opportunity lies and what salaries are typically being paid. And Cooke stresses two skills imperative for today’s job-seekers: digital production savvy, and, as he puts it, “knowing how to actually get hired.” He emphasizes that “simply knowing how to do your job won’t GET you your job.” If you attended Talkers New York 2015, you already have part one, in the June issue of Holland’s newsletter, which was distributed at the conference. Part two is in the August issue, which is available even to non-subscribers. Click here for download instructions. To view Cooke’s presentation on Talkers TV please click on the Talkers TV box in the upper right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
ESPN Radio Announces August Lineup for Former Cowherd Slot. With the recent benching of soon-to-be-exiting personality Colin Cowherd, ESPN Radio goes to its O&O stations as well as the network for talent to fill the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET network time slot. Next week, KEPN, Los Angeles “ESPN LA 710” afternoon drive hosts Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley will be heard nationally. The weeks of August 10 and 17 belong to network personality Michelle Beadle and ESPNLA’s Ben Lyons. For the week of August 24, WMVP, Chicago afternoon drive duo Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman – a.k.a. “Waddle & Silvy” – will be featured on the network program. ESPN Radio has not yet announced a permanent show to fill the spot where “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” aired.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Newsman Ned Foster to Retire. After a career that has spanned 40 years in radio news, “Arizona’s Morning News” anchor Ned Foster will retire from the station at the end of November. The Boston native is enshrined in the Arizona Broadcast Hall of Fame. Foster, who has worked at such heritage signals as WBZ-AM, Boston; KFWB, Los Angeles; and WOWO, Fort Wayne, says, “It’s hard for me to believe how fortunate I’ve been and how much fun I’ve had. I am humbled and gratified beyond words that so many people over so many years found it worth their while to tune in. Thank you!” Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch adds, “Ned is the consummate newsman and he’s had an absolutely remarkable career. We can’t thank him enough for helping Arizona commuters get to work informed and on-time each morning.”
Odds & Sods. A joint effort between Alpha Media Portland and Seattle’s Feedback Media is bringing the business talk radio show “Business Briefing” with Brian Bushlach to Sinclair Radio’s news/talk KVI, Seattle. The show – a popular Portland market program for the past 10 years – will air on Saturday mornings at 8:00. Bushlach says, “Seattle is the epicenter of American business. Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, Expedia and Alaska Airlines have become household names, but think about companies like Tommy Bahama, Trident Seafoods, REI and others who are also leaders in their sector. We’re looking forward to featuring companies big and small, with execs and owners sharing their stories each weekend.”…..Media commentator and public relations expert Raynard Jackson is sitting in for Roland Martin on his nationally syndicated midday talk radio show (7/30 and 31). Jackson’s guests include actress/entrepreneur Erika Alexander, hip hop artist BriaMarie and former NFL player Mike “Scooter” McGruder…..ABC Radio announces some of the special Labor Day programming it is offering. The three one-hour specials are: “The Election Show: 16 Things to Know Before 2016,” co-hosted by ABC News correspondent Cheri Preston and ABC News political director Rick Klein; “Back to School Survival Guide,” hosted by Michelle Franzen; and “Streamline and Simplify Your Life,” hosted by Scott Goldberg…..Football season is upon us and FOX Sports Radio says its continuing a partnership with Big Ten Network to present an audio simulcast of the latter’s “BTN Live” television show to radio station affiliates. Beginning August 10, the program will be available for air Monday through Friday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. The show is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Mike Hall and Rick Pizzo, with Big Ten Network analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and other special guests…..Woof Boom-owned news/talk WHBU-AM, Anderson-Muncie, Indiana (also heard on translator W279CL, Anderson at 103.7 FM) moves local personality Doug Zook to the 7:30 am to 9:00 am slot and begins airing Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity in the afternoon drive daypart.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The sports talk show “Jay Mohr Sports” from Premiere Networks and FOX Sports Radio Network is added to the lineup at the following stations: KVET, Austin; KHKA, Honolulu; WOLF-AM, Syracuse; KQWB, Fargo; and WKGN, Knoxville…..The Envision Networks-syndicated Sunday night talk show “The John and Leah Show,” featuring hosts John Ziegler and Leah Brandon, is added to the lineup at WPGP, Pittsburgh “AM 1250 The Answer.”…..The GCN-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show is added to the program schedule at KTKK, Salt Lake City.
WQAM, Miami Covering College Football. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Miami Hurricanes play-by-play voice Joe Zagacki, WQAM afternoon drive host Marc Hochman, and Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer at the Big 10 media days in Chicago. Hochman tells TALKERS that the station partnered with the Capital One Orange Bowl to broadcast from all of the major college conference media days.
2016 Presidential Candidates and Trump Criticisms Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM for Week of July 27-31. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the extreme media attention Donald Trump is receiving tied for the most-talked-about news/talk radio stories of the week. At #2 was the case of the hunting and killing of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist. Coming in at #3 was the Planned Parenthood videos scandal and following at #4 was the debate over immigration policy in the United States. 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 chart here.
Talk Radio Observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Although an official federal holiday, most talk radio personnel are working today and many are honoring or simply acknowledging the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his work leading the civil rights movement of the 1960s. For example, the first hour of iHeartMedia superstar Sean Hannity’s national radio show is devoted to talking about the historic civil rights leader’s legacy and relevance to today’s headlines. Given the racial tensions brought about by recent high-profile cases involving fatal confrontations between police and African American men, this year’s observance of Dr. King’s birthday is even more relevant than in recent years. Sirius XM Satellite Radio “Urban View” host Karen Hunter says, “Every day I honor the legacy of Dr. King on my show. So every day we do something special to honor him. Today I will be playing snippets from a speech he gave at UCLA in 1965. I will also be talking about Selma. And I have already spoken to someone who marched today in New York to the UN.” African American news/talk hosts have a variety of perspectives on Dr. King. Charles Butler who hosts a daily syndicated show on Genesis Communications Network writes on his daily blog, “Today is the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and since 2008 I have conducted a show called ‘The Other Side of MLK,’ and on this eighth show I added several new perspectives. Dr. King evolved over the period he was actively involved in the civil rights movement…I have a very difficult time listening to people that use the sanitized and domesticated version of Dr. King, ‘my children would be judged by the content of their character…,’ while ignoring his call on America to end racism. Today, the prevalence of black high unemployment, income and health disparity, poor schools and environments, criminalization of black Americans, institutional racism, and systematic undermining of the attainment of the American Dream.” At Salem Communications’ secular news/talk stations, many hosts are devoting a segment or two to Martin Luther King. Salem SVP/spoken word format and Salem Radio Network Phil Boyce tells TALKERS magazine, “‘The Morning Answer’ in Los Angeles [KRLA] presented a great segment discussing the difference in the language and rhetoric of MLK vs the race baiters of today. I think conservative hosts are generally more appreciative of Dr. King now, as we have seen what others have said and done who are attempting to take his place.” Much of the commentary planned by hosts has been designed to specifically address their criticism of “so-called” civil rights leaders who have come after the late Dr. King – described to TALKERS by Cumulus heavyweight host Mark Levin as “people who exploit race by putting forth their own attitudes and wrongly use Dr. King’s good name to back up their own take and self-interests.” WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami afternoon star Joyce Kaufman tells TALKERS, “I will be spending today’s show listening to excerpts of his speeches…asking listeners to weigh in on when and why the relations between the black community and the white community fell apart. Jews, for instance, natural allies, now arch enemies. Black pastors who have stopped preaching the gospel to preserve the first black President’s relationship. Would Dr. King have embraced Kwanzaa? I think not. He was a Baptist preacher.” Westwood One/WYD Media syndicated progressive opinion leader Thom Hartmann reports, “We did three hours on it today. The movie ‘Selma’ was perfectly timed, and clearly demonstrates the importance of citizens’ movements. From the Tea Party pushing Republicans to Occupy pushing Democrats; from John Quincy Adams leading the anti-slavery movement in the House to the Suffrage movement nationwide; from the labor movement (with the Ludlow massacre and the Flint Sit Down Strikes) to the gay rights movement – every time America has moved, it’s moved because of an informed, motivated, and activated populace. And the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest teachers of that in modern times.” Fox News Radio syndicated liberal icon Alan Colmes tells TALKERS, “Today’s news cycle proves how prescient Martin Luther King, Jr. was. King, in his most controversial speech, ‘Beyond Vietnam,’ delivered at the Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, spoke these words:
‘This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind… I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another (Yes), for love is God. (Yes) And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. . . . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.’”
Colmes concludes, “On our show, we’re are talking about the relationship between the Bible and the Koran, to show that no one religion is superior to another, that there are more similarities than differences, and that tolerance is a key tenet of our republic. That is how we are honoring the legacy of this revolutionary.” Joe Madison of Sirius XM Satellite Radio – consistently one of the most influential thought-leaders in talk radio on the subject of race relations and civil rights — shares, “We aired the results of an essay contest that asked young high school students to assess the political climate in the world today, analyzing the racial challenges that exist and to compare to Dr. King’s life and deeds.” Madison adds, “I actually spoke this morning in Tampa, Florida at the 35 annual Tampa Organization of Black Affairs Breakfast (I was their first speaker 35 years ago). I addressed the three-year gap between the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965 and his assassination in 1968. I asked the question: ‘How would talk radio portray Dr. King?’ His last three years on earth, he alienated many of his allies and antagonized his enemies further. He was portrayed as an extremist and an arsonist as he waged war on poverty, racism and militarism. I suspect most talk radio would not be very supportive of Martin Luther King, Jr.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison responds to Madison’s last statement by telling him that “a number of conservative hosts interviewed for this story say they have been increasingly appreciating and respecting Dr. King as the years go by – especially when compared to some of his high-profile successors in the civil rights movement.” Madison fires back, “I wonder which King they respect? Certainly not the MLK that encouraged the redistribution of wealth, affirmative action and voting rights, especially Sections 4 and 5 which were recently struck down by the SCOTUS.”
Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg Sets New Roles for Hendrix, Stone, McLain. Several noteworthy personnel moves take place at Entercom-owned stations in Greenville-Spartanburg, a South Carolina cluster the company refers to as “Entercom Upstate.” For openers, rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet” and WROQ “Classic Rock 101.1” operations manager/program director Mark Hendrix takes on additional duties as operations manager for talk WYRD-FM “Word 106.3,” as well as the sports simulcast of WORD-AM and WYRD-AM. He will continue to program WORD-AM and WYRD-AM, both branded as “ESPN Upstate.” He succeeds Bob McLain as OM for “Word 106.3”; however, McLain carries on as the station’s 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm talent and is named operations manager emeritus. Meanwhile, “Classic Rock 101.1” assistant program director Jay D. Stone is boosted to program director. Stone continues as APD of “The Planet” and maintains his “Classic Rock 101.1” 12:00 noon – 6:00 pm “The Stoneman” on-air shift. According to Entercom Greenville vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi, “Mark Hendrix has done an outstanding job programming ‘Classic Rock 101.1’ and ‘93.3 The Planet/WTPT-FM.’ He has coached ‘The Rise Guys’ on ‘The Planet’ to the top of many key morning demos. Hendrix will build on Bob McLain’s excellent work on ‘Word 106.3,’ developing stimulating local talk. I am also pleased that Bob will continue his very popular show. I am happy Jay D. Stone has been elevated to the well-deserved position of program director at ‘Classic Rock 101.1.’ He is the heart and soul of that station.” Hendrix comments, “I am thankful for the great opportunities that Entercom has afforded me over the years. I look forward to working with our talented staffs to deliver exceptional, locally focused programs to our upstate audiences.” McLain remarks, “Entercom Upstate has given me great opportunities to engage with listeners, discuss controversial and important issues, and establish a thought provoking radio brand.” Stone declares that, “Having the opportunity to head up the legendary call letters of WROQ is a big deal. All I can say is that, after working with the top-shelf staff at Entercom Upstate for the past 12 years, the winning tradition will continue at ‘Classic Rock 101.'” Hendrix has been with the company since August 2001, when he became program director of WTPT. McLain began his career at Winston-Salem’s WTOB. Stone was named music director of “Classic Rock 101.1” in 2003, after holding similar duties at Des Moines classic rocker KGGO.
