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Michael Savage in Altercation with Man at California Restaurant. Several news reports indicate that Westwood One nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage was allegedly assaulted by an unidentified man outside a restaurant in Tiburon, California. According to TMZ, the Daily Mail and other media outlets, while Savage was eating inside Servino Ristorante with his pet poodle Teddy, the man taunted him by repeatedly saying “weener, weener” – a reference to Savage’s legal surname, Weiner. It’s not clear how it escalated but one report says the two got into some sort of scuffle outside the restaurant, ending with each man declaring the other under a citizen’s arrest. Police arrived, interviewed both men and released them. The local district attorney’s office is reviewing the matter and will determine if charges will be filed. Savage’s attorney – Daniel Horowitz – told the Mercury News that another restaurant patron who attempted to intervene was punched in the face by the heckler.
NPR Ratings at ‘All-Time High.’ Based on data from Nielsen Audio, NPR is reporting that “the total weekly listeners for all programming on NPR stations reached an all-time high of about 37.5 million in the fall of 2016 – a nearly 4 million person increase from the same period in 2015. Listeners for NPR programming and NPR Newscasts account for about 30 million of that total.” During the build-up to the 2016 election and in the months since, talk-oriented public radio has seen its 6+ ratings in Nielsen’s PPM markets improve. NPR SVP of news and editorial director Michael Oreskes states, “At a time when many news organizations have been forced to contract, NPR is expanding coverage and focusing resources on the local and national issues that listeners care about. Now, more and more people are turning to NPR as their source for unbiased fact-based news.” NPR also notes that flagship programs, “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition,” reached their largest weekly audience ever, at 14.4 million and 14.65 million listeners, respectively. “The number of listeners for all NPR programming increased considerably this year, particularly in the coveted 25-44 age demographic which expanded by 26%.” Additionally, NPR says that its digital content at NPR.org has average monthly users grow by 28%.
BFoA to Honor Jeff Smulyan with Lowry Mays Award. This honor from the Broadcasters Foundation of America will be presented to Emmis Communications founder and chairman Jeff Smulyan at the BFoA annual breakfast at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 26. The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award is bestowed annually by the BFoA on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation. The breakfast is complimentary to all, although pre-registration is required.
Westwood One Adds Two Shows to Podcast Offerings. Audio content syndicator and sales division Westwood One announces new partnerships with Frances Callier and Angela V. Shelton, known together as the comedic duo Frangela (right), and radio pro, author, blogger and cancer survivor Robin Marshall. Callier and Shelton are hosting WW1’s first fully produced podcast titled “Frangela: The Final Word,” that promises “insights and witty perspective on news and culture.” Marshall’s “Sugar Mom” is for “smart and sexy women who want to try something new.” Both programs are available via the iTunes and audioBoom platforms. Westwood One president/Cumulus Media EVP corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes comments, “Frances, Angela, and Robin are powerful women who inspire, motivate, and make us laugh. Westwood One is proud to help these fresh and funny shows build audience and brand partnerships.”
TALKERS News Notes. Hard-working talk show host Simon Conway (left) is doing a couple days of triple duty this week. Today and tomorrow, Conway will do is regular shows – afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines and morning drive at the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids – as well as filling in for WOAI, San Antonio-based, syndicated personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right)…..Pamplin-owned Portland news/talk KPAM drops the afternoon “Margie and Carl” show hosted by Margie Boulé (right) and Carl Wolfson (left) due to budgetary reasons. Wolfson, who also hosted a program in the market for years on the crosstown, former news/talker KPOJ, posted a gracious message on the show’s Facebook page giving thanks and credit to his former co-workers…..Nationally syndicated morning talk personality Doug Stephan checks in with TALKERS magazine to report his show, “On Air with Doug, Jen & Victoria,” has added 17 new affiliates in the first two months of 2017, including: KPHX, Phoenix; WOMI-AM, Owensboro, Kentucky; KQAM, Wichita; WXDE-FM, Salisbury, Maryland; and KYCA-AM/FM, Prescott, Arizona. Stephan says, “The table for conversation is growing larger, and co-hosts Jennifer Horn and Victoria Keelan embrace the future and are constantly reinventing the program.”…..Cumulus Media’s news/talk radio stations WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM in Dallas picked up multiple honors from the 2016 Texas Associated Press Broadcasters contest. WBAP won first place for “Spot News by a Station” for its coverage of the July 7, 2016 Dallas police ambush. For the third consecutive year, KLIF’s Dave Williams and Amy Chodroff (pictured at right) grabbed first place for “News Anchor/Anchor Team.” WBAP’s Brian Estridge took home first place for “Sports Play-by-Play.” Cumulus Media RVP for Dallas/Houston Dan Bennett states, “We are all extremely proud of our news team, news director Freda Ross and program director Kevin Graham. These awards speak to them and the talent in our newsroom. The awards honor a team that brings their news ‘A-game’ every day.”
