Tag: "WNEW-FM"

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

| February 14, 2017

Alpha Media to Buy WFTL and WMEN in Palm Beaches.  This deal brings two spoken-word formatted AMs into Alpha Media’s West Palm Beach station group, joining current holdings adult contemporary WEAT “Sunny 107.9” and hot AC WRMF.  News/talk WFTL, West Palm Beach and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach are being sold by Mark Jorgenson’s ACM JCE IV B, LLC to Alpha for $ 2 million.  Jorgenson’s firm acquired the stations from James Crystal in a 2015 bankruptcy auction.  Alpha begins operating the two stations under an LMA until closing.

Westwood One and Entercom Partner to Syndicate ‘Beyond Reality Radio.’  Last August, Entercom launched the “Beyond Reality Radio” program across a number of its news/talk stations.  Now, the company is partnering with Westwood One to put the program into national syndication.  “Beyond Reality Radio” airs weeknights live from 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am ET and is co-hosted by Jason Hawes, co-founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society and the creator and star of Syfy’s hit “Ghost Hunters,” and JV Johnson, a long-time paranormal investigator and former publisher and editor of TAPS’ ParaMagazine.  Entercom stations airing the show include: KJCE, Austin; WRKO, Boston; WBEN, Buffalo; KEZW, Denver; WSKY, Gainesville; WYRD, Greenville; WBZU/WKZN/WILK, Wilkes-Barre; KMBZ, Kansas City; WWL, New Orleans; WBT, Charlotte; and KNSS, Wichita.  Westwood One will roll out syndication to stations nationwide and represent ad sales as it launches on March 6.

TALKERS News Notes. In the Triangle market, Capitol Broadcasting’s sports talk WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” and its affiliate digital platform WRALsportsfan.com partners with contributor Lauren Brownlow to present a special, eight-episode podcast investigating the “supernatural history” of North Carolina State University and the legendary “curse” that haunts Wolfpack Nation.  Brownlow says, “Growing up in North Carolina and covering the area teams for over a decade, I’ve long been fascinated with the dedication of NC State fans in spite of a recent string of bad luck, which contrasts sharply with a rich and successful overall athletic history.  When I learned about the recently conceived concept of ‘NC State Stuff – What can go wrong for NC State will go wrong,’ and that it had a name, I knew I had to learn more about it. I’ve never believed in it, but I kept an open mind going into this podcast and wanted to figure out, once and for all, if there’s anything to it.”…..Entertainment consulting firm Paragon Media Strategies names Michelle Conrad as social+mobile+digital consultant.  Paragon CEO Mike Henry said, “It’s great to add a true Millennial to Paragon’s consulting ranks.  Michelle Conrad is a native digital user and lifelong social media explorer.  Michelle brings hands-on experience working with entertainment brands, including ABC, Nickelodeon and GoPro.  She is uniquely suited to ensure that the social, mobile and digital experience is completely in synch with the overall brand experience.”…..Westwood One reports the results of a Nielsen study it commissioned to examine the return on investment for advertisers using WW1’s coverage of NFL football and NCAA basketball play-by-play.  WW1 says some of the key findings of the study include that, 1) radio elevated key brand perceptions.  For example, those exposed to Westwood One’s NCAA basketball audio were 37% more likely to indicate the motorcycle manufacturer was the brand for people like them versus those who were not exposed to the campaign; 2) the radio campaign had significant advertiser recall among key demographics for the brand.  Among those who have ever owned a motorcycle, those exposed to Westwood One’s NCAA basketball audio were 72% more likely to recall the brand’s ads; and 3) radio had a stunning impact on every stage of the purchase funnel, including purchase intent: Compared to those who had not heard the campaign, those exposed to the radio campaign had a 63% increase in plans to purchase the brand.  See more of the results in WW1 chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard’s blog post here…..The Radio Advertising Bureau names 17-year RAB staffer Tiffiney Wyatt to the newly created position, business development & insights associate.  At the same time, joining the membership team at the RAB is Rita Landells.

Trump’s Travel Ban Battle, North Korea Missile Incident/Trump Security Questions, Michael Flynn Under Fire-Resignation, California Dam Concerns, ‘SNL’ Trump Sketches, Tumultuous GOP Town Halls, and Sunday’s Grammy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13).  The court battles over his original travel ban and potential new executive travel orders from President Donald Trump and related protests over his perceived anti-immigration stance; North Korea’s weekend test of an ICBM and related questions about presidential and national security after Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe learned of and discussed the matter in the Mar-A-Lago dining room; National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn resigns after ongoing questions about his improper communications with Russian diplomats; the status of a Northern California dam spillway as it threatens the residences of some 200,000 evacuees; the flap over the series of Trump Administration spoofs aired on “Saturday Night Live”; the raucous town hall receptions some GOP lawmakers are receiving in their districts; and Sunday night’s Grammy Awards 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.  Music radio pro Zakk Babb stays in the Entercom family in his new position as afternoon drive personality and imaging director for CHR WZPL, Indianapolis.  Babb has been hosting evenings at Entercom’s hot AC WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” – a position he’ll continue to hold as he’ll voice track the show from Indy…..Due to his ongoing cancer treatment, John Thomas is stepping away from his SVP of programming role at iHeartMedia’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster in which he oversees programming at news/talk WHYN-AM, hot AC WHYN-FM, and country WRNX.  In a Facebook post, Thomas writes, “After a lot of prayer, weighing the pros & cons and deep soul-searching – I’ve decided to resign from my position @ iHeart in order to FOCUS 100% on my HEALTH! Over the course of the next several weeks – I’ll be transitioning in order to put myself in the BEST possible position to benefit from the clinical trial that I started a few weeks back.”…..Cumulus Media announces that the nationally syndicated Kidd Kraddick show – starring Kellie Rasberry, Big Al Mack, J-Si Chavez and Jenna Owens – is the new morning program on its CHR KBIU, Lake Charles “HOT 103.3.”…..In the Lafayette, Louisiana market, programming pro Tyrone Davis exits Delta Media’s urban contemporary KFXZ “Z105.9” where he’d been serving as program director and music director.  His duties will be assumed by operations manager Erik Tobias.

Friday, December 18, 2015

| December 18, 2015

bloomberglogoBloomberg and CBS RADIO Partner to Make WNEW-FM, Washington into ‘Bloomberg Radio.’  A new agreement between CBS RADIO and Bloomberg results in the launch of “Bloomberg Radio” on WNEW-FM, Washington.  The transition from CBS RADIO-programmed all-news to Bloomberg’s programming means the station will deliver “business and financial newswnewlogo along with non-partisan coverage of politics, policy, power, and influence to Washington, D.C.”  The programming will also be heard on WJZ-HD2 at 105.7.  In a press statement, Bloomberg says this deal “marks the launch of Bloomberg Radio on its first FM station.  Led by Bloomberg’s Washington bureau and the company’s global news operation, Bloomberg 99.1 will draw upon the strength of reporting from 2,400 journalists in 150 news bureaus across 73 countries.  Bloomberg News, one of the world’s leading financial news organizations, produces 5,000 stories a day and has received more than 800 awards since it was founded in 1990, including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting.”  The station will also air an audio simulcast of Bloomberg TV’s “With All Due Respect” with hosts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.  Global head of Bloomberg Television & Radio Al Mayers comments, “As we enter this critical election year, there’s no better time to introduce Bloomberg Radio to Washington.  On the heels of recent expansions in Europe and Asia-Pacific, this launch marks an important step in our mission to extend the reach of Bloomberg Radio into the most important regions of the world.  We will tap into the deep expertise of our Washington bureau to provide insights and analysis on policy and politics that listeners cannot easily find elsewhere.”

cosbyritaWABC, New York Names Rita Cosby Political Editor.  This new title comes with expanded duties for Emmy-winning journalist Rita Cosby at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York.  As political editor, Cosby will “cover the 2016 U.S. presidential race and other major political stories, bringing the freshest angles and key newsmakers to WABC Radio, including exclusive interviews with the most important andwabc logo intriguing candidates.”  WABC says Cosby will continue to host her eponymous Sunday morning show and will debut a new weekly election round-up show, “Election Central with Rita Cosby,” on Sunday, December 20, at 7:00 pm.  Her first guests will include GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.  She’ll oversee a weekly political column for “Election Central,” 77 WABC Radio’s weekly political e-newsletter, and contribute interviews to Westwood One News Network.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Rita’s vast political experience and unparalleled access to the major political players continue to make her a huge asset to 77 WABC in this expanded position.”

biakelseyBIA/Kelsey Releases 2016 Local Media and Advertising Predictions.  Advertising and marketing research and advisory firm BIA/Kelsey is releasing its predictions about local media advertising for 2016.  The company says that this report “contains more than 20 predictions for the year ahead, offering insights for BIA/Kelsey’s key coverage areas, including mobile, social media, online media, search, online video, programmatic advertising, software, print media, small-business marketing, local media sales, broadcast media, publishing and the on-demand economy.  As a teaser, the firm offers its Top 10 predictions (the whole report can be purchased) for 2016.  The Top 10 highlights selected nuggets on the impact on local media and advertising by millennials, mobile payments, Facebook, Google, data-driven ad sales, yellow pages, ad attribution, programmatic advertising, the on-demand economy and online video.  Some of the highlights investigated in the report include predictions that: Millennials will drive the next wave of marketing innovation; data-driven local ad sales becomes the new normal; the march of programmatic continues; and more.  See more here.

mikeandmike‘Mike & Mike’ to Be Inducted into NAB Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  At the NAB Show Radio Luncheon in Las Vegas next April 19, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, hosts of ESPN Radio’s daily morning show “Mike & Mike,” will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The program celebrate its 15th anniversary in March of this year.  NAB EVP of Radio John David comments, “Golic and Greenberg, with their mix of sports savvy and humor, have been informing and entertaining fans for more than 15 years.  The two have seamlessly combined their passion for sports with radio, and we are honored to add them to our distinguished Hall of Fame.”

