Immigration Radio Row Timed to Coincide with Amnesty Bill. The coming talk radio row sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) – set for April 17 and18 in Washington, DC and reported to be the largest ever – will take place at the same time a major amnesty bill is expected to be debated. FAIR tells TALKERS, “Already, 50 talk hosts from across the country are confirmed to broadcast live from Capitol Hill debating immigration reform while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border.” FAIR communications director Bob Dane states, “President Obama, the Democrats, business lobbies, and now many misguided Republicans are setting the stage to introduce a major amnesty bill sugarcoated with enforcement just like we saw and defeated in 2007. As before, talk radio will gather to represent the interests of the American public, the constituency perpetually left out of the debate. Americans want existing laws enforced and their jobs protected with mandatory E-Verify. They do not want a protracted battle over a bill that grants amnesty in exchange for promises of border security that this administration cannot be trusted to honor.” For talk hosts who are considering taking part in the radio row, act fast. Dane says that only four slots remain available – one in morning drive, two in midday and one in afternoon drive. Reservations are required and hosts/producers should call now. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering, ISDN lines and long distance is included. Silver Lake Audio of New York is the official engineering firm for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire.” Congressional guests, activists, high profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. Contact event managers Bob Dane or Kristen Williamson at 202-328-7004 for further information and to reserve a broadcast slot.
Courtside Entertainment and Launchpad Digital Founder Norm Pattiz’s New PodcastOne Profiled in the Los Angeles Times. Just a couple of days after announcing his newest venture to the industry – a destination for “the best of the best” called PodcastOne.com – Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz speaks to the consumer world via Steve Carney’s piece in the Los Angeles Times. Pattiz explains his thinking and what differentiates PodcastOne.com from other content aggregators. First, Pattiz says the menu is more limited to about 200 of what they consider prime programming including well-known names like Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Laura Ingraham. He goes on to say, “What nobody’s done is organize [podcasts] and give them the kind of attention they need to make them a real significant opportunity for advertisers.” The benefit of PodcastOne is his company’s ad sales, promotion, audience research and technical expertise. Pattiz relates research done by Edison that found, “29% of Americans 12 and older had listened to an audio podcast, up from 23% in 2010 and 13% in 2007. Half those listeners were ages 12 to 34, and 38% said they used an iPod, smartphone or other device to listen to digital audio in their cars at least once a week.” This is what is convincing him there is a business model to be developed here. Read the entire story here.
TuneIn Debuts Customized User Experience Function. Audio content aggregator TuneIn announces it is launching “TuneIn Live,” a customized experience allowing listeners to more easily discover the content that aligns most with their individual preferences. The company says this comes “on the heels of a website redesign; a new Trending feature, launched to help TuneIn listeners navigate through the largest breadth of audio content available through one service; and a new integration with Google+, enabling a calendar reminder feature for live events.” TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “Our biggest opportunity has been discovery. We have more than 70,000 radio stations and more than 2 million on-demand programs from around the world, and that’s a lot for anyone to digest. We needed a sophisticated system to do the work for our listeners, not ask them to do extra work in order to personalize their experience. TuneIn Live is a big part of that system.” The service creates a customized experience through rotating tiles that surface relevant music, sports and news happening live, based on individuals’ listening habits and interests. Combined with a new Trending feature, which shares a current feed of the most-listened-to radio from around the world, TuneIn listeners can more easily discover meaningful programming among the millions of listening options on the TuneIn service. Donham continues, “Every day, there are thousands of live events on the radio, from concerts to interviews to sports to a DJ playing a set of songs and, until now, there has never been a way to relay all of this live content to people worldwide. That’s where we’re innovating with TuneIn Live. We’re combing through our millions of listening options from around the world and, for each individual listener, we’re bringing into focus just the stations that mean something to them.”
Sioux Falls News/Talk Outlet Gets FM Signal. Midwest Communications-owned news/talker KELO, Sioux Falls, South Dakota is now heard on KQXL’s 107.9 frequency in addition to its original 1320 AM frequency. The move displaces the oldies format that had been airing on the FM station. Midwest has owned the stations for a little more than six months having acquired the cluster from Backyard Broadcasting in July of last year.