Jones Receives RTDNF Award. At Tuesday evening’s 2017 Radio Television Digital News Foundation First Amendment Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones (right) received the First Amendment Service Award. He’s pictured above with ABC News’ Robin Sproul (left).
Trump Travel Order Blocked, Fed Hikes Interest Rates, Trump Budget Cuts, Wiretapping Accusations, North Korea Threats/Tillerson Asia Trip, GOP Health Care Plan, Trump’s Tax Returns, Dutch Elections, Snoop Dogg Video, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). A judge blocks the Trump Administration’s second attempt at a travel ban; Fed Chair Janet Yellen announces raising of key interest rate hike for overnight lending of a quarter point; the Trump Administration’s budget proposal that seeks to make drastic cuts to a number of federal departments; the accusation by President Donald Trump that President Barack Obama ordered Trump Tower to be wiretapped during the 2016 election; North Korea’s nuclear missile program and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Asia; the Trump Administration’s and the GOP’s plans to replace ObamaCare with their own health care plan; far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders comes up short in Wednesday’s Netherlands elections; controversy over the latest Snoop Dogg video in which he shoots a clown dressed as President Trump; and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio personality and programmer Bryan “B-Dub” Washington is the new program director and afternoon drive host at iHeartMedia’s KBEB, Sacramento “92.5 The Bull.” He was most recently with CBS RADIO’s KMLE, Phoenix as music director and PM drive host. iHeartMedia Sacramento SVP of programming Curtiss Johnson says, “B-Dub thinks big. He’s a fun and entertaining personality. B-Dub is a destination, lean forward and pay attention type of air-talent. I have no doubt he will put ‘92.5 The Bull’ front-and-center in the minds of Sacramento country fans.” Washington also hosts the weekend syndicated country show “Buckwild Saturday Night.”…..Geoff “G-Off” Owens is promoted to program director for iHeartMedia’s hip hop KXJM, Portland “JAM’N 107.5” and KUBE, Seattle/Tacoma. Owens has been serving as afternoon drive personality at both stations…..iHeartMedia’s Las Vegas hip hop outlet K280DD “REAL 103.9” announces that Roxy Romeo is promoted to APD and music director for the station, adding to her current midday air shift from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. About her new responsibilities, Romeo says, “I am beyond ready to enter the programming world and take on this new role here in Las Vegas. In the short time ‘REAL’ has been on-air here, it has touched the people and I’m excited to help make an even bigger impact and take it to the next level…..Midwest Communications promotes Ron Allen to format captain for the Duke FM country format. Allen will continue to program the company’s adult hits WCJK, Nashville “96.3 JACK FM” in addition to his new duties. He says, “My two great musical passions are adult hits and country. To be able to continue as brand manager for ‘96.3 JACK FM’ and work with our Duke FM brand as format captain from my hometown of Nashville is the best of both worlds.”…..iHeartMedia’s Bobby Bones show and its listeners joined forces to honor wounded United States Air Force Captain Nathan Nelson (pictured at right with his family), who was paralyzed from the chest down during his third tour in Afghanistan and in need of a home to accommodate his needs. Bones and his on-air crew worked to donate proceeds from the sale of camouflage #PimpinJoy T-shirts on TheShopForward.com and, in just a few days, sold enough T-shirts to raise $100,000 – doubling the original goal of $50,000. With the help of Building Homes for Heroes, a new ADA-certified custom home will be built for Nelson and his family.
Overnight: The Underexploited Daypart. Consultant Walter Sabo suggests more talk radio operators should take advantage of the overnight daypart – the one it wins by default. Citing a Media Audit report indicating talk radio has the largest overnight audience, Sabo contends that – contrary to conventional wisdom – there is money to be made there and other opportunities on which to capitalize. Read his exclusive TALKERS article here.
Can Radio Afford to be Rated Accurately? That’s really the question that should be asked as Arbitron loses accreditation for five PPM markets. The Media Rating Council is informing Arbitron, Inc. that accreditation for the Portable People Meter in five markets – Cleveland; Portland, Oregon; Riverside-San Bernardino; Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo; and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater – is being withdrawn. The MRC says its board of directors “reached this decision upon consideration of a recommendation from an MRC audit committee based on its review of the 2011 Arbitron PPM service audit results, which showed certain issues related to internal controls of the service and declines in service performance metrics.” Arbitron EVP, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Lindner says, “Consistent with our long-standing priorities, we will work to retain accreditation where we have it, to regain accreditation where it was withdrawn and to achieve accreditation in our remaining PPM markets. As always, we will continue our work with the MRC in order to address their concerns.” Arbitron says it intends to have all 48 PPM markets undergo MRC audits this year. Currently, nine markets remain accredited: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston (DMA), Kansas City, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and St. Louis. Although details remain vague, TALKERS suspects the problem faced by Arbitron in getting PPM off and running comes down to sample size – a two-fold challenge at this point. First: To get enough radio listeners to participate in the program and follow it diligently while busy and distracted; second, to expend the money required to have enough units and participants per market needed to achieve statistical accuracy – an investment that ultimately falls on the back of the financially strapped radio business.
