The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 3. Today (11/4), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we explore the question: What does it take to make it? Obviously, there are women working successfully in the news/talk genre as lead or solo host or part of an equal team. Mandy Connell of KHOW, Denver and WHAS, Louisville says a lot of it is luck applying at stations with open-minded programmers. “I have been very fortunate to cross paths with great PDs who believed in my abilities and were not dissuaded by my gender. Jim Watkins hired me first, then Kelly Carls, Dan Mandis and Greg Foster — none of whom cared that I was female. They just cared that I was good at what I do. I think as more women work their way through the talk radio landscape, the programming issue will solve itself.” Susan Monday hosts the midday show at WXDE, Lewes, Delaware. She believes women who want to succeed at talk radio should be aware how they sound on the radio. “It’s also important — not fair, but important — that a woman’s voice is the right kind of voice. Shrill is not a woman-in-radio’s friend. Luckily years of cheerleading destroyed any hope of shrill for me, but I still counsel women to check their tone when they get upset. Shrill makes me turn the dial. Unless it’s Mark Levin, for whom shrill is a normal speaking voice.” Also in this installment, hear from Salem SVP Phil Boyce, consultant Valerie Geller, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale’s Joyce Kaufman, Greater Media’s Phil Zachary, and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. Read the entire piece here.
Nielsen’s October PPM Format Report Shows Big Months for News/Talk and Sports Talk. Reporting on the results of its October 2015 PPM survey, Nielsen Audio delivers some stats about listenership based on format, and it bodes well for news/talk and sports talk stations. According to the ratings giant, “news/talk posted its best overall month in nearly two years — a 9.4% share of all listening, which was last matched in November 2013.” For October, news/talk was the most-listened-to format (persons 6+ AQH share). Country was second with 7.9 %, CHR came in tied for third with AC with 7.4%. In the 25-54 demo, news/talk finished fifth with 6.3% of 6+ listeners. Sports talk celebrated a huge jump in listening. “Sports stole the show in October, jumping a full share-point among all listeners aged 6+ from 4.6% in September to 5.6%. This marks a new record for the format. In the 25-54 demographic, October’s 6% (up from 5.1% in September) tied the record set in October and November of 2014.” See the Nielsen story here.
CBS RADIO Division Revenue Dips 6% in Q3 Report. The 2015 third quarter financial report for CBS Corp. was delivered on Tuesday (11/3) and the CBS RADIO division – part of the company’s Local Broadcasting segment that also includes CBS television stations – was down 6% compared to the same period a year ago. What affected the radio division’s revenue from last year to this? CBS attributes the drop to the generally soft radio advertising marketplace, the fewer radio stations it owns this year and less political advertising after last year’s mid-term elections. Political and sports are also very important to the television sector. The company reports the 7% decline in television revenue stems from fewer sports events and the decrease in political.
‘Stuttering’ John Melendez Joins Stephanie Miller Program; Jim Ward Returns. The move of executive producer “Boy Toy” Chris Lavoie to a new career in Palm Springs opens the door for former longtime Howard Stern cast member and “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” announcer “Stuttering” John Melendez to join the Stephanie Miller program as executive producer and co-host. At the same time, Miller is pleased to welcome the return of Emmy award-winner Jim Ward – the man of 1,000 voices – as her new co-host, effective November 16. Ward is known for his impersonations of political figures, celebrities, and newsmakers. Melendez began his duties today (11/4).
Odds & Sods. WOR, New York talk host and NY 1 TV personality Mark Simone will be teaching a master class on Frank Sinatra on November 18 as part of Hofstra University’s two-week symposium on the legendary singer. Simone hosted a long-running Sinatra show on ABC Radio and he’s been the host of numerous Sinatra specials on PBS…..Joining the menu of shows available from PodcastOne is actress Heather Dubrow, a star of the show “OC Housewives.” The weekly program is called “Heather Dubrow’s World” and the first episode features her fellow “OC Housewives” stars Tamra Barney and Shannon Beador…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles is producing “A Sandwich Generation Forum & Resource Expo” on Saturday, November 14 at the Burbank Airport Marriott Convention Center. TV personality Leeza Gibbons, KNBC-TV weatherman Fritz Coleman, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and prominent medical professionals, professors, attorneys, financial planners and authors are among the 25 speakers who will offer guidance for people facing the complex challenges of caregiving for aging parents and growing children.
2016 Presidential Race, Clinton Foundation Financial Questions, Russian Airliner Crash, U.S. and Russian Roles in Syrian Conflict, U.S. Immigration Policy, Troubled ObamaCare Co-ops, Chipotle E. Coli Outbreak, and Looming Paris Climate Summit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/3). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation’s finances; the investigation into the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Desert; the Syrian civil war and the roles of the U.S. and Russian military; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S.; reports of troubled ObamaCare co-ops; the outbreak of E. coli poisoning at Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon; and escalating discussion about climate change as the Paris climate summit approaches were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. SiriusXM Satellite Radio is seeking a producer for the Patriot Channel in its Talk Programming division. The person in this producer position will be responsible for all aspects involved in producing a successful daily talk show on Sirius XM Patriot including studio/technical operations, promotion, production, guest booking, and research. Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Previous production experience within radio and/or live studio environment preferred. For more about this position and to apply, click here.
Dave Ramsey Packs the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey brought his Smart Money live event to his hometown of Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry House last night (10/8). The program, which also included Ramsey Solutions personality and speaker Chris Hogan, was promoted with the assistance of local affiliate, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WLAC. iHeartMedia market president Dan Endom says, “Newsradio 1510 WLAC is extremely proud to be part of the Dave Ramsey Smart Money Tour stop in Nashville. Dave has helped millions take control of their financial futures and, this event provides a live and in-person platform for folks, through a common sense approach, to achieve financial freedom.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Endom, Ramsey and Craig Hahn, SVP of sales iHeartMedia/Nashville.
WABC Names Libertini Staff Announcer and Production Director. On the heels of the retirement of New York radio legend Johnny Donovan back in May, Cumulus Media announces it is appointing veteran voice talent and creative audio production pro Christopher Libertini staff announcer and production director for 77 WABC Radio. Libertini’s resume includes stints with Howard Stern, NFL Radio, SiriusXM, ESPN, MLB, and CBS RADIO. Currently, Libertini’s voice can be heard on Cartoon Network, The Biography Channel, New York Lottery ads and various documentaries. WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “Though you cannot truly replace a legend like Johnny Donovan, you can find the next generation of production enthusiasts with indelible voices that resonate with your audience. Chris is proof positive that the sonic element of a talk radio station is vital and worth investing in.”
Dr. Joy Browne Back on Daytime Live in New York Market. The daily GCN-syndicated show hosted by perennial talk radio mainstay Dr. Joy Browne has been added to the lineup of WVNJ 1160 “The Voice” where it will be heard live between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. This marks the first time the longtime TALKERS Heavy Hundred superstar has been on the air in the Big Apple during daytime hours since leaving WOR, New York several years ago when that station changed ownership from Buckley Broadcasting to then-Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) and revamped its programming lineup to suit the company’s direction. Since then, Dr. Joy Browne has been heard in New York on Salem Media’s WNYM 970 “The Answer” but DB’d during the overnight hours. Browne tells TALKERS, “I am so grateful to the wonderful folks at WNYM for keeping the show on the air in New York during this period… but live during the daytime is hard to resist.” She adds, “I am thrilled to be back on the air live in New York where I have enjoyed so many years of fabulous support during my live and local days on WOR – and where I am very well-known and connected in the community.” WVNJ is family-owned by Universal Broadcasting of New York. The station, licensed to Oakland, NJ pumps out a powerful 20,000 watts and can be heard throughout much of the Tri-State area including large swaths of New Jersey, New York City, Westchester and Long Island.
Nielsen Audio Releases Tampa Bay PPM Numbers. After a delay of more than a week, Nielsen Audio has released the September 2015 PPM survey for the Tampa Bay market. The ratings were delayed after Nielsen determined there was evidence of tamper that was found to be executed by Bubba the Love Sponge, whose independently syndicated program airs on Beasley Broadcast Group’s WBRN-FM. Bubba admitted to the charge and Beasley reports it is taking action against him but the program will remain on the station that’s been crafted around his morning drive program. See TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the Tampa ratings at RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. Denver talk host Dan Caplis is interested in running for one of Colorado’s U.S. Senate seats, according to Jason Salzman in the Huffington Post. Caplis is an attorney who hosts the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show on Salem Media’s KNUS, Denver. If he decides to take on Democrat Michael Bennet, he’ll know within the next six to eight weeks…..News/talk WVLK, Lexington, Kentucky adds an FM signal with the sign-on of translator W266AN at 101.1 FM. Cumulus Media corporate program director Jim Mahanay says, “We are extremely pleased to announce that our audience in Lexington can now enjoy WVLK’s exceptional news/talk programming — including Larry Kudlow, John Batchelor, Mark Levin and ‘The Savage Nation’ — on the all-new simulcast at 101.1 on the FM dial.”…..Hockey’s St. Louis Blues and CBS RADIO’s St. Louis stations extends the multi-year broadcast rights agreement for play-by-play and related programming. The agreement expands the existing deal that includes Newsradio 1120 KMOX, hot AC KYKY “Y98” and adult contemporary KEZK. One of the most significant changes under the agreement is the creation of new Blues-related programming on KMOX. In addition to existing game coverage, KMOX will introduce three new weekly shows during the season and will also carry a 30-minute Blues postgame show.
Russia’s Syria Military Campaign Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of October 5-9. The Russian military campaign in Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Close behind at #2 was the related U.S. policy for battling ISIS. At #3 were the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 followed by the Oregon college massacre and Hillary Clinton’s gun control plan tied 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.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Event a Hit in Baton Rouge. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey brought his “Smart Money” event to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Thursday evening and packed the large Healing Place Church with fans eager to hear his presentation about how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future. Ramsey Solutions personality and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey partnered with local affiliate WBRP-FM “Talk 107.3” to promote the program. Gordy Rush is VP/market manager for the Guaranty Media-owned station. He comments, “We at ‘Talk 107.3 FM’ are absolutely thrilled that Dave has chosen Baton Rouge to host one of his ‘Smart Money’ events. It’s no surprise that Dave will have a sellout crowd on hand as, like the rest of America, he has a tremendous following here.”
WVON, Chicago Names Permanent Hosts to Evening Daypart. At the Chicago urban talk outlet, the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot has been filled recently by a revolving group of hosts. Now, the station announces the new, permanent evening lineup. Effective Monday (9/21), “Real Talk, Real People,” hosted by Art “Chat Daddy” Sims, will be heard in early evenings Monday through Thursday and “Life and Love,” with Dr. Karla K. Ivankovich and Dr. Dan Ivankovich, will air on Friday nights. The station says Sims’ program is “a lifestyle magazine show that will offer listeners local and national lifestyle stories, relationship advice, celebrity interviews and more.” On “Life and Love,” Drs. Karla and Dan Ivankovich “will address building solid relationships, improving and enhancing communication and instilling and infusing love back into interpersonal relationships.”
Radio Host Alan Taylor Threatens Suit Against Time Inc. According to a story by Keith Kelly in the New York Post, radio host Alan Taylor plans to sue Time Inc. for the latter’s use of “The Drive” for its new digital venture. “The Drive with Alan Taylor” has been the name of Taylor’s radio program for two years. His car show goes back to 1992 but it had different names when it was affiliated with Motor Trend and then Car & Driver. Taylor tells Kelly he has worked with Time Inc., even to the extent he helped bring business from both Jaguar and Maserati to Time Inc. “They are literally stealing my name. They took something that I helped them build, and then they kicked me out of bed.” Taylor offered to change his show’s name for $500,000 but the company countered with $12,000. Alan Taylor is the brother of Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters and the son of TRN founder Roy Masters. Read the entire Post story here.
WOR’s Todd Schnitt Surprises Mets Fans. A trio of Mets fans was very pleasantly surprised when WOR, New York morning drive co-host Todd Schnitt appeared on the subway platform with a cardboard sign announcing he was giving away free tickets to the playoff-bound team’s Tuesday night game versus the Miami Marlins. Schnitt co-hosts the morning show with Len Berman and the iHeartMedia station is the flagship for New York Mets baseball. Schnitt is pictured here with one of the lucky recipients.
Odds & Sods. Suffice it to say, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is no fan of that markets conservative talk radio hosts on E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ or iHeartMedia’s WISN. Addressing the attendees at the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Downtown Milwaukee Renaissance luncheon on Tuesday regarding perceptions of safety in the downtown area, Barrett referenced critical talk hosts when saying, “In 2009 I made a conscious decision to turn off talk radio. “I thought, ‘For my mental health, I’m going to turn it down.’ There are people who love to hate the city. I’m ignoring them because there are more good things going on in this city than in any city in this state!” But, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal, Barrett cited WISN’s Mark Belling saying he agrees with Belling’s statement that your chances of being harmed are greatly reduced if you’re not involved in illegal activities…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRNO, New Orleans is the new flagship station for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. The team’s play-by-play broadcasts move over from Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM.on display.
Baseball Broadcasting Legend Milo Hamilton Dead at 88. Ford Frick Award-winning baseball play-by-play announcer Milo Hamilton died yesterday (9/17). Hamilton spent his 67 seasons calling baseball games on the radio with seven different teams – most notably with the Houston Astros where he worked from 1985 through 2012. Hamilton was in the booth for the Atlanta Braves in 1974 when he called Hank Aaron’s record-setting 715th home run.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Dana Show,” featuring host Dana Loesch is now heard on Emmis-owned news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm CT…..The Radio America-syndicated Chad Benson show becomes part of the program lineup at Cox Media Group’s news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando “News 96.5.”…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the programming schedule on WZXI, Lancaster, Kentucky.
Trump Candidacy/GOP Primary Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of September 14-18. The unexpectedly high-polling presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and the Wednesday evening GOP primary debate tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 were the activities of the rest of the 2016 presidential candidates. Coming in at #3 was the immigration policy of the U.S. tied with the related migrant problems European nations are dealing with, followed by the Iran nuclear deal 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.
Glenn Beck to Take Time Off to Rest Strained Vocal Cords. Nationally syndicated talk radio host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck announced via Facebook yesterday that he’s taking time off from his daily radio program to rest his voice. He states in the video, “As you may or may not have noticed over the past couple of months, my voice has been changing a bit. Because I have had problems with my nerves in my vocal cords in the past where my voice has stopped working, I have been a little concerned, but I have really, really great doctors. This Friday I consulted with them and they have advised me to take a few weeks off and rest my voice due to some severe strain that has happened.” Beck is expected to return to hosting his programs on August 3. Meanwhile, although Beck did not directly address the news that his TheBlaze is ceasing operation of its radio news network this summer, he touched on the matter in another way when he spoke about the direction of his work in the future. “I know the staff has this weekend been working overtime on the trying to find the things that we can do to enrich us and keep us on track for where we are headed. They will be doing some really exciting things on radio and television that I think will help us. The time for looking and saying what is happening with the news is over. Now we need to start to say what’s coming our way and what can we do about it – and that’s where my focus is going to be.”
Bonnie Petrie Joins ‘Wisconsin’s Morning News’ on WTMJ, Milwaukee. Award-winning journalist Bonnie Petrie is named co-anchor of “Wisconsin’s Morning News” alongside Gene Mueller on E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee. Petrie most recently worked in radio at Radio One’s Houston all-news WROI “News 92.” She’s also worked at CBS RADIO’s KRLD-AM, Dallas and iHeartMedia’s WGY, Albany. WTMJ notes that Petrie has been honored with awards for anchoring, feature writing, series writing and production. WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer comments, “We were looking for very specific qualities in a news anchor to join Gene Mueller and ‘Wisconsin’s Morning News.’ Bonnie combines the qualities of experience in large news organizations, leadership depth, ideas, great writing ability, work-ethic, drive, an engaging personality and the passion for being an active part of our community.” Petrie will join the station on July 13 and begins on the morning program in August.
Carter Brokaw Joins iHeartMedia as President of Digital Revenue Strategy. In this position, Carter Brokaw will oversee iHeartMedia‘s digital sales efforts, driving digital revenue through new and existing sales channels as well as developing new digital revenue strategies for the company. He assumes the president of digital revenue strategy after serving with Guardian News and Media. He reports to Tim Castelli, president of national sales, marketing and partnerships. The company reports that Brokaw will work closely with Brian Kaminsky, iHeartMedia’s president of programmatic and data operations, to take to market iHeartMedia’s “first-of-its-kind programmatic, real-time ad buying platform launched earlier this year for broadcast radio stations, enriched with unique and proprietary data as well as third-party data.” Castelli comments, “Carter’s impressive track record of developing business strategies and launching national sales organizations for several media companies makes him the perfect person to drive our digital sales strategy. His vision and skill sets will be integral as we continue to build on the success of our digital sales team.”
Engmann Appointed GSM at iHM Milwaukee. Nine-year Nielsen Audio senior account manager Randy Engmann joins iHeartMedia Milwaukee as general sales manager. Senior vice president of sales Nathan Tonarelli declares, “We are excited to welcome Randy to our winning Milwaukee team. Randy’s leadership, knowledge, and drive will be a great addition to our culture.” Engmann remarks, “I am extremely enthusiastic in joining such a talented team providing a wide variety of offerings with the strong, impactful, high value brands of Milwaukee.” The company’s six Milwaukee properties include news/talk WISN; urban contemporary WKKV “V-100.7 Jams”; WMIL “FM 106.1 Milwaukee Country”; WOKY “Big Sports 920”; WRIT “Oldies 95.7”; and CHR WRNW “Radio Now.” In advance of his Nielsen Audio tenure, Engmann worked at cross-town Entercom Milwaukee as an account executive, general sales manager, and regional account manager.
Milt Rosenberg Moves to PM Drive in Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Chicago radio icon Milt Rosenberg’s program on WCGO will move from middays to the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. Rosenberg – who spent most of his Windy City radio career hosting “Extension 720” on Tribune’s crosstown WGN – joined the Kovas Communications-owned station in April of this year.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Radio Imaging Master and ‘Deep End’ Host Nick Michaels. This week’s new installment of Podcast One’s international hit podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is posted today (7/7). It features a candid, free-flowing conversation between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and legendary radio imaging master Nick Michaels – host of the long-running, syndicated classic rock (and beyond) radio show “The Deep End with Nick Michaels.” The two practitioner/theorists discuss the state of imaging in radio and related media, sea changes in today’s creative approach to advertising, the increasing scarcity of time in the modern world, and serious problems facing music radio in the digital era. Michaels says, “Time is the new currency in today’s over-communicated world” – a concept he defines as ‘too much information traveling through too little time.’” He says that the competition for people’s attention has never been more intense and in order for programmers and advertisers alike to get their messages across they must do so by focusing on the perspective of the recipients of the message, not the presenters. Michaels boldly states, “In this environment, the advertiser’s need to sell a product or get a message out is no longer an annoyance, burden or interruption that this audience is willing to bear!” To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
Greater Media Philadelphia Re-Ups with NHL’s Flyers. The new multi-year deal between Greater Media’s Philadelphia cluster and the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers means sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” will continue to serve as the flagship of the Flyers Radio Network. Flyers games will air on both WPEN-FM and sister rock outlet WMMR. Additionally, Greater Media’s classic rock WMGK and adult hits WBEN-FM will continue to be promotional partners with the team.
Odds & Sods. At iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York, Blain Ensley is named the new producer for the station’s late-morning Mark Simone show. The New York radio pro has a two-decade-long career producing, writing and co-hosting radio shows. He’s worked at NYC outlets WABC, WPLJ, WNEW-FM as well as WMMR in Philadelphia…..Legendary Houston radio personality Barry Warner is being inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in November. Warner is currently a Yahoo Sports Radio network contributor and hosts the “Barry Warner Classic Minute.” He’s also a host on KGOW, Houston and a contributor to Gow Media-owned KFNC-FM, Houston…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” announces Northwestern Orange County will be the next community to be featured on its award-winning series, “KNX On Your Corner.” On Friday, July 31, the station will broadcast live most of the day from the Katella Deli in Los Alamitos, including the Frank Mottek-hosted “KNX Business Hour” and the afternoon news co-hosted by Diane Thompson and Chris Sedens…..SiriusXM launches a weekly interview program hosted by former New York Times columnist and best-selling author Bill Carter. “The Bill Carter Interview” will feature conversations with “performers, writers, producers, and executives who are shaping the culture today.”…..New Hampshire Public Radio is recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association with a 2015 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in the small market category. NHPR president Betsy Gardella says, “This national recognition is a testament to the thorough and thoughtful local reporting efforts of our news team day in and day out. It is an extraordinary moment for NHPR, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Brian Joyce Gets Wet for Pets. Chattanooga talk show host Brian Joyce (pictured here atop the dunk tank) helped the Hamilton County Humane Society and the McKamey Animal Center in Chattanooga get new homes for 108 dogs and cats at the recent all-day “Adopt-A-Thon.” The WGOW “Talk Radio 102.3 FM” midday personality says it was satisfying to know that so many animals now have “forever” homes thanks to the efforts of the local community and media.
2016 Presidential Prospects, Kate Steinle Death-Illegal Immigration Debate, Bill Cosby Testimony, Greek Debt-EU Tensions, ISIS Atrocities-U.S. Policy, Iran Nuke Talks, and U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Wins World Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the shooting death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by an illegal alien and the controversy over U.S. and San Francisco illegal immigration policy; unsealed testimony from Bill Cosby in which he admits he’d given Quaaludes to women in the past in order to have sex with them; the ongoing financial turmoil in the EU and Greece over the latter’s inability to repay debt to the IMF; more atrocities perpetrated by ISIS and the U.S. military policy in Iraq and Syria; the ongoing nuclear talks between the U.S. and Iran; and the World Cup victory by the U.S. Women’s Soccer team were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus/Westwood One Star Mark Levin Continues to Gain Syndication Steam. Dubbed “The Great One” by Sean Hannity, Cumulus/Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin continues to grow in stature as one of the elite stars in the talk radio industry. Levin, who has written a number of best sellers and is respected as an outstanding constitutional attorney and scholar, has added over a dozen new stations to his affiliate roster of 300-plus in the last quarter alone including KRLA, Los Angeles; WPGP, Pittsburgh; WREC, Memphis; WRVA, Richmond; KTSM, El Paso; KWSX, Stockton; KFIV, Modesto; WBUV-FM, Biloxi; WPGG, Atlantic City; WTKS-AM, Savannah; KWHN, Ft. Smith; WDAK, Columbus, GA; and WFEA, Manchester, MA. According to Michael Harrison, “Levin doesn’t always get the credit he deserves as the true heavyweight he is – but the numbers don’t lie. He has one of the largest audiences of all the political news/talkers in America and is positively adored by the millions of individuals and organizations that make up the heart of the fundamentalist, Constitutionalist core of the conservative movement.” Levin is ranked by TALKERS as #6 on the Heavy Hundred (the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) and tied with Glenn Beck as the fourth most-listened-to radio talk show host in the nation.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of April 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of April 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Talkers New York 2015 Will Be Sold Out Today. 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 declared sold out at the end of business today (5:00 pm EDT), a day earlier than anticipated earlier this 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 general registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT today Thursday, May 14.” 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.
Vacca Upped to Executive Producer at WOR, New York. Promoted from producer to executive producer of the “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt In The Morning” show at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR, New York is Natalie Vacca. Vacca has been on the WOR staff for the past 18 years, producing such personalities as John Gambling, Barry Farber, Joan Hamburg and Alan Colmes. She says of her new gig, “I have had the honor to work with some of the best talent in talk radio over my career. To add Len Berman and Todd Schnitt to the list couldn’t be more exciting.”
Salem Radio Network to Participate in Conservative DC Conference. The annual “Road to Majority” conference is organized by the Faith and Freedom Coalition and this year Salem Radio Network will broadcast from the event that takes place in Washington, DC June 18-20. SRN personalities Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a special VIP “preview dinner” on the eve of the conference and will broadcast their talk shows from Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel during the conference. The political event will include appearances from 2016 presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as well as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor Rick Perry plus Gary Bauer, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and FOX News Channel contributor Todd Starnes. SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup states, “The mission of the Faith and Freedom Coalition – that, in essence, the greatness of America lies not in the federal government but in the character of our people…the simple virtues of faith, hard work, marriage, family, personal responsibility, and helping the least among us – dovetails perfectly with the values we hold at SRN. We are proud to partner with Ralph Reed and his team.”
Odds & Sods. This evening (5/14), CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield will be honored by the Philadelphia Police Athletic League as one of the city’s most distinguished business leaders. Along with SugarHouse Casino general manager Wendy Hamilton and PECO SVP and COO Michael Innocenzo, Rayfield will be feted at PAL’s awards dinner for his “extraordinary contributions in support of PAL’s mission of ‘Cops Helping Kids.’”…..Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini is serving as the radio pool reporter today (5/14) from the Camp David Summit as President Obama convenes with six Gulf state leaders to discuss the nuclear deal with Iran.
WSYR, Syracuse’s Joe Galuski Loses Battle with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Off the air at iHeartMedia news/talk WSYR, Syracuse since last fall as he battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma, longtime morning host Joe Galuski has died, the station announced this morning. Galuski, 64, had been with WSYR since 1988 and served as the station’s morning drive host since 1998.
iHeartMedia Recognized at Festival of Media Global Awards. Two honors are bestowed upon iHeartMedia at the Festival of Media Global Awards 2015 – a media industry event that recognizes innovation and leadership in the global advertising field. The awards ceremony took place on May 12 at the Rome Cavalieri in Italy. iHeartMedia was honored with the “Best Media Vendor of the Year” award, which recognizes the creative efforts of a media owner to connect advertiser clients with their audiences, for its work with Diet Coke and Taylor Swift. The multi-platform campaign simultaneously launched Diet Coke’s “Get a Taste” advertising campaign and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. The program generated approximately 500 million press impressions and 200 million on-air, digital and social impressions for Diet Coke. Taylor Swift’s album 1989, predicted to sell 800,000 units before the iHeartMedia campaign, sold nearly 1.3 million albums in just the first week, and became the No. 1 best-selling album of 2014. iHeartMedia was also named the Silver Winner in the “Best Media Owner Sales Team Initiative” category, which honors a media owner’s local or regional sales teams for their innovative and creative sales packages implemented within the market. In this category iHeartMedia was recognized for its partnership with Bank of America for World AIDS Day. iHeartMedia’s comprehensive cross-platform program across radio, digital, social and outdoor delivered more than 100 million media impressions in 24 hours for “A (RED) Thank You,” a special World AIDS Day event that took place in New York’s Times Square. Additionally, iHeartMedia drove on-air and social conversation, helping to generate over 10 million views of the YouTube (RED) concert video, the most views on (RED)’s YouTube channel in its history, ultimately raising $1 million in donations to (RED) on one day.
Obama Georgetown Speech, Philadelphia Amtrak Crash, Baltimore Riots and Protests Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Trade Bill, Iran Nukes Program, and ‘Deflategate’ Penalties Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13). The scrutiny of President Obama’s speech at Georgetown, including his statements about changing how the media reports; the continuing investigation into the cause of the Philadelphia Amtrak derailment; the ongoing political and legal effects of the Baltimore riots and protests; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the divisiveness in Congress over President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade bill; concern in the Middle East over the Iran nuclear program negotiations; and criticism of the NFL’s sanctions against the Patriots and Tom Brady over the “deflategate” matter were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC’s Wheeler Agrees to Pursue AM Rule Changes. Patting FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn on the back for work beginning the process of “AM revitalization” while acting chairman, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler writes in a blog post that he’s “committed to taking action in this proceeding so that AM radio will flourish while also preserving the values of competition, diversity, and localism that have long been the heart and soul of broadcasting.” Speaking about AM technical issues, Wheeler says, “In the coming weeks, I intend to conclude this open item with a Report and Order that will buttress AM broadcast service and ease regulatory burdens on AM broadcasters. The proposed Order would adopt specific measures to address practical problems and interference-related issues that have long plagued AM stations across the country. If adopted, these measures will enable AM stations to operate more efficiently in today’s spectrum environment. For example, the proposed Order would give stations more flexibility in choosing site locations, complying with local zoning requirements, obtaining power increases, and incorporating energy-efficient technologies. These actions will help to ease some of the technical limitations that have hindered AM stations in serving their listeners.” In response to Wheeler’s announcement, the NAB’s EVP of communications Dennis Wharton comments, “NAB is grateful Chairman Wheeler has announced plans to circulate an item to his FCC colleagues designed to revitalize AM radio. AM broadcasters have uniquely served local communities for nearly 100 years. The time is ripe for the FCC to follow through on the tremendous efforts of Commissioners Clyburn and Pai so that AM broadcasters can continue to play a vital role in the fabric of our nation. We look forward to working with the chairman and the commissioners to help ensure the item ultimately adopted serves the American public in the best manner possible.”
