Eyes (and Ears!) on News/Talk Radio as Recent Ratings Trends Spur Criticism. As the September PPM data continues to roll out, industry watchers and mainstream media writers and analysts are scrutinizing talk radio’s numbers – as well as its programming. Citing a perceived slow-but-steady decline in ratings for the news/talk format in general, critics are wondering if the political “right-versus-left” programming philosophy has become tiresome to all but the staunchest news/talk radio fans and is resulting in the generally lower numbers in Nielsen Audio’s PPM and diary ratings. Some high-profile cases have been cited, including KFI, Los Angeles’ decline in 6+ PPM ratings over the past year from being one of the country’s best-performing news/talk stations in one of America’s most vibrant markets. Just today (10/2), Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the state of Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago and its declining place in the ratings race. The reasons for the states of these stations are open to analysis – including, but not limited to, the possibility that Nielsen Audio’s PPM methodology is less than perfect – and could easily vary from market to market. When talking ratings, what are usually not included in the recent criticism of news/talk as a format are: the #1 showing for Cox Media’s WSB-AM, Atlanta (which carries the oft-maligned Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity); Cumulus’ WMAL, Washington’s rise in the September PPM; CBS Radio’s high-flying KMOX, St. Louis; Bonneville’s steady-performing KIRO-FM, Seattle; Cox’s WOKV, Jacksonville; and the two Milwaukee news/talk outlets that have consistently performed as two of the top six stations over the last year – Clear Channel’s WISN and Journal’s WTMJ. Constant awareness and analysis of the sound and perception of one’s stations are the hallmarks of good operators and effective programmers should care about how the format is perceived. But discovering what’s “wrong” with a format or a station is not easy and not always possible given the limited information available. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The first people out there ready to proclaim news/talk radio as being dead are usually people who see the world primarily through a political lens who disagree with the ideology of the hosts they dislike. Political news/talk radio is cyclical and will always come back from the brink when there’s inevitably a new chapter in contemporary issues. Regardless, the good thing that hopefully will come out of this ratings down-tick will be some of the major operators giving consideration to different forms of talk and even news/talk that are just being ignored. There are so many potential ways of doing ‘talk radio’ it is crazy for so many stations to bunch up around one predominant style. Everyone should spread out and claim and develop new territory on the spectrum of possibilities.” This topic will be one of those addressed at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference taking place next Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.
Nielsen Begins Synergies; Sean Creamer and Debra Delman to Exit Ratings Giant. Nielsen responded quickly to TALKERS last week after we reported that the “$20 million in synergies” the company hopes to realize with the acquisition of the former Arbitron would cost jobs. The company stated it had “no plans to reduce headcount at this time.” Perhaps that applies to the rank and file and not the executive strata because it’s now being reported that former Arbitron CEO Sean Creamer and CFO Debra Delman will leave Nielsen at the end of the year. Though Nielsen has not released a statement about the changes, it’s expected that other executives may also be headed for the door. Both Creamer, Delman and most of the other high-level execs who might follow the two have clauses in their contracts that will give them very nice golden parachutes. Creamer could realize almost $7 million in total compensation and Delman’s take is just shy of $2 million.
ESPN Deportes Radio Extends NFL Deal. Sports giant ESPN reports that its ESPN Deportes Radio unit has reached a new multi-year agreement for media rights to the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 National Football League seasons. Under the agreement, the network will have exclusive Spanish-language rights to Monday Night Football, the 2013-2014 National Football Conference Playoffs, the 2014 Super Bowl, 2015 Pro Bowl and the 2014-2015 American Football Conference Playoffs. ESPN Deportes Radio general manager Oscar Ramos says, “We’re incredibly excited to add NFL to our diverse roster of programming. U.S. Hispanics are becoming avid NFL fans and this new deal allows us to deliver the content they want in the language they prefer.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Diane Warren and Jean Robinson - MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology). In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media brokers Diane Warren and Jean Robinson of MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology) located in San Antonio, Texas. MMTC Media Brokers specializes in locating properties and selling them to potential minority, multicultural and women buyers. In addition to telling their fascinating story, they share several outstanding opportunities that they have among their listings that would be of interest to first-time buyers. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer Featured on SiriusXM ‘Town Hall.’ CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer (left) recently took part in SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series for a Q&A with SiriusXM personality Pete Dominick (right). The program will be aired on Friday, October 4 on its Indie channel. The conversation – which took place before an audience of SiriusXM listeners – covered financial markets, fiscal trends, the economic state of the nation, and the story of Cramer’s personal road from hedge fund manager to popular CNBC host. Dominick is a stand-up comedian who has opened up for Cramer on his “Mad Money Back to School Tour.”