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Medved Discusses His Battle Overcoming Throat Cancer and Other Compelling Issues.  Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Networks talk star Michael Medved gets “Up Close and Far Out” with Michael Harrison on the new installment of the hit PodcastOne series posted today (12/15).  In a touching, candid conversation, Medved talksmedvedmichael about his battle against throat cancer this past year that threatened not only his voice, but his life as well – including how it opened a whole new vista of understanding and appreciation to his thought processes and philosophy.  In addition, Medved and Harrison talk about Donald Trump and his impact upon the Republican Party and the conservative movement in America.  They also get into a broader conversation about Medved’s alternate career as a movie critic including the role he played in bringing awareness of Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space” to historic infamy as the worst picture of all time.  To listen to this not-to-be-missed media freaks’ delight in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player boxes located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

foxsportsradio logoKGMZ, San Francisco Adds FOX Sports Radio Programming.  San Francisco sports talk outlet KGMZ “95.7 The GAME” is adding FOX Sports Radio show to its program schedule.  The Entercom sports talker will add the Ben Maller show to its late-night daypart airing from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am as well as “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” airing from 3:00 am to 6:00 am.  Additionally, KGMZ is airing FOX Sports Radio weekend programming from personalities including: Anthony Gargano, Lincoln Kennedy, Michael Harmon, Jason McIntyre and others.

talkersten logo2016 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 14-18.  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Tuesday’s GOP primary debate tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 were the terror threats school districts including New York, Los Angeles, and Houston received.  Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the U.S.’ refugee and immigration policies 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.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

| May 26, 2015

eastlanratings logoDick Broadcasting Signs with Eastlan Ratings for Triad Market Stations.  Certainly this is big news for the Bellevue, Washington-based ratings firm as Dick Broadcasting is the first broadcaster to sign on with Eastlan in a market served by Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys.  This story doesn’t involve a spoken-word radio station as Dick operates only classic rock WKRR “Rock 92” and CHR WKZL in the Triad market, but it’s one broadcasters of all stripes find interesting.  According to a press release issued by Eastlan, under the terms of a new multi-year agreement, the company will field its initial audience measurement study in the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem market this summer.  Dick Broadcasting VP/GM Dick Harlow comments, “I was surprised to learn that we are the first to make this switch in a PPM market.  The meter was supposed to be the savior and all it’s done is increase our annual payments to Nielsen.  And now we find out to win in the PPM game you need a magic black box to job the system.  At some point, enough is enough.  We look forward to working with Eastlan Ratings to see who people in the Triad choose to listen to rather than who they are exposed to.  Plus the sample size will be about triple the number of meters now in the market.”  Eastlan president and CEO Mike Gould adds, “After more than 16 years of providing radio ratings in markets coast-to-coast, we’re finding broadcasters and media buyers who don’t know the Eastlan story are few and far between.  Our methodological hybrid of telephone recall (landline and cellular) and e-surveys isn’t sexy but it’s fair and it’s reliable.  We are thankful that Dick and his colleagues trust Eastlan as their preferred ratings vendor.  We are going to help save them a lot of money by getting their ratings investment back in line with the realities of today’s radio revenue stream.”

kollinsdonKollins to Program KGMZ, San Francisco.  San Francisco sports talker KGMZ “95.7 The Game” has a new PD two-and-a-half months after Jason Barrett exited the position for family reasons.  Entercom announces Don Kollins assumes the post on June 12.  Company market vice president Steve DiNardo says, “After an exhaustive search, the best choice was located north of us – way north – in Canada!  We’rekgmzlogo excited to have Don join the San Francisco programming team.  He comes to us with an established record of success – specifically in sports and news/talk formats.  His experience in managing both play-by-play relationships with professional sports teams as well as personalities makes him the ideal choice for this position.  Under Don’s leadership, I’m confident that we will continue to build on the successes that Jason Barrett achieved during his four-year tenure as PD.”  Kollins comes to Entercom from Rogers-owned CJCL, Toronto “SportsNet 590 The Fan.”

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison and Richard Neer Reminisce About Their First Two and a Half Years in Radio.  There’s a whole lot of ancient radio and pop cultural history discussed in this week’s installment of the hit international podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” as the TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher is joined by his close friend and colleague of 48 years – Richard Neer – in an intimate conversation about how they met in 1967 at their first job at the same radio station, WLIR-FM, Long Island.  They were teenage broadcasters struggling to survive in their first toe-hold as pros (while still attending college) at a small beautiful/classical music-formatted FM station in Garden City where they served as staff announcers/news readers and engineers thatneerrichard fumbled their way through the challenging process of learning to run the board and announce records that were targeted to a far older audience while trying to avoid the wrath of a demanding owner.  By 1970, they had learned their craft under fire and actually became quite good at it, earning the respect of WLIR’s owner, John Rieger, who appointed Harrison program director and Neer music director of a new progressive rock format for the station that the duo suggested.  As it turned out, the station’s new format was an instant smash, WLIR-FM went from obscurity to national prominence, and Harrison and Neer were catapulted, within 10 months of the new format’s debut, to highly coveted, on-air positions at the legendary WNEW-FM, New York.  Both went on to colorful 48-year careers in music, talk and sports radio as well as trade publishing.  Neer subsequently wrote FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) which still stands as a widely quoted reference work about the golden era of album rock broadcasting.  To hear the podcast in its entirety and enjoy descriptive insights into what it was like to be a couple of kids in small-time radio back in the late-1960s, please click here or the player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

ksfologoKSFO, San Francisco Raises $135,000 for Fisher House Foundation. During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Cumulus Media-owned news/talker KSFO, San Francisco’s morning show with Brian Sussman, Katie Green and Sheri Yee helped raise $136,000 for the Fisher House Foundation.  The “KSFO Morning Show” broadcast live from the Palo Alto Fisher House Friday morning from 5:00 am to 9:00 am and featured interviews with soldiers and their families who have used Fisherfisherhouselogo House’s services.  Listeners donated online and by phone during the live broadcast and throughout the Memorial Day weekend.  KSFO supported the fundraiser through on-air recorded and live promotional announcements, listings on KSFO.com and a message from Brian Sussman on the KSFO newsletter.  This is the fifth consecutive year for KSFO’s Memorial Day weekend fundraising effort.  KSFO has raised more than $600,000 for Fisher House Foundation over the past five years.  Sussman comments, “Once again the KSFO audience has revealed its profound patriotism!  This kind of generous giving is representative of the American spirit.”

redstatetalkradioConservative Talk Digital Platforms Merge.  Effective June 1, the two conservative talk digital platforms Red State Talk Radio and WDFP Digital will become one network.  Red State Talk Radio program director Premo Mondone says, “Our goal is simple.  We will utilize the growing technology of digital broadcasting to produce the very best in grassroots, common sense, conservative programming.  This merger will allow Red State Talk Radio to move to the next level.  Put simply, I think that in time, we can establish ourselves as the dominant conservative Internet talk radio station in America.”  Joining the newly merged company will be WDFP’s Donna Fiducia (formerly of the Fox News Channel) and Don Neuen, co-host of “Cowboy Logic Radio.”  The result of the merger will be new programs joining the Red State network and the platform will broadcast two digital streams (Studio A & Studio B), which will allow the station more capacity and flexibility.  It also plans to bring new contributors on board.

westwoodoneLacrosse15WW1 Wraps NCAA Lacrosse Title Game Coverage.  The championship game for college lacrosse was played over the weekend at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia with the Denver University Pioneers beating Maryland to claim the school’s first title.  Pictured here is Westwood One announcer Jason Horowitz (left) interviewing winning coach Bill Tierney (right).