KMOX, St. Louis Personality Mark Reardon Gets Some Love from the Missouri Times. Mid-afternoon talk host Mark Reardon was recently featured in a piece in the Missouri Times that focused specifically on his weekly roundtable discussions that he says he’s patterned to a degree after the old “Politically Incorrect” program hosted by Bill Maher. Reardon tells the publication he enjoys bringing people into the studio at CBS Radio’s KMOX who represent different viewpoints and who can mix it up without being hostile. In fact, Reardon says guests who can’t maintain civility are not asked back on the program. While the program deals with political issues, he underscores that the show is not all about politics, telling the Times it’s not limited to politics and that he wants interesting people, “Look, this is entertainment, but there’s no reason you can’t still learn something and laugh a little bit.” Read the entire piece here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Kevin McCullough show surpassed the 300-affiliate mark (309 to be exact!) and announces the return of the program to SiriusXM as well as the addition of Salem Communications Detroit cluster of WDTK-AM, WLQV, and WTDK-FM as affiliates of the XtreMEDIA syndicated program…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds affiliates KYNS, San Louis Obispo; WHSY, Hattiesburg, Mississippi; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Fox News Radio’s feature commentary from Todd Starnes is now heard on affiliates WOAI, San Antonio and WLOB-AM, Portland, Maine.
Talking Survival on WNDB, Daytona Beach. During the 89th installment of the President’s Speakers Series and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, WNDB talk host Marc Bernier interviewed former Navy Seal sniper, Discovery Channel personality and author Cade Courtley in front of a packed house at the college. Courtley is promoting his new book, SEAL Survival Guide: A Navy SEAL’s Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster. Bernier tells TALKERS that with security issues very much on the minds of Americans, Courtley outlined ideas for how the average person can best survive the unthinkable. The event was also broadcast on WNDB. Photo: Arthur J Byrnes.
KDKA, Pittsburgh Event Benefits Wounded Warriors Project. CBS Radio’s KDKA and station morning host Larry Richert announce that Bruno Sammartino, who will be inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame in April, will serve as the keynote speaker at “Larry Richert Honors Hometown Heroes” at the Lexus Club at PNC Park next Thursday, March 7 in a benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project. “Larry’s Heroes” will honor five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things. Those being honored are Jamie Holmes for awarding “dream” opportunities to those living with medical conditions; Sergeant Patrick Manning for restoring a youth baseball field in Penn Hills; William R. Neal, Jr. for building programs that aid disadvantaged youth and others in finding employment opportunities; Summer Tissue for her work in sending packages to deployed Soldiers and Marines and Paul Shields for helping his neighbors escape a fire in their home in Ross Township the day after Thanksgiving. Each hero will receive a $1000 donation to a charity of their choice.
Sequestration Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 25-March 1. The Washington fight over sequestration landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories discussed on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Europe followed by Iran and North Korea nuclear weapons threats at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
Tom Leykis’ Return to Talk Draws Loyal Audience to Web-Based Content. Off the radio for more than three years after CBS Radio blew up KLSX-FM, Los Angeles and his contract kept him from working for anyone other than CBS, Tom Leykis returned to the microphone on April 2 for an internet-delivered talk show. The show is broadcast live at www.blowmeuptom.com at 3:00 pm PT and on a 24/7 streamed replay via major media players – Tune In, Windows Media Player, iTunes, iPhone, Shoutcast and Winamp. Leykis says the numbers for the first week of the show were impressive: The total number of listeners from April 2 to Monday, April 9 was 401,180. The average number of show listeners for that week in any 15 minute period totaled 1,575 and the average time spent listening by each listener was a half hour each day in the seven-day week. “These numbers are way higher than what we’d anticipated. We’re way farther along in our progress than I ever could have imagined. Kind of makes you wonder what competing alternative content like this will ultimately mean for radio.” Leykis, who will be speaking at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7, tells TALKERS that the combination of doing a daily show and running his own business has made him “more focused than ever” stating, “Now is the time for talk talent to think of themselves as more than employees…they must think entrepreneurially for their own survival. The way to start is by developing a healthy relationship with your advertisers.”