Marshall’s Multiple Roles with MacDonald Garber. Simultaneous with being named operations director for all MacDonald Garber Broadcasting AM stations, Greg Marshall is appointed general manager for the company’s Cadillac, Michigan cluster. President and chief executive officer Trish MacDonald Garber comments, “Greg’s vast experience with broadcasting and his great passion for it can only contribute to our continued success. As the current acting general manager in Cadillac, I am leaving Greg in capable hands with an upward trajectory that I know he and the team will capitalize on.” Marshall states, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the great staff at the Cadillac stations and the AM radio stations in the company. I am looking forward to this amazing opportunity.” Among the stations in the Cadillac group are hot AC WLXV “Mix 96,” sports WKAD “93.7 FM The Ticket,” and talk WATT “Rush Radio 1240.” Over and above these two new duties, Marshall will continue doing his daily 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm talk show on the company’s WMKT “The Talk Station,” Traverse City-Petoskey, Michigan; the program will soon be simulcast on WATT as well.
Salem Re-Brands Christian Talk WMCA. As had been predicted based upon some recent domain name acquisitions by Salem Communications, Christian talk WMCA, New York – for the past 25 years called “New York’s Christian Talk” – takes on the new slogan “AM 570 The Mission.” The company put together a short video to highlight the charitable work done by the station and its listeners that underscores the reason for taking on the “Mission” moniker. You can view the video here.
Odds & Sods. A report in the Boston Globe by Chad Finn indicates current WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” midday personality Andy Gresh will exit the station soon. He co-hosts the program on the sports talk outlet with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak and hosts the pre- and post-game shows for Patriots football, for which WBZ-FM serves as flagship. Finn reports that Marc Bertrand of the PM drive “Felger and Massarotti” show will join Zolak on the midday show…..CBS RADIO’s Los Angeles all-newser KNX is presenting special programming this week surrounding the State of the Union Address. In addition to airing the address live at 6:00 pm PT, the station will present a special program on Wednesday (1/21) titled, “Healthcare Uncovered,” from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The show will examine “the state of Obamacare as the Affordable Care Act enters its second year,” hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
Bob Wilson: Former Bruins’ Radio Voice Passes. Rabid New England sports fans are known for embracing their professional sports franchises, as well as developing a fondness for those who call the games on radio. For well over two decades – including a 1971 – 1972 Stanley Cup-winning campaign – Bob Wilson was behind the radio microphone for the Boston Bruins. The Arlington, Massachusetts native, who retired in 1995, has passed away. Boston Bruins president – and former Bruins’ star player – Cam Neely comments, “For a generation of New England hockey fans, Bob’s legendary voice was synonymous with the Bruins. He will always be a part of our club’s history. Our thoughts are with [Wilson’s widow] Nancy and their children during this difficult time.” Jack Edwards is the club’s play-by-play announcer on cable television’s NESN and he remarks that Wilson was “my greatest inspiration.” Entercom sports WEEI-FM, Boston personality/NESN Bruins host Dale Arnold states that Wilson was “one of the iconic sports voices of our time. He was a kind and classy gentleman – my hero.”Dave Goucher has been the team’s radio voice the past 15 seasons, but Goucher insists that Wilson “is the radio voice of the Bruins.” In 1987, Wilson received the Foster Hewitt memorial award, earning him a place in the broadcasters’ wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007. Wilson was at the TD Garden (home of the Bruins and the NBA‘s Boston Celtics) nearly four years ago (March 26, 2011) when the Bruins officially named the home radio facility “The Bob Wilson Radio Booth.” Bob Castellon (his real name) was 85.
Your Note to “Radio’s Best Friend” Couldn’t Hurt. One of the genuinely great people in the industry isn’t doing well. Just like giving a bowl of chicken soup to someone with a cold or the flu, sending a get-well wish to Art Vuolo certainly couldn’t hurt, and based on a message he posted today (Sunday, 1/18) on his Facebook page, it might go a long way in boosting the spirits of the man widely-regarded as “Radio’s Best Friend.” Coming off organizing yet another wildly successful Los Angeles radio get together, Vuolo underwent knee replacement surgery this past Tuesday (1/13), but he admits, “I hurt a lot. It is difficult for me to sit up in bed to type these words. Hoping I will feel better soon, but right now, my pain level is elevated. All prayers are welcomed.” One of radio’s greatest ambassadors and a countless times videographer of record, Vuolo is in room #154 of the Maple Manor Rehabilitation Center,31215 Novi Road, Novi, Michigan 48377.
Michael Savage and Westwood One Renew Deal; College Scholarships to Be Awarded. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage and syndicator Westwood One are announcing the two sides have come to terms on a new, multi-year contract to keep “The Savage Nation” with the company. In a press release, Savage and WW1 say he is “ushering in a new era of talk radio with his groundbreaking ‘Unprotected Talk’ format that he will use to interact with listeners on topical current events and lifestyle issues – with politics of course remaining an important part of the show. Savage is challenging the talk radio industry with his one-of-a-kind program by combining timely political content with the real-life issues that his millions of listeners are talking about every day, including topics such as health, science, religion, culture and more.” At the same time, Savage says he’s set up a $100,000 scholarship fund “for conservative college students,” that will grant five recipients two-year awards totaling $10,000 annually. The scholarship winners will be selected through an essay contest opening January 15 titled, “What Does It Mean to Be an American?” with “the intention of promoting traditional American values.” Savage comments, “I am uniquely positioned to discuss a wide range of topics while maintaining an authentic, unapologetic voice because of my academic background. While others focus on Obamacare, I discuss health issues. I’m not shying away from politics and I’m not running for office like others in the media. Cumulus has allowed me to expand my reach, but my goal has remained the same – to deliver the best, most comprehensive commentary on radio and ‘edutain’ the world in the process. With my new scholarship fund I can now help inspire the next generation by encouraging education and conservative values.”
Ed Crane Exits KFBK, Sacramento as Morning Host. From a story in the Sacramento Bee, morning personality Ed Crane is out at the iHeartMedia news/talk outlet after serving in the post since 2008. The station recently announced it hired talk programming pro Bill White – most recently with Journal Broadcast Group’s Tucson stations – who assumes his new position on Tuesday, January 20. What the station’s plans for AM drive might be is pure speculation at this point. White handled mornings at KQTH, Tucson. Whether he’s headed for the morning show at KFBK or the station wants him to lead the search for a new morning host is unknown. Back to Crane, he tells the Bee that he’s not happy with how his departure was handled saying, “Some untrue things were said that weren’t nice. I don’t get it. We were number 1.”
Whither Christian Talk WMCA, New York? The Salem Communications Christian talk outlet is airing promos on the station promising a change of some sort, but what the legendary NYC signal might morph into is unknown. The promos state, “Beginning Monday, January 19th, WMCA New York’s Christian talk, will be no more. Find out what we will become, Monday, January 19th.” It’s likely that there will be no real format change, just a re-branding of the Christian talk format since ratings are not usually a concern for such a station. Salem already serves the market with secular news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”
Documentary Film Debaters to Include Prager, Father Morris. This coming Monday (1/19), Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager will join archdiocese of New York’s Father Jonathan Morris; Eric Metaxas; and Anne Graham Lotz to discuss “Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus.” Their panel discussion will be shown in 650 U.S. theaters through Fathom Events’ digital broadcast network and is slated to follow the theatrical premiere of the Timothy Mahoney award-winning documentary, which chronicles an in-depth archaeological investigation in Egypt as his team attempts to corroborate the biblical text. Twelve years in the making, the film explores the fundamental question if there is any evidence the Exodus story actually happened. Prager has been broadcasting on Los Angeles radio since 1982; his 9:00 am – 12:00 noon (PT) program has been in syndication since 1999. Father Morris is currently the program director of “The Catholic Channel” on SiriusXM Radio. The daughter of Billy Graham, Christian evangelist Lotz founded AnGeL Ministries. Metaxas co-hosts the syndicated weekly Sunday morning program “100 Huntley Street.” Prager’s SRN colleague Michael Medved appears on-camera in the documentary. Fox News Channel‘s Gretchen Carlson will moderate next Monday’s debate.
Rabid Mobile Media Consumption Drives SNL Kagan $9 Billion 2014 Revenue Estimate. The research firm SNL Kagan is reporting that its estimate for 2014 revenue for the mobile entertainment sector is $9.14 billion – up from $2.71 billion just three years ago. The frenetic growth of the mobile media industry is well documented in the radio trades and shouldn’t surprise anyone in this industry, but the figures that SNL Kagan breaks out are interesting, nonetheless. It reports that the mobile music segment was the third largest, contributing 19% to the entertainment sector’s revenue. However, the games category was tops – delivering 59% of the entertainment sector’s revenue in 2014 – with video in second place bringing in 20% of the sector’s revenue. SNL Kagan estimates that the mobile music biz – led by players such as Pandora, Spotify, iTunes and others – accounted for $1.76 billion of the $9 billion total.