ISIS Progress in Iraq and Syria, Hillary Clinton Emails Case, 2016 Presidential Prospects, B.B. King Murder Allegations, Texas-Oklahoma Floods, Memorial Day Weekend, NBA-NHL Playoffs, and Anne Meara Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25).   The military progress of ISIS taking territory in both Iraq and Syria; the ongoing talk about Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the allegation by B.B. King’s family that he was poisoned by two associates; the severe floods affecting parts of Texas and Oklahoma; the Memorial Day holiday; the weekend’s NBA and NHL playoff action; and the death of comedienne and actress Anne Meara were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

| May 7, 2015

2015 NYC 150HEADS UP:  Talkers New York 2015 Is Nearing Sellout.  Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be sold out sometime next week.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.”   Casey continues, “There will be no registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT next Friday May 15, if not sooner.  That will be the absolute cut off point.”  The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district.  It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm.  Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities.  The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit.  Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card.  They are not refundable or transferable.  For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest agenda, please click here.

emmis logoEmmis Reports for Fiscal Q4 and Full Year; Net Revenue Flat in Q4, Up 1.6% on the Year. Reporting on its past fiscal year, Emmis Communications Corporation states radio net revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter was $38.8 million, up from $32.3 million from the prior year, an increase of 20%.  On a pro forma basis, Emmis’ revenue reported to Miller Kaplan in the markets where Emmis competes (excluding barter and syndication revenue) were up 0.8% in markets down 2.5%.  For the full year, radio revenues were $176.3 million, compared to $145.3smulyanjeff million in the prior year, an increase of 21%.  On a pro forma basis, Emmis’ revenues reported to Miller Kaplan in the markets where Emmis competes (excluding barter and syndication revenue) were up 1.6% in markets down 3.7%.  Emmis likes to frame its revenue in the context of how it performed against the markets.  It goes on to say, “February marked the 15th consecutive month in which Emmis outperformed the markets in which it competes.  Every measured Emmis market outperformed for full year fiscal 2015.  Emmis stations in New York, Los Angeles and Austin all outperformed their markets in the fourth fiscal quarter.”  President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments on the company and the NextRadio platform.  “Despite weakened markets and a challenged industry, Emmis once again outperformed.  The radio industry needs a catalyst for growth, and we are convinced we have it with NextRadio, the Emmis-developed free smartphone app that marries over-the-air local FM broadcasts with visual and interactive features.  The radio industry’s consumer awareness campaign for NextRadio has had remarkable results, further validating the promotional power of radio.  Consumers exposed to NextRadio overwhelmingly love it.  Average Time Spent Listening (ATSL) per session on NextRadio is nearly double traditional listening, all major radio companies are supporting the effort, and we are adding 350,000 activations each month.  The momentum is tremendous.”

townsquare logoTownsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Up 2.5%.  That’s compared to the same period one year ago.  The company’s 2015 first quarter net revenue was $81,118,000.  The press release also notes Local Advertising net revenue was flat; Live Events net revenue increased 5.1%, and 59.7% excluding non-recurring festivals; and Other Media and Entertainment net revenue increased 29.%.  Townsquare Media chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “In the first quarter of 2015, we delivered net revenue growth of 6.5% excluding political revenue and non-recurring festivals.  We are pleased with our first quarter performance, in the face of challenges presented by harsh weather conditions which particularly affected our Northeastern markets.  These challenges impacted our Local Advertising segment and were offset by the strength in our Live Events segment and in Other Media and Entertainment.”

salemmediagroup logoSalem Media Group Flat for First Quarter of 2015.  As a whole, Salem Media Group reports flat net revenue – down 0.8% revenue of $61.9 million — for the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year ago.  Breaking it down by sector, the broadcasting division saw net revenue dip 0.5% to $46.5 million from $46.8 million.  The digital sector also reversed course and dropped 4.6% on revenue of $10.8 million.  Publishing, on the other hand, rose 6.2% to $4.5 million from $4.3 million.

advantagesystems logoSchatz Back with Advantage Systems.  The sales consultancy firm Advantage Systems Inc. brings Jeffrey A. Schatz back into the fold as director of integrated sales.  Schatz comes to the company from Digity Companies where he was director of revenue development.  Prior to that he was vice president of total marketing solutions forschatzjeffrey Townsquare Media from 2009-14.  Schatz comments, “I am excited to be joining Advantage Systems Inc. again!  I’ve spent the last seven years helping broadcast companies generate revenue through integrated selling.  Advantage offers a variety of integrated sales platforms, which align perfectly with my experience in helping media companies maximize their sales efforts in broadcast, online, digital, and interactive.  These platforms will generate an annual revenue base for our media partners in their local markets.  I’ve also been involved with Musical Images and Custom Creative and am excited to be able to offer these services through Advantage Systems Creative to enhance local clients’ existing marketing efforts.  It’s the perfect marriage!”  Advantage president Mike Loconte says, “We are ecstatic to have a veteran like Jeff back on our team.  Jeff knows the challenges experienced by our media partners first hand.  He knows the ins and outs and he’s worn every hat, so he can relate to our clients in a very unique way.  His experience in traditional and digital sales along with his creative experience makes him the perfect fit for this position.”

Robert SanchezSanchez Adds WLZL OM Duties. WNEW-FM, Washington, D.C. program director Robert Sanchez takes on further responsibilities as operations manager of CBS Radio Spanish tropical sibling WLZL “El Zol 107.9 FM.” He succeeds Pete Manriquez, who was the program director of “El Zol.” Senior vice president and market manager Steve Swenson comments, “We have a lot of talented people at ‘El Zol’ who will work with Rob in taking the station to new heights. The experiences of everyone will be of great help to Rob as the team works together. Rob is a straight shooter, he knows CBS Radio, and he is a winner. I would like to thank Pete for his work as one of the executives on my team.” Sanchez remarks, “Pete did a great job in creating a radio station that sounds wonderful. He has been incredibly supportive of his programming staff and it has shown in what comes out of the speakers.” Ever since all-news WNEW-FM debuted in November 2011, Sanchez has been the station’s only PD. Among persons 6+ in Washington, D.C.’s latest Nielsen Audio PPM report (March 2015), WLZL (1.9) and WNEW-FM (1.7) finish at #19 and #20, respectively; meanwhile, Hubbard all-news WTOP (9.1) is the market’s (6+) pacesetter for the third successive survey.

wansleytyChicago News, Talk and Urban Radio Pro Ty Wansley Dead at 63.  A week after being admitted to a Chicago hospital suffering from congestive heart failure, Ty Wansley has died.  Wansley’s career in Chicago spanned more than three decades and included success in urban, news, and talk formats.  Wansley had been serving as the news and information director for iHeartMedia’s three urban outlets: hip hop WGCI, urban AC WVAZ and gospel WGRB.  He began his career in his native St. Louis.  He became news director at the old WBMX, Chicago, served as a talk host on urban talk outlet WVON and was famously paired up with former Chicago Alderman Ed Vrdolyak on news/talk WLS-AM in 1993 – a show that became a ratings smash.  That show continued its success on crosstown WJJD.

Baltimore Aftermath, Prophet Drawing Contest Attack, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Tsarnaev Penalty Phase, Gay Marriage SCOTUS Case, Obama Trade Deal, Amnesty Issue, and Patriots Deflategate Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6).  The political repercussions of the Freddie Gray death in Baltimore; controversy over the Garland, Texas prophet-drawing contest that was attacked by purported ISIS sympathizers; the ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Family Foundation operations; the penalty phase of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; the case of four states with anti-gay marriage laws that went before the Supreme Court; President Obama’s foreign trade deal; the controversy over amnesty for illegal aliens in the U.S.; and the NFL’s report on the Patriots’ deflation of game balls were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, February 27, 2015

| February 27, 2015

brandmeierjonathonWestwood One Announces: Here’s Johnny! Bona fide Chicago radio cult legend Jonathon Brandmeier takes to the national stage next month when Westwood One commences syndicating his daily three-hour eponymous show-gram. Executive vice president of content and programming for Westwood One’s parent company – Cumulus Media John Dickey comments, “Jonathon is one of the most versatile performers in radio today. We know audiences will enjoy his lively humor and take on each day’s topics. We are thrilled to add ‘Johnny B’ to the Westwood One roster of relevant and relatable talkmillerdennis programming.” Remarking this is an “extremely exciting” time for all those associated with his show-gram, Brandmeier – who has achieved industry success in Los Angeles (on talk KLSX) and Phoenix (on KZZP) as westwood one NEWwell as in Chicago – notes, “We look forward to continuing to entertain audiences in Chicago and expanding our reach nationwide.  Fasten your seatbelts – it is going to be a wild ride.” Simultaneous with Brandmeier’s addition to the Westwood One roster is the departure from it by the program hosted by Dennis Miller. The former “SNL” cast member states that he is “stepping aside from radio at the moment” and that, “it has been a great run. I have had a phenomenal time interacting with my guests and audience, but with so many other commitments, it is hard to maintain a daily talk show. It is time to pass the torch as I move on to explore other opportunities – I wish ‘Johnny B’ lots of luck.” Three top-five market Cumulus-owned AM stations (KABC, Los Angeles, WLS-AM, Chicago, and KLIF-AM, Dallas) have already cleared Brandmeier’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (ET) program. In addition, there are affiliates in Salt Lake City (KKAT), Providence (WPRV), and Albuquerque (KTBL) – all are Cumulus Media AM properties.

mccoysteveSteve McCoy to Host Mornings on ‘News Radio 106.7’ in Atlanta.  The Cumulus Media news station is changing morning shows, bringing aboard Atlanta market pro Steve McCoy, effective Monday, March 1.  McCoy worked at the old WZGC “Z93” in AM drive where he was the longest-running morningwyay logo new personality in the station’s history.  He also worked at “Power 99,” WSTR “Star 94” and WSB-FM “B98.5.”  WYAY “News Radio 106.7” program director Greg Tantum says, “Steve has had a personal relationship with millions of Atlanta radio listeners for years.  Steve’s deep roots in the community bring a one-of-a-kind perspective and understanding to the daily lives of Atlanta residents.  Most important, Steve has proven he is the best at entertaining listeners and making them feel good – even in Atlanta traffic.”

weismanstevenWeisman: The Battle Over Net Neutrality.  With yesterday’s passage of the FCC’s proposal to reclassify the Internet as a public utility and regulate it, the battle may have just begun.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, in a timely column examining the matter, writes that this is sure to bring about court challenges by the ISPs. Weisman notes that even though there was support in both the Democrat and Republican parties for preventing ISPs from creating multi-tiered delivery services, there are other issues that Republicans say are problematic.  “Opponents of the FCC’s classifying the Internet as a utility are concerned that, by doing so, the FCC would have increased authority to regulate rates and take other actions that they believe would stifle investment by Internet Service Providers and slow innovation.  FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said that he is cognizant of the power that classifying the Internet as a utility would provide the FCC, but that he expects to use a ‘light touch’ in regulating the Internet and would ignore powers that the FCC had that did not relate to broadband.  The devil is often in the details and it will be important to see whether a ‘light touch’ is reflected in the specific regulations to implement the vote which will not be published for a few days and will not become effective for a few months.”  Read Weisman’s entire column here.