Act Quickly! Word just in from Bob Dane, event manager for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row is that due to larger than expected demand, they expanded the number of broadcast booths. As of 10:00 am ET this morning (Monday, April 23), Dane reports there is now one remaining, fully equipped booth in morning, midday and afternoon drive left. And it’s first come, first serve. This event is a must-attend-and-no-reason-not-to given that everything is turnkey and at no cost for the convenience of the participating broadcasters…and if you act fast, possibly a hotel room can be part of the package – but availability is extremely limited. Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2012 is staged annually by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, this year, May 8-9 in Washington, DC focusing on immigration issues facing the candidates in this heated election year. Contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.
Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly Close to Re-signing with Fox News Channel. The New York Times reports it has confirmed through anonymous sources that Fox News Channel superstars Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are ready – as early as next week – to sign contract extensions with News Corp.’s cable news/talk network that would keep them in the fold through the 2016 elections. FNC is declining to comment on the story but the sources seem to indicate that the deals to keep the two most-watched personalities on the network in place for four more years are being cemented quickly and should be announced within the next week or so. Sean Hannity’s national talk radio show is syndicated by Premiere Networks and Bill O’Reilly’s daily commentary is syndicated to talk radio stations across the country via Courtside Entertainment Group.
NOW Attempts to Inject Life into Anti-Rush Limbaugh Campaign. The National Organization for Women is firing up a campaign called “Enough Rush” aimed at getting the Premiere Networks talk superstar’s show cancelled. As these things usually do, the blowback suffered by Rush Limbaugh from his Sandra Fluke comments has all but disappeared. But NOW – working in conjunction with the anti-conservative organization Media Matters for America – is reigniting its efforts to end Limbaugh’s program. NOW president Terry O’Neill states, “For more than two decades, Rush Limbaugh has degraded women, people of color and anyone who doesn’t look or think like him. Like bullies everywhere, Limbaugh uses the age-old tactic of savaging one woman for the purpose of intimidating all women away from the public square. Rush’s hostile, hateful speech is destructive to our public discourse, our communities and our democracy.” NOW is organizing rallies in a number of cities designed to build momentum for the campaign. Meanwhile, PPM ratings for the month of March indicate publicity generated by the campaign against Limbaugh has actually increased his ratings in many markets.
Arbitron Drops Diary-Based Ratings in Seven Markets. Lack of enough subscribers to make it profitable can be credited for Arbitron Inc.’s decision to eliminate the diary-based ratings in Saginaw-Bay City-Midlands, Michigan (market #139); Ann Arbor, Michigan (#155); Wilmington, North Carolina (#162); Dubuque, Iowa (#237); Columbus-Starkville-West Point, Mississippi (#261); Sebring, Florida (#276); and Mason City, Iowa (#283).
WPRO, Providence Talk Host and Former Mayor Buddy Cianci’s Daughter Dies. The colorful two-time former mayor of Providence – and PM drive talk host at Cumulus Media’s WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence – Buddy Cianci has lost his daughter to an apparent drug overdose. Nicole Cianci’s death at her home in the city was reported Friday and Cianci issued the following statement, “This is a tragic and emotional time for Nicole’s mother and I. Our entire family appreciates your thoughts, prayers and sentiments. We ask that our family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.” Nicole Cianci was Buddy Cianci’s only child and the mother of his three grandchildren.
TALKERS to Publish Four-Part Series by Walter Sabo on FM Talk this Week. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo, one of the earliest and most accomplished proponents of FM talk, has written a powerful and informative four-part series on the hot topic that will run exclusively in TALKERS this week. In the series, one of radio programming’s most prolific visionaries delves into such areas as mistakes to avoid, finding and inspiring great hosts, methods to develop cume, topic management, the differences between AM and FM “share” and much more. The series begins tomorrow (Tuesday, April 24) and will run every day this week through Friday. Sabo will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in NYC on June 7.