Charlie Hebdo Aftermath/Islamic Extremism, ISIS Hack of Pentagon and Centcom, Obama Cyber Security Speech, Bartender Accused in Plot to Kill Boehner, Romney Promises 2016 Run, and Ohio State Wins National Football Title Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The political aftermath of the deadly attack on Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo and the larger topic of Islamic extremism; the hacking of the Pentagon’s and Centcom’s social media; the cyber-security speech delivered by President Obama; the plot by an Ohio bartender to kill House Speaker John Boehner; the promise by Mitt Romney to run for president in 2016; and Ohio State’s run to the National Championship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WWXX License Renewal Objection Draws Response. The FCC is considering whether it should rule if the team name of the NFL‘s Washington franchise (“Redskins”) is indecent. One of that team’s three radio flagships – Red Zebra Broadcasting-owned WWXX – has filed its answer to objections regarding the renewal of its broadcast license. WWXT (92.7) and WWXX (94.3) repeat the signal of primary flagship WTEM “ESPN 980.” Red Zebra states that its response “makes clear that under the Communications Act and the First Amendment, the FCC should not be in the business of censoring the content of radio stations. Any debate about the team’s name and its meaning should be held in the free marketplace of ideas, not in the halls of the FCC or any other governmental agency.” Red Zebra counsel Andrew McBride of Wiley Rein LLP comments, “We hope the FCC will swiftly reject this transparent attempt to use the license renewal process to intimidate broadcasters across the country with the baseless threat that accurately reporting on the Washington football franchise by using the team’s full name violates any law or FCC regulation.” Many consider the name of the DC franchise a slur to Native Americans and they have called on team owner – and Red Zebra primary investor – Dan Snyder to change it. President Barack Obama is among those asking the NFL to endorse a name alteration, as are at least one-half the members of the U.S. Senate. In a preliminary 18-page formal petition to deny renewal of a station’s FCC broadcast license, petitioner John F. Banzhaf III, “a listener to station WWXX, respectfully requests on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, and who are like himself adversely affected or aggrieved, that the agency deny the renewal of this station’s license and any other requests. It deliberately, repeatedly, and unnecessarily broadcasts the word ‘R*dskins’ during most of its broadcasting day, and especially in prime time where its well documented adverse impact on impressionable young Indian as well as non-Indian children is greatest. Through its licensee and controlling owner Dan Snyder, also actively encourages or indeed forces many other broadcasters to likewise broadcast a derogatory racial and ethnic slur contrary to the public interest.” Banzhaf is an American legal activist and a law professor at George Washington University Law School. The Washington Post editorial board has stopped using the team’s name, and a panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademark registration four months ago. Even so, Snyder vows to keep the name. TALKERS legal editor Steve J.J. Weisman recently wrote a column about this matter addressing the FCC’s jurisdiction to rule on the issue. Read that piece here.
Cooke: Two Weekend Problems, Two Solutions. In a piece written exclusively for TALKERS, radio consultant Holland Cooke addresses two weekend problems that face talk radio stations and offers a couple of solutions. He says ask-the-expert shows – i.e. brokered programming from local attorneys, real estate agents, veterinarians, etc. – don’t have to sound bad! Coach them so their broadcasts are well-executed and informative. Plus, let these clients use your listen-on-demand capabilities to reach more potential customers and they will be more satisfied with the money they are spending on your station. Read Cooke’s entire piece here.
How Mobile Can Save Your Talk Radio Brand. Digital media pro Gabe Barnes says, in a column exclusive to TALKERS, that he’s surprised by the number of radio execs who are put off by the reported amount of radio app usage that takes place outside of the station’s broadcast range. They see primarily the streaming fees for a listener who’s outside the “market.” The Mersoft Media director, business development says that’s not necessarily bad. “Many of those listening out of the broadcast range are actually local residents or have some ties to that local community. A local advertisement would be just as effective, provided the advertisement is compelling and targeted.” But there are more advantages for getting fans of your programming to go “mobile” with it. Read Barnes’ entire column here.
WTIC, Hartford License Renewal on Enforcement Hold. With the conviction of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland – until April of 2014 the afternoon drive personality on WTIC, Hartford – on campaign fraud charges in the rear view, CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford is now waiting out an enforcement hold on his license renewal with the FCC. In a story in the Hartford Courant, Edmund Mahony writes that the hold on the process is due to a “payola” complaint to the FCC related to Rowland’s actions promoting a Republican candidate in a primary race without disclosing – either to the radio audience or the FEC – that he was on that candidate’s payroll. The FCC doesn’t comment on the specifics of these matters and CBS RADIO is simply confirming that the process is on hold but the company does not know why. Rowland is set to be sentenced in January. The station certainly took its share of criticism for hiring Rowland after his first conviction in 2004 on corruption charges related to activities while in the governor’s office. Now, the station may be liable for a fine or reprimand, according to experts Mahony cites in his story. Most experts agree a denial of the license renewal for WTIC is unlikely, to say the least.
ESPN Radio to Air World Series. This marks the seventeenth straight year that ESPN Radio has exclusive radio rights to MLB‘s World Series. ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” lead play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst Aaron Boone will function in those capacities on the radio broadcasts for the best-of-seven series that commences tomorrow night (10/21) between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. Pre-game and post-game coverage will be handled by Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton, ESPN MLB insider Peter Pascarelli, and Marc Kestecher. Meanwhile, for the tenth successive year, ESPN Deportes Radio will broadcast every game for a Spanish-speaking audience. San Diego Padres Spanish-language announcer Eduardo Ortega will be joined by Renato Bermudez, Armando Talavera, and Jose Francisco Rivera.
Cool Job Opportunity. One of the top newsrooms in the country, KMBZ in Kansas City, has an immediate opening for a Morning Show Executive News Producer. This is a unique opportunity for someone with great writing skills, an appetite for everything news, and a desire to create exclusive content each and every day. Candidates need to have a news background, and a good understanding of news-wheel operations. Reporting experience would be very good as well. “Kansas City’s Morning News” and KMBZ are committed to finding the right person to fill this position. If you have what it takes, send a resume, along with anything else that will make you shine to KMBZJobs@gmail.com. KMBZ and Entercom Kansas City are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Salem Personalities in Israel. Four Salem Communications Christian teaching talk personalities are accompanying more than 350 listeners on a trip through the Holy Land. Pictured here from left to right are: Mark Daniels, WFIL, Philadelphia; Frank Sontag, KKLA, Los Angeles; Georgene Rice, KPDQ, Portland; and Kevin McCullough, nationally syndicated and WMCA, New York after a lunch on Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel. Also joining the listeners and personalities on this trip is Salem Communications radio division president David Santrella.
XtreMEDIA Debuts News Package. This short-form news package is titled, “The News That Makes You Think,” and is the fourth broadcast venture from entrepreneur Kevin McCullough. The XtreMEDIA chief hosts nationally syndicated daily shows as well as a WMCA, New York program. He says the new feature is designed for morning drive and middays on affiliate stations. “The content is designed to offer a substantive look at national, political, and human interest stories. But every newscast will also provide information important to families and people of faith. And at the end of the day it’s about telling great stories!” The venture will launch June 2 on WMCA during morning drive. The product is a combined venture of XtreMEDIA Broadcasts and TheBingeThinker.com. McCullough adds, “We expect this to take off quickly. We’ve had requests from stations taking our other shows asking for it for a while but it has been configuring logistics that has slowed the roll out.” For information and market availability, reach out to Kevin McCullough at: email@example.com.
Rob Dibble Comes Home to Connecticut for PM Drive at WUCS, Hartford. Former MLB star Rob Dibble is taking over the afternoon drive show on Clear Channel’s sports talk WUCS, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” as host of “The Rob Dibble Show with Paul Nanos.” The 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program will be simulcast on Clear Channel’s WAVZ, New Haven “ESPN 1300.” Dibble – son of award-winning Connecticut radio newsman Walt Dibble – has worked in broadcasting since retiring from baseball in 1996. He most recently worked for Fox Sports Radio Network. He’s also done stints as ESPN, Fox Sports TV and SiriusXM. Dibble comments, “After years of being in the broadcast industry and working around the country, it was always my dream to follow in my father’s footsteps and broadcast out of the great state where I was born. Connecticut has the most passionate sports fans anywhere and I’m lucky to be a part of it with ’97.9 ESPN’ and ‘ESPN 1300!’”
Seattle Talk Media Personality Ken Schram Dead at 66. Longtime KOMO, Seattle personality Ken Schram died at age 66 after a long illness. Schram worked for 35 years at KOMO-AM, Seattle before exiting the station in 2012. He had been handling fill-in duties with Bonneville’s KIRO-FM prior to being hospitalized last fall after suffering kidney failure. During his Seattle career, Schram also worked at KOMO-TV. During his time with KOMO-AM, he co-hosted the left-right “The Commentators” program taking the progressive stance against conservative foil John Carlson.
WOLB, Baltimore Hosts Gubernatorial Debate. Next Thursday morning, Radio One Baltimore’s news/talk WOLB will host a gubernatorial debate on the “Larry Young Morning Show.” Host Larry Young will moderate the debate in which candidates Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Del. Heather Mizeur, and Attorney Gen. Doug Gansler will take part. The debate will air live from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. The debate will be simulcast on the company’s gospel WWIN “Spirit 1400” and sister news/talk WOL, Washington.
Bill to Give Children Access to Ailing Parents Moves Forward. It’s not named after radio legend Casey Kasem, but bill number AB 2034 certainly was the result of work between California Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Kasem’s daughter Kerri. Broadcasters are aware of the problems Kasem’s children have faced trying to see their father who is struggling with a form of dementia called Lewy Body Disease. Jean Kasem has refused to allow visits from Kasem’s children from his first marriage. Bill AB 2032 passed the Assembly on a 70-0 vote. The bill seeks to protect children from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child. Assemblyman Gatto says, “Conflict among family members is the last thing our loved ones want to see as they approach their final hours. I hope this bill will help decrease the heartache and stress of families already facing difficult circumstances…The law must do more to keep up with the changing norms of modern families. AB 2034 brings the law into the 21st century and allows family members to focus on caring for their loved ones.”
WestwoodOne’s ‘First Light’ Celebrates 25 Years. The early morning news magazine “First Light” with Dirk Van is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Monday, June 2. Van, host of the show since its debut in 1989, says, “What an honor to be on the air for a quarter century, hosting a show with so many great affiliates – not to mention getting an earful from listeners each day. I’ve always felt I just guided this program along from day to day. The real stars are the First Light crew: producer David Oziel, the man with the Devorecast – Dean Devore, our sports geek Robert Workman, Marketwatcher Charlie Turner, and our peerless movie critic Chuck Rich.”
Chuck Custer Celebrates 30 Years at WGY, Albany. Morning drive co-host and program director Chuck Custer is celebrating 30 years with Albany market news/talker WGY. It was Memorial Day weekend in 1984 when Custer began working for the station anchoring evening newscasts. Since that time he’s served as morning news anchor alongside the legendary Don Weeks, as news director and now program director and morning show co-host with Kelly Lynch. Custer says of his career at the Clear Channel station, “I’ve been truly blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love to do, at a great station, with a group of people – past and present – who mean so much to me.”
Laura Smith on the Wall of Fame. WABC, New York talk personality Laura Smith has been honored in a most unusual way after interviewing Palm Restaurant manager Nick Maracz. Smith tells TALKERS she spoke with Maracz on the radio about the famous New York City eatery on her show “The Saturday Café.” A couple of weeks went by and she received the picture you see here showing her caricature right next to Liza Minelli! Smith says, “The restaurant has been there for 80 years and back in the day, when all the syndicated newspapers and comic book illustrators would go there for lunch but couldn’t afford to pay, they would draw pictures on the wall in exchange for food.”
Savoring the Gracie. Pictured here holding her Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media at the 39th Annual Gracie Awards Gala in Beverly Hills last week is CBS Radio News correspondent Heather Bosch. Bosch was honored for her work in the Soft News Feature category for her story on “Autism on Broadway.” The judges said her submission displayed superior quality in writing, production and programming. Heather has won multiple national awards since joining CBS three years ago after an illustrious career at KIRO-FM, Seattle.
UCSB Killings/Gun Laws Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 26-30. The deadly shootings at University of California Santa Barbara and the debate over gun laws in America that followed were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the VA Hospitals scandal. Coming in at #3 was the dip in the GDP and the state of the U.S. economy followed by the Edward Snowden interview 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.