Cooke: Report from Las Vegas – Day 2. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo from not one, but three conferences going on there. Today’s report is from the NAB Show – a convention that Cooke points out is often thought of more as a TV gathering than a radio conference – but there’s still plenty of talk about audio. And, you guessed it, podcasting is one of the show’s darlings. Cooke writes that Edison Research’s Tom Webster showcased the importance of the success of the “Serial” podcast. “HOW impactful is podcasting? ‘Serial’ – a 12-episode true story podcast about a teen murder – has caused The Maryland Court of Appeals to revisit the conviction of Adnan Syed, imprisoned for the 1999 killing of his former girlfriend. To date, it’s been downloaded 68 million+ times. Webster calls this a watershed for podcasting, ‘a watercooler moment, like what ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’ did for Netflix. People are talking to each other about listening to a podcast.’” The integration of social media with legacy media is also a hot topic. Read more from Holland Cooke in Las Vegas here.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of Mach 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of March 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The March 2015 survey period covered February 26 through March 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Premiere Networks and Futuri Media Announce Long-Term Deal. The two companies release the news of a new, exclusive, long-term national sales representation agreement between iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks and Futuri Media. The partnership includes all of Futuri’s interactive radio programming platform brands: LDR (Listener Driven Radio), Futuri Mobile Apps, and TopicPulse – a social media monitoring system for broadcast stations across the U.S. Additionally, Premiere’s international division will offer Futuri’s systems and services to Canada and, later this year, to the UK and continental European markets. Premiere president Julie Talbott comments, “We love working with forward-thinking companies whose teams are focused on success for local affiliates, and Futuri Media delivers every time. This new agreement testifies to the great working relationship we’ve had for years as Futuri has evolved from LDR. Daniel Anstandig and the Futuri team exemplify Premiere’s ongoing commitment to supporting broadcasters around the world with solutions that drive ratings, revenue, and digital engagement growth.”
Envision Networks and Focus 360 Partner on ‘Powered by Jelli’ Networks. Affiliate sales for Focus 360’s “Powered by Jelli” networks will be handled by Envision Networks as the two firms have entered into a new relationship. Jelli is a cloud-based programmatic advertising platform for broadcast radio, enabling the selling and serving of advertising on behalf of radio station groups and show producers. Focus 360 provides programming, syndication and national advertising sales to thousands of radio stations nationwide. Its “Powered by Jelli” ad networks traffic, serve and report all ad campaigns using Jelli’s RadioSpot platform. Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff comments, “We are excited to bring this proven revenue generating opportunity to radio stations. Jelli is offering national advertisers a powerful vehicle to deliver and monitor commercials as they are broadcast while relieving stress on traffic departments to schedule and report those spots every day.”
Michael Harrison and Christopher Ruddy Discuss Politics, Journalism, Commercialism and the Nature of Truth in New ‘Up Close and Far Out’ Podcast. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison engages in a candid and revealing conversation with Newsmax president/CEO Christopher Ruddy in the sixth and latest installment of his PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out.” Ruddy is the mega-successful founder of a conservative-tilting news organization that began as a website in the late-1990s (Newsmax.com) and has grown into a multi-million dollar empire consisting of, among numerous assets, a dynamic website, monthly print publication (Newsmax Magazine), and most recently, a full-service television news network (Newsmax TV) that holds the potential to give Fox News Channel a run for its money. In the podcast, they discuss what Harrison describes as the tendency of today’s media (and society in general) to “seek victory at the expense of truth.” Harrison praises Ruddy as being somewhat of an exception to that rule – especially in today’s popular political media in which most news publications, websites and electronic media channels cater to the predisposition of their target audiences in an attempt to gain “more eyeballs and eardrums” even if it means distorting or suppressing the facts to conform to the expectations of the target consumer. Harrison points out several significant instances in which Ruddy has actually committed what so many of today’s opinion practitioners consider a sin – he actually changed his mind and renounced formerly held opinions in the face of new evidence and facts. The fascinating discussion delves into Ruddy’s role as a major Republican Party influencer (but not registered member) and his colorful relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Ruddy talks about the coming presidential election and explains the mechanisms often referred to as the Clinton and Bush “machines.” In the “Far Out” section of the podcast following the Ruddy interview, Harrison delves deeper into what he describes as the coming “Quantum Era” that will be marked by the rise of quantum computing that he predicts will relegate the current digital era to “primitive” status. To access the podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
Robin Quivers to Receive ‘Woman of the Year’ Honors at Talkers New York 2015. Longtime Howard Stern show cast member Robin Quivers will be honored at the June 12 Talkers New York 2015 conference where she will be presented with the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman – known informally as the ‘Woman of the Year’ award. Robin Quivers is legendary in the radio business – an industry she entered in the late 1970s on a daytime AM station in tiny Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A couple of upward moves later she was cast in the news anchor role at WWDC, Washington “DC 101” when Howard Stern began as morning host there in March of 1981. Thirty-four years later, she’s still holding her own as the “voice of reason” on Stern’s SiriusXM program. Though successful on the radio, Quivers has had to navigate challenging waters in her personal life. A series of health issues forced her to reexamine her approach to healthy living and she is now one of the leaders of the movement to require full disclosure of where our food comes from and what’s in it. Quivers has become a dedicated philanthropist, working hands on with numerous charitable causes both at home and abroad. She does all this while maintaining a rigorous work schedule on the Stern program and on various other media projects. Upon making the announcement of the editorial board’s decision to honor Quivers, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This recognition of Robin Quivers is long overdue and can hardly even come close to serving as an accurate reflection of the magnitude of her achievements. She has established a unique place for herself, not just as a talk show personality in the modern era, but as one of the most skilled, accomplished and important radio personalities of all time. It is almost impossible to describe her unique sense of timing and elegance as she practices her skills and artistry every morning within the iconic Stern universe and the indispensable contributions she has made to this amazing show’s ongoing empire in the American pop culture landscape.” Quivers will receive the award, which will be presented by the 2014 recipient Julie Talbott, president of Premiere Networks at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in Manhattan’s Financial District. The conference is for working media industry people only. Registration for the conference, which is on the verge of a sellout, and sponsorship inquiries can be made by calling 413-565-5413. For more information, click here.
Odds & Sods. The deal between Alpha Media Group and Access.1 Communications for the former to acquire stations in Shreveport, Louisiana and Tyler-Longview, Texas has closed. It gives Alpha ownership of: hip hop KBTT, gospel KOKA, urban contemporary KDKS, oldies KLKL, and classic rock KTAL in Shreveport; and country KKUS, adult contemporary KOOI, regional Mexican KOYE, and country KYKX in Tyler-Longview…..Salem Communications reports is has expanded its partnership with Clip Interactive to roll out the latter’s Total Audience Solution platform to all 109 Salem stations in 29 markets nationwide. Salem says it initially implemented Clip Interactive apps for their four Portland stations in 2013, expanding to San Antonio and Atlanta in 2014. After seeing significant revenue gains and user engagement in 2014, Salem chose to expand its partnership and propagate Clip Interactive’s solution nationally…..At the New York operations of iHeartMedia, Anthony Molaee is promoted to director of digital programming and operations for the cluster. SVP of programming Thea Mitchem notes that Molaee has been with iHeartMedia since 2007 and joined the New York operations in December of 2013. Molaee’s promotion comes as Colby Hall joins iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises team.
Todd Schnitt and Len Berman Attend Mets Home Opener. The New York Mets took the field for their home opener on Monday (4/13), and in attendance at Citi Field were WOR, New York morning personalities Todd Schnitt and Len Berman. WOR serves as the flagship station for the Mets radio network. Pictured here in the broadcast booth are (from l-r): Berman, Wayne Randazzo, Howie Rose, Josh Lewin, and Schnitt.
2016 Presidential Prospects/ Marco Rubio Declares, ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, and MLB Action Among Top Stories Yesterday (4/13). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the declaration for candidacy by Marco Rubio; the ongoing violence being perpetrated by ISIS and other militant Islamic factions; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; and the weekend’s MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
While most will not admit it, they sense such genuine terms of endearment are really euphemisms that bring their mortality into question and are code for “old.”
In an oftentimes, if not all too customary, flavor-of-the-month industry where the next great star is eaten up and spit out after a 26-week run, it would be disingenuous though not to ascribe “icon/iconic” and “legend/legendary” to a talk host who has been top-of-mind for over three-dozen years.
This particular peerless personality has maintained an impeccable status of excellence while breaking basic (unwritten) talk radio rules.
Exemplary on-air work that is approaching four decades has been done without political bent and her legend of loyal listeners actually have meaningful life-altering changes owing to the unparalleled expertise of the program’s sage host. In a male-dominated spoken-word personality arena, this show’s headliner is one of only 12 women on TALKERS’ renowned “Heavy Hundred” of 2014, checking in at #44. (The new list for 2015 will be published within the next few weeks and this writer would not be surprised if she moves up significantly due to recent developments in her dynamic career.)
Added twist to the progressing journey of this generously genial, uncommonly cordial licensed clinical psychologist is that Dr. Joy Browne has taken proprietorship of her daily three-hour program.
Longtime Rush Limbaugh Staffer Kit Carson Dies After Battle with Cancer. TALKERS magazine has learned from Sound Mind LLC principal Kraig Kitchin that longtime Rush Limbaugh staffer Christopher “Kit” Carson passed away this morning (1/26), in New Jersey. The cause was brain cancer. Kitchin says Carson had suffered a bout of cancer four years ago but found his way to recovery two years later and was given a clean bill of health. In the last several months, the cancer returned. Kit Carson was the “chief of staff” of Limbaugh’s program since the early 1990s. He became part of the program’s staff in 1989. Kitchin says Carson wanted to be an actor, but fell in love with his work on the program. He screened calls, opened and answered the mail, and he took every opportunity to be invaluable. And he became invaluable. Later, he was nicknamed “H.R.” with Limbaugh naming him after Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman. A clearly shaken, tearful Rush Limbaugh announced the news at the top of his radio program today (1/26). He said, “We are all experiencing a huge void in all of our hearts here today.” Limbaugh praised Carson as never having a bad word to say about anyone and was always a mediating force for good and harmony among the staff. Limbaugh said that Carson was the longest-running employee of the show and quickly proved himself to be the new program’s number one defender, champion and evangelist. Limbaugh also credited Carson with coming up with many ideas and angles that he used as his own on the air—and was also a tremendous force for Rush maintaining optimism and positivity in his work and attitude about life. Clearly he was the one guy who Limbaugh never once doubted – “I had total trust in him.” Limbaugh said, “Even at 58 he had an innocent exuberance about him.” Carson is survived by his wife, Theresa, and two sons.
Now Showing on TalkersTV: Writing Commercial Copy That Produces RESULTS. Just try not to flinch when you hear The Six Most-Dreaded Words in Radio Sales: “We tried radio, it didn’t work.” Even when the retail business and the station fit-like-a-glove — AND the client buys enough frequency — the campaign can flop, and the disappointed advertiser gives up on radio entirely. WHY? Consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke explains, “Too often, it’s because the commercial copy was ineffective. Not surprisingly, this can happen because cutbacks have cost the station a creative department and reps are writing their own spots… too often banging out scripts quickly, so they can get back on the street to close new business — which they’re under pressure to do, because of churn. Why does this often happen? You guessed it: Because clients cancel…because they didn’t get results…because the copy didn’t work. It’s a vicious cycle.” Cooke adds, “Ironically, the same problem is common at stations that HAVE a creative person or department.” And he cites three reasons:
1. The conveyor belt is out of control. With four, five or six stations under one roof, the writer gets overwhelmed.
2. ESPECIALLY this time of year, when stations stage the annual first quarter “one day sale,” piling even more work on the writer; in many cases spots that will air long-term (or until the disappointed client cancels).
3. The writer, back at the station, didn’t share the rep’s in-person contact with the prospect during the important Needs Assessment step. Cooke figures that “account executives are, potentially, better writers than…writers, because they know clients’ stories first-hand.”
“Potentially,” Cooke stipulates, “because account executives need to speak to the listener (the advertiser’s client) the same way they approached the advertiser. Reps are natural sellers, but don’t always apply their persuasive talent to copy writing.” In a video now showing on TalkersTV, Cooke outlines what he calls “the dance steps of a 60-second commercial script,” based on his work helping client station reps craft copy for local retailers. See Cooke relate what he terms “The Five Steps of Selling Anything to Anybody” (how reps got the order) to the copy-writing process. See the TalkersTV box at the top right-hand column of this page and every page of Talkers.com.
KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names Musson Co-Host. The new late morning show at Cumulus Media’s Fresno news/talker KMJ-AM/FM launches today as “Broeske & Musson.” KMJ program director Blake Taylor announces the station promotes Christina Musson from station executive producer to co-host of the program alongside John Broeske. Taylor says, “We tried out dozens of potential co-hosts for John, but we only needed to look down the hall for the perfect answer. ‘Broeske & Musson’ is going to be a dynamic show with tons of energy. They’ll continue to deliver the hard-hitting and fun topics of the day that our listeners expect.” Musson has been executive producer the past six years. Her resume also includes production and reporting work at Fresno’s KMPH-TV KGPE-TV as well as KAPP-TV in Yakima, Washington. She says, “I’m excited to take the next step in my career at such an amazing station and to partner with John Broeske – someone I admire and respect. I grew up listening to KMJ, so it’s a dream come true.”
Radio & Television News Association of Southern California Presents Awards. The 65th annual Golden Mike awards were presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California (RTNA) on Saturday evening (1/24) in Universal City. The awards are presented annually for excellence in radio, TV and Internet broadcast journalism. CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recognized with seven Golden Mike awards in the following categories: Best New Broadcast Over 15 Minutes – “KNX Morning News”; Best Live Coverage of a News Story – “LAX Shooting”; Best News Reporting – “Nanny Nightmare” by Charles Feldman; Best Spot News Reporting – “The Great UCLA Flood of 2014” by Desmond Shaw, Ed Mertz, and Pete Demetriou; Best News Public Affairs Program – “Ask the Mayor”; Best Traffic Report – KNX Traffic at 6:15 am; and Best Sports Reporting – “Watts Bears” by Ed Mertz. Pictured above left are (from l-r) KNX staffers Ron Kilgore, Frank Mottek, Kathy Kiernan, James Tuck, Ric Schroeder, Wendy Thermos, and Pete Demetriou accepting the award for Best Live Coverage of a News Story. iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KFI and reporter Steve Gregory also took home seven Golden Mike awards (see photo at right) in the following categories: Best Radio News Special – “Breaking Down The Border Crisis” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Investigative Reporting – “Mold School” by Steve Gregory and Oswaldo Borraez; Best Radio Light Feature (less than a minute) – “Valentine’s Day Flower Inspection” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Serious Feature (less than a minute) – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory; Best Radio Hard News Series – “Trial Of Jailed Marine In Mexico”; Best Radio Internet News Reporting – “Operation Boo” by Steve Gregory and David Perez; and Best Radio Newscast (under 15 minutes). KFI program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “We have the best news team here at KFI, these folks rock and Steve is a prime example of the caliber of talent that makes us so proud!”
Round Four of Holiday PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
New York Talk Legend Joe Franklin Dies at 88. The New York talk television and talk radio icon who was famously parodied by Billy Crystal on “Saturday Night Live,” died after a long battle with cancer on Saturday (1/24). Joe Franklin hosted a television program interviewing celebrities and offbeat characters beginning in the early 1950s. He worked in radio later in his career at such stations as WOR, New York and most recently on the Bloomberg Radio Network. Franklin ranked 71st in the 2010 TALKERS magazine 20th Anniversary Heaviest Hundred list (which ranks “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time”) and appeared a number of times as a special guest speaker at the annual TALKERS Convention in New York City. Publisher Michael Harrison would introduce him to the attendees from out of town as a famous New York City “tourist attraction as legendary as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park.” Franklin juggled so many careers in the media that it’s a good thing he stopped to write a book every few years – in fact, 23 in all — to capture his amazingly colorful life. His autobiography Up Late With Joe Franklin (Scribner, 1995) is jam-packed with celebrity-rich-anecdotes — from Eddie Cantor and Rudy Vallee to Howard Stern, for example. According to the Library Journal, “He actually knew those early entertainers and knew many of those currently entertaining.” What originally made him a household name — even before the highly touted “Saturday Night Live” parodies by Billy Crystal — was Franklin’s late night variety program “The Joe Franklin Show,” which ran from 1950 through 1993. The Guinness Book of World Records lists it as the longest running TV talk show in history manned by one host. And what a show it was! Much like visiting your favorite neighborhood hardware store, you never knew what unexpected gems would pop up among the variety and clutter. A sample show would feature a sculptor, belly dancer, an up-and-coming comic, a podiatrist and then maybe a famous actor or singer. According to Publisher’s Weekly (1994), his program’s “total guest list ran between 200,000 and 300,000.” and included such names as Frank Sinatra Jr., Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Vincent Price, Howard Stern, Buddy Hackett, — as well as first TV exposure for eventual stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand and Julia Roberts. “It would be easier to list the few who did not appear than to catalogue those who did,” PW says. Franklin started and ended his long show business career in radio. His first job, at 16, was working behind the scenes at WNEW, New York where he became “the record librarian,” (or really “the record picker”) for Martin Block’s popular “Make Believe Ballroom” radio program. Once station management recognized his unique expertise in vaudeville and entertainment trivia, they offered him a 15-minute program dedicated to nostalgia. Eventually that became his calling card and part of the schtick he’d weave into shows, whether radio or television. The self- proclaimed “King of Entertainment” had an encyclopedic knowledge of “all things entertainment” from the first half of the 20th Century: silent films, Broadway stage shows, musicians and singers. With that, he also earned the title the “king of nostalgia.” After his television show ended, Franklin focused on his long-running “Memory Lane” radio program, which ran on WOR on weekend overnights. He’d tell stories about many of the entertainers whose records he would play. In recent years, up until the time of his death, he hosted a weekends-only series of six-minute segments on Bloomberg Radio Network called ‘The Business of Show Business.’ Audio podcasts are still available at Bloomberg.com. Throughout his career, the round-faced, jovial Franklin was commonly called back to television to do guest spots on the big late night and daytime talk shows such as those hosted by Regis Philbin and David Letterman. Considered a good luck charm for the start of a new talk show due to the length of his show’s run, Franklin often kicked off day one of a show – and did so on the first broadcasts of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “This American Life.” Though Franklin may never have wanted to act in movies – like his childhood friend Tony Curtis – he did appear as himself in “Ghostbusters” and “Broadway Danny Rose,” just to name two of the 34 titles that IMDb lists. Franklin was born in 1926 in the Bronx, New York. He met his model/actress wife when she was a secretary and he was “a kid of 24 just doing radio… and we were married on the TV show called ‘Bride and Groom,’” where real-life couples tied the knot after being quizzed about their relationship on national television. Perhaps what sums Joe Franklin up best is his favorite personal quote: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s even more important to be nice.”
Odds & Sods. Former “Regular Guys” personality Eric Von Haessler begins hosting his “The Von Haessler Doctrine” show on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB, Atlanta airing Sundays at 1:00 pm. Since exiting his “Regular Guys” co-host position at Cumulus Media’s crosstown rock WNNX “96 Rock” in June of 2014, Von Haessler has been doing fill-in work at WSB and podcasting…..Boston sports talk personality Danny Picard launches his new eponymous podcast at the same time he debuts his new website and celebrates the opening of his new studio inside Beantown Athletics in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Picard is a weekend personality on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston and is part of the “Patriots Pre-game and Post-Game Live” shows on Comcast SportsNet New England…..Westwood One is announcing some of the details of its Super Bowl programming as the official network radio partner for the National Football League. It will feature a full schedule of game day programming leading up to kickoff. Westwood One’s live game coverage features Kevin Harlan, handling the play-by-play duties for the Super Bowl for the fifth straight year, and Boomer Esiason, serving as the color analyst. Hall of Famer James Lofton and Mark Malone will once again report from the sidelines. Emmy Award-winning host Jim Gray will anchor the pregame and halftime coverage…..FOX Sports Radio is also on the scene in Glendale, Arizona this week leading up to the Super Bowl. FSRN announces that as part of its continuous coverage “Jay Mohr Sports” news anchor Dan Beyer and J.T. The Brick will broadcast live from radio row while the Dan Patrick show and the Rich Eisen show will broadcast from the DIRECTV Super Fan Festival at the Pendergrast Family Farm in Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District across from Phoenix Stadium. Also, former NFL player Lincoln Kennedy will broadcast a special edition of the network’s Saturday morning program Gargano & Kennedy…..CBS Sports Radio’s plans for coverage of the big game include live-from-Glendale broadcasts all week by the network’s Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and the Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney program.
Todd Schnitt and Len Berman to Host Mornings on WOR, New York. Legendary New York news/talk station WOR announces it will debut the new morning program, “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning,” effective January 26. iHeartMedia says the program will “focus on New York and feature interactive programming, showcasing what local listeners are talking about in news, sports, entertainment and pop culture.” Both Berman and Schnitt are native New Yorkers. Schnitt has been based in Tampa and currently hosts his nationally syndicated, eponymous talk show via Compass Media Networks, which he’ll continue to do in addition to the New York morning show. Berman is an “Emmy-Award winning sportscaster and New York Times best-selling author who has covered just about every major sports event including multiple Super Bowls, World Series and Olympics during his 40-year career in broadcasting. He was a long-time sports anchor for WNBC-TV, New York.” Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Schnitt, in addition to his syndicated talk show, hosted the “MJ Morning Show” on CHR WFLA-FM, Tampa for many years. iHeartMedia market president Joe Puglise says, “Len is a well-known sports reporter and this opportunity will also showcase his other skills and personality. Listeners will immediately engage with Todd’s quick wit and creative take on the things that impact New Yorkers.” Schnitt adds, “Len Berman is the perfect co-host, he is a well-known New Yorker and brings a ton of wit, wisdom and street smarts to the microphone. Together we are very excited to construct a new local, engaging and entertaining morning show for New York.” iHeartMedia tried simulcasting WWDC, Washington “DC 101” morning personality Elliot Segal on WOR after parting company with longtime morning host John Gambling, but that lasted only a month, ending in February of 2014. Regarding his move to NYC, Schnitt adds, “Locating our [Compass syndicated] show in the heart of New York City will be a huge benefit to our national listeners and help drive ratings for our affiliates. I look forward to continuing to work with Compass Media Networks, our affiliates and sponsors.”
Premiere Names Shapiro VP – Sports Programming. Former ESPN Radio program director Scott Shapiro joins Premiere Networks in a newly created position of vice president of sports programming. His duties will include overseeing daily execution of sports content, including the Fox Sports Radio Network. Premiere Networks senior vice president of sports programming Don Martin comments, “Scott’s experience producing some of the most successful, multi-platform sports programming speaks for itself. I am excited for the opportunity to team up with such a class act. His addition reaffirms our commitment to providing the best sports entertainment content the industry has to offer, along with unique and valuable opportunities for our partners.” Shapiro remarks, “I greatly look forward to working with the talented team in place. There is tremendous growth potential and a real opportunity to develop outstanding sports content. The sky is the limit in terms of the talent, infrastructure, and resources available.” In addition to programming ESPN Radio, Shapiro’s resume includes being producer of that sports network’s “Mike & Mike” morning show; he previously was assistant program director/executive producer of WQXI “The Zone,” Atlanta.
Daunais, Walker Get Westwood One EVP – Regional Sales Stripes. Atlanta-based Jim Daunais and Dallas-based Tim Walker are appointed executive vice presidents in Westwood One‘s network sales division. Daunais’ responsibilities are in the southeast region – Walker’s duties are in the southwest. Westwood One president Steve Shaw comments, “Hot off the heels of promoting Kim Bryant to lead west coast sales, we are on an accelerated path to building an exceptional, preeminent sales organization. Jim and Tim are uniquely qualified to lead our southeast and southwest regions. Their respective abilities to manage, strategize, and effectively deliver client solutions will drive more revenue success across our platforms.” Daunais is “excited for the opportunity to continue” his more than 10-year Westwood One career, where he works “alongside Steve and the rest of our incredibly talented management team, and to build upon the company’s rich history as the leader of all things audio.” Walker states he is looking forward “to leading the southwest region and bringing integrated solutions to our clients and agencies.” It is a promotion for Daunais, who joined the company in 2004. Most recently, he was Westwood One’s senior vice president, sales and vice president of southeast sales. His prior background includes being an account executive for MLB‘s New York Mets. Walker is rejoining Westwood One. He spent the last three years as Cumulus Media‘s director of national sales for the southwest region. Prior to that, Walker was national sales manager for Cumulus-owned stations in Dallas and Houston; he had a similar title for CBS Radio Dallas; and he was a Westwood One account executive (2000 – 2002) in the company’s Dallas office.
John McConnell Named EVP at Workhouse Media. Radio management pro John McConnell is named executive vice president for talent and content management company Workhouse Media. In this role, McConnell will oversee Workhouse Media’s East Coast offices and he will serve in a new senior management role for the company. A longtime ABC Radio executive, McConnell has been managing his own firm for the past six years. Workhouse Media principal and CEO Paul B. Anderson comments, “John comes to Workhouse Media with a powerful combined background in programming, syndication and strategy. His track record is both broad and deep, and the industry recognizes his impeccable reputation for integrity and results.”
Odds & Sods. Today (1/20) begins Steve Deace‘s relationship with the USA Radio Networks. With the move from Genesis Communications Network, Deace’s program moves from an evening live airing (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight) to live in afternoon drive, Eastern Time…..Following the path of New York’s Christian talk WMCA, New York, Salem Communications-owned KKMS, Minneapolis takes on “The Mission” brand. Salem rolled out “The Answer” as the brand for its news/talk stations and it appears likely most if not all of the company’s Christian talk stations will become “The Mission.”…..Tomorrow (1/21) marks the fifth anniversary of the internet program the Nicole Sandler show at radioornot.com. Sandler began her digital program after the demise of Air America Radio in 2010.
Non-Comms Rocking the Boat. For those interested in bold, new developments in music radio, check out Jeff McKay’s piece in our sister publication, RadioInfo, exploring the non-comm stations creating targeted-yet-daring rock and pop formats for hungry audiences. Many listeners still see public radio as either left-leaning news/talk or jazz- and classic music-oriented. But stations such as KCSN, Los Angeles; WXPN, Philadelphia; KCMP, Minneapolis; and KKXT, Dallas are bucking that trend and drawing in younger audiences. Read more here.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Resonates Throughout News/Talk Radio. As reported yesterday (1/19), news/talk radio hosts, programs, stations and networks buzzed with conversation inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – memorializing the birthdate of the slain civil rights leader of the turbulent 1960s. Shows covering the spectrum of political and ideological approaches including urban, progressive and conservative positions all found pertinent subject matter for discussion to commemorate the annual Federal holiday, lifting race relations to the most-talked-about topic of the day. Pictured here is WOLB, Baltimore morning legend Larry Young (third from right) at a ceremony in Baltimore held last week on the actual birthdate of the historic activist. Young – a longtime member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – tells TALKERS,“One of my proudest moments was to have planted in 1985 the only MLK Jr. tree on state house property in the USA. On his actual birthdate on January 15 we did a re-dedication and I said, ‘King put before us a serious vision that we would be one nation under God and indivisibly one America.’ And I want to believe that even today I can still believe in his vision.”
State of the Union/Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film, MLK Jr. Day/‘Selma’ Film, ISIS Violence/Two Japanese Hostages Held, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). This week’s State of the Union Address and President Obama’s expected announcement of his tax proposal; the political arguments surrounding the film “American Sniper”; the observation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and the concurrent release of the film “Selma”; the ongoing violence perpetrated by ISIS and its threat to execute two Japanese hostages; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the weekend’s NFL conference championships were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sean Hannity Broadcasts from Israel. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar (and Fox News Channel prime time personality) Sean Hannity broadcasts his Premiere Networks-syndicated radio program from a radio station in Tel Aviv (left) while touring Israel to report on the conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hannity will host his show from Israel again today (8/5) before returning to the United States. Premiere reports that on his program Hannity has been reporting on numerous aspects of the conflict including “the Iron Dome anti-missile technology protecting the country from militant rockets, the Hamas tunnels used to capture and kill Israelis, what life is like there under constant threat, and more.” At right, Hannity (center, in denim) is pictured standing on a military-style bulldozer interviewing Israeli troops near the Gaza border.
Dr. Joy Browne Returns to the Air in NYC. Formerly based at crosstown WOR, New York (and syndicated from Buckley Broadcasting’s old WOR Radio Network for many years), Dr. Joy Browne is now heard in New York again via Salem Communications WNYM, “AM 970 The Answer.” WNYM VP and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “Joy is a consummate radio pro. Her show was consistently one of the most talked about shows on WOR. Her voice was prematurely silenced across the street, as was John Gambling’s, and it is my pleasure to allow her many fans to find her again.” Browne’s show is currently syndicated via Radio America. She comments, “I am beyond thrilled to be back on the air in New York and working with John Gambling and Jerry Crowley and Lou Dobbs again makes it feel like coming home. We have been besieged by listeners who wanted to know where I went and how to find me, and now they will know.” Salem Communications market VP Phil Boyce adds, “The talk radio format is nothing without superstars who have built that unique bond with their audience. Not all stations understand that anymore, so we are able to make that happen on our New York stations. The addition of Joy Browne proves that.”