WFLA-FM, Tallahassee AM Drive Show’s Eggers Exits to Join Think Tank. Eric Eggers is producer and on-air co-host of the WFLA-FM, Tallahassee’s morning drive show hosted by Preston Scott. He announces he’s leaving the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment station and the program he’s been producing for the past seven-plus years to join the Government Accountability Institute – a non-profit think tank based in Tallahassee and founded by conservative author Peter Schweizer. Eggers tells Tallahassee.com, “Peter wrote his last book about insider trading in Congress. And so it’s going to be more projects along the same vein in terms of focusing on corruption, cronyism, looking at some of the ways the current federal government system is broken and failing us — not looking out for the little guy.”
Ed Tyll Begins Regular Web-Based Talk Show Tonight. Longtime talk radio host Ed Tyll begins a new regular talk program broadcast via the internet at TalkRadioX (http://talkradiox.com/) at 8:00 pm ET. TalkRadioX was co-founded by Dan Delgado and Antubert Johnson – two personalities who’ve made the TALKERS “Frontier Fifty” list of internet talk show hosts blazing a trail in the world of web-based programming since the list began being published three years ago. (The 2012 “Frontier Fifty” list will be published at Talkers.com in September.) Tyll says TalkRadioX is “a 24-hour streaming talk station that boasts an original line up of enthusiastic talkers, reminiscent of when talk radio was both fun and informative.” Dan Delgado tells TALKERS, “Getting someone of Ed Tyll’s caliber and stature in the industry is something we at TalkRadioX had been looking to do for some time. We’re thrilled to be getting someone with his experience on the station. What he brings in terms of talent and energy is something that will bring all of us to the next level.” Tyll states, “TalkRadioX represents a key moment in the history of a format that I love hosting. It’s the perfect place for what I do on the air. I’m convinced that my success with the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando will be eclipsed by the enormous potential of this network’s unique combination of terrestrial radio and world wide web radio listenership.” During his career, Ed Tyll has worked at numerous major market talk stations as well has having been nationally syndicated.
The Fight for Freedom in Afghanistan. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing author and former Army Ranger Captain Sean Parnell (r) as the two discuss his new book Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan (William Morrow 2012). The interview was conducted before a live audience at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the 78th such event – broadcast live on WNDB – in Bernier’s live interview series.
SiriusXM Delivers 2011 Revenue Increase of 7%. Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin opened the Thursday conference call with positive news about 2011 and rosy predictions for 2012. Karmazin reports the satcaster added 1.7 million net new subscribers with revenue topping $3 billion for 2011. He told analysts the company has reduced programming costs by 27% over the past three years to bring them to 10.7% of adjusted revenue. And Mel’s favorite figure – free cash flow – was also a nice one: $416 million. Karmazin says he expects free cash flow to grow to $700 million this year due in part to the restrictions on subscription prices having been lifted. He projects revenue to hit $3.3 billion in 2012 with 1.3 million new subscribers added.
Nassau Broadcasting Agrees to Undergo Chapter 7 Liquidation. It was four months ago that Nassau Broadcasting Partners convinced U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross to allow its Chapter 7 liquidation being sought by its creditors to be converted into a Chapter 11 reorganization. Now, the company wants to liquidate itself and is asking the judge to approve an auction of its 49 stations. Nassau owes more than $280 million to its senior lenders which include Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC, P.E. Capital LLC and Fortress Credit Opportunities. Nassau’s spoken word stations include: WARK, Hagerstown, Maryland; WTSV, Claremont, New Hampshire; WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire; WVPO/WPLY, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; WEEX/WTKZ, Allentown, Pennsylvania; WSNO, Barre, Vermont; and WNHV, White River Junction, Vermont.
Dave Ramsey to Take Over Live Midday Slot on WOR, New York. The end of the nationally syndicated Lou Dobbs talk radio show is creating room for other hosts and programs across the country and in New York City at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, independently syndicated Dave Ramsey moves from delayed broadcast status to airing in the live 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot beginning February 27. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “In these rocky economic times New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions. We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio – Dave Ramsey – to our award-winning lineup.”