NEW YORK — Bob Grant, who ranked eleventh in TALKERS magazine’s 20th anniversary Heaviest Hundred (published in 2010), which lists “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time,” died on December 31 at 84 years old after a brief illness.
Grant, whose signature opening line in New York radio was “Let’s be heard!,” drove his rollercoaster career through numerous stations in New York City where listeners followed some of the more racially-charged issues in town.
Brash and confident for a guy who stood 5-foot seven, Grant was described by TALKERS in the July/August 2010 issue as an “infamous watchdog of public figures, 40-plus years in New York radio.”
Upon learning of Grant’s death, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “He was a founding father of modern talk radio whose influence on broadcasting technique, style and societal role go way beyond the boundaries of conservative broadcasting.”
KOGO, San Diego Debuts New Lineup; Chip Franklin Exits AM Drive. After a six-year run at KOGO, San Diego, Chip Franklin exits the station as the programming lineup is tweaked at the Clear Channel news/talker. Moving into AM drive is former afternoon personality Chris Merrill. He’s followed by Rush Limbaugh. At 12:00 noon, LaDona Harvey – who had been partnered with Franklin in AM drive – is on air solo from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Bob “Sully” Sullivan moves from the early afternoon slot into PM drive. Franklin came to San Diego after a long and successful run at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore. He tells the San Diego Union Times he has no hard feelings about the change. “I had a great run at KOGO, and they have and continue to treat me in a highly professional manner. Believe it or not, I have been very lucky. I still have a lot of great friends there and I sincerely wish them the very best. The new morning guy, Chris Merrill, is a friend and a tremendous talent. Don’t underestimate him.”
Salem Communications to Move New York Stations into Current WOR Facilities. Salem Communications announces it will move its two New York properties – news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA – from their current New Jersey location to Lower Manhattan into what is now the studios of Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR in the Trinity Building next to Trinity Church at 111 Broadway where WOR has been located since 2006. Since Clear Channel bought WOR from Buckley Broadcasting more than a year ago, plans have been made for WOR to move into CC’s larger New York studios. Salem VP director of spoken word format and regional VP for New York Phil Boyce says, “Salem has a major commitment to winning in New York and this move will help us take both stations to the next level. We know for years great radio came out of this building when it housed WOR and now we have the opportunity to continue that tradition with both WMCA and ‘AM 970 The Answer.’ As an added plus, WMCA, known as ‘New York’s Christian Talk,’ will be re-locating next door to historic Trinity Church, founded in 1697, as the oldest church in New York City. There is some divine providence going on here, as WMCA, which is licensed to the city of New York now moves next door to the oldest church.” The move is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
CHRIS PENDL: Help Your Best Clients Thrive in Local Searches. Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl writes that some of radio’s best advertisers can be the most difficult to find when it comes to mobile-based local searches. What’s more, there can be a huge difference between how one of your clients rates on a desktop search and where they rate – if at all – on a mobile search. Pendl notes, “With smartphone ownership now 56% among American adults, searching on smartphones is increasingly becoming a part of the consumer’s journey before making a purchase. A recent local search study revealed, there’s an 87% increase in local searches via mobile apps. It is in this mobile space where some of radio’s best advertisers, local and regional businesses, have poor visibility and are often non-existent.” Pendl offers simple solutions to help your valuable advertisers appear where they should in mobile searches. Read his column here.
KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle Scores Exclusive Interview with ‘Green River Killer.’ This morning, Sinclair Radio’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle begins broadcasting an exclusive interview series with serial killer Gary Ridgway, conducted by the station’s Charlie Harger. Titled, “Voice of Evil,” it begins with a special preview at 7:15 am (PT) on ‘KOMO Newsradio.’ Reports will be broadcast at 7:15 am, 12:15 pm and 5:15 pm all this week and mark the culmination of a near year-long investigation. The station says “Harger spoke exclusively with Ridgway on six separate occasions in what are the killer’s only media interviews since his incarceration in 2001. Ridgway was convicted on 49 counts of murder but reveals to KOMO that he committed many more. In his conversation with Harger, Ridgway shares frightening details of his crimes, tells detectives where to look for additional remains and even explains why he did it. Is he sorry? KOMO posed that question to the man serving a life sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla and his answer stunned the veteran reporter.” Harger adds, “I think it’s important that people understand just why we’re giving voice to a guy like this. People deserve answers and the families deserve some kind of closure.” KOMO-AM/FM program director Paul Duckworth adds, “It’s also about justice. There are a number of unsolved cases and we’re hopeful that our investigation will prompt the task force to reopen its investigation.”
KNX, Los Angeles to Present Health Care Town Hall. CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting an “unprecedented town hall event and day-long series of special reports, titled ‘KNX 1070 Healthcare Uncovered,’ on Thursday, October 3 giving Californians a broad range of information about choosing health insurance under the newly enacted Affordable Care Act.” The station reports that more than a dozen guest speakers representing various entities involved with healthcare reform, from federal, state and local officials to health professionals and consumer advocates, will appear at the town hall forum at The Autry in Los Angeles from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Guests will include Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, the state’s overseer and marketplace for health insurance coverage beginning in January 2014. Also scheduled to appear are Herb K. Schultz, regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services; Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog; Victor Parker, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Janice Rocco, California’s deputy insurance commissioner; Rocky Delgadillo, CEO of the L.A. County Medical Association, and many others including doctors and consumers of different demographics. The event will be hosted and moderated by KNX news anchors Diane Thompson, Bob McCormick and Frank Mottek and investigative reporter Charles Feldman who is co-producing the event with Laraine Herman. Feldman states, “This is the biggest change to our healthcare system since Medicare was rolled out in 1966 and a lot of people are confused. Because this law is so new, we’re bringing together panelists with knowledge covering a wealth of issues so that whether you’re self-employed, a business owner, the head of household or just entering the workforce, we’ll provide answers to questions you’ve never had to think about before.”
Haaga Gets Nod As NPR’s Acting President/CEO. Two-year NPR board member Paul Haaga, Jr. is named acting president/chief executive officer. The appointment takes effect at the end of this month for Haaga, who most recently was vice chair of the board and finance committee chair. He will succeed Gary Knell, who leaves for similar duties at the National Geographic Society. “Paul has made many valuable contributions to NPR during his tenure on the board,” comments NPR board chair Kit Jensen. “His intimate knowledge of our organization, his unwavering commitment to the highest quality of journalism and programming, and his financial acumen make him particularly well-suited to lead NPR as we begin our search for a permanent chief executive.” The retired chair of the board of Capital Research and Management Company, Haaga is the former chair of the Investment Company Institute, and he was a senior attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s leading providers of news, music, and cultural programming on an interim basis,” he remarks. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board and senior leadership team to help this great organization build on its success.” The former National Public Radio renamed itself NPR in July 2010.
Star Over Orlando Retakes Control of WRSO, Orlovista, Florida; Doubles Transmitting Power. Star Over Orlando operators Carl Como Tutera and his son Carmine announce they have taken back WRSO, Orlovista which operates as a sports talk outlet carrying CBS Sports Radio Network programming. The Tuteras also announce that they have received FCC approval to increase the daytime power to 20 kw and the night-time power to 1 kw — double the power of its original license. Earlier in the week, the FCC placed the Carl Como Tutera FM Translator application for Channel 226 in Orlando on a ‘singleton’ list for the operation of an FM on 93.1 with 250 Watts of Power. The pair built the AM station in 2005 and it began operations in early 2006. WRSO operates from a studio location in Altamonte Springs and at a tower site in Orlando. They say CBS Sports will continue to be an affiliate and be heard on both the AM and FM.
Jerry Sharell Stable After Being Held Hostage, Stabbed. The Los Angeles radio and music communities remain stunned this morning following news that broke last night involving former five-year (1987 – 1992) Westwood One senior vice president of talent marketing Jerry Sharell, who was reportedly held hostage and attacked in Woodland Hills (San Fernando Valley – Los Angeles). Sharell was with his girlfriend when her ex-husband was said to have arrived with flowers and a machete at approximately 8:00 am yesterday (Sunday, 9/15). He apparently held the couple hostage for more than three hours. “Sometime during that time, [Sharell] had been stabbed repeatedly,” Los Angeles Police Department sergeant Jeff Nuttal told KABC-TV, Los Angeles. The woman was injured when she tried to halt the attack, but was able to escape and called authorities. Police say that owing to a history of domestic violence, she had a restraining order against her ex-husband. Sharell, who hosts “Sundays with Sinatra” on Los Angeles public outlet KKJZ “KJazz” – is in critical, but stable condition at Northridge Medical Center with injuries to his head and neck. The unidentified attacker turned the weapon on himself; his condition is listed as critical as well but both he and Sharell are expected to survive. The alleged attacker is in police custody at the hospital. Sharell was co-executive producer of Ronnie Milsap‘s 2004 Grammy-nominated “Just for a Thrill” album. He began his career as a Mercury Records promotion rep, before joining Main Line Distributors in 1962. Sharell held executive positions at Buddah Records and A&M Records. He has helped the careers of artists such as Herb Alpert, Jackson Browne, Carpenters, Cars, Joe Cocker, Eagles, Curtis Mayfield, Joni Mitchell, Queen, Linda Ronstadt, and Carly Simon. He is past president of City of Hope, Entertainment Division, and is on the advisory board of MusiCares. From 2002 – 2010, he was president/CEO for the non-profit Society of Singers. Sharell’s wife of 48 years, Joanne, recently died after losing her fight against cancer.
‘Boomer & Carton’ Off MSG Network as Contract Expires. Last week TALKERS reported that the Yankees-owned YES Network is in talks with WFAN, New York’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to do a cable TV simulcast of their AM drive show on the CBS Radio sports talk station. Up until last week, the duo had been seen on the Madison Square Garden Network (MSG), but that deal elapsed on Friday and for now, Boomer & Carton are only available on the radio.
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s WEEI, Boston adds ESPN “Monday Night Football” play-by-play voice Mike Tirico to its stable of football experts. Tirico will call in to the Salk & Holley show every Thursday afternoon at 4:30 throughout the season…..Plain Talk Radio Network’s internet radio show “Talk Live with Peter Gantenbein” – a “weekly news and commentary program that engages in straight talk not for the faint of heart,” has been recognized as must-hear radio with an “Editor’s Pick” recognition from Windows Media Guide…..Good Karma flips WEFL, Tequesta, Florida to Spanish–language sports talk using ESPN Deportes. The company had been simulcasting English-language sports on WEFL and WUUB-FM, Jupiter and the latter remains English-language sports talk…..CRN Digital Talk Radio‘s popular wine dinners return to Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 17. Tobin James of Tobin James Winery in Paso Robles pairs a variety of wines with a prix fixe menu at Colombo’s Italian Steak and Jazz Club at 1833 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock. CRN CEO and president Michael Horn says, “People still talk about our Tobin James wine dinner from a few years ago. Toby brings a world-class selection of wines people enjoy. He’s also a fun, down-to-earth person that everyone relates to. Colombo’s provides a great atmosphere and delicious food that will make the night all that more special.”…..Today ABC Radio re-launches its popular “Dancing with the Stars” station on Slacker, providing fans with behind-the-scenes access to the ABC hit reality TV show. Now in its third season, “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will deliver an on-demand audio experience and unlimited access to key moments throughout the competition. Each week “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will follow the Season 17 cast as they battle it out on the dance floor for the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. Season 17 of “Dancing with the Stars” premieres on tonight on the ABC Television Network.