Trimmer to Program WRVA and WRNL, Richmond. Moving from Clear Channel’s Rochester, New York cluster where he programmed news/talk WHAM and sports talker WHTK “Sports 1280,” is Aaron Trimmer who heads south to the company’s Richmond, Virginia station group to serve as director of programming for news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL-AM. Trimmer – a Richmond native – takes over for PD Jimmy Barrett who now focuses on his WRVA morning drive hosting responsibilities.
Entercom Q2 Revenue Dips 1%. Considering the recent Q2 financial reports by some other broadcasters, the 1% drop in net revenue could be considered a plus. Entercom’s revenue was $100.2 million during the second quarter of 2014. The company reported that free cash flow decreased 21% to $15 million. Entercom CEO David Field states, “Revenue declined 1% from the prior year as results were impacted by sluggish business conditions during the quarter. Operationally, we continue to focus on developing our powerful local brands, content and digital capabilities and building our new SmartReach Digital division. These efforts are enhancing our value to listeners and customers and raising our growth potential. Broadcast radio fundamentals are strong with growing, massive audience reach and a superior ROI to competitive forms of media.” Entercom reduced its outstanding debt by $4.1 million (net of cash) during the quarter. As of June 30, 2014, the company had $7.1 million in cash and $489.8 million of senior debt and senior notes.
Pandora Eyeing Talk and Sports Formats. In an interview with Sonali Basak for Bloomberg, Pandora CFO Michael Herring hints the company is planning to add talk and sports talk content to its service, though the type of content and when it might appear on Pandora is not known at this time. Herring points to the popularity of talk and sports by commuters in autos as the reason for his company’s interest in the formats. “Music’s an important piece of radio listening in the car, but if there’s a place where spoken word is also equally, and more important really, it’s in the car…As the car becomes more important, thinking about other types of content that are important for the car becomes more critical. That’s why Sirius spends so much money on Howard Stern, sports and news.” Basak reports that Pandora is currently available in about 33% of cars while SiriusXM can be accessed in about 71% of autos. Usage by Pandora listeners in cars rose from about 2.5 million people during the second quarter of 2013 to about 7 million during the second quarter of 2014. Read the entire Bloomberg piece here.
Hofstra University’s WRHU Named College Station of the Year. The student-operated station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” has been named the best college station in the country, according to The Princeton Review. The publication rates colleges in America and, as part of that, also ranks college radio stations. Hofstra University’s WRHU came in #1 this year after being ranked #5 last year. The station is the flagship radio outlet for the NHL’s New York Islanders since 2010 and is the first and only college radio station to have an exclusive broadcasting agreement with a professional sports team. WRHU is a finalist for a prestigious 2014 Marconi Radio Award from the NAB as the top non-commercial station in the country. The station’s reporters have won top honors from the New York Associated Press Association, the Press Club of Long Island, the Society of Professional Journalists and New York Women in Communications. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison, who began his illustrious radio career on WRHU (when it was still using the call letters WVHC) and is a charter inductee of the WRHU Hall of Fame, states, “I am so proud of this great radio station’s progress and accomplishments over the years since I first broadcast there in 1967. This ranking is a tribute to the fantastic faculty staff running the operation and to the entire Communications Department at Hofstra which, in my opinion, is second to none in American academia.” Harrison sits on the Hofstra University Department of Communication advisory board.
KMG Networks’ Krantz to Work with Sun Broadcast Group. A new partnership struck by Sun Broadcast Group and Krantz Media Group/KMG Networks will have KMG president and CEO Gary Krantz joining SBG as strategic advisor. The companies say that “together, Sun and KMG will focus on new initiatives in content, digital, and services to superserve media partners in the audio entertainment sector. These exciting new opportunities will be separate initiatives from existing and planned partnerships that Sun and KMG are involved with, respectively.” SBG CEO Jason Bailey adds, “Gary and I have known each other for years and have always shared the same exciting vision for this industry. With all that’s going on in the network radio space there are countless opportunities to make a real difference with amazing program partners who share our passion for change. I’m stoked to work more closely with KMG on a professional basis in advancing our mission to make radio an experience for a whole new generation.”
Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Bradlee Dean, host of the “Sons of Liberty” syndicated radio series, has been honored with the Education Liberty Award from the Education Liberty Coalition for his appearances on their behalf at some 350 high schools in 24 states nationwide. Among the goals which Dean has been promoting is ELC’s campaign for students to study at their own instructional level and for parents to make school choices for their children. Dean’s most recent stop was in Marietta, Georgia…..Genesis Communications‘ sports platform – Sports Talk Florida – is providing “exclusive coverage” of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp complete with live practice updates, video interviews, and behind-the-scenes developments with reporters Jenna Laine and Amanda Borges. Genesis says that its digital platform, along with the affiliated radio stations WHOO, Orlando and WHBO, Tampa, are keeping Bucs fans informed. The company says, “With a plethora of exclusive photos, written articles and video content covering the Buccaneers, Sports Talk Florida leads the way in merging radio, web-based media, mobile sharing and social media.”
Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform/Southwest Border Crisis, Russian Ukraine Aggression, and James Brady Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; the threat of the Ebola virus as a possible pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; the battle in Washington over immigration policies and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s support of Ukrainian rebels and the probe of the downing of Flight 17; and the death of Reagan Administration Press Secretary and anti-gun crusader James Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Mike Francesa’s Sports Talk Keynote Address. Today (7/16) marks the second day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful sports talk keynote address delivered by WFAN, New York sports talk radio legend, Mike Francesa. The focus of Francesa’s speech consists of 1) his opinion that the current lack of ratings for online “re-purposed” radio content is damaging radio; 2) the benefits of being live and local; and 3) the burgeoning role of sports in American life. Francesa states, “I have done the same show at the same time on the same station for 28 years. I never wanted to be syndicated. I believe in live and local.” Although respecting the importance of digital and social media, he believes that radio broadcasters place too much emphasis on it to the detriment of their on-air content and performance stating, “I take a limited approach to the new technology…I don’t have a Twitter account.” Regarding sports, itself, as a subject and field of interest to the media, he advises, “I think we are at the beginning of a sports explosion the likes of which you haven’t seen yet. If you’re in the communications business, you’d better get on board. Sports today is what Hollywood was in the 40s and 50s.” To see the entire session, please click here. Coming tomorrow (7/17): RAB, CEO/president Erica Farber moderating the panel, “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” with Ron Furman, CRO, Westwood One; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Joe Puglise, president/market manager, Clear Channel, New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Dave Elswick Show Expands to Searcy, Arkansas Market. Longtime Little Rock talk radio personality Dave Elswick’s KHTE “96.5 The Voice”-based show will be heard on KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas starting July 21 as the show begins efforts to network across the state. Elswick states, “This is exciting as I will now reach the North Central part of the state. My goal is to touch all Arkansans and keep them informed about what is happening in their state.” Additionally, Elswick tells TALKERS magazine he is in the process of launching a 24/7 online TV station as he explores new platforms.
KKOB, Albuquerque Personality Rides on Soon-to-Be-Deactivated Sub. The market’s namesake nuclear sub USS Albuquerque is being de-activated after 30 years of service to the U.S. Navy. Last week, KKOB, Albuquerque weekend personality Terrie Q. Sayre – pictured here at the periscope of the sub – was able to take a voyage on it. The sub is based in San Diego and during Sayre’s visit, she went out to sea in it and was able to dive to 600 feet, take sharp angle maneuvers, take part in periscope viewing and more. Sayre reports they even did a burial at sea involving a three torpedo salute.
CBS Sports Radio Morning Show Gets Online Video Simulcast. Beginning immediately, the morning drive show hosted by Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney, and Dana Jacobson on the CBS Sports Radio Network – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET – is available in a live, online video simulcast, especially targeting consumers using mobile and tablet devices. Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “We are excited to launch yet another way to expose our programming to audiences nationwide. Tiki, Brandon and Dana prove every day to be dynamic and passionate sports hosts, and providing additional access to the show follows the trend of listeners spending more time with the program.”
’99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh Holds ‘Fan Town Hall.’ Tomorrow morning Capitol Broadcasting-owned sports talk WCMC-FM, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” is presenting the first-ever “Fan Town Hall” with four of the most influential people in Triangle college sports today at Full Frame Theater in nearby Durham. Panelists will include: Duke athletic director Dr. Kevin White; North Carolina Central athletic director Dr. Ingrid Wicker-McCree; NC State athletic director Debbie Yow and North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham. The 90-minute, commercial-free event will be moderated by WCMC-FM afternoon drive host Adam Gold and WRAL-TV sports anchor Jeff Gravley. Topics to be addressed include the state of college athletics, successes and challenges athletic departments are experiencing and much more. Station program director and OM Dennis Glasgow states, “This is a historical event that’s never been done before in the Triangle, and to bring together these four remarkable people will be a fascinating 90 minutes inside the looking glass of college sports. Our Town Hall format will be less traditional in that we’re encouraging conversation among our special guests, and its unique format will allow social media questions throughout the event.”
Golloher Joins Fox News Radio as Correspondent. Former freelancer Jessica Golloher – who’s been based in Moscow for the past six years – joins Fox News Radio as a correspondent based in New York. In this new role, Golloher will report on breaking news and provide daily live reports while covering stories in the Northeast and across the country. During her time in Moscow, Golloher provided live coverage of stories, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the crisis in Ukraine, and the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Golloher previously worked at radio stations in Washington, Boston, Tulsa, and Los Angeles.
Odds & Sods. All-newser KNX, Los Angeles is tackling the Western drought story as it relates to Southern California on July 31 during a day-long program titled, “Running on Empty: Our Epic Drought.” The CBS RADIO station says KNX’s news staff, “led by producers Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman, will look at the impact the worsening drought will have on” the population. KNX will detail what sets the current drought apart from those the state has experienced in the recent past. Among the questions to be answered are what food products might disappear from shelves and which ones will get costlier, who decides who’ll be able to tap into the eroding water supply and what will the long-term effects be on the local environment and wildlife? Seven KNX reporters have conducted more than 50 interviews with California Governor Jerry Brown, representatives from the Metropolitan and Orange County Water Districts, climatologists, environmentalists, farmers and others…..Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York reports a coup as former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson appeared on “The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby” on Wednesday afternoon to “address publicly for the first time” her departure from the paper. She talked about her reaction to Arthur Sulzberger saying she was let go because of her management style, her feelings about the current state of journalism and more…..Thirty-two year NPR veteran Margaret Low Smith is leaving the public radio network where she’s been serving as senior vice president/news to become a VP at The Atlantic. Smith will also be the president of the publication’s AtlanticLIVE Events division…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announced the winners of its 2014 Food & Wine Awards during an appearance at the 33rd Annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival at the Kapalua Resort in Hawaii. CRN president & CEO Michael J. Horn and CRN personality “Sommelier of the People” Michael Jordan made the presentations on a special live broadcast of the network’s nationally syndicated “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” show. Michael Browne of the Kosta Browne Winery and Robert Cabral of Williams Selyem shared the Winemaker of the Year honor. Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant in Dallas, Texas was named Chef of the Year. Zimzala Huntington Beach, California was crowned Restaurant of the Year. Sommelier of the Year honors went to Troy Smith at Montage in Laguna Beach, California. CRN listeners selected the winners from a list of nominees.
SRN’s Dennis Prager Visits Death Row. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Prager is pictured here (right) with an unidentified death row inmate at Angola State Prison in Louisiana – the nation’s largest prison. Prager spent Monday, July 14 at the prison as part of the annual “Returning Hearts Celebration,” organized by the Christian organization Awana. Among that organization’s projects is work with prison inmates. Prager has been lecturing to evangelical pastors all over the country about the American Renewal Project. Prager shared his experiences at the prison with listeners on his programs yesterday and today. During a meeting with the inmate pictured here, Prager asked the man if he felt sorry for himself. “No,” he responded. “But I do regret the things I’ve done.”
NYC Competitors Get Together at Big Fundraiser. These two New York City talk radio personalities – Geraldo Rivera from Cumulus Media’s WABC (left) and Mark Simone from Clear Channel’s WOR (right) – usually compete against each other in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot. But they are pictured here together as they attend and speak at a fundraiser luncheon for the city’s 100-year-old charity The Police Athletic League of New York City.
Child Immigrant Crisis-Immigration Policy Reform, Eric Holder Racism Comments, Middle East Turmoil, Possible Warren 2016 Presidential Run, Hookah Craze, and Western Drought and Summer ‘Polar Vortex’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). The ongoing child immigration crisis in the Southwest and debate over who’s responsible and how to fix it; Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments that criticism of the Obama Administration are race-based; the violence between Israel and Hamas and the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s recent travels and speculation she’s gearing up for a ‘stealth’ 2016 presidential bid; chatter about the health issues surrounding the current hookah craze; plus the Western drought and the summer ‘polar vortex’ affecting the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES —Journey back to the “Golden Age” of radio and television, and, you will promptly ascertain that, especially in terms of audience acceptance, pairing a real-life husband and wife was a brilliant programming strategy that tended to produce blockbuster results.
Consider such instantly familiar classic examples as George Burns & Gracie Allen; Desi Arnaz & Lucille Ball; Ozzie & Harriet Nelson; and Jim & Marian Jordan as “Fibber McGee & Molly,” whose 24-year radio run concluded in 1959.
Contemporary “Windy City” radio partisans will surely cite “Don Wade & Roma,” who were staples on WLS-AM, Chicago for over 25 years; Don Wade succumbed to brain cancer last September.
Fairly recently (then-married) couples Chet Curtis & Natalie Jacobson on Boston’s WCVB-TV, and Jim Lampley & Bree Walker on Los Angeles’ KCBS-TV co-anchored the news together on their respective stations; 74-year-old Curtis lost his fight against pancreatic cancer five months ago.
These are simply representative examples (certainly not approaching a definitive list) of the effective, albeit not now revolutionary concept.
Consequently, while it will hardly be precedent setting when Los Angeles-based Brent Seltzer and his wife Meg McDonald debut next Monday (6/23) on the Genesis Communications Network for their daily, two-hour (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, ET) broadcast, it nonetheless promises to be a wonderfully refreshing burst of fresh air to talk radio.
Joan Hamburg Show Cancelled at WOR, New York. When Clear Channel shuffled the daily lineup at news/talk WOR, New York to make room for Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity the long-running Joan Hamburg show moved to the weekend. Now, the company cancels the Saturday and Sunday version of the Joan Hamburg show. Hamburg had been a fixture on WOR since she joined the station in 1979.
Dave Elswick Lands at ‘96.5 The Voice’ in Little Rock. Today, longtime Little Rock talk radio personality and programmer Dave Elswick begins hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show at Crain Media Group news/talk KHTE, England, Arkansas “96.5 The Voice.” (England is about 20 miles southeast of Little Rock). Elswick was most recently program director and afternoon drive host at Cumulus Media’s crosstown KARN-FM before exiting the station in early April.
Glenn Beck’s Lawyers Argue in Boston Libel Suit. In his case against Premiere Networks syndicated talk show host Glenn Beck, Abdulrahman Alharbi claims that Beck’s insistence that Alharbi financed the bombing attacks at the Boston Marathon in 2013 during on-air discussion of the incident reaches the level of libel. Alharbi claims that Beck’s continued assertion that he was part of the attacks after police questioned him and cleared him as a suspect caused him pain and suffering. Beck’s lawyers are not arguing Alharbi was part of the plot but they say the threshold for libel is very high and Beck’s actions do not rise to that level. The Boston Business Journal’s Eric Convey reports that Beck’s attorneys also argue that Beck’s speech is protected by the First Amendment. In the initial court filing, Alharbi claimed he was the target of harassment via the internet after Beck accused him of being a “bad, bad” person who financed the attacks even after police cleared him.
Entercom Names Abacast Digital Streaming Partner. The result of this partnership between Entercom and Abacast is that beginning in August of this year, Entercom stations will move to Abacast’s Clarity digital audio streaming and monetization platform. Entercom will use Clarity for ad insertion, campaign management and reporting, audience metrics, streaming, royalty reporting, and AbaPlay, The Everywhere Player. Entercom VP digital strategy & enterprise platforms Tim Murphy comments, “With the ultimate goal of offering the best listener and advertiser experience, Abacast was the clear choice. Abacast offers us the most innovative technology in the digital radio industry, and this partnership will allow us to continuously improve the end experience for listeners and advertisers as habits change and move toward mobile and targeted impressions.” In a statement, the companies say that Abacast Clarity provides Entercom with a cloud-based digital audio monetization service, enabling revenue from in-stream audio ads, synchronized banners for call‐to‐action campaigns, pre-roll video ads, and third‐party ad sales integration. Later this year, Entercom stations will be equipped with Abacast’s Skip Technology for Live Streams and MusicStart, offering features currently found only in playlist service to live radio streams. Abacast CEO Rob Green says, “We built our platform with unique targeting and streaming features to serve enterprise customers like Entercom and look forward to a strong partnership. With Entercom’s wide range of stations and reach combined with Abacast’s industry leading technology we look forward to serving Entercom and providing their entire listener base with a fantastic experience.”
Entercom Adds to FM Signals to ‘ESPN Upstate’ in Greenville-Spartanburg. Growing its “ESPN Upstate” sports talk brand, Entercom announces the addition of two FM signals to the multicast based at WORD-AM, Spartanburg and WYRD-AM, Greenville. The two signals are translators W290WB, Greenville at 105.9 and W246BU at 97.1 Spartanburg. The company says that “using optimized antennas and the most advanced broadcasting equipment available, ‘ESPN Upstate’ is now the most powerful and far-reaching sports station in the Greenville/Spartanburg market with two AM signals, 960 AM and 1330 AM; two FM signals, 97.1 FM and 105.9 FM; HD radio at WFBC-HD3; and 24/7 on-line streaming at www.espnupstate.com.” Entercom’s vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “In three short months, ‘ESPN Upstate’ has become the fastest-growing and most powerful sports station in The Upstate. Adding the powerful ESPN brand to not only one, but two FM signals makes our already-powerful cluster of stations an even better advertiser choice to serve the important male audience. With 24-hour sports on ESPN Upstate, Clemson Football play-by-play on ‘93.3 The Planet’ and Carolina Panthers play-by-play on ‘Classic Rock 101.1,’ we deliver to an enormous audience.” In addition to ESPN programming, the stations air local sports talk shows “In the Huddle with Greg McKinney” and “Straight Up with Sturg.”
Doug Stephan and Dream Big America Celebrate One Year Programming Relationship. Over the course of the past year, Doug Stephan and Dream Big America have featured more than 100 startups on Stephan’s nationally syndicated “Good Day” every Tuesday during a special segment where entrepreneurs compete to win. Upon the recent partnership between Stephan’s Good Day and “My Cool Inventions,” the Dream Big America feature moves to Fridays from 9:00 am to 10:00 am ET joining Stephan and “My Cool Inventions” hosts Akos Jankura and John Cremeans. On June 6, three competing finalists from Monday-Thursday pitch their startup or product live on air. Listeners vote on their favorite, which is announced the following Friday. At the end of each month, those Friday finalists compete for the monthly grand prize of $20,000 worth of support and resources. Stephan says, “I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this past year with Dream Big America. Helping others has always been a priority of mine and this is an ideal way to do that. These entrepreneurs have a voice on our show and a chance to achieve their dreams.”
Odds & Sods. It’s Monday morning of no sleeping in for WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk personality Simon Conway who tells TALKERS he’s proving once again that “sleep is overrated” as he fills in on Clear Channel’s sister news/talk WFLF, Orlando “Newsradio 102.5 WFLA” on the morning show today (6/2)…..Compass Media Networks announces its 2014 college football play-by-play schedule. The company notes it has a deal with Learfield Sports, which owns the local rights to more than 70 universities, and thus Compass can choose the games it wishes to make available. Some of the games Compass is offering this season include: Florida at Alabama on 9/20; Ohio State at Penn State on 10/25; and the Big Ten Championship game on 12/6…..“The Tailgate Tour” commences a new relationship with Yahoo! Sports Radio, after concluding a 14-year association with Fox Sports Radio. NFuse 360 Marketing managing partner Jay Freedman comments, “We are very excited to be working with Yahoo! Sports Radio. Many radio stations on ‘game day Saturday’ try to own the position that they are the ‘go-to home’ for sports, and that they are there with the fans but they are not. The Tailgate Tour will put Yahoo! Sports Radio into the heartbeat of the largest games in the country.” Gow Broadcasting chief executive officer David Gow states, “This is a great step for us. Jay and his team are the best in the field. We are delighted to be onsite with them at some of the biggest games of the season.” Gow Broadcasting – in partnership with Yahoo! Sports – owns and operates Yahoo! Sports Radio. The Tailgate Tour will kick off at the start of college football season and be on the road for 14 straight weeks reaching a schedule and fans in the SEC, Big 10, ACC and Big 12. As The Tailgate Tour’s official radio network, Yahoo! Sports Radio will have complete access to tours assets, as well as a joint promotional platform and sales channel…..Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is signed up to once again make regular weekly appearances on CBS RADIO‘s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” for the upcoming NFL season. Roethlisberger’s show airs Tuesdays at 11:00 am during The Fan’s Cook & Poni Show beginning September 9. Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “We’re thrilled that Ben has agreed to join us once again every week during the football season. The Fan has become a destination station for Steeler fans during the week with insight on the team they can’t get anywhere else.”
Ten Added to Conclave’s 2014 – 2015 Board of Directors. Joining the board are Pittsburgh voiceover talent/producer Drake Donovan; Jacobs Media digital/social media strategist Lori Lewis; Lakeland Broadcasting president Steve Linder; Corus, Vancouver brand manager Ronnie Stanton; KEEZ, Mankato, Minnesota program director Brad Steele; sales broker Phil Strider; Nicolet Broadcasting Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin’s Roger Utnehmer; and RadioGeorge.com founder/CEO George Woods. Veteran smooth jazz programmer Michael Fisher and WCWI-FM, Adams, Wisconsin operations manager Bob Goff rejoin the board. Conclave board chair/RCS sales manager Mark Bolke remarks, “This newly reformed board is a direct result of the industry outreach the Conclave began over the winter, soliciting the help of interested individuals in helping the organization rise to new challenges. We are thrilled that so many extremely talented and respected individuals have chosen to come on board for the next year. The new members, including professionals who are actively engaged in ownership, management, programming, sales, production, research, and new media, add a wealth of experience and perspective to the Conclave.” Incumbent board members include Bolke; Jane Dyson; Vallie-Richards-Donovan consultant Harv Blain; Conclave executive director emeritus Tom Kay, and BMI vice president of industry relations Dan Spears.
Leslie Marshall Scores Role in Indie Sci-Fi Flick. Talk media personality Leslie Marshall has a part in a new indie sci-fi film called The App. The movie stars Sean Faris, Sarah Roemer, Frank Deal, James Saito and Marshall. According to Variety, production starts today in New York City. The story centers on “a brilliant mind’s descent into madness.” Variety writes that “the story was inspired by the massive use of new technologies which intersect with psychopharmacology for therapeutic purposes.”
Yalies Reunite in New Haven! An unlikely gathering of public figures is seen here as Salem Radio Network talk host Michael Medved (center) was in New Haven, Connecticut on Friday, May 30 for his Yale University class reunion. He was joined by several prominent fellow Yale alums including: longtime Connecticut Senator and 2000 Democratic V.P. nominee Joe Lieberman (second from left) and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (right). All joined Medved on his nationally syndicated radio show. Also pictured here are: Hadassah Lieberman (left), Dr. Diane Medved (third from left), and Janet Ashcroft (second from right).
Radio and KC Shootings Suspect’s Political ‘Campaign.’ The tragic triple slaying in Kansas City over the weekend in which three people lost their lives at the hands of alleged killer Frazier Glenn Cross sparked memories of his write-in political effort almost four years ago that caused grief for numerous Missouri radio stations. In a piece published today (4/14), TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the radio advertising case that was spurred by Cross’ “campaign.” Read his piece here.
Veteran Baltimore GM Ed Kiernan to Retire. News/talk WBAL and rock WIYY “98 Rock” vice president/general manager Ed Kiernan informed his staff this past Friday (4/11) that he will be retiring from the Hearst Television Baltimore stations sometime this summer. Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb comments, “Having worked closely with Ed for all these years, I know firsthand how he has enhanced all aspects of the radio business he has managed with his enthusiasm, good humor and leadership. With Ed at the helm, WBAL has been among the nation’s most honored radio stations and a major community force through the WBAL Radio Kids Campaign. Throughout his tenure, Ed has built upon 98 Rock’s storied 37-year history, including expanding the station’s presence on the web and in mobile applications.” Hearst director David Barrett comments, “We are so proud of Ed’s stewardship of WBAL and ’98 Rock.’ His commitment and passion for our stations, his team, and the Baltimore community are the hallmark of a truly remarkable career. We have been blessed by his steady leadership and warm friendship, which indelibly mark his years with Hearst.” Before joining WBAL and “98 Rock” in 1991, Kiernan spent 17 years at CBS RADIO. Among the positions he held with that company were vice president/general manager of all-news WCBS-AM, New York and vice president/general manager of CBS Radio Reps. Upon leaving the Baltimore stations, Kiernan will reportedly relocate to New York state where he and his wife own a home.
John Gambling Returns to NYC Radio Today. Just a few months after retiring from his morning show gig at Clear Channel’s WOR, New York, John R. Gambling returns to the air in the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” Gambling is hosting the two-hour 11:00 am to 1:00 pm show starting today (4/14). When Gambling’s exit from retirement was announced last month, Salem VP director of spoken word format and VP for the New York market Phil Boyce said, “When John Gambling left New York radio last December there was a void created for quality morning radio in this market, and we decided to fill it. John had worked for me for nine years at WABC. Before and after that he worked for [WNYM GM] Jerry Crowley at WOR. Jerry and I looked at each other and thought this was something we could not pass up.”
Clear Channel Study Reinforces Power of Personality Endorsements. The study was the result of collaboration between Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and the University of Southern California surveying 2,700 respondents. It was designed to look into the connection between consumers and radio personalities and gauge the effectiveness of the latter’s influence in directing consumer behavior. In press release from Clear Channel detailing some of the findings, the company concludes that “radio is a far more powerful social force than ever before, particularly because of the conversations fueled by on-air personalities and the connection listeners feel to on-air local and national talent like Ryan Seacrest, Sean Hannity, Delilah and Bobby Bones. CC reports some of the key findings were: 1) When comparing radio personalities to other media personalities, 6 out of 10 listeners said that radio hosts are “like a friend,” whose opinions they trust; 2) With even more ways for consumers and on-air personalities to interact, 4 out of 10 listeners feel personalities make more of an effort to foster a personal connection, making the radio experience inherently more social, particularly when compared to TV or streaming playlist services; 3) Listeners equate an on-air personality endorsement to a friend’s recommendation, more so than they do sponsored Facebook posts, sponsored tweets or television commercials; and 4) More than half of the study participants agreed that they trust brands, products and services their favorite on air personality recommend, a finding that is encouraging smart marketers to undertake unique radio-based campaigns. The press release did not mention breakdowns of results for various demographics.
Wallis Re-Brands WILC, Washington. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed station is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA. Management says that after dropping Spanish AC and flipping to talk earlier this year, the station is now using the slogan, “Where Liberty Has a Voice.” Saying the station is “home to a new libertarian and personality-driven radio format, combining brokered and syndicated shows,” Wallis is airing shows by Dr. Kevin Wallis, Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller and John Fredericks. Station general manager Lisa Miller says, “The goal is to bring a fresh and unique perspective to new listeners by delivering extraordinary content and viewpoints on important topics like politics, world affairs and much more. We expect that the station will also move into new US markets later this year.”
Salem Radio News Examines Religious-Themed Movies. The Salem Communications-owned news division is presenting a special week-long series focusing on the SONY Pictures film version of the New York Times #1 bestseller Heaven Is For Real. The film is based upon Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo’s account of his son Colton’s near-death experience and the visions of heaven he says happened while doctors were operating on him for a ruptured appendix. SRN News vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here at left with actor Greg Kinnear) tells TALKERS that although millions of readers made Heaven Is For Real a bestseller, some theologians have raised concerns about the concept of “heavenly travel” and have condemned both the book and the film version that opens nationwide this Wednesday. Kinnear stars in the film. He, along with director Randall Wallace (Oscar-nominated writer of “Braveheart”) and the film’s producer Joe Roth, were interviewed by Tradup for the series. Also part of SRN’s program will be theology bloggers Tom McMann and Michael Patton who have written about the controversy created by Burpo’s book and the film. Tradup adds, “There have been a number of Christian-themed box office hits so far in 2014 including “Son of God,” “NOAH,” and “God’s Not Dead.” I believe – in terms of production values, scope, and the quality of the cast and writing – “Heaven Is For Real” has the potential to eclipse all of them. Regardless of where theatregoers are in their walk of faith, it is quite simply a powerfully emotional film and, as we will present to listeners, the voices for and against it are part of a healthy debate that should serve the church in America well.”