2015 NYC 150Today Is the Last Day to Receive the Early Bird Discount for Talkers New York 2015.  Registrations are already being booked at a rapid pace as Talkers New York 2015 is heading toward being an early sell-out. The session will be held as part of the day-long conference set for Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District.  Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early-bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET this afternoon.  Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities.  The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected.  Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card.  For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413.  More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced next week.

bohannonjimJim Bohannon to Emcee Awards Ceremony at Talkers New York 2015.  Talk radio great Jim Bohannon will reprise his stellar performance as Emcee of the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12.  The veteran Westwood One syndicated personality (a past recipient of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award) will preside over the presentation of the honors which include awards for:  Freedom of Speech, Lifetime Achievement, Woman of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year.   Stay tuned for the names of the award recipients as well as those who will be making the presentations.

rogersleeRogers Upped to News Director for Entercom Upstate.  Morning news personality Lee Rogers is promoted to news director for Entercom’s Upstate South Carolina station group.  Rogers anchors the morning news on news/talk WYRD, Greenville “106.3 WORD” during “The Tara Show.”  Entercom Upstate OM Mark Hendrix comments, “Lee brings a wealth of news experience and Upstate knowledge.  I look forward to Lee expanding 106.3 WORD’s position as the Upstate’s breaking news leader.  Listeners will hear more proprietary content on the news that matters most to them.”

Odds & Sods.  With the signing of Jonathon Brandmeier to the Westwood One network and the show being picked up by Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago, the station cuts ties with John Kass and Lauren Cohn, who were co-hosting the late morning daypart, although Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the station is auditioning Lauren Cohn for work on the morning show hosted by Big John Howell.  Filling in on the late morning program until Brandmeier starts is talk radio pro Tom Becka, who’s on the air there today through March 6…..American political satirist – and five-time Emmy nominee – Will Durst joins the regular panel of humorous pundits on the weekly podcast “The Koz Effect,” which streams live at 7:00 am ET Saturdays via the Radio Titans podcast network…..San Antonio news/talk KTSA is now heard on the FM dial in the market as Alpha Media begins simulcasting the station on translator K296GK at 107.1 FM…..Powell Broadcasting’s news/talk KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa begins simulcasting its programming on translator K235CA, Sioux City at 94.9 FM…..ABC and PodcastOne are debuting a new, original podcast series which takes an in-depth look at the new television drama “American Crime.”  The weekly podcast will be hosted by film critic and radio personality Elvis Mitchell.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Joining Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey, who will air in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  His show is also being added to theramseydave evening program schedule at CBS RADIO’s news WNEW-FM, Baltimore/Washington…..The “Good Day” show with host Doug Stephan adds 11 new affiliate stations, including: WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; stephandougWPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; and KFTL, Gilbert Arizona…..The “Business Rockstars” show with Ken Rutkowski is added to the program schedule at 18 Rocking M Media outlets in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma…..“The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan joins the program lineup at WXTK-FM, Cape Cod…..WCGO, Chicago adds Bruce DuMont’s “Beyond the Beltway” to its weekend lineup…..BizTalkRadio clears several shows, including the Ray Lucia program, on new business talk outlet WHFS-AM, Tampa and the 11-station “SuperTalk” chain in Mississippi…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” featuring Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete joins the program lineup at WRKO, Boston.

hannityStigallCPAC15Hannity Visits Chris Stigall Show at CPAC Radio Row.  In this photo, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity (right, standing at mic) makes an impromptu stop at the WPHT, Philadelphia booth on the radio row at the CPAC conference.  He appeared on the morning show hosted by Chris Stigall (far left, seated).  During the broadcast Stigall spoke with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, her daughter Bristol, and potential 2016 candidate Senator Ted Cruz.

ramseysacramento15Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Takes Sacramento.  Nationally syndicated radio talk star Dave Ramsey’s “Smart Money” live event tour continued last night (2/26) in Sacramento as he presented his program about how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future at Adventure Church.  Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage.  Local affiliate KSTE helped promote the event.  KSTE program director Bill White comments, “Dave Ramsey touches, inspires, and helps people every day.  He not only provides a healthy perspective in regards to personal and professional finances but has an overall ‘LIFE’ philosophy that resonates with his audience far and wide.  His show isn’t just about money; it’s about life.  We’re proud to have Dave on “Talk 650” KSTE, a radio show that’s important and matters to listeners and our clients.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): KSTE’s Joel Mordhorst, account executive; Darren Mounts, general sales manager; Ramsey; Michelle Alfano, account executive; Jeff Bussani, account executive; and White.

ramseydave logoCool Job Opportunity.  Media Advertising & Sponsorship Sales, Ramsey Solutions – The Dave Ramsey Show.  This is not a normal job-posting… because this is not a job!  We have “one” incredible opportunity available, that will change your life.  The only question is “Are you that person?”  Ramsey Solutions has an opening for the right person who possesses as a minimum: Proven track-record of closing million dollar deals; Ability to deliver results for your client because you care enough to put together the right solution; Personal integrity that allows your to rise above your competition; Aptitude to hear the word ‘No’ as an opportunity; Fortitude to manage the resources of Radio, Video, Digital, Print, and Event Sponsorships to create unlimited earning potential; Strong working knowledge of what we do and “Why” it works so well every time!  This position provides the ability to represent: The Dave Ramsey Show — 3rd Largest Nationally Syndicated Talk Radio Show in the nation; 558 Radio Affiliates nationwide – 8.5 million weekly listeners; 2009 Marconi Award Winner; 2013 NAB Hall of Fame Inductee. Digital Footprint – 1.6 million weekly impressions; Podcast; Online Video Channel/App; Online Audio Stream; iHeartRadio Dedicated Channel.  Print Exposure — Two (2) Newsletters with more than 1 million subscribers combined.  Live Event Sponsorship — (20) Events each year reaching more than 75,000 in attendance.  The opportunity to prove what you can do begins now!  If you have what it takes to fill this “one” position then it’s your assignment to get our attention.  When we find this person we will commit to providing an incredible work environment, un-paralleled resources with a brand that delivers results, and the ability to control your own earning potential with no corporate imposed ceiling.  Apply online at www.daveramsey.com/careers.

Department of Homeland Security Funding Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 23-27.  The battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was President Obama’s amnesty order tied with the controversial comments made by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  Coming in at #3 was the brutality of ISIS tied with the Iran nuclear weapons program, and following at #4 was the allegation of Bill O’Reilly’s violating the journalistic ethics code.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and it published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

| April 21, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Agenda Taking Shape for Talkers New York 2014.  The 17th annual installment of the talk radio and media industry’s largest and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014 — is taking shape with most speakers and sessions already scheduled (for up-to-the-minute agenda, click here).  The one-day, power-packed conference will feature approximately 65 industry speakers participating in two keynote address, two special presentations, five panel discussions, an awards ceremony, the Talk Rumble, an exhibition, gala luncheon, and closing cocktail reception.  Talkers New York 2014 will be held on Friday, June 20 at the India House located at One Hanover Square in the cultural heart of New York City’s downtown Wall Street financial district.   The event – as usual — is expected to be an early sellout.  Registrations ($249 for all activities) are only open to professionals working in radio, communications and associated business and can only be obtained via telephone with credit card.  Please call 413-565-5413 to register or obtain a sponsorship.  Because New York City has so many hotels from which to choose, there is no “official” conference hotel – but several nearby recommended facilities include: Holiday Inn Express (click here), Hilton Millennium (click here), Marriott Downtown (click here) and Hilton Doubletree (click here).

cbsradio logoCBS RADIO to Move Washington Operations into DC.  According to a story in the Washington Business Journal, CBS RADIO has signed a lease for a 33,000 square foot second floor in a 10-story office building on Half Street SE and the stations will relocate from their current site in Lanham, Maryland.  In addition to the second floor, CBS will also lease about 3,000 square feet of space on the ground floor to serve as a performance space.  Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray is expected to announce the deal at a press conference today that will include CBS RADIO president Dan Mason and senior vice president Steve Swenson.  CBS operates sports talk duo WJFK-FM and WJFK-AM, all-news WNEW-FM, hip hop WPGC, adult contemporary WIAD and Spanish WLZL.