Two Weeks in a Kennel Reaps Rewards for KIDO’s Kevin Miller. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (right) is pictured here with ASPCA senior director Tami McReynolds (left) and Canyon County Animal Shelter director Barb Hutchinson (center) showing off the check for $35,000 the CCAS received after Miller helped get more than 300 animals adopted. To achieve that and win the $35,000 prize, Miller spent two weeks living in a makeshift kennel from which he broadcast his morning program. The contest is national in scope and – with Miller’s help – the CCAS is the only shelter to win the prize twice.
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Enrollment Begins, Scrapped Hillary Clinton Programs, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1). The battle between the GOP and the Obama Administration and the government shutdown; the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act begins; two television projects on the life of Hillary Clinton are scrapped; possible diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.S. and the former’s nuclear program; and the effects of the government shutdown on the U.S. financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Brings Phil Zachary to Boston as VP/Market Manager. A day after losing Jeff Brown to Cumulus Media’s Atlanta operations, Entercom announces Phil Zachary will take over as vice president and market manager effective October 21. Zachary will lead sports talk stations WEEI-FM, ESPN on WEEI-AM, rock WAAF, news/talk WRKO and The Boston Red Sox Radio Network. The company says, “This represents a homecoming of sorts for Zachary, whose first paid radio job was as a part-time, on-air announcer at WAAF. Zachary is a 41-year radio veteran, a Connecticut native and graduate of Holy Cross in Worcester. After beginning his career in Worcester, he moved on to stints in Providence and Boston. While in Boston, Zachary served as operations manager at the old WITS 1510. There his role included direct oversight of both Red Sox and Bruins play-by-play. Zachary comes to Entercom from Curtis Media Group in Raleigh where he was president and chief operating officer, overseeing the company’s entire slate of radio stations, networks, digital and interactive divisions and print publications. Prior to joining Curtis Media in 2002, he was VP/market manager for CBS Radio in Washington. Entercom group president Weezie Kramer says, “Phil is the right person at the right time for Entercom Boston. He is a leader and a listener. He understands the challenges we face but he also sees the tremendous opportunity we have. Phil believes in the strength of our brands, the dynamic nature of our content and the true potential of our team.” Zachary comments, “The only reason to leave a great job in radio is for one of the absolute best jobs in radio. Make no mistake – WAAF, WEEI and WRKO are not only some of the greatest call letters in Boston radio history, but some of the best brands in our industry. This amazing opportunity brings me back to my New England roots and the place I started my radio career. There are great challenges ahead, not to mention best-in-class competition, but I look forward to it and can’t wait to get started.” Management consultant Joel Hollander has been retained by Entercom to assist in the transition.
Turner Broadcasting Content to Be Available on iHeartRadio Talk. A deal between Turner Broadcasting and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will see select audio content including news from CNN, entertainment clips from TBS‘s “CONAN” and sports programming from Bleacher Report, in its new iHeartRadio Talk feature. The content will also include segments from “Anderson Cooper 360,” “New Day,” “Piers Morgan Live,” and “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” Full episodes of “Anderson Cooper 360,” “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” “State of the Union,” and “Erin Burnett Out Front” will also be accessible via iHeartRadio Talk. Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “This marks yet another significant milestone for iHeartRadio Talk. We are continuing to identify and add quality partners to iHeartRadioTalk to continue to deliver our listeners even more content that is relevant and entertaining anywhere they are.”