“Battle Line with Alan Nathan” Adds Two Hours on Lifestyle TalkRadio Network. Alan Nathan’s Main Street Radio Network-produced talk program is already distributed nationally via the Blue Star Media’s Lifestyle TalkRadio Network from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily. Now, with the departure of Lou Dobbs’ radio program from the network, “Battle Line” adds another two hours from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk says, “Main Street is very excited with the additional two hours of ‘Battle Line’ on LTRN. Our working relationship with the staff of BTRN/LTRN is a model on how companies can work together for the good of all involved!” Business TalkRadio Network CEO Michael Metter comments, “We are thrilled to be a part of the increase in Alan’s reach. We are looking forward to bringing our affiliates the brilliance of Alan’s informed, entertaining centrist views.”
Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan Off WHBO, Tampa Due to Health Issues. The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Nanci Donnellan – known as the Fabulous Sports Babe – is absent from her midday sports talk show on Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa due to what is believed to be health issues. The station is not commenting. Donnellan, who hosted a nationally syndicated sports talk program on ESPN Radio in the 1990s and at Sports Fan Radio Network after that – left radio for a period to battle breast cancer before returning to the air in Florida, eventually settling at WHBO. Sitting in for her is former WDAE sports reporter Whitney Johnson.
Boston Radio Community Honors Memory of WBZ Personality Dave Maynard. During a 40-year radio and TV career Dave Maynard ruled the airwaves in Boston on WBZ during the 1980s. He’s being remembered for his warm personality that made his program such a success in the market. Maynard died at his home in Citrus Hills, Florida on Wednesday at age 82. He’d suffered with Parkinson’s for the past decade. WBZ director of news and programming Peter Casey tells the Boston Globe, “He was just a genuine, honest person on the radio. There wasn’t a Dave Maynard on the air and a Dave Maynard off the air. He made a career being Dave Maynard on the air, and that was the Dave Maynard who lived next door to you.”
Bell Media Cuts 16 Positions in Ottawa Radio/TV Cluster; Afternoon Talk Host Michael Harris Among Casualties. While the Canadian economy has not been hit as hard as America’s during recent times, it appears Bell Media is feeling the pinch and the need to restructure its Ottawa operations. According to the Ottawa Citizen, among those let go in addition to CFRA afternoon host Michael Harris on the spoken word side include CFRA reporter Gord McDougall, sports CFGO – Team 1200 – staffers Jim Jerome, Phil Melanson and Mike Sutherland. Harris had been a talk host at CFRA for the past 11 years. He tells the paper the moves appear to be financial in nature and management “went out of their way to say it had nothing to do with the quality of my work.”
GOP Primary Battle the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of February 6-10. The intensifying GOP primary battle between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (with Ron Paul sticking it out as well) landed atop the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Right behind at #2 was the 2012 presidential race combined with the Obama Super PAC story. At #3 was the Syria policy and the closure of the U.S. embassy there as a result of the intense violence. And at #4 was the foreclosure abuse settlement signed by President Obama. The Talkers TenTM contains the 10 top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
In the Belly of the Beast. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC morning drive team the “Morning Majority” broadcast live from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC this week. Pictured here are “Morning Majority” co-hosts Brian Wilson (l) and Mary Katherine Ham (c) interviewing CPAC organizer Al Cardenas (r) of the American Conservative Union. Also broadcasting from the two-day event were WMAL morning co-host Bryan Nehman and midday talk host Chris Plante.
WNDB, Daytona Beach Talk Host Marc Bernier Moderates Carlson-Begala Debate. The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce packed 600 people into the Daytona Beach Ocean Center for a debate of the issues of the election season between CNN analyst and Democrat Paul Begala and Fox News Channel personality and Republican Tucker Carlson. WNDB talk show host Marc Bernier served as moderator for the event. Pictured here are (from l-r) Paul Begala, Marc Bernier and Tucker Carlson.