CBS Radio Alters WINS, New York Top-of-the Hour Slogan. Some observers will call it a win for Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels who challenged CBS Radio’s use of the “New York’s One and Only News Station” for all-news WINS. After a back-and-forth of letters from lawyers regarding station slogans and positioning statements in which CBS Radio first asked Merlin to stop using a permutation of its “Give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world” slogan, it seems both sides may be moving forward with the business of doing news. That’s probably best since we’re assuming neither desire to spend more on lawyers than necessary. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says each side could have made a case. Weisman says CBS could reasonably argue that Merlin was infringing upon its trademark and Merlin could make a good argument that CBS’ use of the “one and only” phrase regarding its all-news radio product violated the Lanham Act (false advertising) in light of WEMP-FM’s existence.
Radio Pros Lee Abrams and Steve Saslow Plan Reinvention of TV News. Radio programming legend Lee Abrams and marketing and network radio pro Steve Saslow are teaming up with attorney Brandon Davis to form THINK TeleVisual Network, Inc. In a statement, the trio say they will “elevate the television news playbook into the digital age with a radical reinvention of the way news and information is produced and delivered.” THINK states its programming will be “designed to present one unified televisual news experience across every device category. It represents a profound rewriting of the news/information blueprint where a completely new style of presentation will merge with the magic of 21st century technology and modern American culture.” Lee Abrams says, “News and information is what is steering our 21st century America, the equivalent of what rock ‘n roll was forty years ago. THINK will merge this passion for information, knowledge and insight with the revolution in technology to create an interactive multi-media experience that will redefine how people are informed and enlightened.” Initially funded by the three principals, the venture is currently going through another round of fundraising in collaboration with the Boston-based investment firm Kaufman & Company.
Clear Channel’s KFBK Celebrates 90 Years of Serving Sacramento. News/Talk KFBK-AM/FM, Sacramento is celebrating 90 years on the air serving the people of the region. As part of the commemoration, the station is unveiling an online museum “that will showcase and honor the station’s rich and storied history. The museum will include audio clips, photos and videos that will transport listeners back in time to relive KFBK’s evolution.” Other events throughout the day include Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh joining KFBK morning news anchors Amy Lewis and Ed Crane live at 8:00 am where Limbaugh will reminisce about his time at KFBK. At 11:00 am, station staff will open a time capsule left by a past generation of KFBK employees and longtime KFBK talk host Tom Sullivan – now syndicated by Fox News Radio but still heard on the station – joining Kitty O’Neal during the KFBK Afternoon News to commemorate the occasion. VP/market manager Jeff Holden states, “The celebration today is recognition and confirmation that the commitment of the employees – past, present and future – is exactly what Sacramentans, at each point in time over the past 90 years, have so welcomingly accepted into their lives. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such an illustrious and valuable asset to the region and a part of the team that is making history.”
Clear Channel Quad Cities AM Duo Moves to News/Talk WOC; Piped to WMT, Cedar Rapids. Morning show hosts Mark Manuel and Steve Ketelaar have been hosting the morning drive show on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s oldies KUUL-FM, East Moline, Illinois for the past four years. Beginning February 20, the duo moves across the hall to handle the morning show on the cluster’s news/talk WOC, Davenport and will be simulcast at CC’s Cedar Rapids news/talker WMT. They’ll replace WOC program director Dan Kennedy as morning host. Kennedy stays in his PD post and will remain on the program as news anchor. Kirk Marske will produce the WOC morning show. According to the Quad City Times, WMT will provide its own news anchor during news cutaways. Clear Channel Davenport operations manager Jim O’Hara tells the paper, “A big thing with us over the past year with Clear Channel in general has been making the best use of our strongest people, our strongest programs. As I’ve thought about that over the last several months, it dawned on me that WOC is one radio station that needs more help, more people.”
Florida Primary Aftermath, Facebook IPO and Earnings Report, U.S. Afghanistan Combat Withdrawl Plan, and Syrian Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). The aftermath of Mitt Romney’s victory in the Florida primary, the announcement of a pending Facebook IPO and its first public earnings report, plans for an end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan and ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.