relm networkRELM Network Offers Free Don Geronimo Podcasts.  Radio personality Don Geronimo began hosting a daily two-hour program on the RELM Network on April 1 after years working on CBS RADIO outlets – most recently KHTK, Sacramento and WJFK-FM, Washington.  Beginning today, RELM isgeronimodon offering a free, weekly “best of” Don Geronimo show podcast.  RELM says it will be 20 to 30 minutes in length and will contain highlights from recent episodes.  It will be available at relmnetwork.com, dongeronimopodcast.com and iTunes.  Geronimo’s show airs live from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm with a recorded version available shortly after each live show ends.  RELM is charging $9.99 per month to subscribe to the show ($26.99 per quarter or $99.99 for a year).   The cast of the show also includes co-host Drew Hoffar, their sidekick, Joe Ardinger, and features regular appearances by longtime pal and newsman Buzz Burbank.

tombarnardshowRoster Growing at Tom Barnard Network.  Twin Cities radio personality Tom Barnard is adding a number of new podcasts to Tom Barnard Network – the digital venture that operates independently of his KQRS, Minneapolis morning show.  According to the Pioneer Press, Barnard is distributing podcasts from Kailen Rosenberg, Rusty Gatenby and Tommy Mischke.  Rosenberg is a relationship expert and author who hosts the show “Lovetown, USA” on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network.  Her podcast is titled, “The Love Happy Hour,” which is produced with the assistance of Kelly Guest.  Gatenby is an entertainment reporter – formerly with KSTP-TV – who is producing a video podcast with fellow broadcaster Melinda Jacobs called “The Rusty Gatenby Review.”  Longtime Twin Cities radio show host Tommy Mischke debuts “The Mischke Roadshow” on May 12.  Mischke previously hosted shows on WCCO and KSTP-AM.  Barnard’s nephew Sean Barnard, who serves as general manager for the venture, tells the Pioneer Press, “We saw that there were a lot of talented people out there looking for an outlet, and it’s a very unique, fun and creative way to do things.”

cclogoAE Sues Clear Channel New Orleans.  Another sales staffer at Clear Channel’s New Orleans cluster is suing the company claiming management conspired to dismiss her in retaliation for testifying in the cases of other African American AEs suing the company.  Caucasian sales staffer Michelle Killian alleges in her suit that market manager Dick Lewis, sales manager Rob Hasson and director of sales Joshua Mednick attempted to create reasons to terminate Killian through assigning unattainable sales goals.  She also alleges the company began giving her smaller value sales leads in order to affect her income.  Further she alleges this came about after she testified in the cases of Prixie Montgomery and other black AEs suing the company for violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Killian states in her complaint that the atmosphere created at the cluster was such that black and white AEs only spoke to each other when business demanded it and that she was also targeted by management for interacting and socializing with African American co-workers.

siriusxmSiriusXM and NBC Agree to New ‘TODAY’ Show Channel.  In an agreement announced on today’s edition of the “TODAY” show on NBC TV, it was announced that the network and SiriusXM will produce the “TODAY” Show Radio channel that will carry audio from the morning television program live.  The channel will also air replays of the show.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “Listeners will for the first time be able to take the ‘TODAY’ show with them on their busy morning routine and throughout the day during their daily drive.  TODAY’s unparalleled and timely content is another great example of working with an iconic brand to provide great programming to our millions of subscribers.”

Former WJBO, Baton Rouge Sportscaster Walter Hill Dies.  For years, Walter Hill teamed up with John Ferguson to call Louisiana State University football games on WJBO, Baton Rouge.  Hill died in Lafayette, Louisiana on Saturday (4/21) at age 86.  Hill later served as sports director at WBRZ-TV.  He retired from that station in 1986 after 25 years.

envisionnetworks newCool Job Opportunity.  Affiliate Sales Manager.  Sales Experience Required.  Base salary plus Uncapped commission.  The position is based in Cleveland, Ohio.  Envision Networks is looking for salesperson to join a growing company and a fun team.  The successful candidate will be responsible for aggressively growing and maintaining the number of affiliated radio stations in their regional territory.  We use salesforce.com for our CRM and marketing.  We use social media as a sales tool.  Additional responsibilities: maintain affiliate relationships and handle affiliate questions or concerns in a timely manner; attend regional trade shows and entertain clients; attend affiliate events and broadcast industry functions to learn, laugh and live the dream; work closely with the director of affiliate relations to develop and relay new sales/marketing programs, products and services; provide innovative customer service and sales; maintain and track territory sales initiatives.  Qualifications & Requirements: 1) Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of training and experience; 2) Previous broadcasting industry experience is a plus, but not required; 3) Strong computer/technical skills; must have knowledge and experience with CRM, Word, Excel, and Outlook; 4) Ability to work well independently and as part of a positive team; 5) Good oral and written communication skills. Attention to detail is critical; 6) Exceptional organizational and time management skills; 7) Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously; 8) Ability to prioritize and meet deadlines.  Spanish language skills a plus.  Salesforce.com a plus.  Microsoft Office Suite Required.  Envision Networks (www.goenvisionnetworks.com) offers profit sharing as well as competitive benefits and compensation package plus organization funded 401k retirement plan in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment.  Please send cover letter, resume and salary requirements in MS Word or ASCII text to Laura Orkin, Chief Operations Officer or e-mail LauraO@envisionradio.com, or via fax to 216-514-4699.  No phone calls PLEASE.

conwaysimonBBQConway Goes Live from BBQ Joint for Good Cause.  WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway took his talk show on the road on Good Friday to the local Jethro’s BBQ ‘n’ Pork Chop Grill in order to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Conway reports that the local eatery gave him a percentage of its take for the afternoon for the cause and it even named a drink after him called the Simon Shandy.  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society got $2 from each drink sold!

Monday, March 3, 2014

| March 3, 2014

fccnewFCC Kills CIN Study…at Least for Now.  The Federal Communications Commission issued a brief statement late Friday afternoon ending the current form of the Critical Information Needs study that has enraged broadcasters since it was announced last May.  Recently, as the beginning of the study approached this spring, broadcasters – and many from the public arena – had re-stoked their disapproval.  The FCC’s statement on February 28paiajit was: “The FCC will not move forward with the Critical Information Needs study.  The Commission will reassess the best way to fulfill its obligation to Congress to identify barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses.”  Commissioner Ajit Pai, who had publicly criticized the scope of the study, said, “I am pleased that the FCC has canceled its Critical Information Needs study.  In our country, the government does not tell the people what information they need.  Instead, news outlets and the American public decide that for themselves.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to identify and remove actual barriers to entry into the communications industry.  This newsroom study was a distraction from that important goal.”

heavyhundred logoTALKERS to Postpone Publishing 2014 Heavy Hundred Until Tuesday, March 11.  The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication this coming Tuesday, March 11, 2014.  It was originally intended for publication today (3/3) but last-minute developments in the industry regarding the contracts and standing of several key hosts has required adding the extra week for consideration and tabulation.  Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board.  It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.)  Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”).   According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation.  Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater.  Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!”  Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.

wnewlogoCBS RADIO Adds Baltimore, Maryland Content to All-News WNEW-FM.  The two-year-old all-news format on CBS RADIO’s WNEW-FM, Bowie, Maryland-licensed station is getting some tweaking as the station will add more Baltimore and Maryland content to its programming in the form of news and traffic, as the company says, “in addition to its extensive coverage of the Washington, D.C. metro.”  The company is opening a Baltimore news center beginning today (3/3), which is located at CBS television station WJZ-TV.  Other bureaus will follow in Annapolis and Montgomery County throughout the year.  Longtime Baltimore radio news anchor Sarah Jacobs has been named bureau chief, overseeing a team of local reporters.  Baltimore Sun columnist David Zurawik reported on the changes last week questioning if the changes are the result of the inability to “put a dent” in the ratings at Hubbard’s crosstown WTOP.  Some of the changes beginning today include traffic reports every five minutes during peak travel times plus expanded coverage to include “Beltway to Beltway” traffic spanning the entire Baltimore-Washington corridor, from the Baltimore Beltway to the Washington Beltway, and the major arteries that feed them.  CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Steve Swenson states, “WNEW reaches 5.3 million people across Baltimore and Washington, and all the counties in between – more than any other local radio station.  We’re thrilled to offer area residents around-the-clock news coverage, and serve as the primary destination for all their traffic information needs.  Whether driving the two Beltways, I-95, the Baltimore Washington Parkway, I-97, or Route 50, commuters will only need to listen to one station: All-News 99.1FM.”  In the Baltimore Sun piece, Zurawik writes that Swenson concedes the location of the WNEW-FM transmitter – near Annapolis – doesn’t cover the DC metro the way most DC-licensed stations do.  Swenson tells the paper WNEW-FM “reaches 38% of the DC metro population while it covers more than 75% of the Baltimore metro.”

geronimodonDon Geronimo to Exit ‘106.7 The Fan’ in Washington.  After returning to his longtime stomping grounds at WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” following a stint at the company’s KHTK, Sacramento, Don Geronimo will again leave the station and his evening show.  Geronimo Tweeted that he’s going to be on the CBS RADIO payroll for another 30 days and then “off to brighter pastures.  You know I have a lot to say on the entire matter, you’ll hear it all soon enuf, ever 4ward.”