Odds & Sods. WPRO-AM, Providence talk show host John DePetro is named winner of the AP “Best Talk Show” award for Rhode Island. DePetro also had the privilege of sitting in for WestwoodOne nationally syndicated personality Michael Savage for two shows last week. DePetro comments, “It is great to win best talk show, because it is so competitive. I work really hard on my show, and it is rewarding to be recognized for it.”…..On Tuesday, April 15, a memorial service will be held in Boston for the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Fox News Radio is offering live, anchored coverage of the memorial service. Hosted by FNR’s Jeff Monosso, the broadcast will be available on Fox News Radio affiliated stations across the country as well as on the Fox News Radio mobile app, and on the web at www.radio.FoxNews.com…..Matt Perrault exits Absolute Broadcasting-owned sports talk duo WGAM, Manchester and WGHM, Nashua, New Hampshire where he had served as general manager and afternoon personality for the past three years.
Southern California Broadcasters Association Launches College Outreach Program. In an effort to connect with college students and “engage students on the value of radio and its many digital platforms,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan is embarking on a series of speaking engagements to take place at broadcast and communications classes at colleges and universities in Southern California and in London, England. The SCBA states that what began as a radio career night at a UCLA radio broadcast class in Los Angeles in March has now expanded to four more speaking engagements over the next 30 days. Callahan will speak with students “about the entire media landscape using research trends, comparative analysis, and a rich narrative of radio’s growth and future in today’s rapidly changing media environment.” Callahan states, “We are honored to have an honest dialog with what will be the next generation of broadcasters, producers, talent, sales executives, and future management. Our goal is to open both minds and hearts to the tremendous future of radio and its many audio and digital platforms.” The SCBA series will be held in April at California State University at both its Los Angeles and Fullerton campuses as well as at Pasadena Community College in Pasadena. The fourth lecture will be broadcast via Skype to the David Puttnam Media Centre at the University of Sunderland in London, England on May 13.
Journalist, State Pol, and Former Station Owner Cele Hahn Dies at 72. For 20 years, Cele Hahn and husband Curt Hahn owned WNNZ, Springfield, Massachusetts – originally an oldies outlet as WLDM before flipping to news/talk. The Hahn’s sold WNNZ to Clear Channel in 1998. In addition to her work as a broadcaster – she was a radio personality on WNNZ along with her ownership role – Cele Hahn was a lifelong journalist, serving with papers including: the Miami Herald, the Huntington (WV) Advertiser, the Sioux City Journal and the Albany Times Knickerbocker News in New York. She ran for state representative as a Republican in Massachusetts and served four terms before retiring in 2002. She is survived by her husband Curt, her children and grandchildren.
Cox Media Group Mourns Death of “Captain” Herb Emory. Atlanta market traffic reporting legend “Captain” Herb Emory died on Saturday from what appears to have been a heart attack. Emory reported traffic for CMG’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and WSB-TV. WBS reports that according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Emory stopped to help at a car accident when he suddenly fell ill. He was transported to WellStar Douglas Hospital where he later died. Emory’s funeral will be private, but there will be a Celebration of Life and Memorial Service for Captain Herb which will be open to all the public. Details on that event are forthcoming. Emory had been with WSB Radio and “Channel 2 Action News” since 1991and served as an Alanta traffic reporter since 1971. Emory watched over the interstates during the week and hosted special traffic and NASCAR broadcast programs with his wife, Karen Emory. Captain Herb hosted and produced the “WSB Speed Shop” auto racing from 1993 until 2011. Emory previously was a news/traffic reporter from 1978 through 1991 with WQXI-AM, WSTR-FM and the Georgia Network News.
Boston Marathon Bombing Spectator Suing Glenn Beck for Defamation with Malice. Almost a year after the Boston Marathon bombing, spectator Abdulrahman Alharbi – a then-20-year-old student – is suing Glenn Beck, TheBlaze Inc., Mercury Radio Arts and Premiere Networks in United States District Court, District of Massachusetts for defamation and slander. The complaint states that Alharbi was questioned by authorities investigating the attack, he allowed them to search his apartment and officials quickly concluded he had no involvement. At that point, other media reports ceased. The complaint continues, saying that Beck, with the active participation of the distributor defendants, repeatedly and falsely identified Alharbi as an active participant in the crimes, repeatedly questioned the motives of federal officials in failing to pursue or detain him and repeatedly and falsely accused Alharbi of being a criminal who had funded the attacks and says the statements were made widely and publicly and caused grave injury to the plaintiff. Alharbi says he’s received numerous messages, internet postings and other communications based on Beck’s false statements accusing him of being a murderer, child killer and terrorist. He’s requesting a jury trial and is seeking unspecified damages, interest, costs and attorney’s fees.
Rep. Mike Rogers Talks About Radio Gig on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers shocked the political world last week when he announced he would not seek re-election in the fall and will begin a radio career with Cumulus Media after his term ends. It was politically surprising because he is chair of the powerful House Intelligence Committee. As radio industry watchers see it, he’s certainly a known commodity in the political news/talk scene due to his frequent media appearances, but many are viewing his deal with Cumulus with a wait-and-see attitude. In general, politicians-turned-radio-hosts don’t have a great track record of long-term success in the business. On yesterday’s “Fox News Sunday,” Rogers spoke about the radio gig, telling host Chris Wallace, “You know, it was an interesting opportunity when you see the level of debate today, Chris, on national security issues and foreign policy. It worries me for the future of this country like nothing I’ve ever seen. So, when someone walked in and said ‘Hey, we’re to give the opportunity to have a discussion in people’s cars, living rooms and kitchen, every single day from California to Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina, we think that you can change the needle on this debate.’ And I thought long and hard about it and I think they’re right…this is a great program, it’s a sophisticated program, that you have, but we need to broaden that audience to have discussion so that we can put America on solid footing as we move forward in a very troubling world.”
WOR, New York Names Pete McCarthy Host of Mets Show. The New York Mets open the 2014 campaign at home today (3/31) at Citi Field versus the Nationals and begin their first season being heard in NYC on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR, New York. As part of Mets programming, the station announces Pete McCarthy will begin hosting “The WOR Sports Zone,” tonight from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The new sports talk show will be heard weeknights on Mets game days before and after each game. McCarthy joins WOR after more than eight years at MLB.com and five years at SNY-TV, where his duties included sports anchor, play-by-play announcer, color analysis, radio talk show host and sideline reporter. McCarthy says, “I am very excited to be joining WOR and becoming a part of the new flagship station for Mets baseball. As a lifelong and die-hard Mets fan from Long Island, it is a dream come true to be on the radio in New York City talking sports.”
Madison Talk Host Sues Wisconsin Capitol Police. In what could turn out to be a precedent-setting legal case in Wisconsin, WXXM, Madison “92.1 The Mic,” talk show host Dominic Salvia is suing the state’s Capitol Police in federal court after he was arrested last summer while covering protests at the State Capitol. Dominic is co-host of “The Devil’s Advocates,” heard from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily on the progressive talk outlet (alongside co-host Mike Crute). In the complaint, Salvia says he was taking photos and observing the protest scene in the Capitol Rotunda for about five minutes when Capitol Police arrested him. He informed the officers he was a working journalist and should not be arrested, to no avail. Civil rights attorney Jeff Scott Olson is handling the case in which Salvia is seeking damages from the three officers. In a related case, the state of Wisconsin is appealing the dismissal of a charge against co-host Mike Crute who was cited for not having a permit to engage in a sing-along protest at the Capitol Rotunda. Last summer, a judge ruled the permit required was unconstitutional. Olson is representing Crute in that appeal. Regarding the first case, it’s expected the state will argue Salvia was not a working journalist. Given the expanding nature of media and journalism, the definition of a working journalist is up for debate and this case will likely revolve around that question.
WGWG, Chicago’s Kaplan to Host Sports Memorabilia TV Show. Chicago sports talk personality David Kaplan – heard daily on Tribune Company’s new sports talker WGWG-LP, Chicago “The Game 87.7” – is going national as host of the WGN-TV produced show, “A Piece of the Game.” As Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, the show, created and produced by Don Dupree, is getting a national distribution deal. The program features historically significant sports memorabilia and invited fans to have their historic sports items appraised on the program. The show begins taping at the end of April and is expected to begin airing nationally in June.
Odds & Sods. Former NFL star Donovan McNabb extends his partnership with the WestwoodOne and NBC Sports Radio where he’ll continue to co-host the “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” alongside partner Mark Malone…..The Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy format announces comedian and actor Greg Proops is the special guest host all this week. “The Smartest Man in the World” is giving listeners a peek behind one of comedy’s most alluring and intelligent acts, and is highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits. Proops is also one of the stars of the CW Network’s improv comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway.”…..Las Vegas-based talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs reports her “FROST contest” is about to get underway and she has radio hosts from all over the country participating in the contest to be the top fundraising host for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Some of the hosts include: Doug McIntyre, KABC, Los Angeles; Simon Conway, WHO, Des Moines; Alan Stock, KDWN, Las Vegas; Jesus Marquez, KLAV, Las Vegas; Eddie Floyd, Dennis Romeo, Brooke Santina & Debbie McCarthy of America Matters, Reno; Josh Tolley of the ‘The Josh Tolley Show,’ GCN Network; and Steve Sanchez, Steve Sanchez Show, GCN Network. Dr. Wachs says she’s adding some extra spice by giving the top fundraising host a $1000 Southwest Airlines Gift Card. The actual campaign begins in two weeks and hosts can still join in by reaching out to her at: email@example.com.
‘AM 970 The Answer’ Coaxes John Gambling Out of Retirement. New York radio legend John Gambling will be back on the radio in New York City on April 14 as he’ll begin hosting a daily two-hour show from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, shaving an hour each off the Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager shows that surround it. Gambling retired from the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s WOR in December. Salem Communications VP director of spoken word format and VP for the New York market Phil Boyce states, “When John Gambling left New York radio last December there was a void created for quality morning radio in this market, and we decided to fill it. John had worked for me for nine years at WABC. Before and after that he worked for Jerry Crowley at WOR. Jerry and I looked at each other and thought this was something we could not pass up.” WNYM vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley adds, “It is rare when you have a chance to build a lineup like we are building here at ‘The Answer,’ and even rarer still when you have a chance to add somebody of John’s integrity and character. Every talk radio listener in this market knows and admires John and we are sure he will do well with both listeners and advertisers. This is huge for us.”
Progressive Talk Returns to Portland Airwaves on Non-Com KXRY. According to reports from The Oregonian and BlueOregon.com, non-commercial outlet KXRY, owned by Common Frequency, Inc. and licensed to Portland, is debuting a hybrid progressive talk and music format that will include local talk personalities Carl Wolfson, Adam Klugman and Jefferson Smith (among others) as well as WYD Media nationally syndicated host Thom Hartmann. KXRY is a class D FM at 91.1 broadcasting at 8 watts. The programming is also streaming at XRAY.FM.
WRCN, Long Island Announces News/Content Partnerships. The newly launched Long Island news/talk outlet WRCN, Riverhead “LI News Radio, 103.9 FM” begins a partnership with WABC-TV, New York “Channel 7/Eyewitness News” that involves “Eyewitness News” Long Island correspondent Kristin Thorne calling into the station every afternoon to give listeners a rundown of what Long Island stories the “Channel 7/Eyewitness News” is working on for their evening news broadcast. The partnership also includes the two media outlets pooling their information in order to provide their audiences with the most up-to-date Long Island news stories. The JVC Media station has also developed a relationship with St. Joseph’s School of Journalism in which the college’s journalism and new media professors and students will contribute to the station’s developing news stories. WRCN general manager Matthew Goldapper comments, “We are incredibly excited to welcome St. Joseph’s College and ‘Channel 7/Eyewitness News’ to our station. Having fresh talent from the college, as well as seasoned talent from ‘Eyewitness News’ participate in our station brings extraordinary resources to ‘LI News Radio’ that we can share with our listeners.” Future goals include having Thorne visit the “LI News Radio” studios (located at MacArthur Airport in Islip) each month where she can participate in the station’s live morning program to discuss stories and issues in greater detail.
Radio Veteran Dick Heatherton Joins TalkersRadio with New Motivational Program. Longtime major market personality Dick Heatherton is launching a new program – “The Dick Heatherton Show” — on TalkersRadio geared to helping people overcome obstacles in their lives during these tough times so they can achieve, regain or sustain success. Heatherton has been in the radio business for more than 40 years — most notably as an on-air personality on legendary outlets as well as serving several stints as a PD and GM. He has been a disc jockey on WCBS-FM, New York and heard on an array of diverse call letters such as KCBS-FM, San Francisco; KFI, Los Angeles; KMPC, Los Angeles; KLIF, Dallas; WFIL, Philadelphia; WPOP, Hartford and more in a career that has spanned more than four decades. He has acted on ABC-TV’s “General Hospital” and has played different roles over 14 years on the soaps as well as performing on NBC’s “One Life to Live.” He has produced a series of jazz concerts for Bravo, CBC and Australian television. He also produced/co-hosted the nationally syndicated TV show, “New Day Dawning” and has been announcer/warm up guy for many TV game shows. Heatherton was also the American Ambassador of Good Will to the City of Frankfurt, Germany among his extensive list of credits and accomplishments. As he prepares to debut the first installment of the weekly one-hour program this Sunday (3/23), Heatherton tells TALKERS, “Radio prepares you for everything and anything. The best part of radio is it teaches you to think on your feet.” And, these days he’s doing a lot of that as an author/speaker and certified coach, assisting others and giving platform presentations around the country. His first book, Out of the Fog and Into Focus is the stories of how many celebrities overcame tough times in their lives including the lessons they learned along the way. His new book, The Upside to Down Times, will be released in May. Along with his own takes on subjects of personal sensitivity, Heatherton will interview leading motivational speakers as well as today’s headliners, sports figures, actors, talk personalities and money makers who failed on their way to success. On making the announcement of “The Dick Heatherton Show” joining the TalkersRadio line-up, TALKERS GM of broadcast operations, David Bernstein says, “Dick is not only a smooth and accomplished broadcaster, he is a renaissance man who fearlessly reveals his own life’s ups-and-downs including the pain, disappointments and moments of sheer despair – as well as absolutely uplifting examples of redemption and success. This is truly compelling radio and another example of the developmental and experimental type of talk programming we are so dedicated to doing on this radio laboratory called TalkersRadio.” Heatherton’s program will air Sunday evenings between 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET with repeat broadcasts streamed several times during the week. TalkersRadio, a service of TALKERS magazine, powered by Backbone, is situated on the website www.talkers.com as well as available on TuneIn.
Radio One’s Liggins and Hughes Awarded Bonuses. The compensation committee of Radio One is awarding CEO Alfred Liggins $1.5 million and founder Cathy Hughes $500,000 in bonuses based on employee performance criteria and “additional considerations for the founder.” In an 8-K filing with the SEC, the company reports how it arrived at the figures. The short version is that the 2008 Employee Agreement that provided the bonus structure lapsed in 2011 so the compensation committee “exercised discretion to reflect a number of factors and changed circumstances not contemplated by the 2008 Employment Agreements.” Citing seven specific factors, including that radio and Reach Media revenue was up 5% (ex-political), the committee arrived at the figures cited above.
Odds & Sods. ESPN Radio announces its schedule for Major League Baseball’s Opening Week. “Mike & Mike” and “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” will both be on the road. Cowherd broadcasts from Chase Field in Phoenix on March 28 in advance of the Arizona Diamondbacks home exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs. Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will be in Detroit on Monday, March 31, ahead of the Detroit Tigers home opener against the Kansas City Royals. Then “The Herd” moves to Boston for the defending World Series Champions Boston Red Sox hosting the Milwaukee Brewers in their home opener on Friday, April 4 and “Mike & Mike” will back in New York City on Monday, April 7, when the New York Yankees host the Baltimore Orioles in Derek Jeter’s final home opener…..Digital audio aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with WestwoodOne to carry its coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and more. TuneIn will deliver all 67 games from the first round through the Final Four in North Texas. It will also offer WestwoodOne’s coverage of other NCAA championship events, including the Division I Women’s Final Four, the Men’s Frozen Four, the Men’s and Women’s College World Series and the Division I Men’s Lacrosse Semifinals and Championship.
Third Round of February PPM Data Released. PPM data from the third of four groups of 12 markets for the February 2014 period (January 30 – February 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Obama vs. Putin/Crimea-Ukraine Case, ObamaCare Criticism, Winter Weather/Western Drought, and NSA Spying Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/19). The growing number of theories about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370; Vladimir Putin’s victory in annexing Crimea and possible plans for taking Ukraine and criticism over President Obama’s response; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the winter weather still affecting the Midwest and East and the drought in the West; and renewed concerns about the NSA’s spying tactics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Posts Positive Q4 2013 Revenue News; Dickey Pleased with ‘Core Performance.’ The fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole were seen in a positive light by Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey during yesterday’s investor conference call. Dickey noted at the outset that he was happy that the company was able to meet and, in some aspects, exceed its guidance through “core performance without any impact of” mergers and acquisitions. He also says the company achieved its goals despite 2012 political comps of over $20 million. The company reports Q4 net revenue up 4.5% over the same period in 2013. For the year of 2013, Cumulus net revenue rose 2.4%. Following up on previous conference calls in which he highlighted his expectations for sports and traffic, Dickey said CBS Sports Radio, NBC Sports Radio, NFL and NCAA play-by-play are “hitting their stride as national content brands. Both sports and traffic are currently exceeding expectations for 2014 and are taking share in their respective markets. And will again be substantial growth drivers as we expected them to be. We are very encouraged by the level of interest by both the advertisers and affiliates in these products, which is a testament to the high-quality nature of the content and again the efficacy of broadcast radio advertising on sports and traffic sponsorships respectively.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole call here.
Imus: Scott Shannon Will Get the Job. The Scott Shannon watch continues as the next radio home of the former, longtime WPLJ, New York morning co-host remains the subject of speculation in New York and across the country. This morning, WABC-based Don Imus was heard saying, “I’m told Scott Shannon will get the [WOR] job and I’m very happy about that.” Imus seemed sincere about his statement. TALKERS reported yesterday that the chatter has Shannon landing at either Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR for morning drive (where the company just ended the Elliot Segal simulcast from “DC101”) or at one of CBS RADIO’s music FMs – either classic hits WCBS-FM or CHR WNOW.
Clear Channel Promotes Rob Anthony in New England. Programmer Rob Anthony is named to the operations manager and program director position at Clear Channel’s Providence cluster that includes rock WHJY, news/talk WHJJ, classic hits WWBB “B101,” and hot AC WSNE “93.3 The Coast.” Anthony has been serving as regional programming manager for New England based out of the company’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster. He will retain that title which has him overseeing programming at the Springfield, Worcester, and Manchester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire station groups. Anthony says, “I can’t even begin to express my excitement for the opportunity to work with such heritage brands as ‘Coast 93.3,’ ‘B 101,’ ‘NewsRadio 920’ and the mighty ‘94 HJY.’ This is truly an honor, and I can’t wait to get to work. Thank you to Clear Channel’s programming team and [market president] Rhonda Lapham for all their continued support and guidance.”
FCC to Rework Internet Regulation Rules; Republican Commissioners Question Move. FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler has announced the Commission will revisit the “net neutrality” issue by “proposing rules that will meet the court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how internet service providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition. Preserving the internet as an open platform for innovation and expression while providing certainty and predictability in the marketplace is an important responsibility of this agency.” Wheeler states that the recent D.C. Circuit Court ruling affirms Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 giving “the FCC authority to encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment, encouraging innovation, and promoting competition. The court recognized the importance of ensuring that so-called ‘edge providers,’ those that use the network to deliver goods and services, can reach people who use the internet.” Republican Commissioner Mike O’Reilly disagrees, saying, “I am deeply concerned by the announcement that the FCC will begin considering new ways to regulate the internet. As I have said before, my view is that section 706 does not provide any affirmative regulatory authority. We should all fear that this provision ultimately may be used not just to regulate broadband providers, but eventually edge providers.” At the same time, Commissioner Ajit Pai adds, “When Congress told us to encourage broadband deployment by removing barriers to infrastructure investment, it also established the policy of the United States to ‘preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet . . . unfettered by Federal or State regulation.’ Whatever the Commission does as it moves forward, it must take that statutory command to heart. The internet was free and open before the FCC adopted net neutrality rules. It remains free and open today. Net neutrality has always been a solution in search of a problem.”
LDR Interactive Launches TopicPulse; Partners with TTWN for Sales. Interactive broadcast technology firm LDR Interactive announces the launch of an upgraded version of its TopicPulse, what it calls “a real-time social media monitoring system for newsrooms and content producers.” LDR Interactive explains: “TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, local message boards, comment boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market. In addition to tracking local and national topics, producers can also access trending video and images. The system then produces a user-friendly, real-time report that newsrooms can use to drive local, regional, and national content.” LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig states, “TopicPulse was inspired by feedback from the world’s leading broadcasters, who said they were in critical need of a better way to track and monitor social media to produce news content. With those needs in mind, we built and optimized TopicPulse for broadcast and digital newsrooms and released the system on beta to LDR’s media partners in 2012. Since then, we’ve seen tremendous momentum and positive results from media companies in all market sizes.” In addition to tracking trends, TopicPulse identifies which primary demo (gender and age group) is most inclined to engage with the topic on social media. Newsrooms also have access to a “glance” screen with trending topics for the brand’s target audience, which can be utilized as a “heads up display” of the market. A Tweet Map feature showcases the market’s most popular tweets and hashtags on a local map, enabling producers to create hyper-local content based on up-to-the-minute social trends. LDR Interactive is partnering with Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN) as the TopicPulse national sales partner. The TTWN sales team will serve as the major force behind local market integration of the platform in newsrooms across the U.S.
Lars Larson Show Added to CRN Digital Talk Lineup. The Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson program is added to the program schedule at CRN Digital Talk Radio airing at 7:00 pm ET. Larson hosts a local show on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland in addition to a separate nationally syndicated program through Compass Media Networks. CRN will carry the national program. CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “Lars adds another unique, passionate voice to the CRN schedule. He’s a newsman, a reporter, and a host – so he brings extra doses of preparation and personality to his show.”
Former FCC Chair Richard Wiley to Receive BFoA’s Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Richard E. Wiley, chairman of Wiley Rein LLP and a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will receive the 2014 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award to be presented during The Broadcasters Foundation of America Breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. Wiley heads the 80-attorney communications practice. He served as chairman of the FCC from 1974 to 1977. Wiley played a pivotal role in the development of HDTV in this country, serving for nine years as chairman of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service from 1987 to 1995. He represents a number of major communications-oriented organizations, including Verizon, AT&T, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Motorola, CBS, Belo, Gannett, Sirius/XM, Emmis, Gray Television, and LG. Wiley has been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as one of Washington’s 30 “Superstar” lawyers for his role as “the unofficial sixth commissioner” of the FCC (2011) and consistently listed as one of Washington’s “Best Lawyers” and “Top Lawyers” in the magazine. He was named the “most prominent telecommunications lawyer and lobbyist in Washington” by Broadcasting & Cable in 2005, and he was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award in 2002.
Teen Radio Host Wins Student Category Gracie. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the winners of the 2014 Gracie Awards in the local, online, student and public categories and 16-year-old Florida radio talk host Pavlina Osta wins in the student category Outstanding Anchor – News or News Magazine for her “Pavlina’s Kidz Place Radio Show.” The Port Orange, Florida resident has been hosting a kids-targeted radio program since she was 11 and boasts an impressive list of celebrity interviews including: Katie Couric, Ed Sheeran, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sick Puppies, A Great Big World, and Steve Forbes, to name just a few. Now she can add Gracie Award winner to her resume!
Obama Executive Power Controversy, Winter Weather/Global Warming Debate, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Ukrainian Unrest, and N. Korea Human Rights Abuses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). GOP response to President Obama’s use of executive power; the onslaught of winter weather in much of the country and the debate over the global warming issue; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Winter Olympic games in Sochi; the protests and political unrest in the Ukraine; and the global community’s concern over growing evidence of human rights abuses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cuts at Cumulus-Owned WestwoodOne Happening; SVP Amy Bolton Exits. The names of those being let go are coming out as Cumulus Media begins the cuts at WestwoodOne that have been expected since the acquisition of then-Dial Global closed. Numerous high-level executives are being shown the door – in many instances where there are duplicative positions between WestwoodOne and the Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is promising investors he can realize $40 million in synergies and eliminating these positions is one of the ways he hopes to accomplish that. WestwoodOne SVP and general manager of news & talk Amy Bolton – who’s been with the organization going back when it was Jones Radio Networks – is let go. Also reportedly out in this round of cuts are: chief marketing officer Christina Albee; EVP/Eastern director Eileen Decker; and SVP of research Paul Bronstein.
Lionel Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show to Launch This Weekend. One of the most original personalities in the business, radio talk show host Lionel, is launching a new program on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, tomorrow morning (2/1). The self-titled show “Lionel” will air live on the “experimental” talk show platform Saturday mornings between 9:00 am and 10:00 am ET and run as a regular weekly series. It will feature the intellectually stimulating talk media star in an hour of free-form conversation and reflection about the wide variety of topics that fall within his realm of interest. Lionel describes his plans for the new program as “spoken thought not spoken word” telling TALKERS, “The show will be the editorial cartoon versus the editorial. Broadcast idea topiaries. Stream of consciousness meets targeted subject selection. No left-right paradigm blather. No bumper sticker, playbook, echo chamber drivel. As I feel, as I want, as I please.” A veteran of such major outlets as WABC and WOR, New York among others, as well as being a podcast pioneer at lionelmedia.com, the quirky, satirical and extremely original observer of the human condition has been enjoying tremendous success conceiving, writing, producing and performing daily commentaries on the heritage WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York City. The ex-prosecutor Lionel has also added his insight and experience as its resident legal analyst. However, he has not forgotten his roots in and love for radio and promises that his 9:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday show will provide Lionel enthusiasts around the country with a version of his work that is “like nothing they have ever heard before. This will truly be Lionel unchained!” On making the announcement of Lionel’s joining the station, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “Lionel joining this ‘audio workout space’ is a perfect example of what TalkersRadio is about and hopes to achieve – and that is to provide select people in this business as well as potentially outstanding newcomers with the opportunity to try and develop things that are not being done in the traditional on-air space for the sake of moving the industry forward.”
Cox Flips KONO-AM, San Antonio to Sports Talk. The AM side of the KONO-AM/FM simulcast flips to sports talk using the CBS Sports Radio Network after more than 20 years airing the classic hits format of sister KONO-FM. Cox Media Group San Antonio vice president and market manager Dan Lawrie states, “We’re excited to bring this level of quality sports programming to San Antonio. Additionally, South Texas sports fans should be glad to welcome the return of the Jim Rome show after a two-year absence in the market.” CBS Sports Radio program director Eric Spitz adds, “We’ve put together a tremendous lineup of experienced hosts with strong opinions and personalities who perfectly capture the passion and excitement of the sports fan. With sports, the action never stops, and CBS Sports Radio provides listeners with cutting-edge analysis, high-profile interviews and late breaking news.”
WCKG-AM, Chicago Names Leslie Harris Director of Community Programming. At the Matt Dubiel-run DuPage Radio LLC, market personality Leslie Harris is named director of community programming and host at the suburban talk station. Harris recently exited NextMedia’s suburban rocker WERV “95.9 The River” and Dubiel comments, “Leslie was the full addition I made at WERV and I am over the moon excited to have a Downers Grove rock mamma as part of our local team.”
Good Karma Sells Janesville, Wisconsin Stations to Local Operator. Two stations in the Janesville, Wisconsin market – rock WWHG “105.9 The Hog” and sports talk WTJK “ESPN Radio 1380” – are being sold by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting to Scott Thompson who operates stations in nearby Monroe, Wisconsin and Freeport, Illinois. The Janesville Gazette reports that Thompson plans to keep the staff already in place at both stations and possibly add an employee. He tells the paper WTJK may air less ESPN content and more local news. Thompson takes over under an LMA while the transaction works its way through the FCC approval process.
