Entercom Reports a Flat Q3. Entercom Communications reports its third quarter revenue figures were down 2% to $100.4 million but CEO David Field stated in a conference call that when taking out the political dollars, the company’s revenue was basically flat compared to the third quarter of 2010. Last year’s big political spending in the fourth quarter has this year’s Q4 pacing down some 5%. Field also noted that recent flips of FMs to sports – in Boston with WMKK-FM and in San Francisco with KBWF-FM – have hurt the immediate bottom line but will have a positive effect in time. FM is clearly where Entercom has its bets placed for the future as Field said AM-only revenue – not including simulcasts – make up less than 6% of the company’s revenue.
Cox Media Group Sells Connecticut AMs to Sacred Heart University. This transaction, when considering Entercom’s statement about its AM-only revenue in the previous story, makes industry watchers really begin to question the value of smaller market AM stations. Cox Media Group announces it will sell WSTC, Stamford and WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut to Sacred Heart University but continue to own its FM music-formatted properties in the market. No price for the two AMs was announced but Sacred Heart will begin operating the stations under an LMA on Monday, November 5 with a closing expected in the first quarter of 2012. Sacred Heart owns WSHU-FM in Fairfield, Connecticut and seems very intent on continuing service to the communities as it takes over the stations. WSHU-FM general manager George Lombardi says, “As a public radio station, we consider ourselves to be a community resource, and we always look for ways to increase the service we provide our community. We are thrilled about this new opportunity, as we can now serve Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich with an expanded, more reliable broadcast signal than we ever had before and by bringing our award-winning local reporting, insightful news and talk, and programs. WSHU has been deeply rooted in Fairfield County for 30 years, and we look forward to expanding our services in lower Fairfield County.” Local talk host Lisa Wexler will do her last broadcast on Friday, November 4 and as the station coverts to a non-commercial operation, the commercial syndicated programming will disappear as well. It’s being estimated some 10 staffers will be let go from the stations.
Merlin Media’s WWWN, Chicago Makes Jeff McKinney Midday Anchor. Since the firing of Dave Williams at Merlin Media’s FM News 101.1 in Chicago, Lise Dominique had been filling in at the anchor position. Now, Chicago Radio and Media reports Dominique moves to weekends and fill in and Jeff McKinney takes over the slot. McKinney worked for years as a news anchor at WCCO, Minneapolis. Also, it’s being reported that senior AE Karen Moss – with the station (when it was WKQX) since 1993 – has left her position.
Red Zebra Renews with Georgetown University for Basketball Play-By-Play. Red Zebra Broadcasting and Georgetown University agree to terms to have Hoyas Men’s Basketball air on its WTEM, Washington and WSPZ, Bethesda, Maryland sports talk stations. Hoyas play-by-play voice Rich Chvotkin continues behind the mic for his 39th season.
2012 Presidential Race/Cain Harassment Allegations, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Financial Markets Activity, and ‘OWS’ Movement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/1). The allegations of sexual harassment being leveled against GOP candidate Herman Cain and other aspects of the 2012 presidential race, the problems solving the Euro Zone debt crisis and its effects on the world financial markets, and the ‘OWS’ movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
WEEI Goes FM in Beantown; FM Sports Talk War Begins. Two years ago CBS Radio made major changes to its FM properties in Boston and created WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” to challenge Entercom’s WEEI, even hiring away some of the younger staff that had been working at WEEI. A strong, quick climb in the ratings by WBZ-FM – especially in younger demos – showed that station to be a worthy competitor to WEEI. Now, Entercom fires back by dumping the classic hits format on WMKK-FM “Mike FM” and simulcasting WEEI on FM, beginning Monday, September 12. Entercom will make the announcement official today (9/8) at 8:00 am ET on the Dennis & Callahan morning show. WMKK-FM is licensed to Lawrence – north of Boston – and that will certainly help with coverage. WEEI, although a 50k directional station at 850 AM, has a notoriously sketchy signal. In fact, one of the amazing things about WEEI’s success over the past 20 years has been its ability to thrive with the poor signal. Now, though, Entercom hopes to gain younger demos by being on FM along with its new, improved FM home in the sports-crazy Boston market.