stephanpattizPodcastOne Makes Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ Show Available on Demand.  Nationally syndicated radio personality Doug Stephan (left) is partnering with PodcastOne to have the service distribute his podcast and have PodcastOne Sales serve as the exclusive rep for his podcast.  Stephan’s “Good Day” is now available in a digital format after the original broadcast of the radio program.  PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz (right) says, “Everybody needs a good day.  Now we can make sure that Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ is available 24 hours a day, on-demand, from PodcastOne.  This is just another example of the expanding radio footprint that makes the best talent available to the largest possible audience, and on a personal level, having Doug on the podcast lineup brings a big smile to my face and assures me of having my own personal good day.”

humphriesrustyTalk Radio Personality Rusty Humphries Joins Washington Times.  Longtime TRN-syndicated talk radio personality Rusty Humphries is joining the Washington Times for an “expansive role” in which he will be “a weekly columnist, a blogger and a daily video show host.”  The organization notes that “Humphries’ appointment is part of the Washington Times’ aggressive expansion into the many platforms that comprise a modern media company.  The audio from Humphries’ video show will also be streamed on the Kaliki-based, on-demand network that was recently established in partnership with the Times.  Humphries comments, “I’m excited to become part of the Washington Times family.  I am proud to add my voice and my ideas to the excellent work that the Times has been producing for decades.”  Times editor and vice president of content and business development John Solomon adds, “Rusty is a rare and special talent.  We are thrilled to have his wisdom and his good humor as part of our growing menu of offerings.”

sextonbuck showNew Lineup from TheBlaze Radio Network; Buck Sexton Show to Weekdays.  There’s a new weekday schedule from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network as the company announces the Buck Sexton show moves to weekdays in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET slot effective March 17.  Sexton is also co-host of “Real News from TheBlaze,” he is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst with hands-on expertise in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations around the world.  As a result of the move, the Pat & Stu show moves to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Over the past 18 months or so Buck has emerged as a very strong new voice in media.   We’re excited to see what he can do with the expanded opportunity on TheBlaze Radio Network.”

oconnellsusanCompass Media Networks Welcomes Susan O’Connell.  Affiliate relations pro Susan O’Connell is joining Compass Media Networks as a consultant with the goal of managing and enhancing affiliate relations and strategy related to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. O’Connell has served as senior director, affiliate sales for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2006.  Compass exclusively manages affiliate sales and advertising sales for WSJ Radio.

revenuedevelopementresourcesLawrence Named Director of Sales at Revenue Development Resources.  After 14 years of service to the Radio Advertising Bureau, Bob Lawrence becomes director of sales for Revenue Development Resources.  He states, “It’s exciting to be representing the valuable services that RDR offers to broadcasters, and to once again team with RDR president/CEO Mark Levy.  I look forward to more of the kind of successes that Mark and I achieved during our years working together at the RAB.”  Says Levy, “Bob joining us is like old-home week.  With former RAB team members Tim Foley and now Bob Lawrence on the team, it’s like working with family again!”

younglarryOdds & Sods.  Imaging and voice-over pro Pete Gustin leaves his gig with Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO after 18 years with the stations.  Gustin, who recently launched his own imaging and voice-over service, writes on his Facebook page, “I’ll be partnered with dozens of major national brands, programs, radio stations, TV networks, sports franchises and agencies like Solid Talent with Micaela Stepanovich, CESD Imaging — affiliates and Paul Wintner and Jason Helzner, who are both very much responsible for this new path I’m on.”…..WOLB, Baltimore morning show host Larry Young is honored as a recipient of the 2014 Verizon Community Innovator Award.  The company says that Young was the only recipient of the award in the communications field.  “We here at Radio One Inc. are very proud of Larry’s many accomplishments and this shows the great works he has done for the community and how he represents his community.”…..Center Post Holdings announces it is re-branding the Business TalkRadio Network to BizTalkRadio to reflect its new partnership with sister network BizTV.  Center Post Holdings purchased BTRN last October .

rickbubbaclassRick & Bubba Read to 50,000 Kids in 13 States!  Nationally syndicated morning show Rick & Bubba (Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey) recognized the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” day today by using technology to read Dr. SeussGreen Eggs & Ham to an estimated 50,000 students in 800 schools across 13 states.  The SSI-syndicated show has made an annual tradition of creating the “world’s biggest classroom” on this day.  In the photo here, Rick & Bubba are seen on a screen in one of the classrooms taking part in the event.

wachsdominicGoing for Woman of the Year.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) is pictured here with two-time cancer survivor Dominic (left) as Wachs gears up to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Las Vegas.  Wachs was nominated for Woman of the Year so her goal is to raise $20,000 during the campaign that runs from March 21 through May 31.  Wachs tells TALKERS the funds go to cancer research and financial assistance to families with children afflicted with blood cancer.  Listeners can help by going to her website at www.drdaliah.com and hitting the “Fight Blood Cancer” link after March 21.

abcoscars14ABC News Radio at the Oscars.  Just a couple of hours before winning the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in “12 Years a Slave,” last night in Los Angeles, Lupita Nyong’o (right) stops on the red carpet to talk with ABC News Radio’s David Blaustein (left).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

| September 4, 2013

westwoodone logoDial Global Changes Name to WestwoodOne.  Making good on what had been rumored for a little more than a week, Dial Global, as it prepares to be acquired by Cumulus Media, announces the official change of its name to WestwoodOne (complete with cool, new logo).  CEO Paul Caine states, “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as Dial Global.  Through our belief in the power of sound we are dedicated to continuously reinventing the industry and creating the most dynamic audio programming that connects people to their passions.  With the audio industry’s ever-changing landscape we know we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible for audio’s broad consumption.  By reclaiming and reviving an iconic audio brand name, we are not changing who we are, but accelerating thecainepaul great work we are doing to contribute to the growth of audio.”  In addition to the name change, the company reports it is commissioning “an industry study on the ‘power of sound,’ aimed at better understanding consumers, their behavior, and their interaction with audio.  The study builds on current recency data proving radio as the most-used medium closest to point-of-purchase and will explore trends in audio consumption based on behavioral tendencies among various demographics.”  The company says full study results are expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2013 but states that preliminary findings further the notion that audio is an integral part of the new media landscape.

epictimes logoTRN’s Jerry Doyle Launches ‘Solution-Based News Destination’ EpicTimes.com.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle – a former actor, voice-over artist, Wall Street trader and pilot, says he credits his varied background with instilling in him the obvious and growing need for a solution-based news doylejerrycommunity.  The Talk Radio Network personality is therefore launching his newest media endeavor, EpicTimes.com – what he calls “a solution-based news destination dedicated to putting cutting-edge news, resources, and answers in the hands of the public.”  He adds, “EpicTimes.com seeks to deliver insight from some of the most influential voices of our time, spanning a variety of expertise to share solution-based ideas and insights with a community that is focused on problem solving and results.”  Doyle says that to serve the knowledge of his online audience, he has assembled a diverse cast of contributors, whose collective goal is to offer clear insights into a range of issues, combined with hard-hitting commentaries and workable solutions to the issues that directly affect our lives.  “This unique view on the issues and news headlines is geared toward building an active community on the site.  All opinions are heard and commentary between readers and contributors and readers to readers is encouraged.  That kind of honest conversation is just what I believe people want.  My goal is for EpicTimes.com to not just publish relevant news, but to become a solutions community.”  Check out EpicTimes.com here.

rosenthalmarkKatz Radio Group Names Mark Rosenthal CEO.  Media rep firm Katz Media Group announces it has picked media executive Mark Rosenthal to head up the Katz Radio Group.  Rosenthal’s media experience goes back to the early days of MTV where he was one of the original team that created the cable TV channel.  He was also involved in the inception of Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central.  Katz says he “has been a leader in the media industry for more than 25 years, building advertising and marketing solutions for world-class media brands.”  KRG says Rosenthal will work with president Mark Gray to “ensure continued high-level performance in the transactional arena.  Rosenthal will also focus on KRG’s radio advocacy efforts and lead an accelerated charge to bring additional revenue into the radio sector.”  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have such a well-respected media executive join Katz Radio Group.  Mark has an enormous range of experience across all forms of media, from traditional and digital media to the agency world.  Radio is a powerful national marketing platform.  Our goal is to continue to tell the success story of radio’s massive reach.  Mark joining the team signifies a very exciting step forward in our intensified effort to drive substantial growth for Katz clients by providing the most innovative media solutions available.”

foxnewsradioFox News and SiriusXM Re-Up; Content Added to SiriusXM Internet Radio.  After speculation over the summer that Fox News and SiriusXM were headed for a break-up, the two sides announce they have inked a deal to bring Fox News content to the satcaster through 2019.  In addition, as part of the new agreement, siriusxmSiriusXM will broadcast Fox Business Network.  SiriusXM will be the exclusive audio home for broadcasts of Fox News and Fox Business Network for its more than 25 million subscribers.  As part of the agreement, SiriusXM will add both channels to its SiriusXM Internet Radio channel lineup for the first time.  The new agreement also includes the addition of Fox News Talk to the SiriusXM Internet Radio service.  Fox News Talk, which offers news, analysis, listener call-ins, and commentary from popular Fox News personalities such as Brian Kilmeade, John Gibson and Alan Colmes, among others, will be available online at SiriusXM Internet Radio and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App on smart phones and other connected devices.  Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes states, “Our viewers love the ability to keep the connection with Fox News Channel, even while they’re in the car with SiriusXM.  This agreement not only ensures that will continue but expands it to our Fox Business Network viewers and restores the Fox News Talk channel to SiriusXM subscribers on their computers and smart phones.  This is good for Fox News, for SiriusXM and for the people we both work for, the American public.”