Sean Hannity Receives GOP Statesman of the Year Award in Florida. An enthusiastic, record-breaking crowd welcomed Sean Hannity to Sarasota, Florida, this past Friday night (9/27) to witness his acceptance of the Statesman of the Year award. The event, underwritten by the Republican Party of Sarasota County, drew nearly 2,000 people to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota to hear a lineup of state notables, such as Florida Governor Rick Scott and State Attorney General Pam Bondi, laud the radio and TV talk show host and to listen to his acceptance remarks. TALKERS magazine sales expert Al Herskovitz was in attendance at the event. Hannity in his acceptance, adhered to his well-known partisan positions in line with his radio and TV point of view. However, the speech was generously laced with numerous personal anecdotes about his family, career and upbringing and peppered with much good humor. He even poked a few light-hearted jabs at his former TV co-host, Alan Colmes, but pointed out that Alan and he remain friends. During the VIP reception, Hannity personally and individually greeted a nearly block-long line of well-wishers posing for photos, signing autographs, shaking hands and holding mini-conversations. This step took over an hour by itself. In spite of the frenzied attempts by various factions and individuals in the crowd trying to get the popular talk show host’s attention, literally pulling him in all directions, Hannity remained calm, friendly and good-humored, making it a point to speak with as many individuals in a one-on-one manner as humanly possible. Commenting on Hannity’s ability to “work a room,” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Sean Hannity is more skilled at mingling with a large crowd and making everyone in it feel good than any radio personality I have ever witnessed. He might have a completely opposite view of politics than Bill Clinton – but he shares the former president’s supreme skills at pressing the flesh and connecting with people in person. It is because of this gift, coupled with his steadfast loyalty to the principles and listening constituency he represents, that Sean Hannity would make a magnificent candidate for national office. Obviously, I am not the only one with this opinion as evidenced by Hannity receiving so prestigious an award from the GOP.” The radio talk show industry was well-represented in the audience. Among them was Barb Yoder, the general manager of WGUL, Tampa and WLSS, Sarasota – part of the Salem Broadcasting Group in the area. Also on hand was Andi (she uses only her first name) of the morning team of Ken Walsh & Andi on News/Talk 1260, WFTW, Fort Walton Beach — a Cumulus property. The annual Statesman of the Year award has taken on growing importance. Recent recipients were former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and financier Donald Trump, who sent along video-taped wishes to Hannity.
TALKERS PROFILE: Bill Meyer of KMED, Medford, Oregon – Super Serving Local Listeners, a Blueprint for Talk Success. If you leave Portland, Oregon and head just over four hours south down Interstate 5, before you reach the California border you’ll drive right into the town of Medford. About 75 miles inland through rugged terrain from the Pacific Ocean, Medford is a small town with a population of 76,000, but is also an economic hub for Southern Oregon and a home for the state’s growing wine industry. Medford is also the home of KMED-AM (1440), a news/talk station owned by Bicoastal Media and the oldest radio station in Medford. Its weekday lineup includes syndicated superstars Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, along with Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. However, what drives the station is their morning show, and extremely talented host Bill Meyer has not only made the morning show his own, he has been able to create a blueprint of how to package a large-market type of local show and imprint that on a small-market audience, giving the station a very sellable show, while the listeners get the interaction and local flavor they would not get with a nationally syndicated program. And, he does it all on his own – without a show producer. Read TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay‘s profile on Bill Meyer and KMED by clicking here.
Journal Goes Spanish Sports in Wichita. Flipping KLIO, Wichita from its true oldies format, Journal Broadcast Group moves to service the Spanish-speaking population in the market with sports talk using ESPN Deportes. Journal Wichita vice president and general manager Eric McCart says, “We are very excited to join with ESPN Deportes to broadcast live 24-hour unparalleled sports content in Spanish, including SportsCenter updates, soccer, Major League Baseball and much more. ESPN Deportes on 1070AM will deliver a passionate and relevant sports listening experience to Latino sports fans who have been underserved in our market. It will also provide a unique opportunity for local advertisers to connect with our community’s growing Hispanic population.”