Herman Cain Returns to WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – in Commentator Role. Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and recent GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain returns to Cox Media Group’s news/talk giant WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – the station at which he was hosting the evening program before leaving to run for office. Cain isn’t back on evenings. Program director Pete Spriggs tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution Cain’s busy schedule won’t allow him to return to that slot. Instead, Cain is filing a daily two-minute commentary that airs twice daily – 8:45 am during Neal Boortz’s show and at 6:45 pm during Erick Erickson’s program. He’ll also join Boortz live at 10:35 am every Monday and Friday. Although it is clear that Cain is still heavily involved in the thick of this year’s presidential race as an event speaker and potential campaigner, his significantly heightened status as a political media celebrity in the aftermath of his formidable candidacy increases his stock as a potential radio and television talk show host. Industry speculation grows about his next moves as a media personality after the dust of the election settles.
Geraldo to Do Local Show on KABC, Los Angeles. Since it was announced that Geraldo Rivera was taking over the late-morning show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York there’s been speculation that he would also be imported west to the company’s KABC, Los Angeles. Now Geraldo tells the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Carney that not only will he be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KABC beginning January 30, but he’ll be doing a separate, live show for Southern California. Geraldo tells Carney that he represents the larger middle portion of America that isn’t necessarily being heard from on talk radio today, “That agenda is extremely partisan. It’s carving up the country, it has a strong racial undertone, and I don’t think that’s good for anybody.” As a result of the move, KABC’s John Phillips’ program will be heard from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.
Merlin Media-CBS Radio Update. The all-news war in New York is making the consumer press as the New York Daily News’ John Hinckley writes about the cease-and-desist Merlin Media received from CBS Radio lawyers for using a version of the famous WINS, New York slogan “Give us 22 minutes; we’ll give you the world” to promote its all-news “FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM). As we reported yesterday, Merlin has been engaging in a bit of old-fashioned radio battle strategy by twisting the WINS slogan to “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world” for WEMP-FM. Lawyers for CBS say the tactic has no purpose but to get publicity and say it’s trademark infringement. That’s one way of looking at it. Though the strategy could be derided by some as an old-school radio technique that won’t work in the modern era, others will argue that Merlin’s point is a good one; it underscores the perception that most people don’t have 22 minutes these days and FM News 101.9 is current and hip by doing it in 10 minutes. Merlin certainly has an uphill battle ahead of it in terms of catching the New York all-newsers in the ratings. It’s possible that in order to grab some of the audience share of the news-consuming public, Merlin is going to have to get attention by doing more than just putting out a good product. Another way of looking at it, however, is that if Merlin put out a good product, the Randy Michaels-led company wouldn’t have to resort to the kind of competitive stunting popularized during the heyday of top 40 in the 1960s and 1970s.
Todd Schnitt to End MJ Kelli AM Show; Focus on Talk Show. For years now, Todd Schnitt has been doing double duty – morning drive on Clear Channel’s CHR WFLZ-FM, Tampa and PM drive on CC’s WFLA from which he’s syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks. Now he will focus on the talk show aspect of his career as he shuts down his MJ Kelli morning show persona with his last broadcast on WFLZ-FM on February 17.
Clear Channel Promotes Two Executives. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment bumps Hartley Adkins from his SVP of operations for the Southeast market to executive vice president of operations for its Mid-Major markets. Taking over for Adkins in the SVP of operations for the Southeast market is John Rohm who moves up from the market manager post for the Philadelphia market. Although not mentioned in the press release, Adkins takes over for Mark Kopelman who exits the company with no comment from corporate. Both Adkins and Rohm will report to John Hogan who states, “With their proven performance, leadership and exerience, Hartley and John will help ensure our local markets operate effectively and efficiently and provide our company with real opportunities for growth.” Additionally, Brad Hardin, senior vice president of programming, now serves as programming partner to Adkins in the Mid-Major markets; and Jon Zellner, senior vice president of programming, now serves as programming partner to Tom McConnell, senior vice president of operations for the Northeast regional markets.
WWNC, Asheville Names Pete Kaliner PM Drive Host. The former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte evening host lands the afternoon drive program at Clear Channel’s Asheville, North Carolina news/talk outlet. Pete Kaliner hosted the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show at WBT for two years until the show was eliminated for budgetary reasons in March of last year. WWNC program director Brian Hall says, “Pete filled in for us last summer and I was blown away by his dedication to show prep and how the listeners engaged with him on the air. After talking with great candidates from all over the country and other professionals in the industry, it was clear that Pete was the perfect fit for this position and for the community of Western North Carolina.”