conwaylelandLeland Conway Named Late-Morning Host at WHAS, Louisville.  Clear Channel’s heritage Louisville news/talker announces talk host Leland Conway will assume the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program that opened up when Mandy Connell moved to the company’s KHOW, Denver for the morning show earlier this summer.  Conway – a Kentucky native – currently hosts afternoon drive on CC’s WRVA, Richmond and will continue in that role as well.  Regional programming manager Kelly Carls states, “This is an exciting appointment for ‘84WHAS Radio’ and the Kentuckiana community.   We talked to many highly qualified and experienced on-air personalities, but Leland’s talents really shined brightly.  His wit, energy and longstanding Kentucky roots make him a great fit.  We’re extremely happy he’s returning to the Bluegrass State.”  Conway has served as a commentator on WTVQ-TV, and for six years hosted a successful talk show on WLAP, Lexington.  Conway adds, “It is an honor to join the WHAS team.  As a native Kentuckian, I grew up with WHAS.  It’s as much a part of the Bluegrass State as hot browns and horse racing.  I am excited to once again be a part of the lively conversation in Kentucky.”

radioshow2013Michael Harrison to Present Annual Address at NAB Radio Show.  In a popular “Info-Session” that has packed the room each year for more than a decade, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show on the subject “The Vital Role Radio Plays in Popular Culture.”harrisonmichael  The info-session, sponsored by TALKERS, will be a power-packed hour touching upon a number of key issues that are vital to radio’s very existence – let alone artistic and financial well-being – in the rapidly advancing digital era.  Harrison says that for radio to remain iconic in the 21st century, it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition.  He says radio must maintain a foreground, active position and avoid being marginalized as a passive delivery system and he gives solid examples and suggestions to make it happen.  Consultant Holland Cooke introduces what will be a riveting and inspirational hour.  The session takes place on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm in the very heart of the conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Gatlin E2 and is open to all attendees of the conference.

baxobrien‘Rock 102’ Springfield, MA Morning Talk Duo Bax & O’Brien to Do Live Performance at Local Theater.  The long-running morning drive powerhouse of Bax & O’ Brien (Michael “Bax” Baxendale and John O’ Brien) have been gathering huge on-air audiences in Western Massachusetts for more than 15 years and innovating advances in local webcasting worthy of national attention.  Now, they’ve added another facet to their arsenal of attractions.  The team has been booked into the downtown Springfield prestigious City-Stage theater for a one-night special performance on Thursday, October 17.  The show is being sponsored by local car dealership Curry Honda and will cleverly feature “guest” appearances by locally famous advertisers who will actually perform their live commercial reads during the program (great idea!).  In addition, guests will include local and regional personalities Paul “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, live performances from guitar legend Gary Hoey and Dr. Westchesterson plus special video presentations from comedians Lisa Lampanelli and Tom Cotter, and the promise of other surprises!  Tickets go on sale Friday September 6 at the City Stage Box Office or at Ticketmaster.com.  Fans of Bax & O’ Brien will be able to see it live in person or watch the show streamed live with their BaxandObrien.com membership.

nathanalanMain Street Radio Network Re-Brands Alan Nathan-Hosted Program.  The talk show that’s been known as “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” is now titled “The Alan Nathan Show.”  Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk states, “He’s the longest-running centrist radio show in the country and we’re delighted with the program’s evolution and direction.  As so many have said, ALAN is an important voice who needs to be heard!”  Nathan himself comments, “They’ve been calling it the ‘Alan Nathan show’ for years, so I learned how to take a hint.  Additionally, while there’s plenty of spirited debate (or battling) happening on the program, it’s also a guest-generated, panel-driven event that teases all who take themselves too seriously.”

costadinoDino Costa Moves to Mornings on SiriusXM’s New Sports Zone Channel.  As TALKERS reported yesterday (from a New York Daily News story), sports talk host Dino Costa is moving from the Mad Dog Radio channel at SiriusXM where he was the evening (Eastern Time) personality, to mornings where his show will be heard from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET beginning September 5.  In a statement, Costa says, “When I joined SiriusXM nearly five years ago, my objective was to deliver listeners across North America a brand of sports commentary and opinion that they had never heard before, something that was a radical departure from the status quo.  I feel I have accomplished that and gained a more than appreciable audience over that time.  Creating and delivering the kind of a show I do would not have been possible anyplace other than SiriusXM and it is an honor and a privilege to be with what I consider to be the mightiest radio broadcaster on planet earth.  I enjoyed my time with Mad Dog Sports Radio and now I look forward to new challenges and conquests and feel more enthused than ever at the prospects of making SiriusXM Sports Zone a destination channel for our valued subscribers.  This is the start of something very big!”

mooreloriLori Moore to Retire from WKZO, Kalamazoo.  Retire might be too strong a word for AM drive host Lori Moore’s departure from Midwest Communications’ news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo.  But Moore has worked at the station for the past 18 years (32 years in the market) and, to her faithful listeners, it might feel like retirement.  Still, Moore says she will remain close to the community and has “many projects” in the pipeline.  Morning host since 1995, Moore states, “I feel I have a special bond with my audience and advertisers.  I think I am able to connect with what people care about.  I talk about events because I go to them and I endorse products and services I actually use.”  Her last day is Friday, September 6.

Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds more sports programming to its weekend lineup with a post-Bears game program called “Two and a Half Bears,” featuring NFL Hall of Famer and Chicago Bears alumnus Dan Hampton, his former teammate Glen hamptondanKozlowski and WGN’s resident football fanatic Pete McMurray.  The program will feature interviews with players, coaches, and front office personnel.  Additionally, Hampton will join WGN’s Steve Cochran every Monday and Friday morning at 7:40 to provide a Bears game recap and preview…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces its NFL and Patriots football-related programming to air on the station and its affiliate stations around New England.  The content again includes exclusive interviews with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick on “Patriots Monday.”  As itcowherdcolin did last year, gameday coverage will originate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough and include pre- and post-game programs.  Throughout the week, WEEI programs will be visited by numerous football experts, writers and Patriots players…..ESPN Radio sports talk host Colin Cowherd debuts a new program on ESPN2 titled “Colin’s New Football Show” that will air Sundays at 9:00 am ET.  ESPN vice president, original programming and production, Jamie Horowitz says, “’Colin’s New Football Show’ will be entirely from Colin’s perspective.  It’s a cool and alternative pre-game show with Colin, a football outsider on the inside, letting fans know the key stories of the day in his own style.”…..CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington reports it is doubling its traffic alerts to keep commuters up to speed on the region’s roadways during drive time.  Dubbed “Beltway Fix on the Six,” in addition its traffic and weather together on the 1s, the station will add reports on the 6s between 7:00 am and 10:00 as well as between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm……CRN Digital Talk Radio host and well-known actor Fred Dryer is back on the big screen in a new movie titled “Snake and Mongoose,” that chronicles the careers of drag racers Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen.  In the film, Dryer plays Motorsports Hall of Fame member Ed Donovan, McEwen’s engine builder who coined the racer’s “Mongoose” moniker.

bernierimmigrationIllegal Immigration Forum.  Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) and former INS agent Michael Cutler appeared in “The President Speakers Series” on the subject of illegal immigration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.  The event was moderated by the talk show host Marc Bernier – who also serves as President’s special assistant at the university – and was broadcast on WNDB, Daytona Beach and carried by C-SPAN.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Bernier, ERAU president John P. Johnson, Rep. Barletta and Cutler.  The event was the 95th in the Town Hall Series.  Photo by Arthur J. Byrnes.

Syria Question Goes Before Congress, ObamaCare Implementation, Miley Cyrus Fallout and Jack Nicholson Retires due to Memory Loss Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3).  Secretary of State John Kerry takes the question of whether the United States should begin military action against Syria to Congress; ongoing complications in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the fallout from Miley Cyrus’ risqué performance at the MTV Video Music Awards and Jack Nicholson’s retirement from making movies, reportedly due to memory loss were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, August 31, 2012

| August 31, 2012

Talk Radio Wraps Up Major Week of High-Profile Broadcasting and News Gathering. The Republican National Convention week was a busy one for the country’s news/talk stations as well as more than 100 outlets that chose to broadcast live from radio row in Tampa and many more than that sent hosts, staffers and news people to the city to cover the convention and report back to their markets.  According to a report issued to TALKERS by the Republican National Committee, this year’s radio row generated some 1,551 radio interviews smashing 2008’s record of 1,263.  The convention radio row is not only fertile ground upon which to produce a live broadcast with a huge pool of political experts, candidates and surrogates available as guests in one compact location, but it is also an opportunity to get some national attention as Compass Media NetworksTodd Schnitt did on Fox News Channel (upper left photo).  Talk hosts in major markets and nationally syndicated stars certainly have the ability to book big-name guests via phone but the chance to actually rub elbows with big political stars, speak with them face-to-face and chat in a “live” situation is unique to this political season.  It also provides members of the talk radio community with a place and reason to meet and network in a working situation conducive to enhancing existing relationships and forging new ones. The Ernest Istook program, hosted by the former congressman and produced by WYD Media, also emanated from the convention site this week and gave Istook the opportunity to chat with U.S. Rep. and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (here at right).