Odds & Sods. Florida-based talk show host Nicole Sandler is sitting in for Gloria Neal (7:00 am to 10:00 am MT) on Clear Channel’s progressive talk KKZN, Denver today (10/1) through Friday. Sandler will also be subbing for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated host Randi Rhodes the week of October 21 -25…..ESPN Radio begins its 16th season of Major League Baseball playoff game broadcasts tonight. “Sunday Night Baseball” play-by-play voice Dan Shulman and analyst Orel Hershiser will call the National League Wild Card game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the National League Division Series (NLDS) between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves, the National League Championship Series (NLCS) and the World Series. ESPN Radio’s “Sunday Night Baseball” team of Jon Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton will describe the American League Wild Card game (Tampa Bay Rays against the Cleveland Indians), the American League Division Series (ALDS) between the AL Wild Card winner and the Boston Red Sox, and the American League Championship Series (ALCS). Additionally, Dave Flemming and analyst Rick Sutcliffe will call the NLDS between the NL Wild Card winner and St. Louis Cardinals while Michael Kay and analyst Aaron Boone will describe the ALDS between the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers.
SCBA to Honor Radio Advertisers. The Southern California Broadcasters Association and its General Sales Managers Council will honor the Southern California Ford Dealers, AIS Insurance, In-N-Out Burger, and Cedars-Sinai with its annual Outstanding Achievement in Radio Awards on October 24 at a luncheon to be held at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. The awards are voted on by the GSM Council and represent the very best in creative radio commercials using both Southern California’s Radio and digital platforms. SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “We are thrilled by the client and agency excitement and response to attending this prestigious Radio Awards luncheon. The senior management from each client honored will be in attendance. These special clients really understand the ubiquitous reach and power of Southern California Radio and we are excited to give them the public recognition they so richly deserve.”
Beasley Broadcast Group Honors Staff with Company Operating Awards. Beasley bestowed Company Operating Awards during its annual management meetings held in Naples, Florida. The company reports it gathered corporate management and station leadership from the 11 markets in which it operates to celebrate achievements and contributions from individual employees and radio stations over the preceding 12 months. The 2013 honorees include: WXTU-FM, Philadelphia – Radio Station of the Year; Tom Humm– General Manager of the Year/Las Vegas; Robin Wood – Business Manager of the Year/Fayetteville, NC; Matt Smith – Sales Manager of the Year/WXTU-FM and WRDW-FM, Philadelphia; Shelly Easton– Program Director of the Year/WXTU-FM, Philadelphia; Charlie McCoy – Engineer of the Year/Augusta, GA; Sam Floyd– CEO Award of Excellence/ Executive Vice President. Founder, chairman and CEO George G. Beasley comments, “Each year, as we honor our company’s highest achievers, I’m reminded of the quality of professionalism within Beasley Broadcast Group. The ladies and gentleman we recognize this year have certainly earned our respect and it is my privilege to acknowledge their accomplishments and congratulate each and every one of them.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Sam Floyd; Mac Edwards (accepting for Robin Wood); president Bruce Beasley; EVP Brian Beasley; Natalie Conner (accepting for WXTU; Shelly Easton & Matt Smith); chairman & CEO George Beasley; EVP/CFO Caroline Beasley; Tom Humm; and Kent Dunn (accepting for Charlie McCoy).
Sean Hannity and Andy Dean Help WOKV, Jacksonville ‘Stand Up for America.’ Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville news/talk outlet WOKV held its annual “Stand Up for America” event at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Jacksonville over the weekend and Premiere Networks stars Sean Hannity and Andy Dean were there. The station reports that “thousands of fans gathered at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts where Hannity and Dean, along with former presidential candidate Herman Cain and veteran Washington reporter Jamie Dupree, appeared on a panel to discuss a wide range of topics, including ObamaCare, Syria, taxes, spending, dependency on foreign oil and much more.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Jamie Dupree, Sean Hannity, Herman Cain and Andy Dean.