Newhouse School Presents Audio Industry Summit. The half-day event will take place in New York City on Friday, September 27 and will feature two panels of experts from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon at Syracuse University Lubin House, 11 E 61st St. The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. RSVP with your name and professional affiliation to Ed Gorham at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, September 18. Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham states, “Given the seismic shifts in radio and newer audio platforms, much attention is being paid to the medium’s future. It is crucial that we understand where the industry is headed so we can appropriately prepare our students. We want to hear from thought leaders in management, programming and other key areas so we can get a better handle on best practices in radio moving forward.” Industry players attending will include: Jeff Smulyan, founder and CEO of Emmis Communications; Dan Mason, president and CEO of CBS Radio; Buzz Knight, vice president of program development for Greater Media; Chris Oliviero, executive vice president of programming for CBS Radio; Deon Levingston, vice president and general manager at WBLS Radio (New York); Kevin Straley, vice president of programming at TuneIn; and Ed Levine, president and CEO of Galaxy Communications, among others.
WBEN, Buffalo to Flip Programming. Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN will move late morning talk show host Tom Bauerle to the PM drive slot currently held by Buffalo market legend Sandy Beach and Beach will shift to the late morning show. Both personalities have been in their current time slots for long periods – Bauerle for the past 11 years after moving to WBEN from the company’s sister sports talk station WGR. The change is expected to take place at the end of July.
How to Be a Talk Show Host. In a candid, tell-it-like-it-is piece posted today (7/22) WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse talk star and TALKERS columnist Bob Lonsberry draws upon his vast experience and presents a point-by-point tutorial on how to be a talk show host…or at least how to be a GOOD one. He basically breaks it down to five steps: 1) ignore anyone who tries to tell you how to be a talk show host; 2) focus on listeners; 3) don’t suck; 4) remember that callers are only a tool; 5) stand for something; and 6) get out of the studio. To read all the juicy details, please click here.
Kevin McCullough to Host Daily Local Talk Show on WMCA, New York. Salem Communications announces talk media pro and digital entrepreneur Kevin McCullough will begin hosting a daily one-hour talk show on Christian teaching-formatted WMCA, New York on August 5. Salem states this is a return to WMCA for McCullough who has also been heard on the company’s KKLA, Los Angeles and WMBI and WYLL in Chicago. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “Kevin has proven to be one of the true up-and-coming voices in Christian talk radio and we are delighted he will be able to join our team. His afternoon program will be live and local, tackling issues of concern going on locally and in the world with a Christian world view.” In a statement, Salem says McCullough’s program will include discussion with local ministers about their concerns and how our listeners can relate to and understand major world events in a biblical perspective. “The addition of Kevin will allow WMCA to truly reflect the attitude of the city we serve, and be more responsive to community concerns,” according to WMCA vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley. McCullough continues his talk programs produced and syndicated via his own XtreMEDIA.
NBC Sports Radio Network Lands WCAR, Detroit as Affiliate; Move Adds Fuel to Greater Media Sports Talk Flip. Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Detroit is the newest affiliate for the NBC Sports–Dial Global sports talk radio initiative branded NBC Sports Talk Radio. From the sound of the press release it appears the station will carry most if not all of the network’s programming in addition to NFL games distributed by Dial Global. WCAR had been an ESPN Radio affiliate and this move strengthens the suspicions that ESPN will find a partner in Greater Media which is strongly rumored to be prepared to flip AC WMGC, Detroit “Today’s 105.1” to sports talk in August.
‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ Gets Media Attention for ‘Homeless Vet’ Sting. When WGRD, Grand Rapids-based, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated morning show “Free Beer & Hot Wings” heard about panhandlers posing as homeless veterans to gain sympathy and earn more money, they sent Producer Joe to a corner in Grand Rapids where a panhandler named Rudy was doing just that. In fact, Rudy had admitted to local TV station WZZM that he was not a veteran. According to AllMichigan.com, and as you can see in the WGRD photo here, Producer Joe showed up where Rudy was panhandling sporting a cardboard sign reading “Liar,” causing Rudy to ride off on a mountain bike. Producer Joe came back to the location the next day and “panhandled” to raise $1,085 for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. WGRD matched the funds and $2,170 was donated to the home.
The Dismal State of the Radio Remote. According to radio sales and marketing maven Al Herskovitz, TALKERS columnist and president of H&H Communications, the age old programming/sales tool known as the “remote” — which has fallen on hard times — still has the potential to be a winner in the sports talk genre. The remote on-location broadcast was once a staple in the sales rep’s arsenal. It almost has disappeared from the airwaves, particularly from talk radio — and for logical reasons, too. The strength of the talk format comes from the right and left, pro and con, political and social issues topics. A remote could possibly generate a partisan flash mob that might trash Charlie’s Auto Parts and Car Wash. That’s the last thing “good ole Charlie” would want. This is aside from the currently popular radio rows which are not commercially sponsored events for stations or programs and not meant to draw crowds to the location. In a new column posted today (7/22) Herskovitz breaks down the challenges that must be overcome and cites opportunities still ripe for exploitation in doing remotes. To read it, please click here.
Jeff Katz Commentary Added to Arkansas Talk Station. Boston-based talk radio personality Jeff Katz’s “The Katz Commentary” is heard three times daily on WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts. Now, Katz gets his daily feature added to the program schedule in Central Arkansas on Saline River Media’s news/talk KEWI, Benton. Katz says, “I am thrilled that the voice of Central Arkansas will be adding ‘The Katz Commentary’ to its great lineup. I’m working hard on my Razorback yell, as well.”
Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The “intensive, 10-day event,” organized by Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System in cooperation with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and Western Kentucky University kicks off the Radio Talent Institute at the school today. The Institute begins with opening comments from WKU President Gary Ransdell; Dean David Lee of Potter College, WKU; and director of journalism and broadcasting, WKU, Dr. Loup Langton, along with Rick McCue from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and WBKO TV. Former broadcaster, now assistant professor at WKU, Dick Taylor will moderate the event. Sixteen students from the region have been accepted into this year’s Institute. Those students will hear from 36 radio professionals, including Bud Walters, president/owner of the Cromwell Group, Nashville; Steve Newberry, president/CEO, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Glasgow; Christine Hillard, president/COO of Forever Communications, Bowling Green; with Ed Henson of Henson Media, Louisville, opening the institute with “Getting in, Becoming an Entrepreneur.” Also instructing during the event are: Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media leading a session on “On Air, Developing Your Voice, Your Style…You”; Morning Mouth publisher Don Anthony who will deliver “How to Get a Good Job”; plus news/talk radio sessions by WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and WKU public radio morning host, reporter and producer Joseph Corcoran. This is the second Radio Talent Institute of the summer and Vallie states, “These students are starting their careers in radio, and we are developing the next generation of broadcasters. The students come with enthusiasm and passion for the business, and it’s very impressive how industry professionals sacrifice their time to come to the campus to teach sessions and give back to the industry.”
Odds & Sods. Matt Dery exits CBS Radio’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit where he was afternoon sports anchor on the Valenti & Foster program after the station did not renew his contract…..Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco renews its deal with IMG College to carry University of California football play-by-play and adds Men’s basketball games to the five-year deal.
Burt Sherwood • Burt Sherwood & Associates
This interview was conducted by Sandi Bergman
Sandi: What did you do before becoming a media broker?
Sherwood: I am a broadcaster. I started out as an announcer in 1947 and went from WWXL Peoria Illinois to WMCA New York. I was there to help usher in the beginning of Rock and Roll. Following that (immediately before brokering) I became a General Manager of radio stations, and stockholder in some, including Brattleboro, VT (WTSA) Portland, Me (WLOB) and Albany, NY (WTRY). Other stations that I managed and/or held stock included WNHC, New Haven, CT; WMEE /WMEF Ft. Wayne, IN (plus others in the group); WIBG, Philadelphia; and WMAQ/WKQX, Chicago, for NBC.
Entercom Donates $25k to The One Fund. Entercom operates rock WAAF, news/talk WRKO and sports talk outlets WEEI-FM and WEEI-AM but the donation to The One Fund to assist in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing comes from the company as a whole, states Boston VP and market manager Jeff Brown, “On behalf of over 2,000 Entercom employees across the country and our incredible Entercom team here in Boston, we are honored to donate $25,000 to The One Fund to help assist the victims and the families of the Boston Marathon tragedy.”
Peter Thiele Leaves Salem Communications’ WNYM and WMCA, New York. Talk radio programmer Peter Thiele is exiting his program director position at Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “970 The Answer” and its sister Christian outlet WMCA where he’s been for the past five years. He and his family plan to relocate to San Antonio, Texas in early May. Thiele states, “I want to thank Phil Boyce, Jerry Crowley, Dave Santrella and the rest of the Salem team.” Thiele tells TALKERS magazine that this decision is his and plans to use his experience in branding and marketing to help businesses grow. If you would like to reach out to Peter, his email address is email@example.com or call him at 646-926-6581.
Minneapolis Talk Host Apologizes After Comments About Newtown Families. KTCN, Minneapolis morning drive co-host Bob Davis – half of the Emmer and Davis morning program – apologized to the families of the Newtown massacre almost a week after making comments in connection with the move for gun legislation. According to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, on April 12 Davis said, “I have something I want to say to the victims of Newtown or any other shooting, I don’t care if it’s here in Minneapolis or anyplace else: Just because a bad thing happened to you doesn’t mean that you get to put a king in charge of my life. I’m sorry that you suffered a tragedy, but you know what? Deal with it, and don’t force me to lose my liberty, which is a greater tragedy than your loss. I’m sick and tired of seeing these victims trotted out, given rides on Air Force One, hauled into the Senate well, and everyone is … terrified of these victims. I would stand in front of them and tell them, ‘Go to hell.’” The paper reports that a couple of days later he tried to explain his comments, then four days after that issued an apology for the “pain those words may have caused.” Sandy Hook, Connecticut resident Bob Greene posted a comment on the Star-Tribune website and sent Davis an email offering to pay his air fare for him to come to Connecticut and repeat the words he said in front of the Newtown families. Greene says he has not had a reply from Davis. The paper’s report of the incident notes the program lost one advertiser over the affair.
Sabo Sez: Regardless of No-Buy Lists, Controversy Is Good for Radio and Should Be Sold as Such. According to noted radio consultant Walter Sabo, for decades TV shows promoting murder, violence, unmarried sex partners (Gilmore Girls) and anal bleaching (TMZ), have commanded high rates for spots from General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Sony, Verizon, AT&T and all your favorites. Why aren’t those shows on do-not-buy lists? In a new column posted today, Sabo writes, “It’s because watching those shows is not a profound, intimate experience. Those shows are watched passively. They command no engagement resulting in no complaints. However their content is as ‘controversial’ as any radio show and they have the bonus of a visual component.” Sabo continues, “Listening to a talk radio show is a 100% foreground experience. Unlike music, talking on the radio commands 100% attention. The listener is ENGAGED with the show. The big buzzword at the ad agencies right now is ENGAGEMENT. An emotional listener is an engaged listener. Happy, angry, passionate listeners are worth a premium price per spot.” To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, click here.