Yankees Baseball Stays on WCBS, New York for at Least One More Season.  The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick reported it earlier yesterday and CBS Radio confirms it in a release.  Apparently the Yankees have rejected overtures from ESPN to join the company’s new FM-enhanced sports talk outlet WEPN for they will stay with WCBS for the 2013 season.  Numerous industry watchers had expected to see a big bidding war for Yankees baseball and perhaps we’ll see that next season but if this report is correct, it’ll be another year before CBS Radio and Disney/ESPN battle it out for Yankees rights.

Bill Rehkopf Returns to KDKA, Pittsburgh.  The former morning news man at CBS Radio’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh returns to the Steel City after being involved in the start-up of the company’s Washington, DC all-newser WNEW-FM.   Rehkopf was the featured morning drive anchor at the station.  Now, he’ll anchor KDKA-AM’s “KDKA Afternoon News” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Current anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas remains with the station to work on the PM drive show.  In a statement, Rehkopf says, “Working in the nation’s capital was extremely exciting and rewarding.  However, my family and I have deep roots in Pittsburgh and this is a terrific opportunity at KDKA.  It’s a perfect professional fit for me and works well for my family.  I look forward to providing Pittsburgh with a quality program of essential news, information and entertainment to wrap up their work day.”

Reports of Mel Selling Sirius XM Shares Raises Eyebrows.  In a release issued after yesterday’s closing bell, news from Sirius XM Satellite Radio that CEO Mel Karmazin will be selling an additional 30 million shares of the publicly traded company (Sirius XM SIRI) this fall has both Wall Street and radio industry observers speculating as to what it means. Considering the timing involved – Mel’s contract is up this year and major investor Liberty Media (LMCA) is closing in seeking control – there is evidence to support the educated guess that the company’s chief is heading for the door.  Other possibilities include that Mel is simply cashing in his chips for a job clearly well done or that it is a maneuver to throw an obstacle in the way of Liberty taking control.  The price to exercise the 30 million options shares is $0.43. This means the shares will cost Karmazin $12,900,000. If he were to sell them all at $2.50 the price would be a cool $75,000,000, delivering a profit of $62,100,000.  Analyst Spencer Osbourne writes in the Seeking Alpha newsletter, “I can imagine that the news relating to an insider at Sirius XM selling 30,000,000 shares will not be well received by the market. Be prepared, because this news is going to cause some wild speculation and debate. I would not be surprised to see the stock price move down on this news. Between the Liberty cloud and now the Karmazin cloud, the uncertainty is building for Sirius XM.”

NBC Sports Radio Announces Affiliates for Next Week’s Launch.  As NBC Sports Radio and partner Dial Global prepare to debut their late night and overnight sports talk radio shows and hourly sports news reports on Tuesday, September 4, the list of affiliates for the programming is being made public.   The build-up to a national affiliate base with a big rollout is always a challenge and NBC is gearing up with a lot of medium and small market stations for its sports talk shows and has some major market clears on small or outlying signals.  For example, The Amani & Eytan 10:00 pm to 1:00 am show will air in markets including Huntsville, Santa Barbara, Evansville and Roanoke.  But it will also clear secondary signals in the Washington, DC, Denver and Charlotte markets.  Both Amani & Eytan and the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm Erik Kusilias show will be heard on WPOP, Hartford.  To see where the shows will debut, click here.

Emmis Delivers Good News to Staff in the Form of Bonuses.  Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan issued an e-mail memo to staffers informing them that they would be receiving cash bonuses to reward their loyalty and dedication to the company during these tough economic times.  Full-time employees will be getting a $1,000 bonus while part-time staffers will each get $250.

Salem Communications to Pay Q3 Dividend.  The board of directors of Salem Communications declares a dividend for the third quarter of 2012 that will pay shareholders of Class A and Class B common stock 3 and ½ cents per share.  The dividend will be paid to all shareholders of record as of September 14 and will be paid on September 28.

Katie Couric’s TV Talk Show to Debut on September 10.  The show, titled simply, “Katie,” will be broadcast in syndication beginning on Monday, September 10 and all media eyes will be on the television legend as she begins a new chapter in her career.  She was once the most popular personality in morning talk television but Katie Couric left to take the helm of the “CBS Evening News,” a job that even her harshest critics would admit is probably beyond anyone’s ability to succeed in this day and age.  But as Howard Kurtz examines in his excellent piece in the Daily Beast, the question is whether Couric’s newsy approach to issues and distant personality will grab daytime TV viewers.  Couric clearly appears to be bucking the trend in what makes successful daytime talk TV but she appears determined.  Read Kurtz’s piece here.

Attention Radio Sales Staffers! Your Job Was Born 90 Years Ago This Week.  This week marks the 90th anniversary of the first sale of radio time.  It was back in 1922 when New York radio station WEAF – owned by Bell Telephone Company – sold a 10-minute commercial to the Hawthorne Court Apartments in Jackson Heights, New York for $50.  At about 5:00 pm on August 28, 1922 a pitch for the apartment complex was made to anyone who happened to be listening and the business of commercial radio was born.  It didn’t take off like a rocket, as radio historians will tell you, but it certainly was the beginning of an industry.  NPR produced a fantastic segment commemorating this event.  Listen to the segment or read the transcript at NPR’s site here.  (Photo: MTM Enterprises)

The Economy, Health Care and Foreign Policy Issues Topped the Talkers TenTM for the Week of August 27 – 31.  These issues, as related to the presidential campaign and set against the backdrop of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the RNC speeches.  At #3 was the mainstream media’s coverage of the RNC and the firing of Yahoo! News bureau chief David Chalain and at #4 was Tropical Storm Isaac.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top talk topics as discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon and “Jill on Money” join the program lineup at WZKT, Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland…..Benztown Radio Network morning show “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire” hosted by Mike Tyler and Todd Brandt replaces the syndicated version of Mark & Brian at KXFM, Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo…..“Malcolm Out Loud” is added to the programming at KKYT, Ridgecrest, California.

In Memory of Radio Legend Pete Fornatale

| April 27, 2012

By Richard Neer
WFAN, New York
Talk Show Host

NEW YORK — He wasn’t a talker in the sense that he hosted programs on traditional news/talk outlets.  Indeed the content of most of his programs featured more music than talk.  But when he did crack the mic, you couldn’t find a more intelligent voice observing pop culture than the late Pete Fornatale.

Pete got his start at WFUV-FM, the Fordham campus station and, ironically, that is where he did his final program in mid-April.  In his own way, he was every bit the pioneer that radio legend Alan Freed was in exposing popular music to the masses.  The difference was that while the early rock ‘n’ rollers spun “silly love songs” that you could dance to, Fornatale cared more about the lyrics, not the beat.

He was one of the first to string together songs in a meaningful fashion – the art of the segue – as it became known.  There was a purpose behind every record he played.  When CSNY rushed the single, “Ohio” to radio stations to protest the Kent State killings, Pete was the first to play it, indeed repeating it several times before enhancing it with his own emotional comments on the tragedy.

Peter also paved the way for talkers with unconventional voices.  His own was slightly nasal with a higher pitch than the sonorous tones listeners were used to on big city radio.  But in New York, that qualm quickly passed with astute listeners who were enlightened by the content of what he said.  He was probably the first real musicologist on commercial radio who presented rock and folk music as an intellectual as well as emotional experience.

He wrote books, taught classes on many levels, gave lectures and hosted multimedia presentations.  Unfortunately, in the early 1980s consultants took over what had been free form FM radio.  They didn’t understand Peter’s appeal and lobbied to oust him from the midday shift he had occupied for so many years.  When I was program director of WNEW-FM I tried to hold out as long as possible against some of the more radical changes the consultants wanted to affect. For Fornatale, my idea was a weekend program that played to his strengths, a show that was to be called “Mixed Bag,” after the Richie Havens album of the same name.  He would play folk and country rock, songs with lyrics on a deeper level.  When I broached the subject with him, he was excited and immediately expanded and refined my rough concept and made it his own.  It became his hallmark program.

He took it with him wherever he went, from WNEW-FM to K-Rock and eventually back to WFUV-FM.  He was a great interviewer and a dear friend to many artists, ranging from Garland Jeffries and Richie Furay (Poco) to Art Garfunkel.  Musicians were comfortable talking to someone who truly understood and appreciated them.

Peter was always a pleasure to work with.  Even if he didn’t agree with a particular direction, after expressing his views, he executed whatever he was asked with loyalty and dedication to his craft.  He welcomed newcomers to the station with open arms and helpful advice.  One major regret I have about writing my story of those years, FM:The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio, is that I wasn’t able to interview Pete extensively, since he was working on a similar project and wanted to be heard in his own voice.  Although he’s still a prominent character, his personal recollections would have made it a better book.

But fortunately, he leaves books of his own and numerous recordings, many available at his website.  Peter passed away quietly the morning of April 26, 2012, but his voice will be heard for generations to come.

 

Richard Neer is a sports talk host at WFAN, New York, an anchor on A Touch of Grey, and sports editor of TALKERS magazine. He can be e-mailed at info@talkers.com

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