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare, U.S.-Iran Relations, Scrapped Hillary TV Movies, and Syria Weapons Inspections Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/30). The eve of the shutdown of the federal government; the beginning stage of the implementation of ObamaCare; relations between the United States and Iran; two scrapped TV movies about Hillary Clinton; and the start of the inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
SiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout. That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million. New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster. He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter. From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter. We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time. You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.” He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.” Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish. Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general. And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles. I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy. This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the whole shebang here.
Tom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief. On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected. Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign. Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses. National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”
Talkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today. At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET). The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.” The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
Walton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston. Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC. The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran. Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC. They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.” Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009. Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.
Armstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June. Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF. This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB. Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions. They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage. They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”
Cox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal. Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region. WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power. Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night. The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties. They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM. Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work. Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.” The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller. WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.
Five Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video. Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives. In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV); 3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post. To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.
The End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency. With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX. A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.
KTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings. Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows. Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs. The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”
Fargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L. The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago. Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.” Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes. Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.” Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.
WEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role. In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.” The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN. Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years. Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM. Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox. Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion. He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job. Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none. There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”
Odds & Sods. Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman. The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago. Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012. CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago. The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.
Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Donates $25k to The One Fund. Entercom operates rock WAAF, news/talk WRKO and sports talk outlets WEEI-FM and WEEI-AM but the donation to The One Fund to assist in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing comes from the company as a whole, states Boston VP and market manager Jeff Brown, “On behalf of over 2,000 Entercom employees across the country and our incredible Entercom team here in Boston, we are honored to donate $25,000 to The One Fund to help assist the victims and the families of the Boston Marathon tragedy.”
Peter Thiele Leaves Salem Communications’ WNYM and WMCA, New York. Talk radio programmer Peter Thiele is exiting his program director position at Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “970 The Answer” and its sister Christian outlet WMCA where he’s been for the past five years. He and his family plan to relocate to San Antonio, Texas in early May. Thiele states, “I want to thank Phil Boyce, Jerry Crowley, Dave Santrella and the rest of the Salem team.” Thiele tells TALKERS magazine that this decision is his and plans to use his experience in branding and marketing to help businesses grow. If you would like to reach out to Peter, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 646-926-6581.
Minneapolis Talk Host Apologizes After Comments About Newtown Families. KTCN, Minneapolis morning drive co-host Bob Davis – half of the Emmer and Davis morning program – apologized to the families of the Newtown massacre almost a week after making comments in connection with the move for gun legislation. According to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, on April 12 Davis said, “I have something I want to say to the victims of Newtown or any other shooting, I don’t care if it’s here in Minneapolis or anyplace else: Just because a bad thing happened to you doesn’t mean that you get to put a king in charge of my life. I’m sorry that you suffered a tragedy, but you know what? Deal with it, and don’t force me to lose my liberty, which is a greater tragedy than your loss. I’m sick and tired of seeing these victims trotted out, given rides on Air Force One, hauled into the Senate well, and everyone is … terrified of these victims. I would stand in front of them and tell them, ‘Go to hell.’” The paper reports that a couple of days later he tried to explain his comments, then four days after that issued an apology for the “pain those words may have caused.” Sandy Hook, Connecticut resident Bob Greene posted a comment on the Star-Tribune website and sent Davis an email offering to pay his air fare for him to come to Connecticut and repeat the words he said in front of the Newtown families. Greene says he has not had a reply from Davis. The paper’s report of the incident notes the program lost one advertiser over the affair.