WXOS, St. Louis Pairs Up Anthony Stalter with Chris Duncan for Middays. Hubbard Broadcasting’s St. Louis sports talker “101 ESPN” fills the midday show being vacated by Bernie Miklasz with afternoon drive co-host (and former St. Louis Cardinals star) Chris Duncan and sports talk pro Anthony Stalter. The show will debut on May 1 and doesn’t have a name but WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter have proven themselves as show hosts in other time slots, and listeners have really responded to both of them on the air. We’re confident that they will work well together as co-hosts, and we’re looking forward to their show’s debut next month.” Duncan has been with the station since 2011 and most recently was one of the three co-hosts of the PM drive show “The Fast Lane.” Stalter has been with WXOS since March of 2012. He broke into sports radio with Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit and served as the station’s on-site producer for Pistons’ broadcasts. He was also a reporter for both Pistons and Lions postgame coverage. As a journalist, he was an NFL columnist for the WashingtonPost.com’s expert panel, “The League,” and he continues to write NFL-related columns for 101sports.com.
CMG Names Russell Lawson GSM for Athens and Gainesville, Georgia Stations. Russell Lawson moves up from Cox Media Group’s news/talk WOKV, Jacksonville where he’s been an account manager for the past five years to become the general sales manager for the company’s Athens and Gainesville, Georgia stations that include: country WNGC, news/talk WGAU, AC WGMG “Magic 102.1,” CHR WPUP “Power 100.1,” adult hits WXKT “103.7 Chuck FM,” and sports talk WRFC “960 The Ref.” Cluster VP and general manager Scott Smith states, “We are excited to have Russell join our team and to be able to tap into CMG’s top internal sales talent. His multi-faceted experience in a variety of radio sales situations, and dedication to his craft, will make him an asset to CMG Athens/ Gainesville.”
Times Are Tough Enough – Be a Pro! Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently of Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa – writes about his recent mistakes that have left him on the beach as well as the highly publicized departure of a Boston sports talk host. Sileo says he’s learned valuable lessons that other radio personalities should take to heart. Read his piece here.
The Conclave Hires Phil Strider. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon announces radio veteran Phil Strider has been hired to create and sell sponsorships for “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” scheduled for July 17-19 at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis. Commenting on the hiring, Shannon says, “My ideal candidate needed to have national sales experience, a programing background, and have an intimate knowledge of how special the Conclave is. Phil’s got it all. ” Strider’s background includes independent syndication services as well as management, sales and programming stints at Westwood One; Jones Radio Network; Metro Networks; KZOK, Seattle; and KBPI, Denver.
Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Immigration Reform, Gun Legislation, Internet Tax Proposal, Bush Presidential Library, and North Korea Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The ongoing search for information about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and their motives; new questions about what immigration reform legislation should contain; ongoing legislative attempts to change state and federal gun laws; proposals to change tax laws for internet purchases; the opening of the Bush Presidential Library; and North Korea’s treats against the U.S. and South Korea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
How Do You Know It’s a Good Topic and That It Will Work Where You’re Broadcasting? That’s a great question with an increasing number of radio talk show hosts working “locally” by remote on more than one station or simply being syndicated across a region or the entire nation. So, TALKERS magazine went to a broadcaster who is eminently qualified to answer the question – Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, a member of the TALKERS Heavy hundred — who hosts mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on “The Weekend” show. He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others. Pags writes, “Many years ago, I thought it was easy to gauge. Whatever gets the phone ringing, right? Not so much. I take a lot of phone calls. I’d say more than you might hear on other shows. But, I insist they be of substance and advance the conversation or be really funny and entertaining. Making the phones ring, it turns out, is easy. ‘Abortion, for or against? Here’s the number.’ That’s sure to melt the lines down and guaranteed to be a horrible show. Those blinking lights are addictive and the interaction intoxicating, but I once heard a stat that showed 2% of all listeners will ever call into a radio show. How do you make sure you’re engaging the other 98% as well?” Read Pags’ entire article here.
WCCO, Minneapolis Adds Weekend Food Show. The CBS Radio news/talk station announces Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl brings her food writing talents to the WCCO lineup, hosting a one-hour show called “Off The Menu” beginning March 2. Grumdahl, is a senior editor at Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, she’s been the top voice in Twin Cities food since her work as City Pages restaurant critic (1997 to 2008,) launched her to national prominence with a string of James Beard Awards, the highest award of the food world. WCCO program director Bob Shomper says, “WCCO has a long and rich history of food and nutrition, from the recipe shows and farm reports of the past to the latest dining trends and nutritional information of today. Dara is the Twin Cities’ premier expert on food. She will bring WCCO’s tradition of nutritional information to new heights, on all platforms, on-air, online and on mobile devices. We are thrilled to have her on the WCCO team.”
Talk Host Ralph Bailey Exits KNZR, Bakersfield. Afternoon drive talk host Ralph Bailey resigns suddenly from his position with the Buckley Broadcasting station and although he gives no hint of where he may surface, The Bakersfield Californian speculates he may be headed for American General Media’s crosstown KERN. Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, in part, “It was with a heavy heart that I tendered my resignation to Buckley Radio today. However, future opportunities and challenges make it virtually impossible not to seek out new adventures. I would like to thank Steve Darnell, Kathy Baker and, posthumously, Rick Buckley. To my colleagues, I hope I was a team player who made the station and the client top priority and someone who grasped the concept of pulling on one side of the rope. To my sponsors, I hope I played a small role in your success and thank you for your support!”
Boston Sports Talk Host Gets Terrestrial Outlet. Boston native Danny Picard – whose “I’m Just Sayin’” sports talk show appeared on recent editions of TALKERS magazine’s Frontier Fifty feature spotlighting internet-only talk radio hosts – gets his daily program added to the schedule at Blackstrap Broadcasting’s WUFC, Boston “NBC Sports Radio.” The show is a simulcast of his 9:00 am to 10:00 am internet program but Picard tells TALKERS it is “essentially the same show I do now, only I’ll no longer be broadcasting from my South Boston living room apartment. I’ll be broadcasting from the 1510 NBC Sports Radio Boston studios on Marina Bay.” Picard says he’s excited about the development. “I’ve been hosting this show for a while now, and it’s a thrill to finally be heard on an AM signal in Boston every weekday. I’m extremely passionate about what I do, and I look forward to expressing my passion to an expanding audience.” Picard began doing his program from his University of Massachusetts-Amherst apartment in 2006. He’s been covering all the major pro sports teams at Comcast SportsNet New England for the CSNNE.com site since it launched in 2009. Picard continues his role with Comcast SportsNet. Photo by Jennifer Bodnar.
The Tom Joyner Syndrome – without the Expensive Planes! Pictured here are two coast-to-coast broadcasting adventures. First, at left are KRLA, Los Angeles “Morning Answer” co-hosts Brian Whitman (left) and Ben Shapiro (right) from their studios at Salem Los Angeles (Heidi Harris also co-hosts the morning show on KRLA). On Thursday, February 21 the two pulled double duty by filling in on Salem’s New York news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” for Curtis Sliwa’s and Jeffrey Lichtman’s PM drive show as both were on vacation. At the same time, New York City-based Kevin McCullough (at right), whose nationally syndicated broadcast airs mornings on his longtime flagship AM 570 WMCA in New York, has been pulling double duty in Los Angeles on Salem’s Christian talk station 99.5 KKLA-FM in afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 7:00 pm PT). Kevin McCullough began doing the afternoon show in Los Angeles after the tragic Thanksgiving week motorcycle accident that eventually claimed the life of Salem personality Frank Pastore. McCullough is pictured here Thursday evening doing the KKLA-FM show from the studios of New York-based XtreMEDIA.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson is added to the lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..Michael Patrick Shiels adds country outlet WQTX, Lansing, Michigan to his affiliate list for his statewide AM drive show. The add marks Shiels’ return to Lansing after exiting Cumulus Media’s WJIM a year ago and sitting out a non-compete…..Fox Sports Radio Network announces KGGS, Garden City, Kansas adds the network’s entire daily lineup as the station re-brands as “Big Dog Sports 1340”…..Dial Global and NBC’s NBC Sports Radio sign an agreement for Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM, Portland to carry their content…..Gow Broadcasting-operated Yahoo! Sports Radio adds affiliate KMZQ, Las Vegas for its sports talk programming…..“Right Turn Radio” – a program about addiction and mental health hosted by Woody Geissman and Abby Dean – now airs on WRKO, Boston Sundays at 7:00 pm. The show is a production of Right Turn, a local non-profit that provides innovative outpatient treatment and supporting housing for addicts…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds new affiliate KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.
Sequestration and Deficit Reduction Top Talk Radio Topics for Week of February 18-22. The battle in Washington over the looming sequestration and the related calls for deficit reduction were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was immigration reform. At #3 was soaring gasoline prices followed by the costs of ObamaCare at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Salem Communications Ups Sean O’Neil in NYC; Names Jerry Crowley VP/GM of WNYM and WMCA. Former WOR, New York general manager Jerry Crowley joins the Salem Communications New York operations as vice president and general manager of news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian WMCA “New York’s Christian Talk.” Sean O’Neil is promoted from GM to market manager for the NYC cluster. Crowley, who had been with Buckley Broadcasting until late December when Clear Channel assumed control of WOR, reports to Salem Communications vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce. He states, “With Jerry’s longtime tenure running one of the nation’s leading talk radio stations, we could not have found a better match for our stations in New York. I admired Jerry’s work across town during my 14 years programming WABC. To get him on my new team at Salem is a huge opportunity to grow the station’s revenue and make an impact in New York radio.”
Talk Host Steve Gill to End Radio Program. Nashville, Tennessee-based talk host Steve Gill announces he will end his nationally syndicated talk program – including the local appearance on Clear Channel’s WLAC from which he operates – and focus his energy on his Gill Media enterprise that provides consulting and has seen him an increasing amount of public speaking. Gill reports to TALKERS that “as part of the expansion plan under the Gill Media umbrella, his Gill Report published at www.gillreport.com will broaden its platform as the ‘go-to’ source for news and commentaries while introducing a variety of new ventures and service offerings. The media company strives to enable its clients to better utilize both traditional and new media opportunities to communicate more effectively within various mediums.” Speaking about leaving his talk show, Gill states, “While I have truly enjoyed my tenure at Radio America and WLAC, the commitment and restrictions associated with a daily, weekday morning show limit my ability to thrive in the areas where I can truly ‘give back’ in a more hands-on, one-on-one format. Our time on the air has allowed us to make a difference, particularly in the political arena. Rather than simply talking about the problems we face, I am excited to redirect our focus from radio to support clients, small businesses and individuals in a creative, results-oriented environment.”
KKOB, Albuquerque Notches 50th Straight Arbitron Book at #1 12-Plus. Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque garnered a 7.6 share in the Fall 2012 Arbitron book (Mon-Sun 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight) and hitting the top spot in the market for the 50th straight ratings period. Operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS, “When you think about it, that’s a long time – 12 ½ years at #1. I hear it is the longest streak of any talk station in the top 70 markets. I have been here 13 ½ years now. And Rush and Hannity blew away the competition in middays 12-plus with an 11.2 share.”