WEEI-FM, Boston Begins Friday Night Promotion. In a partnership with local watering hole The Greatest Bar and local media sources Dirty Water TV and DirtyWaterNews.com, Entercom sports talk WEEI-FM begins broadcasting the “Planet Mikey” show with Mikey Adams live from The Greatest Bar Friday, February 7 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show will feature celebrity guests from the world of sports and entertainment. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham, citing the bar’s proximity to the TD Garden, states, “It’s a natural fit to partner with the Dirty Water brand and The Greatest Bar. Combining Mikey’s unique entertaining style, the Dirty Water connections for guests and content, and the proximity to the TD Garden will make for a fun atmosphere and a great listen on ‘93.7FM WEEI’ and the WEEI Sports Radio Network.” Bill Fairweather is co-owner of The Greatest Bar and creator of Dirty Water TV. He says WEEI-FM is the perfect radio partner for Dirty Water’s growing array of media entities. “When we decided to add radio to the growing menu of media options that our brand delivers to Greater Boston and beyond, WEEI – with its strong sports focus – was a natural partner for us. Entertainment and celebrity mix very well with sports and The Greatest Bar is the perfect location to bring those topics together. We’re excited to have the opportunity to add these new dimensions to WEEI’s radio offerings.”
Odds & Sods. In honor of Rosa Parks Day on February 4, the Premiere Networks-syndicated Comedy 24/7 format will air special clips of comics of the civil rights era talking about the issue. African American comedians including Dick Gregory, Godfrey Cambridge and Slappy White were outspoken about necessary changes to be made in our society during that time and the format will air special tracks by these comedians and others as they spoke out in the language of the times at :57 after the hour all day on February 4…..Former NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will serve as a football analyst with Clear Channel’s sport talk KJR, Seattle next season after handling the same duties in 2013…..Milwaukee Brewers radio play-by-play voice Bob Uecker will step back a little bit from his duties with the team beginning this season as he’ll call fewer road games for flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee. Uecker, who turns 80 this year, will still call all home games and be present for spring training in Arizona.
Joy and Hope Amidst the Misery. Pictured here with children in Port Au Prince, Haiti is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup. He tells TALKERS he is there with Salem Radio News documenting conditions in Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that left 300,000 dead and millions homeless. He’s embedded with the relief organization Food for the Poor and has been visiting slums, orphanages and feeding centers for the news network’s five-part special series on “The Poorest of the Poor.” Tradup reports that Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce (who also is serving as operations manager of the New York stations) is there working on documenting the trip for a New York market broadcast.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New York-based XtreMEDIA announces a number of affiliates joining three of the company’s offerings. First, the daily Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at WCIS-AM, Morganton, North Carolina; WCST-AM, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; WGEA, Geneva, Alabama; and KNLB-FM, Blythe, California. The nightly Steve Deace program joins the lineup at WGTK-AM, Louisville; WTOH-FM, Columbus; and WWTC, Minneapolis. Finally, the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough” show is now heard on WMRC, Milford, Massachusetts and WYPV-FM, Mackinaw City, Michigan…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney joins the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville.
The State of the Union Address Top Talk Radio Story This Week. According to the Talkers TenTM, the president’s State of the Union Address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 27-31. At #2 this week was criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was new immigration legislation and the prospect of amnesty and at #4 was the extreme winter weather affecting much of the nation. 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 is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
NEW YORK — Bob Grant, who ranked eleventh in TALKERS magazine’s 20th anniversary Heaviest Hundred (published in 2010), which lists “the 100 most important radio talk show hosts of all time,” died on December 31 at 84 years old after a brief illness.
Grant, whose signature opening line in New York radio was “Let’s be heard!,” drove his rollercoaster career through numerous stations in New York City where listeners followed some of the more racially-charged issues in town.
Brash and confident for a guy who stood 5-foot seven, Grant was described by TALKERS in the July/August 2010 issue as an “infamous watchdog of public figures, 40-plus years in New York radio.”
Upon learning of Grant’s death, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “He was a founding father of modern talk radio whose influence on broadcasting technique, style and societal role go way beyond the boundaries of conservative broadcasting.”
Farewell: Legendary Larry Lujack. Notwithstanding words such as “legendary” and “iconic” are grossly overused, Larry Lujack was nonetheless an unquestionable legendary, iconic Chicago personality. The radio world lost a quintessential on-air talent Wednesday night when the 73-year-old “Super Jock” passed away at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Especially in the Midwest, countless air personalities hoping to advance to the biggest of the big time when AM radio was king would talk up vocals on audition tapes, liberally using signature slogans like “The Big 89,” “The Rock of Chicago,” and “Music Radio, W-L-S.” Radio pro Mike Kinosian, who serves as managing editor and West Coast bureau chief for TALKERS and its sister publication RadioInfo, wrote a beautiful tribute to the life and career of Lujack. Kinosian interviewed Lujack in 2003 and Kinosian shares some of Lujack’s thoughts about top 40 radio, the state of the industry at the time and, of course, his own career. Read Kinosian’s story on RadioInfo here.
Ben Shapiro Named Afternoon Host at KTTH, Seattle. Rising young talk radio personality Ben Shapiro joins Bonneville Seattle’s conservative news/talk station KTTH to host the afternoon drive program. The New York Times best-selling author, Harvard Law School grad and talk media personality will continue his current position with Salem Communications co-hosting the morning drive show at KRLA, Los Angeles alongside Brian Whitman and Elisha Krauss in addition to his new position in Seattle. Shapiro comments, “I couldn’t be more excited about joining the stellar lineup at AM 770 KTTH. What I love most is the opportunity to enrich the public discourse. It’s not often that hosts get that freedom. Thanks to KTTH’s forward thinking approach, I’m overjoyed to have that opportunity.” KTTH is now airing live programming in both morning and afternoon drive. David Boze hosts the morning show.
Glen Macnow Remains with WIP-FM, Philadelphia but Rob Ellis Is New PM Drive Co-Host. As had been predicted by Philadelphia media watchers, including Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com, sports talk personality Glen Macnow will move off the afternoon drive show on WIP-FM “SportsRadio 94 WIP” where he’s been co-hosting with Anthony Gargano and remain with CBS Radio Philadelphia in a different capacity. At the same time, the station announces evening host Rob Ellis will join Gargano as co-host of the PM drive show. Taking over Ellis’ evening show role is Josh Innes who comes to WIP-FM from the company’s KILT, Houston where he’s been hosting PM drive. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield announces that Macnow’s new responsibilities will include appearances on all-news KYW and news/talk WPHT while he continues to host his long-running Saturday program from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm WIP-FM with Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger. Rayfield adds, “I’m pleased we have reached an agreement with Glen that supports his relationship with WIP, and also allows us to increase his presence within the CBS Radio Philly family of stations. Being able to use his expertise across more of our platforms is a real win for our stations, the listeners and Philadelphia’s passionate sports fan base.” Beginning in January 2014, Macnow will be heard on KYW’s afternoon broadcast of the “Reporter’s Roundup,” and, during football season, with Harry Donahue on the station’s top-rated morning show. Additionally, he will be featured during Phillies pre- and post-game shows on WPHT, flagship broadcaster for the local team.
Cumulus Syndicated Star Mark Levin to be Featured on C-SPAN’s BookTV. Perennial Heavy Hundred personality Mark Levin will be the featured guest author on C-SPAN‘s extremely popular and prestigious literary program “BookTV’s In Depth” on Sunday, January 5. Not only is Levin a top-rated radio talker but he is an attorney and nationally recognized expert on Constitutional Law as well as a best-selling author. The syndicated radio talk show host and former Reagan administration official will spend three hours taking viewers’ calls, Facebook comments, emails and tweets on topics such as the role of the federal government, recent Supreme Court decisions and the upcoming 2014 elections, among others. The president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, Levin is the author of five non-fiction books, including “Rescuing Sprite” “Liberty & Tyranny” and his 2013 release, “The Liberty Amendments.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Mark Levin is the quintessential example of a radio talk show host who is also a very successful author who actually sells a ton of books time after time. Talk talent from all sides of the ideological spectrum can learn from his precise way of explaining complex issues from both historical and contemporary perspectives and putting forth his opinions in a compelling and credible manner.” The live airing of Mark Levin will be Sunday, January 5, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on Book TV on C-SPAN2. Archived on demand editions will be available after the airing at http://booktv.org/.
Gene Romano Takes on Talent Development Duties with Clear Channel. There’s a sort of re-alignment going on within the executive ranks of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s programming department. As National Programming Platforms EVP Darren Davis explains in a memo to company staff, some execs are getting more duties and Gene Romano is the latest to take on more. Davis writes: “You’ve seen over the past several days we’ve been announcing some expanded duties for several of CCM+E’s senior programmers. It’s all part of an overall strategy to closely link the E/SVPP Team with NPP — so that our local efforts and national efforts are totally in sync. And today, I have another bit of great news to share. EVPP Gene Romano will have expanded duties effective today. In addition to the East Major Markets he oversees, Gene will also oversee Programming Talent Recruitment and Development for CCM+E. CCM+E has attracted best-in-class programming talent over the past couple of years from a variety of companies and industries. Gene will lead our efforts to accelerate our recruitment of the very best into our company. Gene will also work with our E/SVPPs, Brand Managers and VPPs to identify the future stars already inside the company to mentor, grow and provide the tools and resources for their continued advancement with CCM+E.”
Clear Channel’s Denver News/Talkers Tweak Program Schedules; Hannity and Limbaugh to Air Live. Program schedule adjustments at Clear Channel’s KOA and KHOW in Denver will take effect in January. Some of the noteworthy moves are bringing Premiere Networks syndicated star Sean Hannity from an evening delayed broadcast to the live 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm shift on KHOW. Tom Martino will air from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and an hour is trimmed off Michael Brown’s afternoon show which will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Across the hall at KOA, the morning program with Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh expands by an hour to 5:00 am to 10:00 am followed by live carriage of Rush Limbaugh from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Local personality Mike Rosen moves from late mornings to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift.
On-Air Lineup Modifications in Store for Pittsburgh’s “Fan.” CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports outlet KDKA-FM “The Fan” afternoon drive talent Josh Miller will shift to 6:00 am – 10:00 am; Andrew Fillipponi will co-host 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; and Colin Dunlap will succeed Fillipponi at 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “This is an exciting step forward in the evolution of ‘The Fan.’ We are eager to showcase this new lineup that highlights the incredible talents of Pittsburgh’s foremost sports experts. Josh’s unique sense of humor and insight will set the tone for the remainder of the day. Andrew is a solid, thought-provoking sports talk show host who has shown he can deliver an informative and opinion-driven program. Colin has grown both as a talk show host and writer in the past year; his work has scored big with our audiences.” Former Pittsburgh Steelers punter Josh Miller spent 12 seasons in the NFL. He joined “The Fan” in 2010 as a talk show host and football analyst. Fillipponi has been with “The Fan” since the station debuted nearly four years ago. Onetime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer Dunlap began as a part-time “Fan” host in 2010. Lineup changes on “The Fan” go into effect Monday, January 6.
Palm Springs’ KFUT Becomes “Fox Sports 1270.” Yesterday at noon (12/18), MCC Radio transitioned Spanish oldies KFUT, Palm Springs, California to “Fox Sports 1270.” The station’s lineup includes “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman and Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “Jay Mohr Sports” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Fox Sports Primetime” (12:00 noon – 4:00pm); “TMZ Sports” (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm); and “Petros and Money” (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm). “Fox Sports Radio programming originates in Southern California,” program director Mike Oakes points out. “We are thrilled to bring it to the desert, serving Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. I am especially excited to launch two rising shows in the sports talk universe, ‘Jay Mohr Sports’ and ‘TMZ Sports.’ These are the cutting-edge of the sports talk genre.” Associated with the format flip, the station has changed calls from KFUT to KFSQ.
News Staff at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Affected by Cuts. Details aren’t complete but TALKERS hears that lead reporter and morning drive news anchor Adam Kirk has exited CBS Radio’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh as part of the budget-related cuts taking place at the company’s stations across the country. There are reports that Kirk is not the only news staffer to be let go and that the station is adjusting its news presentation and will eliminate local news in the late night and overnight hours.
WBEZ, Chicago Staffers Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA. The 49 staffers who produce content for Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ, Chicago and its digital properties will be represented by SAG-AFTRA following the staff’s 40-7 vote in favor of the change. WBEZ criminal and legal affairs reporter Rob Wildeboer says in a statement, “Chicago Public Media is a valuable resource to all Chicagoans. The staff of CPM cares deeply about this organization and its mission. Public radio is more than a job. Staff at CPM are deeply committed to the station and we love our work. We have great leaders and a committed board and we believe organizing as staff members is an important step to achieving the goals we all share here: producing excellent journalism that serves the public and making this important local institution even stronger than it is today.”
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media Networks announces the number of stations carrying the Michael Savage show when it moves to PM drive in Eastern Time and debuts on Cumulus news/talk outlets in the New Year will be more than 200. Savage says of the move, “This is the culmination of two decades in talk radio. I was born for drive time where my pace matches that of America. Everyone dreams of being on the Cumulus powerhouse signals. This is my dream come true.”…..PodcastOne earns props from the iTunes editorial team as two podcasts it makes available are named tops. The “Adam & Dr. Drew Show” is named best new audio podcast of 2013 while the Steve Austin show was selected as the top pick in the sports/recent debuts category. PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz says, “We thank the editorial team at iTunes for selecting these programs. We will proudly display the ‘iTunes Best of 2013’ badge prominently when presenting and promoting these programs. Our lineup of the best-of-the-best in podcasting is validated with recognition like this.”…..Motley Fool’s Chris Hill also wins accolades from the iTunes editorial team as his “Investor Beat” podcast has been included among the iTunes Best of 2013.
Radio Companies Get Extension in HD Radio Patent Infringement Case. As tipped by Radio World, the major radio companies who are being targeted by Delaware Radio Technologies and affiliated company Wyncomm LLC have won an extension for filing replies to the allegations leveled at them in connection with their HD radio transmissions. They now have until February 24, 2014. Industry watchers call Wyncomm a patent troll, nonetheless it is seeking damages via a jury trial for what it says are infringements of the patents it holds with regard to voice and data transmission over in-band, on-channel digital broadcasts. The radio companies being sued include: Beasley Broadcast Group, CBS Radio, CC Media Holdings, Cox Media Group, Cumulus Media, Entercom, Entravision, Greater Media, Hubbard Radio, Radio Disney, Radio One, Saga Communications, Townsquare Media and Univision.
A Farewell Party for John Gambling. As John Gambling prepares to wrap his legendary New York City radio career with his final show on Clear Channel’s WOR tomorrow (12/20), Gambling and former co-workers gathered at a New York eatery to congratulate him on his colorful career. Gambling is pictured here (second from right) between former news anchor Babita Hariani (right) and former producer Jill Vitale (third from right). Also in attendance were former WABC colleagues Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, former engineer Frank D’Elia, former call screener Andre Lelong, former intern and current WABC staffer Mike Gunzelman, and WNYM producer and talk host Frank Morano.
‘Win Howie’s Jag’ Contest Wraps with Live Broadcast. The holiday contest taking place at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston entered the finalist stage on Wednesday as afternoon drive talk host Howie Carr (right) broadcast live from The Fairways at Woburn Country Club as part of Happy Howie Days. During the show, Carr and WRKO gave 20 pre-determined qualifiers the chance to “Win Howie’s Jaguar!” Each of the 20 qualifiers received a $50 gift card to The Green’s Grill and Pub at Woburn Country Club and a gift package, courtesy of Perfect Smiles of Nashua, New Hampshire. Finalist, John Treggiari of Salem (left), unfortunately was not able to drive off in the 2013 Jaguar XF, courtesy of Jaguar Exeter. However, he did win a two-night stay at The Old Harbor Inn in Chatham, located on Cape Cod.
Indian Diplomat Incident, ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Spying Program, Rodman Visits N. Korea, Budget Deal, ‘Duck Dynasty’ Patriarch on Hiatus over Gay Comments, and Limbaugh-Pope Francis Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/18). Tensions between the U.S. and India over the arrest and treatment of an Indian diplomat in New York; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; scrutiny of the NSA’s spying policies; former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s return visit to N. Korea; the recently passed congressional budget deal; A&E puts “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson on hiatus after gay criticisms in GQ article; and the continuing flap over Rush Limbaugh’s calling Pope Francis a Marxist were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Goes with DC-Based Elliot Segal for WOR, New York Morning Show. In announcing its new program schedule for news/talk WOR, New York (which includes the Arrival of Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), Clear Channel Media + Entertainment throws a curveball to industry watchers and names “DC101” morning drive host Elliot Segal the new morning drive show, replacing the retiring John Gambling. The “Elliot in the Morning” show will continue to air on Clear Channel’s rock WWDC as well as rock WRXL, Richmond “XL 102.” Segal says, “I’m excited to be coming back to New York, to a station with such a legendary history. We have built something very special in Washington, DC and Richmond and I’m beyond thrilled that the show will continue airing on DC/101 and XL-102. Now, WOR will be home to ‘Elliot In The Morning’ and I couldn’t be more anxious to get going.” This move is particularly significant because it is the first time in recent memory that a major market heritage AM news/talk station will be carrying the same show that is running on a major market heritage FM music station. Although there is nothing new about major FM music stations running talk (or talk-oriented) programs in their lineups (usually in morning drive), this move marks a significant breakthrough in mixing the cultures within a single outlet’s stationality. The implications of this, should it be successful, will be huge. Clear Channel notes Mark Simone follows Segal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. After that it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean and Dave Ramsey. Joan Hamburg – a longtime WOR personality – moves to weekends with programs airing on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. President and market manager Joe Puglise states, “This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR. Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings and becoming the flagship station for the Mets will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”
John DePetro Apologizes for ‘Whores’ Comment. WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro has issued an apology for calling union protestors “whores.” This latest development comes less than a week after TALKERS reported that DePetro had filed a police complaint stating two men had threatened him outside the WPRO studios because of the comment. Back in September, DePetro railed against the union-supported protest taking place outside a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. During that broadcast he reportedly directed his words toward a female union leader, saying, “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment…You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.” DePetro was off his program last week and the Associate Press reports it’s unclear if his absence had anything to do with the remarks. Still, he called into his own program and told listeners, “The language I used was not in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere that I try to maintain for the thousands of people who listen to me. Going forward I intend to approach debates on the current topics that we talk about in a more sensitive style.”
Saunders Begins Daily Talk Show. WBNQ, Bloomington, Illinois morning drive host Susan Saunders is adding a daily talk show on sister station news/talk WJBC-AM/FM. Saunders leads the CHR morning show alongside Ray Wagner. Now, she’s adding a two-hour 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program to her duties at the Cumulus Media cluster. She says, “It’s official, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the legendary, Marconi- and Crystal Award-winning staff of WJBC-AM/FM. After 15 years (on the morning show), it was time to expand my horizons into pure form talk radio. Over the last four months I have been auditioning my non-musical style with WJBC’s audience, and it works!”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend for Share Holders. The dividend will be paid on January 10 to shareholders of record on December 27 and will pay $0.045 per share. Chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley states, “The re-initiation of a regular cash dividend reflects the free cash flow generated by our operations as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders, and follows the one-time special dividend of $0.085 paid to shareholders in December 2012. Importantly, taking into consideration the proposed annual capital allocated to dividend payments, based on current conditions we believe Beasley Broadcast Group‘s total free cash flow should provide us with the liquidity needed to further reduce leverage, consider potential station acquisitions and to enhance long-term shareholder value.”
Flora and DeLucca Join Clear Channel, Phoenix as GSMs. Coming onboard effective immediately as general sales managers are George Flora and Libia DeLucca. Flora will oversee sales operations for Clear Channel, Phoenix outlets KFYI “Newstalk 550,” KOY “Business 1230,” and KGME “Fox Sports Radio 910.” In addition to her GSM duties, DeLucca will assist with brand manager responsibilities for the cluster’s rhythmic hot AC KYOT “Eva 95.5.” Clear Channel Phoenix vice president of sales Linda Little states, “George Flora is the perfect addition to our sales management team. He will add a wealth of knowledge and experience in driving revenue and creating solutions for clients utilizing our spoken-word brands. Libia brings with her years of experience selling integrated marketing solutions with digital, newspaper, and TV assets in Phoenix. I know she will take her team to new levels as they become even stronger digital marketers for their clients.” Prior to the six years he just spent at ESPN Los Angeles, Flora was with CBS Radio Los Angeles for 12 years. DeLucca had a 14-year run with Gannett Media Phoenix – most recently as digital sales manager.
Yankees Add Syracuse’s Rock “TK 99” to its Radio Network. Galaxy Communications, Syracuse classic rocker WTKW “TK 99” signs a multi-year agreement with CBS Radio to air all 162 regular season games of the NY Yankees beginning with the 2014 season. Galaxy Communications president/chief executive officer Ed Levine remarks, “We intend to go far beyond just broadcasting the games on the radio in Syracuse. We’re going to enhance the experience for Yankee fans in Central New York in a myriad of innovative ways.” CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “CBS Radio and the New York Yankees are very excited to be partnering with ‘TK 99’ and Galaxy. They have shown a great ability through their work with Syracuse University athletics to enhance what is already a strong presence in Syracuse. We look forward to that continuing with the Yankees.” In April 2007, WTKW became the flagship play-by-play outlet of Syracuse University men’s football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games.
KIRO-FM’s Twelve-Hour Fundraiser Collects More Than $489,000. Local foster children will be aided by money amassed through listener donations and sponsor matching funds via the Bonneville Seattle talk outlet’s 7:00 am – 7:00 pm radio-thon last Thursday (12/5). KIRO-FM conducted the annual “Holiday Magic” on-air event in conjunction with Treehouse, a nonprofit organization addressing essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president/market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Again this year, our community has dug deep to support foster children. Treehouse does a tremendous job of strengthening foster families and helping children realize their full potential. It is a joy and privilege to connect our generous audience with good neighbors who just need a little help.” Treehouse chief executive officer Janis Avery remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the 25th ‘Holiday Magic’ radio-thon. We are so grateful to the KIRO radio team and listeners for once again helping Treehouse give 6,000 kids in foster care across Washington State happy holidays.” Founded in 1988, Treehouse recently set a goal that, by 2017, King County foster kids will graduate high school at the rate of their peers. Major community contributors to the KIRO-FM radio-thon included Carter Subaru, Safeway Foundation, and GEICO.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Helps Raise $330k-plus for Fisher House Foundation. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that it was a big weekend for the Cumulus Media station and its listeners as the 10th Annual Fisher House Radiothon raised $330,630 for the charity that helps provide housing for the loved ones of U.S. servicemen and women begin treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty. Hess calls it an “incredible response by our wonderful WMAL listeners” and reports that this year’s total beat last year’s total by $40,000 and the 2011 total by $75,000. The two-day radiothon was anchored by morning hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, along with midday host Chris Plante and weekender Rick Fowler.
Beasley Las Vegas Holiday Bash. The Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas cluster took time over the weekend to get together for a holiday party at the Blue Martini. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Beasley Las Vegas VP of programming Justin Chase, corporate VP of operations Brian Beasley, Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, KDWN talk show host Alan Stock, KDWN and syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, and KDWN program and news director John Shaffer.
Rumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio. Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals. The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR. WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them. The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good. Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it. Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday. Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever. Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!
Cumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt. According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan. The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan. The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans. Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service. They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”
CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies. NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year. That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts. Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley. The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action. This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content. Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.
KYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show. Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9. The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts. Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there. Has the 2 party system totally failed you? Yeah, me too! Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.” Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”
Vali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii. The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities. Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market. He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.” Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster. During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii. Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.
PodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable. Titled after her best-selling book Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne. The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.” The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’” PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from. We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”
WTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire. Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year. Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned. He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business. By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.” Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause. Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them. He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless! He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf. For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP. He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.” RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
A Farewell to Jim Farley. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC. After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies. Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end. Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash. Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd! YOU did it. YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit. I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue. The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up. According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there. After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code. Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence. In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site. Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.
Credit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment. He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest? CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today. Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams. “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off. After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe reigns supreme. At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition. The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week. Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday. The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.
Holiday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.” The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today. The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000. The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.
Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest. That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design. Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City. He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less. The movie also stars Jane Seymour. Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming. He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast. I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film. This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”
ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
News/Talk Radio Remembers JFK. As the nation commemorates the fateful, painful events of November 22 1963, the media at large – newspapers, television and, of course, radio — are focused across the board on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Obviously, the subject is dominating conversation on news/talk radio today in the form of historical documentaries, as well as live talk shows in which every aspect of the almost mythical story is rehashed, retold, analyzed and memorialized. Many shows are spending time giving listeners the opportunity to recall “where they were and what they were doing” when the horrible news was announced. As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison points out, “This milestone serves as a powerful generational marker in our industry’s obsession with demographics that basically breaks audiences down to two significantly different categories — those who remember JFK and the events of November 22, 1963… and those who don’t.”
Compass Media Marketing Will Represent Tom Leykis. As of the first of next year (January 2014), Compass Media Marketing will be the advertising sales agent for “The Tom Leykis Show.” CMM will do similar duties for the talk show host’s NewNormalNetwork.com and BlowMeUpTom.com. “We are appreciative to the tens of thousands of listeners who are tuning in daily to our show,” Leykis remarks. “The time is right to start aggressively marketing the show to sponsors and we are thrilled to work with the Compass team.” Compass Media Marketing president of advertising sales Paul Gregrey comments that Leykis is a “creative genius” with a “highly engaged and loyal audience. There is limitless upside for growth, both in terms of listenership and sponsors.” Introduced last year, the latest version of Leykis’ talk show is a streaming internet-centric call-in program, which is broadcast daily at 3:00 pm (PT) from Burbank. This past Tuesday (11/19), we mentioned that Leykis put himself up for auction on eBay. The stunt raked in $7,800 for his company and Leykis tells TALKERS, “This promotion worked perfectly for us because it engaged our audience, it brought press attention to our growing brand, and it brought us substantial revenue. For The New Normal, it was nothing short of a homerun. [Furthermore, it] makes it hard to accept the whining of radio stations who say that they ‘can’t monetize’ digital.”
Reports of Renewed TRN Activity Circulating. There’s buzz in the industry that Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters is working to bring some of his talent back on the radio hosting live programs. TALKERS sources indicate Masters and talk personality Jerry Doyle have come to terms that have allowed Doyle to return to his program immediately. Doyle and other Talk Radio Network personalities have not been hosting regular live shows for most of the past month or so in the wake of a financial disruption at the company that involved staff layoffs at the Grants Pass, Oregon home offices and numerous legal actions between Masters and current and former employees. Other rumors circulating purported that talk host Rusty Humphries is also soon to be returning to the program schedule at TRN but TALKERS sources report Humphries and Masters have not come to terms that would bring Humphries back to TRN. TALKERS has reached out to Masters for comment but as of this posting there has been no response. Stay tuned.
Geraldo to Remain with Cumulus Media. Any rumors circulating the internet that Geraldo Rivera’s days with Cumulus Media are numbered are untrue says company COO John Dickey. Geraldo – who is based at the company’s WABC, New York and is also heard on its Los Angeles news/talker KABC as well as 45 other news/talk outlets – airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Dickey tells TALKERS, “Geraldo is going to be working even more closely with us next year – still anchoring 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WABC – as well as spearheading our Putting America Back to Work (PABTW) initiative.” Geraldo began his program on WABC, New York in January 2012.
Norm Pattiz Discusses Podcasting and the State of the Radio Industry on TalkersTV. An exclusive video of Courtside Entertainment, LLC/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz‘s presentation at the recent Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference has been posted today (11/22) on TalkersTV (top panel of boxes on right hand side of this page). In what was billed as a “keynote conversation,” with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the noted industry pioneer, who founded the original Westwood One and created a veritable media empire from scratch, discusses the impact and meaning of podcasting as an extension of the radio industry as well as other important issues of the broadcasting business. During the presentation he asks the provocative question, “When was the last time you can think of a national star that was created on network radio? Been a while, hasn’t it!” He goes on to state, “There’s a demographic national star created in podcasting every week. That’s because in the podcasting world, the only people you have to satisfy are your audiences and consumers.” To view the entire video presentation, see TalkersTV on the upper right side of every page on Talkers.com.
RAB: Third Quarter Radio Spot Revenue Up 1%. The Radio Advertising Bureau reports its 2013 Q3 figures and states after two flat quarters, radio spot advertising rose 1% on sales of $3.684 million. The report also notes that network revenue was down 11% while digital rose 19% and off-air was up 3%. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “The momentum we saw building at the end of Q2 has definitely translated into a positive Q3 for radio in many of our top 10 advertiser categories, led by communications/cellular with a healthy 24% increase. Among key categories, automotive, professional services, health care, home furnishings, all showed substantial increases, as well. Increases from these diverse ad categories illustrate radio’s cross-platform strength to drive traffic and sales – for large corporations to Main Street businesses.”
Chuck Todd Readies to Add Radio Duties. “Unscripted with Chuck Todd” is the name of the one-hour (9:00 am to 10:00 am) Saturday show the veteran journalist will launch in two weeks (12/7) on SiriusXM‘s “P.O.T.U.S.” channel. “In this day and age, people tend to think they have more access to newsmakers and politicians, when in many ways, they actually have less,” Todd comments. “We will aim to help listeners get to know powerful people in a different way – as human beings, not as sound-bite machines. I look forward to talking to many famous amateur political junkies out there who just happen to have day jobs in the worlds of sports, Hollywood, Wall Street and everywhere in between.” According to SiriusXM vice president/general manager of talk programming Dave Gorab, “Chuck will go outside his normal field of reporting and delve into the personal passions and interests of not just politicians but leaders from virtually every field of interest. This show is new territory for Chuck, but will be built on his journalistic savvy and experience.” Todd hosts MSNBC‘s “Daily Rundown” and is NBC News’ chief White House correspondent.
Atlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Celebrates 55 Years on WOND. Atlantic City talk radio legend Seymour “Pinky” Kravitz is celebrating his 55th anniversary on WOND this afternoon with a special broadcast from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The station notes that Kravitz has broadcast more than 169,000 hours of air time (that’s over 701 consecutive days!) from more than 20 remote broadcasting locations and more than a handful of time changes. It boasts that 1400 AM is where South Jersey still turns for “informative and provocative conversation. Pinky Kravitz has become one of the region’s most recognized, trusted and beloved media personalities through what has become the longest running radio program (on one station by one personality) in the country.” Longport Media president Dave Coskey states, “It’s amazing that in an industry where longevity is often measured in months or years that we measure Pinky’s career on WOND in decades. Pinky’s career spans not only decades but generations – generations of listeners all who have spent time in Pinky’s Corner. And his brand is even stronger today than it was in 1958.” Kravitz adds, “I’ve been blessed to not only have the support of my family, a radio station and city for all of these years but also the love and support of an entire region.” In addition to his daily radio show on WOND, Kravitz also hosts a weekly television program on WMGM-TV and writes a weekly column for the Press of Atlantic City.
Saga Communications to Pay Special Cash Dividend. Saga Communications, Inc. announces its Board of Directors is declaring a special cash dividend of $1.80 per share on its Classes A and B Common Stock to be paid on December 12, 2013 to shareholders of record on December 2, 2013. The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the special dividend will be approximately $10.3 million. This special cash dividend will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet.
Paul Finebaum Show to Air on SiriusXM’s ESPN Channel. The formerly Birmingham-based sports talker – now calling Charlotte home and produced and syndicated nationally via ESPN Radio – joins the ESPN Xtra channel on SiriusXM effective Monday, November 25. Paul Finebaum joined ESPN in August after years of success on Cumulus Media’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham. Finebaum’s show airs live from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.
Honda Displays HD Radio Civic Pride. The Los Angeles Auto Show is not typically where you would expect to find something noteworthy about the radio business. That, however, is where HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital this week announced that the 2014 Civic is the first Honda vehicle to launch integrated audio and real-time traffic information using the HERE mapping service, BTC, and HD Radio technology. iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “Honda is showing real leadership in bringing the benefits of digital HD Radio data to their vehicles. This is another great example of a leading automaker integrating digital terrestrial technology as part of a connected vehicle strategy.” Honda Civic navigation systems incorporate HD Radio audio and data features, including a way for listeners to view album art and other images on their radio screens. There is subscription-free, real-time traffic information, showing flow patterns, construction alerts, and traffic incidents to drivers. In addition to Honda, other automakers integrating digital traffic and data services include Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota. More than 30 automakers have announced plans to incorporate HD Radio in over 170 models by the end of this year. Nearly seven-dozen models will feature HD Radio receivers as standard equipment. The 2014 Honda Civic arrives at dealerships next month.
Ron Ruth Memorial Fund Announced. The Radio Advertising Bureau and the Broadcasters Foundation of America are announcing the creation of the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund in celebration of the life and work of Ruth and to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The BfoA’s mission is to help improve the quality of life of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. Donations may be sent directly to the Broadcasters Foundation at 125 West 55th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10019 and please make note that the donation is for the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund. Tentative plans by the RAB are underway to hold a celebration of life with Ron’s many friends sometime in the first quarter of next year and will be made public as soon as they are finalized. RAB CEO and president Erica Farber states, “Ron was an ardent supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation. We at the RAB couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor and commemorate his life and work.”
Dave Ramsey Takes New York. The actual event took place right across the Hudson River at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark but Dave Ramsey’s New York affiliate – Clear Channel’s WOR – was a partner in promoting the event. Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” last night (11/21) before a packed house speaking about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. WOR general sales manager Ron Russo says to the Ramsey team, “Thank you for creating an engaging event in an intimate setting where we have the opportunity to connect our listeners with our clients in a truly interactive environment.” WOR sales manager Chris Borelli adds, “The event is not only impeccably prepared and executed, but entertaining and enjoyable. We look forward to many more events like this as long term partners.”
ObamaCare Criticism Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 18-22. The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Obama’s sinking approval ratings. Following at #3 was the talks with Iran about its nuclear policy and debate over economic sanctions on the nation followed by the GOP’s 2014 and 2016 strategy 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.
WOR, New York’s John R. Gambling Announces Retirement. New York City radio legend John Gambling – who followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather in entertaining Big Apple radio listeners – told his audience this morning (11/11) that he will retire at the end of the year. Gambling has worked in radio for the past 40 years, 35 of that in New York City. He told listeners his last show will be December 20. John R. Gambling is the grandson of John B. Gambling who was the morning host on WOR, New York from 1925 to 1959 when his son, John A. Gambling assumed the morning host role at the station. John R. co-hosted the “Rambling with Gambling” show with his father John A. on WOR from 1985 to 1991. Gambling states, “I have done and accomplished so much. My radio career has given me the privilege to entertain and inform millions of New Yorkers. Each day, to watch the greatest city on earth from behind the microphone has been a thrill and I’ve been blessed with an audience that has been loyal and engaging. To say it has been exciting doesn’t come close to the joy I have had.” Clear Channel is beginning a search for a replacement morning show.
WPHT, Philadelphia Airs Veterans Day Broadcasts. CBS Radio news/talker WPHT, Philadelphia is airing a day of remote broadcasts in honor of Veterans Day. Today, Rich Zeoli broadcast from the Delaware County Veterans Memorial from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Midday host Dom Giordano is doing his show live from the 54th Media, Pennsylvania “Annual Veterans Day Parade.” During afternoon drive, “Talk Radio 1210” personalities Dick Morris, Gary R’nel and Rich Zeoli are broadcasting live from The Green Parrot Restaurant in Newtown.
Veterans Day Offers Radio Broadcasters the Opportunity to be Heroes. RadioInfo (TALKERS magazine’s sister publication on the music side) music editor/director Duane Doobie says that although most of the radio industry is open for business as usual today (including the trades), “In the communications business – particularly radio — you can probably do more to honor the true meaning of a holiday as significant as Veterans Day by going to work and raising consciousness about the meaning of the holiday. It sure beats taking a day off and paying tribute to the purpose of the observation by having a backyard barbeque or going to the beach or a sporting event and drinking a lot of beer, watching endless hours of a Twilight Zone marathon… or buying a car, or worse, planning to camp out on the sidewalk in front of a box store fully prepared to stampede your neighbors in order to save money on a new flat screen television or smart phone with the latest bells and whistles.” In a special commentary posted today (11/11) Doobie continues, “Our publisher Michael Harrison has been speaking at major industry events calling upon radio broadcasters to ‘never miss any opportunity to be a hero.’ He says it is a principle of radio broadcasting that strikes a chord into the very heart of what we are all about – a practice that is good for BOTH business and the soul. Thus, I ask you to look around and ask yourself, is your radio station – are you on your show – doing something special today to be a hero? Are you doing anything special today to be a hero by honoring the true heroes in every single market in America… our veterans?” To read Duane Doobie’s entire column, please click here.
ESPN Audio Reorganization Puts Jim Pastor in Charge of ESPN Local. ESPN confirms the changes in the structure of its O&O radio stations and their websites. Former WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” general manager Jim Pastor is named SVP of ESPN Local. This puts him in charge of the company’s three O&O stations (WMVP, Chicago; WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN, Los Angeles) as well as their websites and ESPNDallas.com. Current WMVP VP/GM John Cravens will take the new title vice president of local revenue and KSPN VP/GM Scott McCarthy will become vice president of local content and will report to Pastor. The move separates the national and local sectors with SVP Mo Davenport overseeing ESPN Network Audio. ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller says, “We have identified two key areas – network and local business – to align leaders with division priorities to provide better services and products for our fans. The successful partnership of our ESPN local websites and owned radio stations has helped our local business thrive. Organizing by function will allow us to leverage individual and team strengths across the entire business.”
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s ‘High School Tour’ Brings Teen Issues to the Fore. CBS Radio news/talk station KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh continues its “High School Tour” on Thursday, November 14 as midday talk host Mike Pintek broadcasts live from Woodland Hills High School in Churchill, Pennsylvania. The station states that the “’The High School Tour’ is a chance for KDKA to talk with students in different areas of our region about current events and the issues that affect them. Some of the topics Pintek has focused on are social media concerns, bullying, texting while driving as well as events in the current news cycle. The schools select students that participate in the broadcast.” During the broadcasts, Pintek elicits the perspective of the school’s superintendent, principal or other faculty.
Two More Stops Added to Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.’ WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller (center) is taking her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” out on the road again in 2014 and has added two more cities to the itinerary. Miller – along with fellow comedians and radio show contributors Hal Sparks (right) and John Fugelsang (left) – will be visiting the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin on March 29 as well as the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on February 14. The tour begins in Seattle on December 14 of this year at the Paramount Theatre.
WXOS, St. Louis Adds Thompson and Wheeler to Air Staff. Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS “101ESPN” brings former MLB player Brad Thompson and sports talk pro Kevin Wheeler aboard the air staff. Wheeler begins hosting an eponymous show on November 25 to air in a yet-to-be-announced daypart. Thompson will join the afternoon drive “Fastlane” show alongside D’Marco Farr and Randy Karraker beginning in January. Thompson has been serving as a fill-in host for the station on its daily programs and most notably subbed for former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan during his recent recovery from brain surgery. Wheeler is coming to WXOS from his most recent position at crosstown news/talk KMOX where he hosted the “Sports Open Line” show as well as a pre- and post-game shows for both the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Both Brad Thompson and Kevin Wheeler bring unique perspectives and experience to the ‘101ESPN’ team, and I am looking forward to getting them both on the air to enlighten and entertain our listeners.”
Broadcast Engineer Legend George J. Capalbo Passes at 86. Pioneering broadcast engineer George J. Capalbo passed away on Friday, November 8. He is remembered for his contributions to the radio broadcasting industry. Capalbo’s many accomplishments include serving as chief engineer for WRKO, Boston when the station launched as top 40 outlet “Big 68” in 1967. He also built the FM station WAAF, Worcester, now owned by Entercom, that serves both the Boston and Worcester metros. Capalbo is credited by WRKO’s then-general manager Mel Phillips with putting together a state-of-the-art broadcast facility for television and radio “from scratch” at 7 Bulfinch Place in Boston, and with developing WRKO’s radio automation system. Capalbo served as president of engineering for the RKO Radio division and supervised seven AM stations and seven FM stations in markets including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. He is also credited with building the RKO Satellite Network, the first radio satellite delivery network. For the RKO Satellite Network, Capalbo designed the distribution network in New York City as well as the news bureau in Washington, DC. Capalbo enlisted in the Armed forces in 1944 at the age of 17 right out of high school and served for two years until the end of World War II. He left the service with a rank of Radioman Second Class.
WSRQ, Sarasota Partners with Gannett’s WTSP-TV for Content. Florida Talk Radio-owned news/talk WSRQ, Sarasota (also heard on translator W295BH, Sarasota) enters into a deal with Gannett’s WTSP-TV “10 News” to locate two staffers from the television station in the former’s Sarasota studios. Sarasota reporter Isabel Mascareñas, along with “10 News” photojournalist Tim Burquest will be based in the newsroom, allowing “10 News” to quickly cover breaking news and events in the Sarasota area. Additionally, WTSP will provide video, weather radar and custom Sarasota weather forecasts for WSRQ. WSRQ general manager Susan Nilon states, “Our goal is to focus specifically on Sarasota issues. This partnership with ‘10 News’ allows for even better coverage of the wonderful place we call home.”
Embattled Toronto Mayor’s Radio Show Ends. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s weekly radio program that aired on Bell Media’s CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” has been eliminated from the station’s program schedule by a mutual decision, according to station management. Rob Ford and his brother, Toronto city councilor Doug Ford, hosted “The City with Mayor Rob Ford” that aired Sunday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Rob Ford has been at the center of a drug use scandal that has been a major news story not only in Toronto and Canada but across the United States as well.
FCC Tightens Divestiture Trust Policy with Townsquare’s Cedar Rapids Application. The long period of time during which radio stations have sat in divestiture trusts while still putting money into the pockets of the “previous” owners has been a sore spot for some broadcasters, but that is changing as the FCC signals it’s not going to approve long-termed trusts. The commission is approving the transfer of two of Townsquare Media’s Cedar Rapids stations – KKHQ-FM, Oelwein and KOEL-FM, Cedar Falls – to the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust on the condition that the term of the trust is two years and the trustee file reports every six months describing the efforts to sell them. In discussing the matter, the commission notes that the economy, and therefore the climate for buying and selling radio stations, is in much better shape than it was in 2008 when Clear Channel created the Aloha Trust. It notes that five years later, 37 of the 57 stations put in the trust have been sold with the sale of two more pending. The commission concludes that “a reasonable limitation on the duration of a divestiture trust will best serve the public interest by requiring the parties to a trust agreement to meet a deadline to place the stations with a new operator to ensure long-term compliance with the requirements of the Local Radio Ownership Rule.”
Glenn Beck Visits Asheville. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Glenn Beck is pictured here with WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina afternoon drive talk show host Pete Kaliner at the WWNC studios. Beck did his radio program from the station on November 8 while in town for the celebration of Reverend Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. The event was attended by some 900 well-wishers including Donald Trump and Sarah Palin.
It’s Official: WOR, New York Is New Home of the Mets. What had been reported several weeks ago as a sure bet is being confirmed as MLB’s New York Mets and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment agree to “the launch of a five-year, landmark multimedia marketing partnership.” The centerpiece of the deal is CC’s news/talk WOR, New York will serve as the flagship station for Mets play-by-play and pre- and post-game shows. Clear Channel is touting its multi-platform assets in addition to the over-the-air play-by-play. It will provide custom promotion opportunities across all its NYC radio stations including WHTZ, WKTU, WLTW, WAXQ, and WWPR. Also, in addition to promotion on the stations, each station website and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading, all-in-one digital service, will promote the Mets and Mets-related programming; Clear Channel Outdoor’s strategically located media inventory will also market the Mets and WOR relationship throughout the New York Metropolitan Area; the Mets and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will work together to enhance in-game entertainment at Citi Field and jointly explore the production and promotion of top name concerts, festivals and large-scale entertainment events at Citi Field; and the Mets and Clear Channel Communities, the charitable arm of Clear Channel, will also jointly develop a number of outreach and grass roots programs to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon states, “This breakthrough partnership provides us with the ability to serve our loyal fans and attract a new generation of fans through Clear Channel’s massive reach and ability to target key demographics across the New York market. Our agreement delivers more promotion of the club to a broader audience than this franchise ever has had before with additional opportunities to advance our efforts to make Citi Field one of the leading sports and entertainment destinations in the country.”
‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Star Brandi Glanville Joins PodcastOne. Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne signs Brandi Glanville, star of TV’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” to produce a new weekly podcast called “Brandi Glanville Unfiltered.” On Glanville’s maiden program on Tuesday, November 5, she’ll welcome actress Jennifer Gimenez and television personality Dr. Will Kirby as her first guests. The company says that in addition to interviewing star guests on the one-hour show, Glanville dishes about pop culture, fashion and celebrity gossip. She comments, “It’s great being the one who gets to ask the questions. We’re making the show entertaining, informative, fun and as spontaneous as possible, so you never know what someone is going to say next.” Courtside Entertainment and PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz adds, “Brandi is a natural, in every sense of the word. No thought goes unspoken and what you hear is who she is. She was born for this medium. We’re glad to have her at PodcastOne.”
Getting Results for Your Station from Facebook Ads. Digital consultant Chris Miller admits he was not a fan of Facebook ads when they debuted but now he says the Facebook ad platform has improved to the point where he can “use them to drive specific, direct response for clients who want to sell more cars, houses, wine, books and downloads.” Miller says that for a station event or remote, this is a very affordable way to zero in on whom you’re trying to reach. “Facebook will let you target your message pretty precisely, too. You can choose who you want to see your message by age, gender, zip code, and a host of other criteria. You can also choose exactly when and for how long your message will be posted, too. I keep this time period pretty short and pretty immediate, too. If I were promoting an on-air contest or on-site promotion, I would promote it for a day and a half or two days leading up to it.” For more advice on using Facebook ads, see Chris Miller’s entire piece here.
WRKO, Boston Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Jeff Kuhner AM Show. It’s been a year since Entercom’s WRKO, Boston installed Jeff Kuhner as host of the morning drive program and the station is celebrating the anniversary with a listener party at the Pearl Street Café in suburban Saugus, Massachusetts on Wednesday evening. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times, where his column appears every Friday and WRKO says his column is consistently one of the most read and popular in The Times’ commentary section. He is also the president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. On his one-year anniversary, Kuhner says, “The people of Boston have welcomed me with open arms. Well, except for Deval, Menino and the rest of the liberal establishment. But, let that go.”
Sun Broadcast Group Promotes Julio Aponte. Hispanic marketing pro Julio Aponte joined Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. earlier this year as director of Hispanic sales. Now, the company announces he’s being promoted to senior vice president of Hispanic initiatives. SBG says he’ll be in charge of researching, developing and launching new programming and affiliate partnerships exclusive to Sun Latino, its Spanish Language division. He will also oversee sales strategies as well as develop new measurement and accountability initiatives that will be implemented across the network. SBG CEO Jason Bailey says, “When we welcomed Julio to the Sun family earlier this year, I knew he would quickly become an important member of our executive team. In the short time that he’s been with us, he has been instrumental in helping us create Sun Latino, the #1 Spanish language network for news and information. Julio represents all the good that we believe this industry to be. He is so well liked and respected by everyone here in our family, and more impressively, by all those who have ever had the opportunity to work with him.” Sun Latino provides sales and promotional services for CNN en Español, Fox Deportes and customized, local weather forecasts with AccuWeather en Español. It is also home to MusiMundo, an all music network and InfoMundo, a national business and information network.
WCKG, Elmhurst, Illinois to Be Purchased by GM Matt DuBiel. The suburban Chicago AM signal is owned by Joseph Gentile Inc. and is currently airing a slate of largely syndicated talk programming including Mancow, DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick, GCN-distributed Alex Jones, and independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge. General manager Matt Dubiel and Arthur DuBiel will pay $290,000 cash for the property. In addition to operating WCKG, DuBiel is also marketing the Q101.com website that features several alternative, rock and classic rock music streams under the brand of now defunct alternative Chicago station WKQX.
Odds & Sods. Connoisseur Media flips WCHR-AM, Trenton, New Jersey from religion to news/talk featuring Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck and independently syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey…..Colonial Radio Group’s sports WVTT-FM, Olean, New York “SportsRadio 93.9” names Joel McGuirk – who goes by the moniker “The Mouth” – the afternoon host of “The Cage with the Mouth.”…..At Entercom’s Portland, Oregon cluster, KMTT flips from a local music and triple A format to sports talk with programming from CBS Sports Radio. The station is being branded “Sports 910.”
WMEN, West Palm Beach Host Dan Sileo Apologizes for Bounty Tweet. “640 Sports” midday personality Dan Sileo was so incensed at Saturday night’s drubbing of his alma mater (University of Miami) at the hands of Florida State that he offered a $1,000 reward to any player who “takes out” Seminoles running back Devonta Freeman. According to CBSSports.com, Sileo Tweeted, “in 6 weeks…I will PAY A $1,000 BUCKS to ANY @hurricanesports PLAYER to TAKES THIS KID OUT #MHFREEMAN.” Sileo has since removed the Tweets and apologized, saying he didn’t mean to offer a bounty in subsequent Tweets.
Talk Radio Diplomacy. Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton (left) is pictured here with Boston-based media personality Jeff Katz (who serves as a columnist for The Boston Herald and commentator for Boston Herald Radio). Katz was a featured speaker at a special Christians & Jews United For Israel event where John Bolton appeared as the keynote speaker.
Nancy Abramson Joins Clear Channel as Director of Digital Affiliates. Radio pro Nancy Abramson becomes part of the Clear Channel family in the newly created role of director, digital affiliates for national media groups. Abramson spent almost 18 years with The Wall Street Journal Radio Network before exiting last month. She will be based in New York and report to Julie Talbott, president of content and affiliate services for national media groups. The company says that in this new position, Abramson will be focused on the company’s digital partnerships with radio ownership groups and stations. She will provide a dedicated point of contact for communication and conducting business surrounding the company’s digital platforms including iHeartRadio as well as Clear Channel’s Premiere Networks programming, personality websites and audio streams. Prior to her work with The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Abramson held the role of manager network programming for ABC Radio Networks. Talbott says of Abramson, “Nancy’s proven track record of successfully leading affiliate sales and marketing efforts in the news/talk format, as well as her amazing relationships with broadcasters, makes her a tremendous asset for us. Her passion and expertise are a winning combination, and we are very fortunate to have her join our team.”
Salem’s Hewitt and Prager Appear on FNC’s New Time “Hannity” Program. As Fox News Channel shuffles its primetime lineup and Sean Hannity’s program moves to the 10:00 pm ET time slot, Salem Radio Network personalities Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager joined Hannity on his “Great American” panel last night (10/7). FNC introduced the new addition to the primetime slate: Megyn Kelly’s “The Kelly File.” Kelly’s show appears at 9:00 pm ET leading into “Hannity.” Greta Van Susteren’s “On the Record” kicks off primetime at 7:00 pm with “The O’Reilly Factor” following at 8:00 pm ET.
Don Geronimo Exits Sports Talk KHTK, Sacramento. Although his photo and references to his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show are still on the KHTK website, reports are that radio pro Don Geronimo has exited the CBS Radio station. Geronimo’s presence on the station has been replaced by Jason Ross and Dave “Deuce” Mason. Geronimo had been with the Sacramento sports talker for several years, both in morning drive and during the afternoons daypart. Geronimo and former partner Mike O’Meara had a long and successful run at WJFK, Washington when the station was a hot talk outlet in the 1990s.
Sara Lee Kessler On Air at WOR. New York news pro Sara Lee Kessler is handling news anchor duties for Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR, New York as well as the company’s 24/7 News programming. Kessler is well known to New Yorkers for her 18-year stint at WOR-TV. She also worked at Merlin Media’s New York all-news venture WEMP.
The Radio Broadcaster’s Guide to Getting the Most from Posting Video to YouTube. It goes without saying you probably have a YouTube Channel for your show or station. And yes, there’s a lot of talk around what makes a video good – but how can you get the most out of the video you’ve posted on YouTube? In a new column posted today (10/8), Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl looks at how to make money from your videos, how to get users who find your video on YouTube to tune-in to your show, and other tips to make the most of your online video efforts. To read this valuable article in its entirety, please click here.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Harold Bausemer – RadioStationsForSale.Net. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Harold Bausemer of RadioStationsForSale.Net located in Braintree, Massachusetts. Bausemer has a background in radio having worked in just about every position in the business including AE, SM, GSM, GM, COO of a small group and as an owner operator. But he also has a background as a real estate broker and as such he brings a bit of a different background to his media broker strategies. He says, “Being in real estate, I am a believer in multiple listings and have co-brokered many deals which is not common in media brokering. Most brokers in this business have self-interest to the point of detriment to their listing clients. Usually (not always) I don’t ask who a listing of mine will be presented to by a co-broker. If they have a relationship with or inquiry from someone and can bring in an offer, my client wins and even at half commission, I win.” He offers up several opportunities he has among his listings that would be of interest to displaced radio station personnel and first-time entrants. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
‘FM News 101’ in Portland Wins Seven OAB Awards. Alpha Broadcasting news/talk KXL, Portland “FM News 101” takes home seven Oregon Association of Broadcasters Awards, including Station of the Year for the 3rd consecutive year. Other awards garnered by the station include: Best On Air Personality for Clyde Lewis, host of “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis”; Best Newscast from Dan Mitchinson and Lacey Evans covering the Clackamas Town Center Shooting; Best Investigative Reporting from Rosemary Reynolds; and Best Single News Story from Dan Mitchinson. Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “These awards honor the talent of a truly live and local team that is passionate about what they do. I’m proud to be working with world class broadcasters.” News director Rebecca Marshall adds, “I am so thrilled to see FM News 101 KXL receive this award again. We have such a hard working team both out in the field and inside the station. They’re real pros. I feel lucky to be working with them.”
Thom Hartmann Program Joins Lineup at Two Non-Coms. The Thom Hartmann show is now part of the program schedule at public radio stations WBAI, New York and KBOO, Portland, Oregon. As TALKERS reported last week, Hartmann’s show will also air on a new FM signal set to debut in Portland, KXRY “X-RAY FM.” Thom Hartmann’s program has been serving public radio stations for several years now, providing commercial-free feeds of the show.
Danny Lipford Show Reaches 100-Affiliate Mark. The independently syndicated, weekly two-hour “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford” radio show hits the 100 affiliate milestone. Mobile, Alabama-based Lipford says, “By using the same successful formula as our Emmy-nominated ‘Today’s Homeowner’ TV show, now in our 16th season on 221 stations, our radio program gives homeowners the most relevant and current home improvement information every week of the year. Our listeners love the fun, fast-paced style of the show and our ability to make them laugh while giving them the information they crave.”
WWRL, New York Adds ‘Karel Show’ to Thursday Lineup. Long Beach, California-based Karel has his syndicated radio program added to the Thursday evening lineup at WWRL, New York as part of a special block of programming dedicated to LGBT programming. His program airs at 8:00 pm ET. He says, “Any time you can clear a market like New York in any way, for 10 minutes, an hour or 15 is a good thing.” WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “I’m really looking forward to hearing Karel on the radio station. General sales manager Mike Hill has been a great ‘Karel Show’ champion here, and his support for the show is paying off.”
Fox Sports Radio’s Rob Dibble Makes TV Cameo. Rob Dibble, former MLB pitching star and co-host of Fox Sports Radio’s “Fox Sports Tonight” (alongside Amy Van Dyken), is pictured here in a cameo role for ABC’s new primetime series “Back in the Game” that stars James Caan. Dibble, who was a two-time National League All-Star and relief pitcher on the 1990 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds, played a prison inmate named “Senseless Paul” who was part of a group recruited to teach a little league team how to bat.
Brown and Rice Visit NBC Sports Radio Network. In New York City to promote their Golf Channel show “Big Break NFL Puerto Rico,” NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (right) and College Football Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown stopped by the NBC Sports Radio studios. Rice talked golf and football with late morning host Brian Kenny and Brown joined early afternoon host Newy Scruggs.
Government Shutdown, Debt Debate, U.S. Terror Raids, and ObamaCare Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7). The ongoing battle on Washington over ending the government shutdown; the debate over the debt ceiling; United States terror raids in North Africa; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KOGO, San Diego Debuts New Lineup; Chip Franklin Exits AM Drive. After a six-year run at KOGO, San Diego, Chip Franklin exits the station as the programming lineup is tweaked at the Clear Channel news/talker. Moving into AM drive is former afternoon personality Chris Merrill. He’s followed by Rush Limbaugh. At 12:00 noon, LaDona Harvey – who had been partnered with Franklin in AM drive – is on air solo from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Bob “Sully” Sullivan moves from the early afternoon slot into PM drive. Franklin came to San Diego after a long and successful run at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore. He tells the San Diego Union Times he has no hard feelings about the change. “I had a great run at KOGO, and they have and continue to treat me in a highly professional manner. Believe it or not, I have been very lucky. I still have a lot of great friends there and I sincerely wish them the very best. The new morning guy, Chris Merrill, is a friend and a tremendous talent. Don’t underestimate him.”
Salem Communications to Move New York Stations into Current WOR Facilities. Salem Communications announces it will move its two New York properties – news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA – from their current New Jersey location to Lower Manhattan into what is now the studios of Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR in the Trinity Building next to Trinity Church at 111 Broadway where WOR has been located since 2006. Since Clear Channel bought WOR from Buckley Broadcasting more than a year ago, plans have been made for WOR to move into CC’s larger New York studios. Salem VP director of spoken word format and regional VP for New York Phil Boyce says, “Salem has a major commitment to winning in New York and this move will help us take both stations to the next level. We know for years great radio came out of this building when it housed WOR and now we have the opportunity to continue that tradition with both WMCA and ‘AM 970 The Answer.’ As an added plus, WMCA, known as ‘New York’s Christian Talk,’ will be re-locating next door to historic Trinity Church, founded in 1697, as the oldest church in New York City. There is some divine providence going on here, as WMCA, which is licensed to the city of New York now moves next door to the oldest church.” The move is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
CHRIS PENDL: Help Your Best Clients Thrive in Local Searches. Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl writes that some of radio’s best advertisers can be the most difficult to find when it comes to mobile-based local searches. What’s more, there can be a huge difference between how one of your clients rates on a desktop search and where they rate – if at all – on a mobile search. Pendl notes, “With smartphone ownership now 56% among American adults, searching on smartphones is increasingly becoming a part of the consumer’s journey before making a purchase. A recent local search study revealed, there’s an 87% increase in local searches via mobile apps. It is in this mobile space where some of radio’s best advertisers, local and regional businesses, have poor visibility and are often non-existent.” Pendl offers simple solutions to help your valuable advertisers appear where they should in mobile searches. Read his column here.
KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle Scores Exclusive Interview with ‘Green River Killer.’ This morning, Sinclair Radio’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle begins broadcasting an exclusive interview series with serial killer Gary Ridgway, conducted by the station’s Charlie Harger. Titled, “Voice of Evil,” it begins with a special preview at 7:15 am (PT) on ‘KOMO Newsradio.’ Reports will be broadcast at 7:15 am, 12:15 pm and 5:15 pm all this week and mark the culmination of a near year-long investigation. The station says “Harger spoke exclusively with Ridgway on six separate occasions in what are the killer’s only media interviews since his incarceration in 2001. Ridgway was convicted on 49 counts of murder but reveals to KOMO that he committed many more. In his conversation with Harger, Ridgway shares frightening details of his crimes, tells detectives where to look for additional remains and even explains why he did it. Is he sorry? KOMO posed that question to the man serving a life sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla and his answer stunned the veteran reporter.” Harger adds, “I think it’s important that people understand just why we’re giving voice to a guy like this. People deserve answers and the families deserve some kind of closure.” KOMO-AM/FM program director Paul Duckworth adds, “It’s also about justice. There are a number of unsolved cases and we’re hopeful that our investigation will prompt the task force to reopen its investigation.”
KNX, Los Angeles to Present Health Care Town Hall. CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting an “unprecedented town hall event and day-long series of special reports, titled ‘KNX 1070 Healthcare Uncovered,’ on Thursday, October 3 giving Californians a broad range of information about choosing health insurance under the newly enacted Affordable Care Act.” The station reports that more than a dozen guest speakers representing various entities involved with healthcare reform, from federal, state and local officials to health professionals and consumer advocates, will appear at the town hall forum at The Autry in Los Angeles from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Guests will include Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, the state’s overseer and marketplace for health insurance coverage beginning in January 2014. Also scheduled to appear are Herb K. Schultz, regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services; Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog; Victor Parker, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Janice Rocco, California’s deputy insurance commissioner; Rocky Delgadillo, CEO of the L.A. County Medical Association, and many others including doctors and consumers of different demographics. The event will be hosted and moderated by KNX news anchors Diane Thompson, Bob McCormick and Frank Mottek and investigative reporter Charles Feldman who is co-producing the event with Laraine Herman. Feldman states, “This is the biggest change to our healthcare system since Medicare was rolled out in 1966 and a lot of people are confused. Because this law is so new, we’re bringing together panelists with knowledge covering a wealth of issues so that whether you’re self-employed, a business owner, the head of household or just entering the workforce, we’ll provide answers to questions you’ve never had to think about before.”
Haaga Gets Nod As NPR’s Acting President/CEO. Two-year NPR board member Paul Haaga, Jr. is named acting president/chief executive officer. The appointment takes effect at the end of this month for Haaga, who most recently was vice chair of the board and finance committee chair. He will succeed Gary Knell, who leaves for similar duties at the National Geographic Society. “Paul has made many valuable contributions to NPR during his tenure on the board,” comments NPR board chair Kit Jensen. “His intimate knowledge of our organization, his unwavering commitment to the highest quality of journalism and programming, and his financial acumen make him particularly well-suited to lead NPR as we begin our search for a permanent chief executive.” The retired chair of the board of Capital Research and Management Company, Haaga is the former chair of the Investment Company Institute, and he was a senior attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s leading providers of news, music, and cultural programming on an interim basis,” he remarks. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board and senior leadership team to help this great organization build on its success.” The former National Public Radio renamed itself NPR in July 2010.
Star Over Orlando Retakes Control of WRSO, Orlovista, Florida; Doubles Transmitting Power. Star Over Orlando operators Carl Como Tutera and his son Carmine announce they have taken back WRSO, Orlovista which operates as a sports talk outlet carrying CBS Sports Radio Network programming. The Tuteras also announce that they have received FCC approval to increase the daytime power to 20 kw and the night-time power to 1 kw — double the power of its original license. Earlier in the week, the FCC placed the Carl Como Tutera FM Translator application for Channel 226 in Orlando on a ‘singleton’ list for the operation of an FM on 93.1 with 250 Watts of Power. The pair built the AM station in 2005 and it began operations in early 2006. WRSO operates from a studio location in Altamonte Springs and at a tower site in Orlando. They say CBS Sports will continue to be an affiliate and be heard on both the AM and FM.
Jerry Sharell Stable After Being Held Hostage, Stabbed. The Los Angeles radio and music communities remain stunned this morning following news that broke last night involving former five-year (1987 – 1992) Westwood One senior vice president of talent marketing Jerry Sharell, who was reportedly held hostage and attacked in Woodland Hills (San Fernando Valley – Los Angeles). Sharell was with his girlfriend when her ex-husband was said to have arrived with flowers and a machete at approximately 8:00 am yesterday (Sunday, 9/15). He apparently held the couple hostage for more than three hours. “Sometime during that time, [Sharell] had been stabbed repeatedly,” Los Angeles Police Department sergeant Jeff Nuttal told KABC-TV, Los Angeles. The woman was injured when she tried to halt the attack, but was able to escape and called authorities. Police say that owing to a history of domestic violence, she had a restraining order against her ex-husband. Sharell, who hosts “Sundays with Sinatra” on Los Angeles public outlet KKJZ “KJazz” – is in critical, but stable condition at Northridge Medical Center with injuries to his head and neck. The unidentified attacker turned the weapon on himself; his condition is listed as critical as well but both he and Sharell are expected to survive. The alleged attacker is in police custody at the hospital. Sharell was co-executive producer of Ronnie Milsap‘s 2004 Grammy-nominated “Just for a Thrill” album. He began his career as a Mercury Records promotion rep, before joining Main Line Distributors in 1962. Sharell held executive positions at Buddah Records and A&M Records. He has helped the careers of artists such as Herb Alpert, Jackson Browne, Carpenters, Cars, Joe Cocker, Eagles, Curtis Mayfield, Joni Mitchell, Queen, Linda Ronstadt, and Carly Simon. He is past president of City of Hope, Entertainment Division, and is on the advisory board of MusiCares. From 2002 – 2010, he was president/CEO for the non-profit Society of Singers. Sharell’s wife of 48 years, Joanne, recently died after losing her fight against cancer.
‘Boomer & Carton’ Off MSG Network as Contract Expires. Last week TALKERS reported that the Yankees-owned YES Network is in talks with WFAN, New York’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to do a cable TV simulcast of their AM drive show on the CBS Radio sports talk station. Up until last week, the duo had been seen on the Madison Square Garden Network (MSG), but that deal elapsed on Friday and for now, Boomer & Carton are only available on the radio.
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s WEEI, Boston adds ESPN “Monday Night Football” play-by-play voice Mike Tirico to its stable of football experts. Tirico will call in to the Salk & Holley show every Thursday afternoon at 4:30 throughout the season…..Plain Talk Radio Network’s internet radio show “Talk Live with Peter Gantenbein” – a “weekly news and commentary program that engages in straight talk not for the faint of heart,” has been recognized as must-hear radio with an “Editor’s Pick” recognition from Windows Media Guide…..Good Karma flips WEFL, Tequesta, Florida to Spanish–language sports talk using ESPN Deportes. The company had been simulcasting English-language sports on WEFL and WUUB-FM, Jupiter and the latter remains English-language sports talk…..CRN Digital Talk Radio‘s popular wine dinners return to Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 17. Tobin James of Tobin James Winery in Paso Robles pairs a variety of wines with a prix fixe menu at Colombo’s Italian Steak and Jazz Club at 1833 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock. CRN CEO and president Michael Horn says, “People still talk about our Tobin James wine dinner from a few years ago. Toby brings a world-class selection of wines people enjoy. He’s also a fun, down-to-earth person that everyone relates to. Colombo’s provides a great atmosphere and delicious food that will make the night all that more special.”…..Today ABC Radio re-launches its popular “Dancing with the Stars” station on Slacker, providing fans with behind-the-scenes access to the ABC hit reality TV show. Now in its third season, “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will deliver an on-demand audio experience and unlimited access to key moments throughout the competition. Each week “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will follow the Season 17 cast as they battle it out on the dance floor for the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. Season 17 of “Dancing with the Stars” premieres on tonight on the ABC Television Network.
Newhouse School Presents Audio Industry Summit. The half-day event will take place in New York City on Friday, September 27 and will feature two panels of experts from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon at Syracuse University Lubin House, 11 E 61st St. The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. RSVP with your name and professional affiliation to Ed Gorham at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, September 18. Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham states, “Given the seismic shifts in radio and newer audio platforms, much attention is being paid to the medium’s future. It is crucial that we understand where the industry is headed so we can appropriately prepare our students. We want to hear from thought leaders in management, programming and other key areas so we can get a better handle on best practices in radio moving forward.” Industry players attending will include: Jeff Smulyan, founder and CEO of Emmis Communications; Dan Mason, president and CEO of CBS Radio; Buzz Knight, vice president of program development for Greater Media; Chris Oliviero, executive vice president of programming for CBS Radio; Deon Levingston, vice president and general manager at WBLS Radio (New York); Kevin Straley, vice president of programming at TuneIn; and Ed Levine, president and CEO of Galaxy Communications, among others.
Yankees to Remain with CBS Radio but Move to WFAN; Status of Mets Unclear. In a story in The New York Times, an executive privy to the negotiations tells the paper that the New York Yankees have re-upped with CBS Radio to the tune of $15 million per year for 10 years – a $150 commitment on the part of CBS Radio. (The current contract for the Yankees on WCBS pays the team $14 million per season.) However, the company’s flagship sports talk station WFAN-AM/FM will be where fans will hear the Yankees and not the National League rival Mets as they have for the past 25 years. Reports indicate the Mets are confirming they will not be on WFAN next year but there’s no indication which NYC outlets they may be talking to. Obvious candidates would include ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, Clear Channel’s WOR and Cumulus Media’s WABC. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon tells the Times he expects negotiations to be resolved in about six weeks.
Cox Media Group’s Bill Hoffman Loves TV-Newspaper-Radio Synergy; Says Data from Dayton and Atlanta Proves it Works. In an interview with TVNewsCheck’s Harry Jessell, Cox Media Group president Bill Hoffman says the synergy of having a television outlet, daily newspaper and radio properties (specifically news/talk outlets) has been very good for the company. So much so that when it had the opportunity to buy TV stations, it chose Jacksonville and Tulsa – markets where it operates successful news/talk stations WOKV-AM/FM and KRMG-AM/FM, respectively. Hoffman tells TVNewsCheck its Dayton and Atlanta clusters – each with a news/talk radio station, TV outlet and a daily newspaper – perform well as a result. “We have really made Dayton kind of this incubation center for collaboration because it’s the market where all three media — newspaper, radio, TV — are all under the same roof. Every single data point says that group is performing outstandingly — the station and the individual entities altogether. We just have a juggernaut of a media outlet there between newspaper, TV and radio.” He adds, “Atlanta [where Cox owns the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV and WSB-AM/FM] is a much bigger market. To listeners, readers, viewers in Atlanta, they feel like it’s three distinctive brands. But behind the scenes the kind of collaboration that’s going on in content, marketing, sales, back-room efficiencies is very robust. It’s leading to better financial performance. The brands are stronger by whatever use-metrics you can put against them.” To read more of Harry Jessell’s interview with Bill Hoffman, click here.
Clear Channel Makes Inroads into the Digital Dash Via Nissan. With today’s announcement that its iHeartRadio digital audio app will be available in-dash in select 2014 Nissan vehicles via its made-for-driving application – iHeartAuto – Clear Channel Media and Entertainment makes progress toward inclusion in the digital dashboard. Beginning this fall, iHeartRadio will be available in select Nissan vehicles equipped with NissanConnect (available in SV and SL models) an in-vehicle global smartphone integration platform for Android and iPhone operating systems. Once a user connects their compatible smartphone with the NissanConnect App, drivers can control and personalize their iHeartRadio listening experience directly through the dashboard or via steering wheel controls, allowing easy access for in-vehicle enjoyment. There is no monthly fee or subscription to NissanConnect but the rates that apply to the user’s smartphone apply to use of the car’s system. CC president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “Working with Nissan to integrate iHeartRadio into the NissanConnect platform allows our listeners to seamlessly access the stations they love in a way designed to minimize distraction. Now, Nissan drivers will be able to tune into radio stations from anywhere in the country and keep connected to their favorite on-air personalities without having to worry about driving out of range.”
Denise Bishop Exits Radio One’s ‘News92 FM’ in Houston. Houston media blogger Mike McGuff reports that news director Denise Bishop has left the building at Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston “News92 FM.” McGuff further reports that Bishop’s position is being eliminated and that a staffer who wishes to remain anonymous told him, “I’m beyond stunned. I’m heartbroken. She’s a fine woman and a pro.” Bishop was with the station since its inception in 2011 and came from a news background that includes having served as news director at KRIV-TV, Houston for 16 years.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Will Sell Out by End of Business Friday! The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention set for Thursday, October 10 is shaping up to be a blockbuster. The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some four weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now! Due to space limitations at the intimate Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood reaching maximum capacity, reservations ($149 per person) will be sold out by the end of business (5:00 pm ET) this coming Friday (9/13). The conference is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering. It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.” The event – open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits by leading companies such as Comrex Corp. and Broadcasters General Store, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments lavishly catered by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York). For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. To see the latest agenda, click here.
Walt Phillips to Lead Cox Media Group’s Atlanta Sales Efforts. Cox Media Group announces it has named Walt Phillips director of sales for its four Atlanta stations that include: news/talk WSB-AM and 95.5 FM; AC WSB-FM “B98.5 FM”; classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River”; and urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM.” Cox Atlanta market manager Ben Reed says, “I am very pleased that we have an exceptional talent like Walt Phillips stepping in to lead radio’s best sales organization. Walt is a proven, respected, talented and inspirational leader, and CMG Atlanta radio will rise to new levels under his leadership.” Phillips most recently was director of sales at Citadel’s Nashville cluster.
TalkersRadio Soft Launches Yesterday (9/10) with Two New Live Shows. In what TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein describes as “an extremely soft and gentle launch of a very different kind of radio station,” the brand new “TalkersRadio” internet stream, operating on the platform of Talkers.com, launched with four hours of original programming. “The Robbie Student Show” originating in New York City (hosted by talk show host/record producer Robbie Student) streamed live between 1:00 pm ET and 3:00 pm ET. It was followed by the launch of “The Brent & Meg Show” (hosted by the husband/wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald pictured below) originating in Los Angeles which streamed live between 3:00 pm ET and 5:00 pm ET. Both programs were re-streamed as repeats for the rest of the day. Both will air again today with new live programs in their respective afternoon time periods and will serve as limited engagement anchor shows for TalkersRadio as the rest of what will shortly be a full-time outlet is built around them during the next several weeks. The next new program to join the lineup will be “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” (hosted by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes) scheduled to debut live from New York City this Sunday evening (9/15) between 8:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. According to Bernstein, “Industry people and the most ardent talk radio fans tuning in to TalkersRadio during these next few weeks will not only hear some really interesting and creative programs un-self-consciously going through a public dress rehearsal, they will also hear a radio station being put together right out there on the bare stage of the internet. It will be as if they arrived at the theater hours before the curtain rises and get to see how the sets and props and lighting all comes together. This is truly going to be an experimental, no BS talk programming laboratory.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We are delighted with the way this thing lifted off the ground. I haven’t had this much fun being involved in a radio station since July 1, 1970 when we launched the legendary progressive rocker WLIR on Long Island.” TalkersRadio is powered by a revolutionary new software system designed by Backbone Networks of Westborough, Massachusetts – the same system currently in place at Boston Herald Radio. The mission of TalkersRadio is to serve as a workshop for new and innovative talk programming concepts as well as numerous other functions not presently served by the commercial talk radio establishment. To listen to TalkersRadio click here.
Legendary Broadcaster/Promotions Expert Rich Piombino’s RD Music & Marketing Signs LM Communications as Client. He was one of the most dynamic rock radio programming and promotions managers in the 1980s and 1990s working at such heritage outlets as KMET, Los Angeles and WMMS, Cleveland, among others. He has gone on to establish Atlanta-based RD Music & Marketing as a force in the independent multi-media promotions arena working with a diverse roster of clients that includes such disparate entities as rising musical star Tora Fisher and NASCAR. Now Rich Piombino announces that RD Music & Marketing has signed a consultant/client relationship as group promotions consultant with Lynn Martin‘s LM Communications. LM has six radio stations in Lexington, five in Charleston, WV (including the iconic WKLC “Rock 105,” and two in Charleston, South Carolina. LM Communications also owns WBKI-TV in Louisville. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says of Piombino, “Rich Piombino served as promotions director during my time as PD at KMET, Los Angeles in the early 1980s and I have to say that I have seldom seen anyone in this business in that capacity with his level of ‘clever energy’ — he is focused like a laser and one of the best in the business, indeed!”
TOM RAY: What the Heck Is a Codec? To some, the answer to that question is elementary, but others may simply know a codec as “one of those things in the studio rack that brings outside audio into the board.” That’s mostly correct, but for those who’d like a concise and thorough explanation of what a codec is, how it works and what its relationship is to your audio chain, TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray is here to help. Click here for Tom’s column.
Latest Arbitron RADAR: Radio Increases Reach. Arbitron Inc. reports in its September 2013 RADAR 118 National Radio Listening Report that “radio’s audience again increased year over year, adding more than 500,000 weekly listeners. Radio now reaches 242.2 million listeners, or 92% of persons, age 12 and older, on an average weekly basis.” The ratings giant also states that its data indicates “daily time spent listening to radio among persons age 12 and older held steady versus the September 2012 RADAR report. People aged 12 and older who listen to the radio spend approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes a day with the medium.” With regard to minority audiences, Arbitron reports several findings: 1) Radio’s Hispanic audience aged 12 and older added 468,000 weekly listeners versus the September 2012 RADAR report. Radio reaches 94 percent of Hispanic listeners aged 12 and older in an average week; 2) Young Hispanic teens aged 12 to 17 showed impressive gains versus last year, adding 265,000 weekly listeners. Radio now reaches 5.2 million Hispanic teens in an average week; 3) Radio now reaches nearly 31 million Black (non-Hispanic) listeners, age 12 and older, in an average week, or 92 percent of this demographic; and 4) Radio’s Black (non-Hispanic) teen audience aged 12 to 17 again remained steady versus the September 2012 report. Arbitron RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) September 2013 is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 45 individual radio networks. These networks are operated by American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Premiere Radio Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and WestwoodOne.
Odds & Sods. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Chris Dimino – one third of the former “Mayhem in the AM” show from WQXI, Atlanta “790 The Zone” – has been hired by Dickey Broadcasting’s crosstown sports talk WCNN “680 The Fan.” Dimino appeared at a recent Atlanta Falcons press conference as a credentialed reporter for the station but he has a non-compete and won’t appear on the air on WCNN until that runs out in another six months. Dimino, along with Steak Shapiro and Nick Cellini, were fired by WQXI after a bit which mocked former NFLer Steve Gleason who suffers from ALS…..Longtime WGN, Chicago host (and WGN-TV’s Emmy award-winning entertainment critic and reporter), Dean Richards, will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at The Naperville Independent Film Festival’s 6th annual event on Saturday, September 21. The award commemorates Richards’ contribution and dedication to the entertainment industry. Richards can be heard talking entertainment on WGN daily at 8:20 am on “The Steve Cochran Morning Show” and also on his own show, Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. He has accumulated over 30 local and national awards during a career that has spanned more than three decades……Yahoo! Sports Radio adds a new Friday evening show hosted by Elissa Walker Campbell titled “The Big E Show” airing from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET.
Syria Chemical Weapons Deal, Iran Threatens U.S., 9/11 Anniversary, and New Miley Cyrus Video Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10). The proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry to have Syria give up its chemical weapons to avoid a U.S. strike; threats by Iran to attack the U.S. and its allies if Syria is struck; the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11; and controversy over Miley Cyrus’ latest video were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KTRS, St. Louis at Center of Skirmish Over Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Industry Recruitment Blitz. CH Holdings-owned news/talk stations KTRS, St. Louis is making national news after station manager Mark Dorsey canceled an ad campaign bought by the state of Texas that sought to convince Missouri businesses they’d be better off moving to the more industry-friendly Texas where “businesses flourish and jobs are created.” Dorsey posted a statement on the KTRS website saying, in part: “When the order was placed, KTRS was under the assumption these commercials were going to promote tourism to Texas. Once we, the management of KTRS realized these commercials were instead focused on stealing locally owned companies away from St Louis, we suspended airing these commercials immediately. We understand people have different viewpoints on public policy and we welcome that debate everyday on our airways. But as one of the few remaining locally owned radio stations in the country, we feel the need to stand strong with other small locally owned businesses and defend our region. Governor Rick Perry, Don’t mess with Missouri, and don’t mess with St Louis.” In the ad, Perry criticizes policies of the Missouri governor and state legislature, accusing them of being less friendly to business. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the ads are running on radio and TV stations in St. Louis and other Missouri markets as Perry prepares to visit the region this week.
Report: ESPN at Center of Nielsen-Arbitron Deal. The New York Post reports today that Disney-owned ESPN could be the media company that has the biggest say in whether the Federal Trade Commission approves Nielsen’s $1.26 billion purchase of Arbitron. At issue here is the multi-media use of Arbitron’s PPM in which – via Project Blueprint – ESPN is licensing the technology to measure audience consumption of its product over television, radio, smartphones, tablets and computers. The Post reports that sources tell it, “The license expires soon, and the ability of ESPN to squeeze a promise from Nielsen that it will be able to continue to license the software is likely integral to the merger getting federal approval.” The FTC’s concern is that if the new Nielsen-Arbitron owns both the old set-top box methodology for rating television and the PPM technology for on-the-go measurement, there will be little ability for competitors to emerge. The FTC is expected to decide this week whether to challenge Nielsen’s purchase of Arbitron.
Nick Digilio New Overnight Host on WGN, Chicago. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WGN, Chicago part-time personality Nick Digilio will assume the overnight talk host position beginning September 4. Digilio takes over for Bill Leff who moves to the daylight hours co-hosting the new 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Digilio will also host the 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight Saturday show. As Feder reports, Digilio first appeared on WGN in 1985 on Roy Leonard’s midday show to talk about movies. It developed into a regular segment and then into part-time work. As a way of paying back his mentor, Digilio will have the now-retired Leonard on his Saturday program in a regular segment to talk about movies. About his new position with Tribune’s WGN, Digilio tells Feder, “I couldn’t be more thrilled. And I really want to thank everyone who has supported me through the years.”
Rush Limbaugh Announces New Deal with Cumulus; Will Move to WOR, New York in January. Confirming what many in the industry have been expecting all along, Rush Limbaugh announced on his radio program Friday that Premiere Networks, EIB and Cumulus Media agreed to terms earlier this week to renew his program for three more years beginning in January of 2014 and running through the end of 2016. He told listeners that the one change would be his move from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR, New York beginning in January. Limbaugh’s program is currently heard on 35 Cumulus Media-owned stations.
WHO, Des Moines Newsman Dick Layman Dies Suddenly at 59. Morning drive news anchor Dick Layman served with Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines for the past 16 years. He died Friday, August 23 suddenly and at this time it is not known publicly what the cause of death was. WHO news director Jim Boyd posted the news of Layman’s death on the WHO website and wrote about Layman, in part: “Dick was also from the old school of broadcast journalism. The school that said ‘confirm and reconfirm the facts’ before they would be put into a story for you to hear. He cared about content and quality. But he also was someone who could take the most complicated of stories and boil them down to the bare fact so you could understand it…and to do so at times in 20 seconds or less…There is a hole right now in the WHO Radio Family…a hole that won’t close easily and there is a chair in our newsroom that will be very, very difficult to fill. That’s what happens when you have a man the caliber of Dick Layman on your team. Our prayers go out to his wife, Janet, and daughter Meredith.”
Tyler Media to Debut Sports Talk ‘107.7 The Franchise’ Today. According to Oklahoma City online publication The Lost Ogle, Tyler Media’s plans to bring a new sports talk outlet to the city will become reality today around 2:00 pm when KRXO flips from classic rock to sports talk. The lineup will be largely local and is reportedly as follows: “The Show” with Steely, Lump and (John) Rohde; “The Mid-day Mayes” with Sam Mayes; “The Gee Men” with Kelly Gregg and Erik Gee; and “Casillas & Company” with Tony Casillas and David Garrett in PM drive. The station will be an NBC Sports Radio Network affiliate. Oklahoma City has about seven other sports talk outlets in and around the market including Cumulus Media’s WWLS-FM “The Sports Animal.”
WHO, Des Moines PM Drive Host Simon Conway Producer Changes. Afternoon drive host Simon Conway (r) reports that his long-serving producer Andrew Downs (l) is moving to the cluster’s sister sports talk station KXNO where he’ll serve as assistant program director. Taking over for Downs is Des Moines native Jenna Wizenburg who moves back to the market from Florida. Conway states, “I always said I had the best producer in the building. Andrew has rightly been recognized and although I will miss him, he richly deserves this opportunity. I have worked with Jenna before at WFLA, Orlando and I’m excited as we begin this adventure together.”
Mike Gallagher to Shave His Head for Fallen Officers Fund. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is preparing for his role in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre Production of “Annie” (he’s pictured here in the Greenville Journal with lead actress Georgia Kay Wise). Gallagher decided that instead of going with a skull cap for the role as the chrome-domed Daddy Warbucks, he would shave his head on Wednesday at Frank’s Gentleman’s Salon on Coffee Street in Greenville if listeners put up $5,000 or more via his Gallagher’s Army Fallen Officers Fund which provides grants to families of police officers killed in the line of duty. The goal was reached and Gallagher will play the role with an authentic pate when the show opens on September 6. Photo courtesy of the Greenville Journal.
Odds & Sods. Retired NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will make regular in-studio appearances on KJR, Seattle’s Mitch Levy program this season. Holmgren, who left his general manager position with the Cleveland Browns after the team changed owners, still resides in Seattle after coaching the Seahawks for 10 seasons…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne adds the “Casey Hendrickson Weekend” program to its lineup in place of “Fox News Sunday.” Hendrickson hosts the PM drive show on Federated’s WTRC-AM, Elkhart, Indiana and WTRC-FM, Niles, Michigan.
Heather Cohen Named TALKERS “Woman of the Year” — Will Be Presented Award at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 by KFI/KTLK PD Robin Bertolucci. Hard-working industry super-agent, Heather Cohen, executive vice president of leading radio talent representatives, the Weiss Agency, has been voted by the TALKERS editorial board to be the 2013 recipient of the prestigious “Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman.” This award is often referred to by the title, “Woman of the Year.” Cohen has accrued a stellar list of accomplishments in a career that spans more than a decade and a half in the radio industry and includes her current work as an agent at Eric Weiss ‘s Weiss Agency since 2007, based in the firm’s New York office. Prior to that, Cohen briefly led the programming arm of GreenStone Media, LLC — where she was VP of programming and significantly contributed to that initiative’s being awarded three Gracie Awards. During the decade prior to GreenStone, Cohen served as executive producer of the legendary, award-winning, Joan Hamburg show on WOR, New York and as the then-Buckley Broadcasting-owned heritage station’s assistant program director. Cohen is a graduate of Hofstra University and serves on its School of Communication Advisory Board. On making the announcement of Cohen’s selection for this honor, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “If anyone deserves this award recognizing an individual woman for not just her personal accomplishments in talk radio – but her contributions to the industry as well – then the selection of Heather Cohen is the quintessential choice. She is a marvelous broadcaster and her personal career achievements as a producer, APD and corporate programming executive speak for themselves — but as an observer of this scene who has been tracking the career of this extraordinary young woman for years, I must say, she is the Mother Teresa of agents. She personally shepherds the careers of approximately 10% of TALKERS’ entire ‘Heavy Hundred’ and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I have never seen an agent or manager care so deeply with heartfelt dedication to each and every one of the Weiss Agency’s impressive list of clients. In other words, she GIVES to the business on a level that changes the lives of everyone with whom she is connected and continues to make a real difference on a daily basis. It is extremely gratifying to see a truly outstanding industry woman of this quality receive the award.” Harrison goes on to say, “I have often stated that all of us at TALKERS look forward to the day when it is no longer necessary or appropriate for there to be a special ‘woman’ award in talk radio — but unfortunately, as the numbers so starkly indicate, that day is not today. Thank you, Heather, for your tireless, selfless dedication to both the hard working women AND men of talent out there in the tough trenches of today’s radio trying to keep the spirit of our unique culture alive in the 21st century.” Heather Cohen will be presented the “Woman of the Year” award in a special ceremony at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10 by last year’s distinguished recipient, KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci. Talkers Los Angeles 2013 is nearing a sellout within about a week. It is open only to members of the working media. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
CBS Radio Makes Management Moves in Los Angeles and Tampa. Former Cox Media Group Miami market manager Dan Kearney is named senior vice president and market manager for the company’s Los Angeles cluster that includes all news KNX, CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP Radio,” adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 Jack FM,” alternative KROQ, classic hits KRTH “K-Earth,” and AC KTWV “94.7 The Wave.” As explained by CBS Radio EVP of operations Scott Herman, the change allows current LA market manager Steve Carver to move back East as desired where he’ll head up the Tampa cluster. Kearney managed the Miami cluster for CMG from 2012-2013 after moving down from news/talk WSB, Atlanta. He first joined Cox at news/talk KFI, Los Angeles in 1998 as local sales manager when that company owned the station. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason says of Kearney, “Dan is an accomplished broadcaster and exactly the right executive to shape a new future for our iconic radio stations in Los Angeles. He has an impressive record of experience managing the operations of a multitude of different radio formats, producing noteworthy growth across all key measures. Dan’s a fabulous addition to our organization.” Steve Carver will replace Ben Hill whom the company says agreed more than a year ago to work across the state from his home in the West Palm Beach area. He will work through the transition until October 11 and be available to the company through the end of the year. CBS Radio operates six stations in Tampa including: sports talk WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010” and WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan,” rhythmic CHR WLLD “Wild 94.1,” country WQYK, classic hits WRBQ “My Q105,” and Spanish WYUU “92.5 Maxima.”