Sabo Sez: Regardless of No-Buy Lists, Controversy Is Good for Radio and Should Be Sold as Such. According to noted radio consultant Walter Sabo, for decades TV shows promoting murder, violence, unmarried sex partners (Gilmore Girls) and anal bleaching (TMZ), have commanded high rates for spots from General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Sony, Verizon, AT&T and all your favorites. Why aren’t those shows on do-not-buy lists? In a new column posted today, Sabo writes, “It’s because watching those shows is not a profound, intimate experience. Those shows are watched passively. They command no engagement resulting in no complaints. However their content is as ‘controversial’ as any radio show and they have the bonus of a visual component.” Sabo continues, “Listening to a talk radio show is a 100% foreground experience. Unlike music, talking on the radio commands 100% attention. The listener is ENGAGED with the show. The big buzzword at the ad agencies right now is ENGAGEMENT. An emotional listener is an engaged listener. Happy, angry, passionate listeners are worth a premium price per spot.” To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, click here.
WXOS, St. Louis Pairs Up Anthony Stalter with Chris Duncan for Middays. Hubbard Broadcasting’s St. Louis sports talker “101 ESPN” fills the midday show being vacated by Bernie Miklasz with afternoon drive co-host (and former St. Louis Cardinals star) Chris Duncan and sports talk pro Anthony Stalter. The show will debut on May 1 and doesn’t have a name but WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter have proven themselves as show hosts in other time slots, and listeners have really responded to both of them on the air. We’re confident that they will work well together as co-hosts, and we’re looking forward to their show’s debut next month.” Duncan has been with the station since 2011 and most recently was one of the three co-hosts of the PM drive show “The Fast Lane.” Stalter has been with WXOS since March of 2012. He broke into sports radio with Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit and served as the station’s on-site producer for Pistons’ broadcasts. He was also a reporter for both Pistons and Lions postgame coverage. As a journalist, he was an NFL columnist for the WashingtonPost.com’s expert panel, “The League,” and he continues to write NFL-related columns for 101sports.com.
CMG Names Russell Lawson GSM for Athens and Gainesville, Georgia Stations. Russell Lawson moves up from Cox Media Group’s news/talk WOKV, Jacksonville where he’s been an account manager for the past five years to become the general sales manager for the company’s Athens and Gainesville, Georgia stations that include: country WNGC, news/talk WGAU, AC WGMG “Magic 102.1,” CHR WPUP “Power 100.1,” adult hits WXKT “103.7 Chuck FM,” and sports talk WRFC “960 The Ref.” Cluster VP and general manager Scott Smith states, “We are excited to have Russell join our team and to be able to tap into CMG’s top internal sales talent. His multi-faceted experience in a variety of radio sales situations, and dedication to his craft, will make him an asset to CMG Athens/ Gainesville.”
Times Are Tough Enough – Be a Pro! Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently of Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa – writes about his recent mistakes that have left him on the beach as well as the highly publicized departure of a Boston sports talk host. Sileo says he’s learned valuable lessons that other radio personalities should take to heart. Read his piece here.
The Conclave Hires Phil Strider. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon announces radio veteran Phil Strider has been hired to create and sell sponsorships for “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” scheduled for July 17-19 at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis. Commenting on the hiring, Shannon says, “My ideal candidate needed to have national sales experience, a programing background, and have an intimate knowledge of how special the Conclave is. Phil’s got it all. ” Strider’s background includes independent syndication services as well as management, sales and programming stints at Westwood One; Jones Radio Network; Metro Networks; KZOK, Seattle; and KBPI, Denver.
Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Immigration Reform, Gun Legislation, Internet Tax Proposal, Bush Presidential Library, and North Korea Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The ongoing search for information about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and their motives; new questions about what immigration reform legislation should contain; ongoing legislative attempts to change state and federal gun laws; proposals to change tax laws for internet purchases; the opening of the Bush Presidential Library; and North Korea’s treats against the U.S. and South Korea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sports Talk King Mike Francesa Credits Colleagues at WFAN for his Success with Special Salute to Former Partner Chris Russo. In a special statement issued to TALKERS, afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa – named the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America in the recently released “2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” — expresses his gratitude to “all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become.” He congratulates his teammates at the station that also made the list and particularly credits his former on-air partner Chris Russo (currently at SiriusXM Satellite Radio) saying, “I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.” The TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk has generated enormous mainstream press and internet chatter propelling the Big Apple mainstay into the national spotlight. Here is Francesa’s complete statement: “I commend Talkers for recognizing the importance of sports talk as a viable and efficient format in radio programming. In this the 25th year of WFAN, there are over 600 sports talk stations across our nation. I am honored to have been chosen by your editorial board to top the list. It is a special distinction to be cited by professionals who understand our medium so well. I accept this honor for all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become and congratulate my FAN colleagues who made the list – Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Joe Benigno, Evan Roberts, Steve Somers, and especially my partner of almost 20 years, Chris Russo. I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career. Again, I am very grateful for the honor and wish you continued success.