Big NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend for Dial Global. The play-by-play of this weekend’s NFL playoff games is carried exclusively on radio by Dial Global. The schedule is as follows: on Saturday the Baltimore Ravens take on the Denver Broncos. Kevin Kugler has the play-by-play, along with analyst Mark Malone and sideline reporter Scott Kaplan. The action continues when the Green Bay Packers meet the San Francisco 49ers. Kevin Harlan serves as play-by-play announcer, along with Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Hub Arkush as sideline reporter. On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks go head-to-head with the Atlanta Falcons. Dave Sims has the play-by-play, with Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and sideline reporter Tony Boselli. Following the conclusion of that game, the Houston Texans face the New England Patriots. Ian Eagle has the play-by-play, along with analyst Trent Green and sideline reporter Lewis Johnson. Scott Graham hosts the pregame, halftime and postgame shows for all four broadcasts.
Matt Rodriguez Named General Sales Manager at KFWB, Los Angeles. He comes to the KFWB Asset Trust news/talk station from Amaturo Group Ltd.’s Southern California cluster where he served as general manager. Matt Rodriguez will be in charge of the sales efforts for its news and talk programming as well as Los Angeles Clippers basketball. General manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Putting Matt in charge of our overall sales and sports efforts is a great win for KFWB. He has raised the bar in generating sales wherever he’s worked and is a valuable addition to our team.”
Award-Winning Journalist Jane Robelot Anchors WMUU, Greenville, South Carolina Morning News. Former CBS News correspondent and anchor Jane Robelot begins her position with Salem Communications’ WMUU, Greenville, South Carolina “Conservative Talk 94.5” today (1/10). Robelot worked for CBS News in New York from 1995 through 1999 where she co-anchored “CBS This Morning.” While at CBS News in New York, she won two national Emmy awards for journalistic excellence, and a national Emmy nomination. Robelot returned to her hometown of Greenville in 2006 where she and her husband, Mario DeCarvalho, created their own production company, Carolina Zoom Productions. She is a contributing anchor and reporter for Hearst-owned NBC affiliate, WYFF-TV in Greenville. In 2009, Jane and her team won the prestigious Peabody Award for “Chronicle: Paul’s Gift,” a documentary about organ donation. She also co-hosts a nationally syndicated Christian radio program, “Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.”
Crain Media Moves Little Rock Talk Station; Adds Full Time Sports Outlet. Little Rock-based Crain Media announces it is moving the news/talk programming on KKSP — “Fresh Talk” — from its 93.3 FM dial position to the 96.5 position currently occupied by CHR KHTE beginning today (Thursday, January 10). The station will add Cumulus Media’s Mike Huckabee and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller in the midday where sports talk shows currently air. At the same time, the company is debuting a new full-time sports talk station branded “Fox Sports Radio FM93.3 Little Rock” using Fox Sports Radio Network programming as well as local shows “Game On with Wess and Michael” and Bo Mattingly’s sports talk show. Station president Tatum Owenby says, “Our goal is to provide the Little Rock metro area with the most relevant and entertaining sports talk programming. We are confident that Fox Sports Radio’s first-class lineup, combined with quality local content, will be a perfect fit for the sports fans in our market.”
WNTB and WLTT, Wilmington, NC Combo Adds Local Shows. The Wilmington, North Carolina simulcast of WNTB, Topsail Beach and WLTT, Bolivia – owned by Hometown Wilmington Media and branded as “The Big Talker 93.7 & 106.3” – announces two new local programs. Port City Daily sports writer and local media personality Joe Catenacci will begin hosting a one-hour daily sports talk show from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Monday, January 14. Also, local community leader L.S. “Bo” Dean Jr. debuts the Saturday morning “Hometown Solutions” show dedicated to featuring citizens, organizations and businesses that are agents of change in the local community focused on generating success for health and wellness, education, employment, economic development and other facets impacting quality of life in the Cape Fear region. Program director Aimee Bowen states, “We are very excited to launch these two new programs that highlight the regional citizens and organizations working toward a better tomorrow and our incredible local sports scene.”
WXOS, St. Louis Debuts New Weekend Programs. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces three new weekend programs: “The Hot Corner” airs Saturdays from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm hosted by 101 ESPN’s Cardinals insider Brian Stull and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Cardinals columnist Derrick Goold will be talking all things Cardinals baseball; “MMA Hit Squad” a show dedicated to mixed martial arts/ultimate fighting starts January 19 and airs from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Saturdays. It will be hosted by Jesse Finney and Chad Range; and, with the return of NHL hockey, “St. Louis Faceoff Today” begins airing Sundays from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm hosted by Fox Sports Midwest St. Louis Blues play-by-play voice John Kelly and St. Louis Post-Dispatch Blues beat reporter Jeremy Rutherford. WXOS program director Kent Sterling states, “The next step in the growth of 101 ESPN will be in the weekends. St. Louis is a seven-day-a-week sports town, and where there is hunger for unique content, 101ESPN will provide it.”
Happy Birthday, Charles Osgood! Respected veteran Dial Global radio personality Charles Osgood, host of the popular “Osgood File” broadcasts, celebrated his 80th birthday on Tuesday. He’s pictured here posing for a photo in his newly revamped studio. He’s holding a plaque presented by Dial Global executives and featuring a rhyme by his late father, “Early to bed, early to rise. Work like a dog and advertise.”
Biden Gun Control Meeting/Executive Order Threat, Morgan-Jones CNN Debate, Obama Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal Proposal, and ‘All My Babies’ Mamas’ Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9). Vice President Joe Biden’s gun control meeting and threat of executive order to change gun laws; the contentious debate over gun laws between CNN’s Piers Morgan and talk host Alex Jones; the proposal to draw down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the flap over the Oxygen channel’s “All My Babies’ Mamas” program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phil Boyce Takes on Operations Role at Salem Communications’ New York Cluster. Talk radio programming pro Phil Boyce already serves as VP/director of spoken word format for Salem Communications but he’s adding the operational vice president for the New York cluster title to his business card. That means he’s directly in charge of operations for WNYM “970 The Answer” and Christian talk outlet WMCA. Salem Communications president David Santrella says, “Phil’s innate understanding of the New York market, particularly as it relates to news/talk, as well as his day-to-day proximity to the operation, has led us to the decision to ask Phil to take on the additional role of operational VP for the New York cluster. Phil will continue to work with all of our stations as VP director, spoken word format.” Program director Peter Thiele remains in his position as Boyce’s charge is to oversee the station’s revenue and assist all departments in that effort. Other changes from Salem Communications include Salem regional VP Linnae Young, who has overseen the New York cluster, taking on the oversight of the Tampa cluster that includes news/talk WGUL, Christian talk WTBN, and news/talk WLSS, Sarasota. In Louisville, Salem regional VP Mike Moran will assume oversight of news/talk WGTK, and Christian talk WFIA-AM/FM.
Mike Gastineau to Exit KJR, Seattle. Longtime sports talker Mike “Gasman” Gastineau announces he’ll leave Clear Channel’s sports KJR, Seattle where he currently hosts the PM drive show with co-host Elise. Gastineau has been with KJR since 1991 and was originally partnered with Rick DuPree in middays. He’s been in the midday slot for the past 19 years. In a statement explaining his departure, Gastineau says, “Since 1991 I have hosted more than 5,000 shows on KJR and I’ve reached a point where I’d like to explore other creative options. KJR’s management has been incredibly understanding and supportive of my decision. I’m proud to have been able to give Seattle fans a voice in these incredibly important debates. I always strived to do three things on the show – be funny, entertaining and give people a place for reasonable debate on sports issues of the day.” His last show is tomorrow (12/6) and KJR has not announced plans for the PM drive slot as of yet.
Robin Bertolucci Honored at PIRATES Event. KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci was honored at the holiday fundraiser of the Print Interactive Radio and Television Educational Society (PIRATES) at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California. The PIRATES’ “Golden Buccaneer” award is given annually and was awarded to Bertolucci in recognition “of her remarkable ongoing commitment to public affairs, the community and education as one of the media’s most outstanding role models for students.” This annual holiday fundraiser benefits the Ruth Collander Endowment Fund which enables PIRATES to provide scholarships to college students majoring in communications, journalism, radio or television. Pictured above (from l-r) are: Brent Seltzer (Still at Large) who emceed the event, KOST 103.5 program director Stella Prado, Bertolucci and KFI director of marketing/brand manager Neil Saavedra.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Partners with Production Companies for Competition Reality Show. The name of the series is “Pursuit of the Truth” and the goal of the show is to bring together 20 selected filmmakers from across the country to prove to a panel of expert judges that their project is worthy of the grand prize – financing and worldwide distribution for their feature documentary film idea. Go Go Luckey Entertainment and Wild West Productions are working with TheBlaze on the project. The 20 contestants will be asked to perform a series of tasks during the 10-week production period for the panel of expert judges. Contestants will be asked to not only prove the validity of their idea for a documentary but also their filmmaking abilities. They will either survive or be eliminated based on that criteria. For example, contestants might be asked to produce a sizzle reel, procure and execute a key interview, or pitch scenes to the panel of judges. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood says, “We are excited to continue to expand our programming with producers like Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Gary Auerbach. The documentary film, particularly those that seek the truth with no agenda, is an important art form that is struggling to survive in this media environment. We will be looking for stories that simply need to be told.” The nine-episode series debuts on TheBlaze in late spring 2013.
WMMS, Cleveland Dismisses PM Drive Co-Host Chad Zumock. The rock station’s Alan Cox afternoon drive talk program is without air talent Chad Zumock after the 38-year-old comedian and radio co-host was arrested following a recent incident in which he crashed his car into a tree while returning home from a gig at a local comedy club. Zumock refused a breath test but authorities are charging him with DUI. According to Cleveland.com, the incident violates a clause in Zumock’s contract with Clear Channel and host Alan Cox addressed Zumock’s dismissal on the program on Tuesday, December 4.
WTAG, Worcester Morning Host Jim Polito Exits for Boston TV Gig. Jim Polito returns to his television roots beginning December 10 as he’ll handle commentary for Fox TV O&O WFXT, Boston’s evening newscasts. Polito left WGGB-TV, Springfield, Massachusetts in 2008 to join Clear Channel’s WTAG, Worcester for the morning drive program. No word from Clear Channel what its plans for the morning show are.