Former Florida Radio and TV Financial Host Gets Four Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors. U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley sentenced Anthony F. Cutaia to 51 months in prison for running a ponzi scheme in which he misappropriated some $1.5 million that affected between 10 and 50 investors (court documents don’t specify the number of victims). Cutaia operated a commercial real estate business and hosted a program on Beasley Broadcasting’s WSBR, Boca Raton as well as a television show on the PAX TV network. Cutaia was charged with nine counts of mail fraud in June of 2011 and pleaded guilty to one charge in hopes of getting a lighter sentence but the judge gave him a longer sentence than federal prosecutors recommended.
South Carolina Primary/ 2012 Presidential Race Most-Talked-About Story on News/Talk Radio During Week of January 16-20. Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the South Carolina GOP primary election and the 2012 presidential race. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio stations across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. Coming in at #2 this week is the denial of the permit for the Keystone XL Canada to Texas oil pipeline. At #3 is the internet anti-piracy bills and the associated Wikipedia blackout and at #4 is the Euro Zone jitters and rising gas prices. View the entire Talkers TenTM chart here.
“Troublemaker” Visits Florida. Christine O’Donnell, former U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware and author of the best-seller Troublemaker (St. Martin’s Press 2011), kicked off her Florida speaking tour by sitting in on “The President’s Speakers Series” at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach broadcast live on WNDB, Daytona Beach and hosted by talk host Marc Bernier. O’Donnell says she is reaching out to college students to engage them in the political process for the upcoming election. This event was the 72nd in the series started by Marc Bernier in the mid-1990s. Pictured here during the event are Bernier (l) and O’Donnell (r).
Larry King Still Going Strong, Plans New Radio and TV Projects. In an exclusive TALKERS TV interview conducted with Bill Moran of PodJockey.com, broadcasting legend and CNN icon Larry King says he doesn’t feel his age and has no intention of retiring anytime in the near future. Speaking on camera during the noisy breakfast gathering (10/20) at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum moments before he delivered the conference’s opening speech, King states that in addition to the four TV specials per year for three years that he has contracted to do for CNN, he is on the verge of announcing (within several days or weeks) his return to doing an LA-based national radio show and the launch of yet another television project. He says that he was comfortable with “Larry King Live” coming to an end this past December stating he knows “it was time” but he does miss having the opportunity to cover the big news stories that break on a daily basis such as the killing of Osama bin Laden. He says he thinks the job being done by present day news media is “mixed” – that the public is provided “massive information” faster than ever due to modern technology, however, in an effort to get it out quickly the media “doesn’t always get it right.” He regrets that there isn’t an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite working in today’s news broadcasting. He points out that there is “a lot of conjecture” in today’s news reporting. He proudly quotes Johnny Depp who recently described him as being “a throwback” stating “I never had an agenda.” King professes his love of baseball, currently serves as a little league coach, and is a member of one of the investment groups bidding on taking ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Immediately following the interview, King opened up the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum with a well-received address in which he discussed his career – past, present and future. To watch and hear Larry King’s conversation with Bill Moran see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page. Larry King’s opening address at the LARTF and detailed coverage (stories, photos and videos) of the panels and speeches at the groundbreaking conference will be coming to this website shortly.
Dial Global Completes Merger with Westwood One. Friday, Dial Global announced it has completed its merger with Westwood One in a stock-for-stock transaction that sees the WON ticker symbol go away and, beginning today (10/24), the company is listed on the NASDAQ as DIAL. Dial Global is being led by the management team of Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams. The newly formed company includes all of the sports programming Westwood One has been known for over the years as well as the original talk content plus the entertainment programming and 24/7 music formats. It also includes the Dial Global sales rep department and continues to partner with the now separate company Triton Digital. Neal Schore serves as chairman of the newly constituted board of directors and states, “Dial Global has always been focused on serving the ever-evolving needs of the radio industry and this transaction will expand the programming and service offerings sought by both radio stations and advertisers. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Rod Sherwood and the entire Westwood One team, whose tremendous efforts have helped make this transaction possible.” Dial Global’s majority ownership is Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. and The Gores Group, LLC which own 44% and 31% of the common shares, respectively.