All the best
2012 Marconi Award Nominees Announced; CBS Radio Sports Talk Hosts Mike Francesa and Angelo Cataldi Up for Major Market Personality of the Year. The winners of the 2012 NAB Marconi Awards will be announced on September 20 at The Radio Show in Dallas. This year’s nominees include sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa of WFAN, New York and Angelo Cataldi of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia for Major Market Personality of the Year. Both Francesa and Cataldi were named to the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this week – Francesa at #1 and Cataldi at # 10. DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio Network personality Dan Patrick is the lone sports talk figure up for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year. He’s up against talk hosts Neal Boortz and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and music radio hosts Elvis Duran of Premiere Networks and Reach Media’s Tom Joyner. Other spoken-word nominees include: KYW, Philadelphia; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WFAN, New York for Legendary Station. Jan Mickelson from WHO, Des Moines is the lone talker up for Medium Market Personality of the Year. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is nominated for Major Market Station of the Year. News/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit are up for Large Market Station of the Year. WHO, Des Moines and WTIC-AM, Hartford are nominated for Medium Market Station of the Year. The nominees for News/Talk Station of the Year are: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KFGO, Fargo; WBBM-AM, Chicago; WGN, Chicago; and WTOP, Washington, DC. Nominees for Sports Station of the Year are: KTCK, Dallas; WEEI, Boston; WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia; WSCR, Chicago; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.
Glenn Beck Plans Major Expansion at TheBlaze. The talk media superstar and digital media pioneer tells WXKS-AM, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz during a recent appearance on his program that he intends to hire as many as 200 new staffers for TheBlaze in the coming months. TheBlaze – the multi-media news and programming initiative of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – already has approximately 120 employees. The news came within the context of an on-air conversation between Katz and Beck about the state of business in America under the Obama administration. Beck also alluded to the ease with which he’s been able to build his business – and create jobs – since moving away from New York City to the Dallas, Texas area.
Tai Irwin Hosts Final Morning Show on Alternative Rock WFNX, Boston. Radio personality (and faculty member at The New England Institute of Art) Tai Irwin reprising the role he played for 10 years at alternative rock WFNX, Boston today (7/20) as the station broadcasts its final day of alt-rock before Clear Channel takes control later in the day. Irwin and other personalities were invited to do one last show and Irwin tells TALKERS WFNX “launched me into the national talk scene due to my talk show and industry convention presence where I met and befriended Gene Burns and Jerry Williams, before I eventually left to work for Kevin Straley at WRKO. During my time there I interviewed everyone from Noam Chomsky and Jerry Brown to Mitt Romney.” In addition to his work at the NEIA, Irwin is involved with tom Leykis’ New Normal where he’ll debut a new podcast called, “The Tai-rade” very soon. As for what Clear Channel will do with the new FM signal, speculation runs the gamut from an FM signal for news/talk WXKS-AM to a brand new classic hits format. We’ll know soon enough.
Washington, DC Talk Host Andy Parks Gets Multi-Media Marketing Initiative. Washington talk radio personality Andy Parks – a long-time figure on crosstown WMAL – is heard in PM drive on Metro Radio Inc.’s WTNT as well as on WashingtonTimes.com. The show is called “Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times” and the paper is devising a multi-media marketing ploy to create awareness of the show. Using the line, “Online. On the Air. On Your Doorstep.” The Times is promoting Parks’ show with a reference to President Obama’s controversial statement about jobs creation not belonging to builders of small businesses and employs the phrase, “Andy Begs to Differ” in bold print in an ad in the newspaper. The Times says it plans to begin a digital initiative using the same campaign technique in the near future.