Branson, Missouri Gets FM Talk Station as Earls Family Broadcasting Makes Changes. In making programming changes to its cluster of stations in Branson, Missouri, Earls Family Broadcasting consolidates its two country outlets on one signal, freeing up KRZK at 106.3 to become a news/talk station. The new format is branded as “Your News. Straight Talk. 106.3.” In a statement, the company says news/talk is “a perfect fit for our traditional, informed and community-minded citizens of the Branson area. Since KRZK has always been popular for local news, talk, and community service, an all-news/talk format is the perfect evolution of this beloved station.” The station is carrying Fox News Radio for top-of-the-hour news. The program schedule includes: Steve & Janet in the Morning for 6:00 am to 9:00 am; “At Your Service” with Scott McCaulley from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; Dave Ramsey from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and “The Ozark’s News Hour with Greg Pyron” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The Expert Radio Network Launches. A new San Diego-based terrestrial radio network is getting off the ground. The Expert Radio Network, “a multi-media radio platform for experts to deliver their content, expand their audience and explode their product sales” is opening for business. Vice president of business development Susan Ram explains the network’s approach. “Experts will have the opportunity to host a weekly radio show in major markets across the country, complete with marketing guidance from co-founder Scotty Saks. Experts will also work directly with award-winning talent coaching specialist and ERN co-founder Cliff Dumas and his business partner Randy Lane of The Randy Lane Company. Cliff and Randy will teach the same communication secrets Randy has personally taught Ryan Seacrest, Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly and hundreds of other entertainment, sports and business clients. Finally, Experts will be able to leverage the power of a fully produced, online marketing sales funnel custom designed to monetize their product and brand.” Identifying “experts” as those who’ve committed three years or 10,000 hours to knowledge of their subject of expertise, ERN says it has identified several “key verticals,” including: finance and business, health and wellness, and personal development. “The timing could not be better, as ‘real,’ terrestrial talk radio is experiencing explosive growth, and attracting millions of listeners who seek critical investment, business, and personal development advice from experts across the country. The power of ERN will massively expand an individual or corporate brand’s audience and deliver valuable advice and information to consumers.” ERN will utilize SpotMedia’s new Synchronicity platform for its program distribution, eliminating satellite distribution expenses while automatically customizing shows and commercial insertions on an affiliate by affiliate basis for both over the air and digital audiences.
Good Karma’s WEFL, West Palm Beach Renews Local TV Partnership. West Palm Beach sports talk ESPN 760 extends its content-producing partnership with local television stations WPTV-TV and WFLX-TV. The stations had been working together for the past three years and have agreed to terms on a new multi-year contract. WPTV-TV vice president and general manager Steve Wasserman says, “Since teaming up with ESPN 760 in 2010, the profile of local sports has risen to an unprecedented level. With the powerful combination of the region’s top-rated television station and the area’s unrivaled leader in sports radio, we will continue to set the standard for sports coverage in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.” The stations say that over the years they have produced quality content with unique local coverage and programming that includes: “Football Night in South Florida,” “5 Sports Live” on WPTV and “Wayne Akers Sports Zone” on WFLX. ESPN 760’s anchor team of Joe Girvan and Emerson Lotzia will continue to be seen nightly on WPTV NewsChannel 5’s 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts as well as WFLX Fox 29’s 10:00 pm newscast. WEFL vice president and general manager Steve Politziner states, “We are thrilled to continue to share stories about sports in our local community with the passionate fans of WPTV and WFLX. ‘Football Night in South Florida’ has become a franchise unto itself and the way in which schools, players, coaches, administrators, parents and fans have embraced our coverage, it’s more than exceeded our expectations.”
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington raised more than $290,000 during its radiothon on Friday and Saturday to benefit the Fisher House Foundation. It was the 9th annual such radiothon and program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS the total was up $50,000 from last year’s total and that, to date, WMAL listeners have raised more than $4 million for Fisher House over the past nine years…..Herman Cain subs for Neal Boortz on the Cox Media-syndicated national talk program December 10 – 19. Cain, who hosted a program at flagship WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta prior to his run for president, will take over hosting the Neal Boortz show on January 21, 2013…..WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo subs on the morning show at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston December 26 – 28.
Talk Producer Colin Brady Dies at 43. Florida-based radio producer Colin Brady passed away at age 43 after a struggle with cardiovascular disease. Brady worked as a talk producer and host in both Tampa and Orlando. He worked with Shannon Burke at WTKS, Orlando and on his internet show at RadioIO.com. Burke tells the Orlando Sentinel that although Brady was the butt of jokes (as producers often are) his listeners were shocked. “They all loved him very much. Last week, they were calling the show crying. He was beloved, no doubt about it.”
Washington ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria Chemical Weapons Threat, Egypt Unrest, Obama Cabinet Nominees, and Jovan Belcher Case-Costas Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/4). The fight between GOP leaders and the Obama administration over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; charges Syria is planning to use its chemical weapons on rebels; the unrest in Egypt as citizens protest Mohamed Morsi’s policies; speculation over the shape of the new Obama Cabinet; and the murder-suicide case of Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun commentary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pioneering Radio Owner Peter Straus Dies at 89. His Straus Communications owned WMCA, New York when it was a part of the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll radio and after it became a talk radio outlet in 1970 until the time it was sold in 1986. From a talk radio perspective Straus’ WMCA employed legendary talk hosts including Barry Gray, Barry Farber, Bob Grant and Bruce Williams. The station is now owned by Salem Communications and broadcasts a Christian format. Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS he has fond memories of working for Straus as executive producer of the talk shows in the early 1980s. “I worked with Peter at a time when WMCA was a petri dish of talk radio creativity. Legendary hosts like Barry Gray, Bob Grant, Bruce Williams and Barry Farber were all local hosts on WMCA…and our 5,000-watt station (albeit in the middle of Midtown Manhattan!) was the home of every important New York politician including NYC mayor Ed Koch, New York Lt. Governor (and later Governor) Mario Cuomo, New York city clerk (and future mayor) David Dinkins and many more. The hallways of WMCA were always full, and it was a rare day one didn’t run into a guest like Marlon Brando or Woody Allen or Tony Randall or Robert Vaughn.” Tradup says the station was “vibrant but challenged” during his time there as it battled WOR and WABC but Straus was “one in a million. Peter instituted a ‘first radio in New York’ policy, meaning if an author appeared on another NYC station before WMCA, we wouldn’t book him. And son of a gun, we started getting all the big authors first because publishers knew he meant it. This taught me a lesson I’ve never forgotten: If you act as if your radio station is #1, people will treat you like #1. Peter was a winner, an exceptional leader, and the talk radio industry owes him respect and gratitude.”
Howard Stern Appeals Suit Dismissal in Beef with SiriusXM. Talk radio legend Howard Stern and agent Don Buchwald are not going to let one dismissal get in the way of their goal of getting some $300 million in stock bonuses they say is due them as the result of the satcaster’s success. According to the New York Daily News, Stern and Buchwald – through Stern’s 112 Inc. production company – filed suit in the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division. The Daily News reports the suit hasn’t even been processed yet so the documents aren’t available but we have a pretty good idea what Stern is claiming: That he is owed the $300 million in stock bonuses because his program is responsible for a large degree of SiriusXM’s success, even the success that came after the merger of Sirius and XM. In April of this year though, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick disagreed with Stern’s logic and dismissed the case ruling the language in Stern’s contract is “clear” and “unambiguous.” In other words, he’s gotten everything the contract promised him.
Howard Eskin Returns to TV Sports Anchor Role. Longtime WIP, Philadelphia sports talk personality Howard Eskin goes back to the little screen as sports anchor at WTXF-TV Fox 29 in Philadelphia. The station says Eskin helped launch its 10:00 pm news back in 1986 and now he’ll be behind the sports desk for the Fox News 29 at 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm newscasts as well as “Fox 29 Sports Sunday,” “Game Time Live,” and he’ll contribute to “Good Day Philadelphia.” After leaving his full-time talk show position at WIP, Eskin continued to work with the station as part of the Eagles pre- and post-game shows and as a sideline reporter. Eskin will remain with WIP to host programs, the Eagles pre-game show and handle sideline reporting for the station.
Shara Fryer Added to KTRH, Houston AM Drive Show. Longtime Houston market television news personality Shara Fryer will join Matt Patrick as co-host of KTRH’s “Houston’s Morning News.” Fryer is currently director of the World Affairs Council of Houston but served as co-anchor of KTRK-TV, Houston’s 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm evening newscasts for more than 25 years. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Houston president and market manager Eddie Martiny says, “Over 25 years of major-market broadcast excellence combined with her commitment to numerous charities in Houston make Shara the perfect choice for mornings on KTRH.” Fryer says, “I’m excited by the energy and raw spirit of radio. It’s a brand new world for me…There’s a spark with Matt and the entire KTRH team that I hope listeners will feel and join us weekday mornings.” She begins her new duties on September 4.
Al Gore to Anchor Current TV’s Convention Coverage. Former Vice President Al Gore – founder of the cable news/talk channel Current TV taps himself to anchor the channel’s coverage of the two political conventions. Current TV states, “Gore will be joined by former Michigan governor and ‘The War Room’ host, Jennifer Granholm, former New York governor and ‘Viewpoint’ host, Eliot Spitzer and ‘The Young Turks’ host, Cenk Uygur. Additionally, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will join the panel for the RNC coverage.” Current TV hosts Joy Behar and John Fugelsang will also assist in the coverage of the RNC beginning August 27 and the DNC beginning September 4. In a statement, Gore says, “I’m pleased to be participating in Current TV’s impressive lineup throughout the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Cenk, Jennifer and Eliot provide the keen insight and spot-on analysis our viewers have come to expect, combined with decades of experience in public service and a deep understanding of politics. I have no doubt that our coverage will be innovative and informative, and I look forward to working with them.”
Olympian Brings Home the Gold. Bethesda, Maryland teen Katie Ledecky (pictured here with WTOP, Washington program director Laurie Cantillo) stopped by WTOP to talk with the news organization about her experiences at the London Olympics. The gold-medal-winning 15-year-old won the 800-meter freestyle and spoke with WTOP anchors Shawn Anderson and John Aaron about the games and answered her critics who predicted she swam too fast in the beginning of the race and would tire before the end. Obviously, she didn’t.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony bring their program to Chicago for a live remote broadcast tomorrow from the 115 Bourbon Street Bar in suburban Merrionette Park. The special afternoon edition of the program kicks off at 3:00 pm CT…..CBS Radio names Laura Gonzalez local sales manager for sports talk WJFK, Washington, DC…..Cumulus Media splits off the AM side of sports simulcast WLQR, Toledo to go talk using all Cumulus Media Networks programs: Imus, Geraldo, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin, John Batchelor and “Red Eye Radio”…..Clear Channel’s sports WPOP, Hartford will carry Central Connecticut State football and basketball play-by-play for the next four seasons…..Attorney Eddie Gadrix begins hosting a Monday hour-long program focused on senior issues on WVNJ, Washington Township, New Jersey (Philadelphia market) on Monday mornings at 9:00. Gadrix has been hosting the “Divorce & Custody Show” on Fridays at 9:00 am on the station and continues that program…..Talk host Matt Bruce fills in on the AM drive show on the simulcast of WWJB, Brooksville and WXJB, Homosassa Springs, Florida today through August 14.
A Sign of the Times. WRKO, Boston talk host Barry Armstrong – Boston-area financial advisor and host of the daily “The Financial Exchange” program – is pictured here during one of the presentations that was part of the two-day financial seminar event on the economy, social security and estate planning. More than 1,000 people attended the seminars that were only promoted on Armstrong’s show on WRKO. Many listeners decided to also get an inside look into the production of Armstrong’s program as he conducted the entire program in front of a live audience.
Presidential Campaign Ads, Neo-Nazi Hate Groups, London Olympics, Mars ‘Curiosity’ Mission and Randy Travis Arrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/8). The state of the presidential campaign ads in the 2012 election; neo-Nazi groups and the aftermath of the Wisconsin Sikh temple shootings; the London Olympics; the ‘Curiosity’ mission on Mars; and the arrest of country star Randy Travis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.