From the Broadcast Booth to the Campaign Trail: Martha Zoller to Run for Congress. What was reported by TALKERS earlier comes to pass as Gainesville, Georgia-based talk show host Martha Zoller announces she will run as a Republican for the newly created congressional seat in North Georgia next year. Zoller’s camp states she has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission . Zoller is based out of Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville and the company’s legal counsel advises her that she may remain on the air until she becomes a “qualified candidate” with Georgia officials next spring, according to an Associated Press report. Zoller states, “I have been involved in radio for 15 years now, not just giving my opinion, but helping my listeners analyze the critical issues of the day. Most importantly, I have given people a chance to be heard.” Zoller is a popular conservative talk host, not only in the North Georgia region, but nationally due to her work on cable news/talk TV and other high-profile appearances. However, she is not the only Republican to be interested in running for the seat representing the new district. Georgia Republican State Representative Doug Collins – a former U.S. Air Force chaplain and floor leader for Georgian Governor Nathan Deal – is also seeking the seat.
CBS Radio Names Rona Danziger WXYT, Detroit PD. CBS Radio is splitting off WXYT-AM from the current AM/FM simulcast of sports talk “The Ticket” and debuts Talk Radio 1270 AM WXYT on September 12. The company announces it is bringing Detroit programming pro Rona Danziger aboard to manage the station’s shows. Danziger – who most recently programmed Clear Channel’s crosstown sports WDFN – begins her duties immediately. She says, “I’m thrilled to be part of the launch of Talk Radio 1270. I can’t wait to work with Charlie Langton and the terrific staff at CBS Radio. I’m excited to program a radio station that will bring edgy, opinionated and highly entertaining conservative talk radio to Detroit.” The station also features Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck and “Coast to Coast” with George Noory; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham and Rusty Humphries; Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis; and Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt.
Tom Leykis on TALKERS TV. In what can be described as the “Dance of the Lifestyle Hosts” or talk radio’s version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the legendary Tom Leykis is caught on video in a rare conversation recorded at the recent New Media Seminar 2011 in which he shows his charming (yet provocative) side. He is interviewed by New Jersey 101.5 evening relationships show star Michelle Jerson and the two quickly become engaged in a good-spirited, but somewhat sparky, verbal battle of the sexes. This is not to be missed. Check it out on TALKERS TV on this page.
“America’s Morning News” Now Heard on More Than 135 Affiliate Stations. The Talk Radio Network Entertainment and Washington Times collaborative morning news radio program “America’s Morning News” has added some 45 new affiliate stations this year alone to surpass the 135-affiliate mark. The program, based at The Washington Times’ DC studios and anchored by John McCaslin and Dana Mills, is touted by its developers as “the leading source for breaking news coverage on radio, features an innovative long-form news format aimed at showcasing investigative reporting, and accountability journalism directly from the nation’s capital.” The program is heard in 23 of the top 50 metros, according to TRNE CEO Mark Masters who says, “‘America’s Morning News’ is the direct result of a close relationship with Talk Radio Network Entertainment, The Washington Times and all of our valued syndication partners. Working together, we’ve developed the next generation news radio programming that is rapidly gaining national audience share with over 135 affiliates secured to date.”
O’Connell and Moran Promoted at WSJRN. Susan O’Connell is promoted to senior director of affiliate sales and Susan Moran is upped to director of affiliate marketing at The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. WSJRN executive director Nancy Abramson says in a release, “Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran are both my mentors in the radio network business and it is a privilege to have them on my team. Their accomplished careers and knowledge of the industry will help ensure our continued success.” O’Connell is responsible for affiliate relations and marketing for the company’s “Wall Street Journal Report,” “Dow Jones Money Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning, “The Wall Street Journal This Weekend,” and “The Daily Wrap with Michael Castner.” Moran continues to be responsible for affiliating radio stations and overseeing the marketing and advertising for WSJRN and its affiliates.
Beth Sugrue Joins Merlin Media as Director of Integrated Programs. Sugrue comes from CBS Radio Chicago where she was director of new business development for the past nine years. In her new position with Merlin Media she’ll be responsible for managing the non-traditional revenue of the company’s three stations as well as the digital, non-spot and interactive sales operations. Sugrue will report from EVP of revenue Greg Janoff who states, “Beth is a true talent who recognizes the essence of the integrated approach in the radio industry. She has the keen ability to really understand the needs of a company and create a specialized program to solve those needs.”
Rick Buckley Memorial Service to Be Held Today. A memorial service for Buckley Broadcasting president Rick Buckley will be held today (9/8) at 11:00 am at Christ Church Greenwich in Greenwich, Connecticut. Buckley died unexpectedly on July 31 after suffering a brain embolism. He had served as the president of the family broadcasting business since 1972.
GOP Debate, 9/11 Anniversary and Obama Jobs Speech Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/7). The GOP presidential debate in held in Simi Valley, California last night, the approaching anniversary of 9/11 and President Obama’s scheduled address before a joint session of Congress and the nation on his jobs creations plan were three of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.