Flip to Talk for Florence, South Carolina FM; Station Nabs Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh. Miller Communications moved its plans to flip to talk up a couple of weeks when Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh became available after crosstown WJMX-AM/FM dropped Limbaugh’s program. WFRK-FM added Limbaugh to the schedule three days after WJMX dropped the show declaring to SCNow.com that decreased listenership, advertiser skittishness and increased costs associated with the show forced the decision. WFRK-FM CEO Harold Miller says the station will launch as a talk outlet officially on August 1 but could only say “Kinard and Koffee in the Morning” will be part of the lineup as other deals for programming are still in the works.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cox Media Group names Ben Reed vice president and market manager for its Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/FM. He takes over for Dan Kearney who moved south to become VP/market manager for Cox Media Group Miami…..Houston talk radio personality Matt Patrick hosts the final live debate between Texas Senatorial candidates Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and former Texas State Solicitor Ted Cruz on his PM drive show on The 9-5-0 KPRC this afternoon at 3:20. The primary election is July 31…..New England Patriots football great Gino Cappelletti announces he is retiring from his post as color man for radio broadcasts of Patriots football games – a job he’s held for the past 32 years. Cappelletti has worked alongside Gil Santos for the past 28 years. Comcast SportsNet is reporting WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 The Sports Hub – host and former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will likely be named Santos’ partner in the booth…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago hosts the 2nd Annual Taste of WVON neighborhood festival tomorrow from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park in Chicago. The event features more than 60 food and craft vendors and live entertainment…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago has a weekend full of special broadcasts planned to celebrate the induction of Cubs legend Ron Santo into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. WGN’s Dave Eanet will report from Cooperstown throughout the weekend and a special Ron Santo Hall of Fame edition of Cubs Confidential will air Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm featuring broadcast clips from the Ron Santo Cubs Legend CD. The station will also delay broadcast the induction ceremony after Sunday’s Cubs game…..ESPN Deportes brings Mexican soccer great Francisco Gabriel de Anda aboard to join the network’s team of expert analysts. De Anda will be integrated into Futbol Picante’s table of analysts Fridays and Saturdays, and become part of ESPN Futbol Center, the program dedicated to Mexican and International soccer.
Talk Host Tom Becka Calls on Nebraska Listeners to Protest Penn State. November 10 is the date of the Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Penn State and Fargo, North Dakota-based talk host Tom Becka is rallying his listeners who hear his show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on KKAR, Omaha to donate their tickets for the game to local kids who may never get the chance to see a big game. Becka says, “I am calling on my listeners in Nebraska to donate their Penn State tickets to any children’s group or give it to some kids in the neighborhood that normally wouldn’t be able to go. I’d love to see the stands loaded with children for any Penn State away game. That way kids get to see a game and the fans get to protest in a civil manner the neglect of Joe Paterno and the Penn State program.” The NCAA is currently reviewing the Penn State situation and although the “death penalty” is a possibility for the football program, it probably would not go into effect until next season.
2012 Presidential Race Remains Atop Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week. The various storylines relative to the November presidential election were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 16 – 20. Coming in at #2 this week was the report of increased jobless claims. At #3 was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the state of the U.S. economy and at #4 was President Obama’s unveiling of the $1 billion Master Teacher Corp program. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from Talkers. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Mike & Mike on David Letterman. ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic recently made their 9th appearance on CBS TV’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and the day was documented by Greenberg’s wife Stacey – aka Mrs. Greeny – for ESPN Front Row, where fans get a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite personalities. Pictured here are (from l-r): Mike Greenberg, Stacey Greenberg, actress Kyra Sedgwick, and Mike Golic taken backstage.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh and WERC-AM/FM, Birmingham…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show featuring host Chris Hill adds affiliates WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.