Cumulus Hammer Falls in New York. News of the corporate dictate hit the industry grapevine late Friday that there have reportedly been about 15 job cuts at New York stations WABC and WPLJ-FM, though at this time only a few are known for sure. Mancow Muller’s New York-only weekend show on news/talk WABC is gone from the lineup. It’s believed that a number of the positions cut were administrative posts but it’s also reported that Jill Vitale (a.k.a Flirty Flipper – former Sean Hannity producer) was let go from her digital media post. So far Cumulus corporate officers have visited Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York as they undertake the process of determining where duplicative positions exit and where money is being spent that they believe is just not necessary.
Deepak Chopra Launches Online Radio Show with Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio. Cinchcast, a company that provides solutions for businesses and consumers to create, share, measure and monetize audio content, today announced that Deepak Chopra has launched a new online radio show leveraging Cinchcast’s audio publishing and management platform and its online radio network, BlogTalkRadio.com. Deepak Chopra, a leading expert in the fields of spirituality and alternative medicine and New York Times best-selling author in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, has created Deepak Chopra Radio to provide an online forum for compelling and thought provoking conversations on success, love, sexuality and relationships, well-being and spirituality. According to Chopra, “Cinchcast’s technology and the BlogTalkRadio network are enabling me to create my own media platform. The simplicity of broadcasting using only a phone enables me to bring together thought leaders from across the globe from the worlds of spirituality, science and politics to create and share a dialogue on today’s most important topics.” Alan Levy, CEO of Cinchcast and founder of BlogTalkRadio tells TALKERS, “That’s the beauty of our technology, it turns the phone into a publishing platform making it easy for individuals and businesses to bring important conversations to life. We’re thrilled to have Deepak Chopra on the BlogTalkRadio network.” Deepak Chopra Radio is now available at BlogTalkRadio.com, DeepakChopra.com and on iTunes. Cinchcast was developed by BlogTalkRadio to enable businesses with a simple and powerful solution to produce and share original audio content. Headquartered in New York City, Cinchcast powers audio creation and publishing for companies such as United Business Media, Business Insider, SAP and Sears, and is the technology behind BlogTalkRadio. For more information, visit www.cinchcast.com.
KGMZ, San Francisco Names Mitch Moss Producer. Entercom’s 95.7 The Game – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces former KBAD, Las Vegas program director Mitch Moss is the new producer for its midday “The Wheelhouse with John Lund” program.
Timing Is Everything. On the night following the death of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) presented Fox News national security correspondent and author Catherine Herridge (r) in a live town hall-style event to discuss the next threats against the U.S. and her new book, The Next Wave: On the Hunt for al Qaeda’s American Recruits (Crown Forum 2011). Bernier tells TALKERS this was the 67th event in the long-running interview series. It featured a book signing as well.
Paul Finebaum and Staff Visit Iowa Fan. Birmingham, Alabama-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum – in the news a lot recently for his legal battle with the former Citadel Broadcasting and WJOX-FM – and some of his staff visited 33-year-old Robert Fisher on Friday, October 21. Fisher, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is a huge college football fan and a regular caller to Finebaum’s show that he’s able to hear via Sirius XM. Finebaum, call screener Tammy Hethcox, and frequent Finebaum guest and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Lemak flew from Alabama to Iowa in Lemak’s private plane to surprise Fisher at his parent’s home. Finebaum tells the Cedar Rapids Courier that though a few hateful callers have taken issue with him putting Fisher on the air, most of the show’s fans have embraced Fisher. Hethcox and Fisher have struck up a friendship as a result of his calls and Fisher was thrilled to meet Hethcox and argue in person over their respective love of college football rivals Alabama and Auburn. Finebaum says, “Everybody loves the guy on the show. He’s known from coast to coast.”