Rob Babin to Lead CMG’s Miami Cluster. Cox Media Group promotes Rob Babin to vice president and market manager for its Miami station group that includes hot AC WFLC “97.3 The Coast,” urban contemporary WHQT “Hot 105 FM,” hip hop WEDR “99 Jamz,” and soft AC WFEZ “Easy 93.1.” Cox EVP of Radio Kim Guthrie states, “We are delighted to tap into our amazing, internal leadership talent pool and have Rob step into this new executive role, overseeing our Miami operation. He has been an outstanding leader in his 12 years with CMG, both in our Orlando and Atlanta radio markets. His strategic vision, incredible performance track record and desire to be the best make him a great fit for this opportunity.” Babin most recently was vice president of sales for the Atlanta stations, including news/talk WSB, one of the top 10 billing stations in the country. Babin comments, “I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with so many great people at CMG Atlanta, and I know their tradition of success will continue. Now I am thrilled to work with the phenomenal group of radio stations and talented team that make up CMG Miami!”
Clear Channel Flips KOY, Phoenix to Business as ‘Business 1230 KFYI.’ Gone are adult standards on KOY-AM and in is business talk format using predominantly Bloomberg Radio content. The station is airing the “Big Business with Sully” program from 9:00 am to 11:00 am with more local programming on the way according to program director Neil Larrimore. He states, “The business format fits well into the KFYI brand. Businesses and individuals are always looking for ways to manage their money better, to do more with less, and to make sure their futures are secure. This touches everybody – it’s a natural relationship for the established and trusted KFYI information brand to be part of this format.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Doyle Hadden of Hadden & Associates Media Brokers. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Doyle Hadden of Hadden & Associates Media Brokers located in the Orlando area of Florida. Hadden went into being a broker after years of being in radio and television sales, management and ownership. He says he wasn’t “good enough” to be an on-air talent so he found a way to make money “behind the scenes.” He says, “Based on the past five or six years, things are on the rise in buyers’ interest in getting back into the game, now that the economy has shown signs of improving. Look at Larry Wilson, who sold Citadel for more than $2 billion and now he is back in the hunt, along with many other great players in the business.” He adds, “There are some very attractive deals out there but the prices seem to be going up across the board, especially in the larger and top 20 markets.” Per the custom of this feature, Hadden offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
Odds & Sods. WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” talk show host Tom Waddle is joining the mothership’s “Football Sunday on ESPN Radio” beginning this season and starting with the first show September 8 at 1:00 pm ET. Waddle co-hosts the “Waddle & Silvy” show on WMVP. Waddle will work from the company’s Bristol, Connecticut studios and will also appear on Sunday editions of ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and on ESPN2’s “Cowherd on Football” – the new hour-long program focusing on both college and pro football discussion and commentary with host Colin Cowherd that airs from 9:00 am to 10:00 am ET…..St. Louis Rams great Torry Holt signs on with Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” to serve as the station’s football insider providing exclusive weekly call-ins to the station. He’ll make three weekly appearances on the station: Each Monday morning during “Zach and Rammer,” Wednesdays on “The Turn” with Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter, and Friday afternoons on “The Fast Lane” with Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.
Salem Communications Sponsoring Kevin Jackson’s “Reparations Comedy Tour.” Talk show host, speaker and author Kevin Jackson’s “The Reparations Comedy Tour” gains more support as Salem Communications agrees to join Americans for Prosperity and The Daily Caller as sponsors for his new conservative comedy tour featuring Brad Stine, Tim Wilkins, Even Sayet, and Tim Young. WLSS, Sarasota “News Talk 930 AM” and WGUL, Tampa “Talk Radio 860 AM” are leading the promotional efforts on behalf of the company. A press release for the tour states that “Jackson and his friends will be taking aim at the politically correct world America has become, especially when it comes to dealing with race relations. The tour kicks off on Thursday, September 12, with two shows at The Crest Theatre in Delray Beach, Florida, and moves to the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida the next evening with future dates to be announced soon.”
Two Katz and a (former) Congressman. Former Congressman Allen West (l) is pictured here with Boston Herald Radio morning drive host Jeff Katz (r) and Katz’s eldest son Harry (c). As part of the Hausman Memorial Speakers Series in Stoughton, Massachusetts on August 15, Jeff Katz was featured along with former Congressman West. According to Jeff Katz, his son Harry’s review of the event was as follows: “Allen was great! And my Dad was pretty good, too.” Photo by Eric Kahn.
U.S.-Egypt Relations, Ted Cruz Citizenship Issue, Clinton Foundation Expenses Scrutiny, ObamaCare Implementation, 2016 Presidential Jockeying, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top Stories Yesterday (8/19). Violence in Egypt and the state of the United States’ relationship with the country; the case of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s Canadian citizenship status; controversy over the expenses at the Clinton Foundation; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the early jockeying for position in the 2016 presidential race; and financial markets activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Curtis Wright and George Bell to Launch Wilmington, NC Talk Station Monday. After splitting from Cumulus Media in late 2012 and partnering with area businessman and local Republican activist George Bell, Curtis Wright began producing his “On the Beat” internet talk program from the duo’s Talk Media TV studios in February of this year. Now, Wright and Bell are launching news/talk outlet “My Talker” on class A FM WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina at 106.7 on Monday July 22. The station will feature Wright’s program in morning drive followed by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham, and Premiere’s Sean Hannity. Other network shows to be carried include: TRN’s Andrea Tantaros, Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM,” “Handel on the Law,” Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, Gary Sullivan, Leo Laporte and more.
Former Governor David Paterson Officially Joins ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in New York. The former governor of New York has been co-hosting the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show alongside Curtis Sliwa – dubbed “Curtis and the Gov” – for about a month now but Salem Communications announces David Paterson officially joins the WNYM in a permanent capacity. Sliwa, who’s been pulling double duty at the station for some time, will continue to host the morning show solo from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. After leaving the governor’s office, Paterson joined WOR, New York but exited that station when Clear Channel bought it from Buckley Broadcasting. He says of returning to the air, “I am ecstatic at the prospect of returning to talk radio at ‘AM 970 The Answer’ and co-hosting with one of the living legends in the business, Curtis Sliwa. Working with Curtis, as opposed to being a solo host, gives me a wider berth to air my opinions and strike up an interesting back-and-forth with an outspoken and articulate critic on everything.” WNYM VP/GM Jerry Crowley, who hired Paterson while working at WOR, states, “There was no more beloved or recognizable figure in talk radio than the Gov. It’s amazing how fast he became skilled behind the microphone. He created quite a buzz when he first started reading commercials and our clients simply loved it. He was a big part of our success.”
WFAN, New York Prepares to Launch 4th Annual Fantasy Phenom Challenge. CBS Radio sports talk WFAN, New York is kicking off its 4th annual Fantasy Phenom Challenge next week at Modell’s Sporting Goods on Columbus Avenue in New York City. This promotion is a contest for local listeners to show the station their sports talk chops and win a chance to host a program on WFAN. The contest begins Thursday at 12:00 noon at the Columbus Ave. Modell’s location, then moves to the Edgewater, New Jersey location on Saturday, July 27 and to the Plainview, New York location on Tuesday, July 30. At each location the station will audition up to 100 contestants who must deliver a 2-minute rant in front of the judges. Winners move on with the final five competing for the ultimate prize at Mike Francesa’s “End of Summer” bash and radio show broadcast live on-air and online at www.wfan.com from Bar A in Lake Como, New Jersey on Friday, August 23. WFAN operations manager and CBS Radio New York VP of programming Mark Chernoff says, “Once again it’s ‘Fantasy Phenom’ time on ‘The Fan.’ This year we’re partnering with Modell’s Sporting Goods to hold first round auditions at three of their area stores as we look for another grand prize winner who will receive a weekly air shift for a year on WFAN and this year as an added bonus, the winner will receive a two year lease of a brand new Lester Glenn Hyundai. Let the fun begin!”
Walter Sabo Interviewed by Bob Shannon at The Conclave. In a riveting one-on-one presentation, Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo was interviewed by The Conclave executive director Bob Shannon yesterday (7/18) during the conclusion of the second day of the three-day industry gathering in Minneapolis. Sabo discussed a number of the highlights of his colorful career in radio and explained his view of the evolving relationship between popular culture and video on the internet. The consultant also discussed radio’s need to take more chances on new concepts and stop the practice of playing follow the leader. The Conclave concludes today (7/19) with “Game Day” sessions geared to sports radio and a trip this evening to a Minnesota Twins baseball game.
NRG Media’s ‘1620 The Zone’ in Omaha to Launch Nick Bahe Show. Sports talker KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” announces former Creighton University hoops star Nick Bahe becomes part of the lineup with a daily 11:00 am to 2:00 pm eponymous program. The station says Bahe’s program joins the “entirely live and local” lineup. Bahe’s show follows lead-in “Sharp & Benning” and is followed by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” with hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe in afternoon drive.
Jeff Katz Takes Part in Boston Herald Online Program. Boston-based talk media personality Jeff Katz (most recently with Clear Channel’s former news/talk WXKS-AM, Boston) is pictured here on the set of the Boston Herald’s “Press Party” program that is part of the paper’s online initiative. Seen here (from l-r) are: Joe Battenfeld (formerly of FOX 25/Boston), Jaclyn Cashman (formerly of WWLP-TV/Springfield), Tito Jackson (Boston City Councilor), Katz, and Dr. Bob Rosenthal (Chairman of Suffolk University Communications Department).
Odds & Sods. ESPN Radio – which will broadcast 17 NFL games this season – announces it’ll kick off the season with Tennessee at Pittsburgh on Sunday, September 8…..Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City renews its deal with the NBA’s Thunder to continue serving as flagship station for the team. The two sides recently signed a multi-year agreement that provides for Spanish-language play-by-play on sister WKY.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. Pilot Media’s WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois adds “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney to the program schedule….. WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment’s Kim Komando program adds new affiliates: WWIQ, Philadelphia; KSRO, Santa Rosa, California; KYKN, Kaiser, Oregon and KXLY, Spokane…..Sports talk show “From the Press Box to Press Row” with Donal Ware adds new affiliates KKNO, New Orleans and WVWI, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 15-19. The aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict landed atop the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare. At #3 was the IRS’ scrutiny of conservative groups and individuals and following at #4 was immigration reform and amnesty. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — As I have mentioned in this column previously, I am involved with an independently syndicated program, Ron Ananian: The Car Doctor. The program airs live on an independent network on Saturdays from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, with some affiliates delaying the show until Sunday to broadcast. The story of putting this together and making it work when The Car Doctor show was bounced from the WOR Radio Network lineup when Clear Channel purchased WOR is an article in itself. And yes, that will be another article, because it is entirely possible to take a program into independent syndication and make it work.
Pioneering Talk Radio Host Gene Burns Dead at 72. Longtime talk radio host and broadcasting pioneer Gene Burns has died, succumbing to a long illness marked by a series of strokes. In the words of TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, “Gene was one of the greatest of the great and classiest of the classy – a true ‘wordsmith’ and gentleman who symbolized everything good about talk radio and served as one of the major engines that drove the ascent of its modern era.” Until recently forced by illness into retirement from on-air performing, Burns had spent a decade and a half as a key host on KGO, San Francisco where he did a general news/talk program as well as a very popular restaurant and entertainment show. The veteran of a number of great stations, he made his mark in the late-1980s and early-1990s as a member of the legendary lineup at WRKO, Boston that also included the late Jerry Williams. That was followed by a brief but high-profile stint at WOR, New York and national syndication on the WOR Radio Network. Harrison adds, “Gene Burns practiced a brand of libertarian-based, intellectual populism in his approach to political news/talk that set the standard for the format’s emergence as a voice for the average person to stand up to big government, big business, big media and big anything. Although ‘conservative’ in his orientation, he eschewed blatant partisanship, avoided banal cookie-cutter left-versus-right talking points and dealt with each issue in an academically probing and credible manner.” Burns’ ground breaking work in the early-1990s stood as the inspiration for TALKERS magazine’s annual Freedom of Speech Award and the tradition of the annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at the publication’s conventions. He is ranked the 23rd most important radio talk show host of all time by TALKERS in its “Heaviest Hundred” feature which is updated twice a decade. Harrison concludes, “His rich, baritone voice coupled with the artistry of his word selection and ability to construct a logical argument was about as close to music as one could hear within a spoken word context.” A special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns aired on Sunday, May 26 on KGO hosted by David Weintraub and a special tribute will be presented honoring his legacy at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.
Adult Contemporary is a Relatively Low-Involvement Format on Facebook. According to digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on. As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format. At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post. The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it. When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three ‘Likes’ on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.” In a new column posted today (5/28) Miller suggests that although consistency is basically a good and necessary thing, there is a dark side to it and to avoid falling into a rut, radio broadcasters of all formats should make changes to approximately 10% of their posts on a regular basis. To read the details and Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Kent Sterling Returns to Indy on Sports Talk WFNI. News/talk and sports radio pro Kent Sterling re-surfaces on the air at Emmis’ sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis for a weekend program with Chris Hagan called, “Ahead of the Curve with Hagan and Sterling.” He most recently served with Bonneville at its St. Louis sports talker WXOS but exited that post to return to Indianapolis. Prior to his work at WXOS, Sterling served as program director at Emmis’ news/talk flagship WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Sterling’s and Hagan’s weekend program airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.
NBA on Radio Is a Different Breed of Sports Play-by-Play. Major League Baseball is the sport that could be called radio’s best friend and the NFL’s astounding popularity makes its games and surrounding programming popular with listeners. While the NBA’s regular season games are not generally thought of as “programming gold” across the country, it appears that having even a moderately successful team combined with a flagship station with a strong nighttime signal, can be a recipe for success with basketball play-by-play. According to information from Arbitron based on PPM data from 27 NBA teams in 25 PPM markets, certain places are simply basketball towns – the Los Angeles Lakers rule Los Angeles on KSPN with average game estimates larger than the Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Ducks grabbing a 4.0 share with Men 25-54 (average of all 82 games). And perennial contenders the San Antonio Spurs dominated on WOAI with a 9.8 share with Men 25-54. However, less successful teams on strong flagships performed well during the regular season: the Milwaukee Bucks just squeaked into the playoffs but on heritage WTMJ garnered a 10 share with Men 25-54; the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs yet grabbed a 9.7 share (M 25-54) on WTAM; and the Detroit Pistons also missed the playoffs but notched an 8.0 (M 25-54) share on the highly rated WXYT-FM. Considering games in the East and Midwest air in the evenings, numbers for the stations cited above – and others not cited here – are impressive nighttime ratings.
Flagship Stations Should Capitalize on Cross-Promotional Opportunities within Baseball PBP. According to Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl, “If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another daypart on your station.” Arbitron reports that MLB drives cume increases as much as 50% to 65% during baseball season. Pendl tells TALKERS, “This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming. In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play-by-play is the closest thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.” In an exclusive article posted today (5/28) Pendl describes and shares a production/promo technique conducted by Bonneville to cross-promote the station via the baseball audience that he calls “situation baseball return liners.” To read the entire piece and hear examples of its execution, click here.
Buckley to Sell KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. Buckley Communications announces it is selling sports talk KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. The price is yet to be announced. KYZZ is the FM side of the sports talk simulcast that also airs on Buckley’s KIDD, Monterey and Buckley says it will continue with its ESPN Radio affiliation on KIDD. Mt. Wilson has not announced its format plans for KYZZ. Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson also owns country KKGO, Los Angeles and classical simulcast KMZT-AM, Beverly Hills and KMZT-FM, Big Sur, California.
WTOP Hacking: Why You Should Worry. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the recent hacking of the websites of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED “Federal News Radio.” Weisman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on scams, he operates the website Scamicide that presents up-to-date information about scams, fraud and identity theft, and is the author of The Truth About Avoiding Scams (FT Press 2008). In this column, Weisman explains the methods used by the WTOP hackers and explains the steps users can take to avoid becoming the victim of similar attacks. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Martz Communications’ WPDM, Potsdam, New York flips from a simulcast of FM sister WSNN to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network…..Wilks License Company’s sports talk WZOH, Columbus becomes part of the Cleveland Browns radio network based at CBS Radio’s WKRK, Cleveland…..WTOP, Washington crowns Nathan Stanford from Harrington, Delaware the 2013 winner of “Commuter Idle” – an “extreme commuter” competition for listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington. Stanford’s commute begins with a 3:00 am alarm and a one-hour drive. He then boards a commuter bus for a 90-minute ride from Kent Island to Foggy Bottom, rides the Metro, and hustles on foot to his office in Rosslyn. Stanford’s travels from Delaware to Virginia average more than five hours a day, though the commute can be much longer in the summer months with Friday beach traffic. He receives $1,000 in gas money and will enjoy a limo ride to and from work from Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “The question that we hear most often is, ‘Why do these people do it?’ It’s fascinating to hear their personal stories and accompany them on their crazy commutes. We feel their pain, and as DC’s traffic authority we’re here to help.”
KOIL, Omaha’s Mulberry Lane Meets the Beach Boys and John Stamos. Musical act Mulberry Lane opened for the Beach Boys (which includes actor and musician John Stamos) in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, May 25. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bo Mulberry, Bruce Johnston, Rachel Mulberry, Mike Love, Allie Mulberry, and John Stamos. The Mulberry sisters – based in Nebraska – also host a weekend talk show on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha called the “Mulberry Lane Radio Show.” The station describes the ladies’ program saying the sisters “decided to bring their busy lives to live radio with a show based on sisterhood, womanhood, motherhood, and the humor and mishaps of trying to juggle it all – woven together with music, harmony and a dash of wit.” It airs Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Longtime KNX, Los Angeles Anchor Harry Birrell Dies. Longtime Los Angeles news personality Harry Birrell died on May 26 after a battle with lung disease at age 85 in Thousand Oaks, California. Birrell was an anchor at all-news KNX, Los Angeles for more than three decades – beginning in 1968 when the station flipped to the all-news format and ending with his retirement in 1999. Birrell switched from his anchor role at the station to Ventura County correspondent in 1993.
Kevin Miller Stops By TheBlaze. KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller was visiting Dallas – home of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – and took some time to stop by the studios to check out the production of the Glenn Beck program. Here’s a shot of Beck (l) and Miller (r) inside the spacious former movie/TV studios that are home to Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts production facility.
Limbaugh-Cumulus Talk Radio Sales Issue Plays Out in Consumer Press. In a piece in the New York Daily News published over the weekend, the war of words over challenged sales of talk radio time at Cumulus Media properties (specifically WABC) became public as the paper quoted a “source close to Limbaugh” said, in effect, that Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey needs to stop blaming Rush Limbaugh for sales trouble at his news/talk stations. Dickey has made public statements – at both investor conference calls and in media appearances – about the negative effect of Rush Limbaugh’s February 2012 Sandra Fluke “slut” controversy that he says is still dragging down sales at his major market news/talk stations. As the Daily News story reports, Cumulus claimed that the high-profile controversy was responsible for lost millions in the first two quarters of 2012. But the story quotes the Limbaugh source stating, “Dickey keeps complaining about falling revenue, but his stations have long lagged behind their competitors in sales by a substantial margin. Rush Limbaugh’s ratings have outperformed every other program on WABC and many other Cumulus stations for years.” The piece notes that Cumulus is not commenting on this latest salvo. Limbaugh’s Premiere Networks contract with WABC, New York expires at the end of 2013 and with Clear Channel’s recent purchase of crosstown WOR, some industry watchers expect his program will move to WOR in 2014.
Michael Savage-TRN Actions Still in the Courts. The legal activity surrounding talk radio host Michael Savage’s successful bid to free himself from his Talk Radio Network contract last fall and subsequently sign on with Cumulus Media Networks is still in the courts. Michael Savage celebrated a Thursday, May 2 ruling in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in which Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers upheld the arbitration panel’s decision to release him from his contract and award him $863,454 plus other money from earnings. Responding to the ruling, Original Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters states, “We are appealing this ruling. We are confident of a successful outcome for OTRN in this next round of appeals.” Speaking to World Net Daily, Savage attorney Dan Horowitz says the case “establishes the ability of radio talent to break away from an employer like any other employee.”
Glenn Beck Delivers Keynote Address at NRA Convention. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio host and television and digital media entrepreneur Glenn Beck delivered the keynote address at this year’s NRA Convention held in Houston over the weekend. He’s pictured here during the speech holding a rifle given to him prior to an appearance in Kentucky. His 1 hour and 40 minute presentation was far more than a typical keynote delivered from behind a podium. Glenn Beck’s skills as a speaker and performer were clearly evident as he kept the audience rapt and engaged during what might have been an interminable amount of time to witness a lesser talented public speaker work. The politics of his message aside and from a purely industrial standpoint, his keynote at this event was a great example of how a top-notch communicator effectively delivers a message and shows why he stands above so many of his colleagues. See the speech here. Glenn Beck will also be speaking at the Talkers New York 2013 industry conference (although for a shorter period of time) on Thursday, June 6 where he will be receiving the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award.
Photograph Case Brings Legal Issues Home for Broadcasters. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the legal issues surrounding the use of a photograph of a young man with Down Syndrome by Cox Media’s WHPT, Tampa on its website are numerous and serve as an excellent case from which broadcasters can learn. As we reported recently, the family of the young man – Adam Holland, who was 17 when the picture of him was taken in 2004 – is suing Cox Media in federal court in Tennessee for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of a likeness, defamation, intentional infliction of emotion distress and violation of a Tennessee statute regarding commercial exploitation of a person’s photograph. Weisman writes that photos such as the one of Adam Holland can become internet memes — images, videos, photographs or phrases that rapidly spread throughout the internet by way of search engines, social networking services, social news sites or video hosting services. Weisman states, “Often these memes may be altered for purposes of parody of the original work, a use that is protected in accordance with a long line of court decisions. However, other times there are serious intellectual property issues when an original work is used or adapted for commercial purposes as was the case with the use by WHPT. While the exception to the intellectual property laws of ‘fair use’ may apply when a piece is altered and used, as often is done on the internet, for non-commercial purposes, this defense does not apply when intellectual property is used for commercial purposes.” Read more of Weisman’s analysis of this case here.
Using Facebook to Turn News/Talk Radio Social Media Initiatives into a “Loyalty Content Marketing” Program: In a new article posted today (5/6), noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chis Miller advises readers, “You can turn your social media into a ‘loyalty content marketing’ program for those ultra-passionate fans you have.” Miller points out, “Unfortunately, just about all news/talk stations with a Facebook page have the same problem. There’s a lot of content posted about news. However, there is almost no content about what the talk shows are doing. I’m sure syndication is one reason for this; if the talk host is not in the building, how are you going to know what he or she is planning to talk about, and when? Even so, this is a problem with local talk hosts, too. I don’t see a lot of social media content about local shows. Those local talk host posts that I do see often don’t offer a lot of specifics. I’m not told when to listen; I’m not told why I would want to listen; I’m not invited to engage.” Miller shares a couple of basic but extremely valuable tips about how to use Facebook and Twitter more effectively for your news/talk station. To read the entire article, click here.
Holland Cooke Asks: Do Your Station Promos Sound ‘Like Blah, Blah, Blah?’ In a new article posted today (5/6) noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke tackles the ever-important goal of increasing Time Spent Listening (TSL). He says one of the keys to accomplishing this is to make effective use of station promos stating: “Nothing we say about the station on air adds listeners, because the only people who hear promos are already listening.” He says it is vital to think about your demos and specifically what they are doing and care about while listening when writing and producing promos. He addresses each of these considerations in the article, concluding, “Give a listen, outside the station and outside the box. Every time you hear your station say-something-about-itself – live format language, or produced promo — ask yourself: Will THAT cause a listener to come back again another time?” To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.
Indiana Sports Broadcaster Greg Rakestraw to Program WFNI, Indianapolis. Emmis Communications announces Indiana sports broadcaster Greg Rakestraw is the new program director for its sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis “1070 The Fan.” The position opened up when Alan Furst left WFNI and sister news/talk WIBC-FM to join Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston back in December. The company upped then-WFNI PD David Wood to programmer for WIBC, leaving the slot open. Rakestraw has worked at numerous Indianapolis stations including sports talkers WNDE and WXLW as well as at cable TV operation Home Town Sports Indiana.
WPRO, Providence Late-Morning Host John DePetro to Host Live Interview Series. WPRO, Providence talk show host John DePetro is hosting a live interview series at the newly re-opened Greenwich Odeum theater in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. On Wednesday, May 8, DePetro will host former Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce, and Father Bernie Healey, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, who also serves as Chaplain of the Rhode Island Capitol Police. He’ll speak with each for 30 minutes before a live audience as part of a fundraiser for the theater as all proceeds will go to the Odeum. DePetro says he chose the three guests for their interesting background and ability to tell good stories. He also likes the chance to facilitate a discussion before a live audience, telling the Warwick Beacon, “All of these people are very, very well skilled in the art of being good conversationalists. I’m more of a mechanism to get them to tell their stories. It’s been really fun to put it together with the speakers. They’ve been very receptive.”
Mike Greenberg Survives “The Mess.” ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg proudly brandishes the trophy he was awarded for completing the “Mike & Mike the Mess” obstacle course at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. Greenberg (second from left) is pictured here with his family – wife Stacy, son Stephen and daughter Nicole – after making good on his wager with co-host Mike Golic in the “Mike & Mike Sheets of Integrity Challenge Presented by Werner Ladder.” The annual challenge pits the two hosts against each other as they fill out their March Madness brackets prior to the annual college hoops tourney.
Jacobs Media Summer School 4 to Kick Off Conclave Learning Conference. The Conclave announces the high impact sessions for Jacobs Media’s Summer School 4 which kicks off the 38th annual Conclave Learning Conference on Wednesday, July 17. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “Conclave 38 begins with what has become a tradition, the fourth annual Jacobs Media Summer School. This year, as part of our commitment to provide ideas that folks can actually take back to work and use, we’ll learn how winners think, how great morning shows are built, and how non-media companies are using social media in ways radio has never thought of. And, that’s just the first day of this year’s Conclave. Stay tuned for more agenda announcements this week.” The Summer School curriculum will include: One-to-one with Jaye Albright; Talent Development; Mobile 2.0; Simply Social; Inside the Mind of Dave Hamilton; Jobs To Do and much more. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “We have a great lineup for this year’s Summer School, including the star power of Rockwell inductee Jaye Albright to the legendary Dave Hamilton. Plus, the social media guru from the Mall of America – Bridget Jewell – and Target stores – Joe Curry. And we’ll have great sessions including social media effectiveness, what’s new in mobile apps and the challenge of the ‘digital dash.’”
By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — You may have noticed that my column is late this week. I normally write it over the weekend. Something told me to hold off. And today there is something to talk about.
And I said this at least 5 years ago.
By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — One of the things I am doing these days is administering the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program for the New York State Broadcaster’s Association. Huh? You don’t know what ABIP is? Allow me to explain.
Just about every State Broadcaster’s Association runs an ABIP program. For a nominal fee, the Association will send an inspector in to run your station through an FCC type inspection. The good news is, we’re not the FCC. If we find something amiss, you have the opportunity to fix it. If you can fix it while we’re there, great. If not, you will normally have to pay a re-inspection charge so that the inspector can sign off on the fix.
By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — I made a Facebook posting last week regarding a radio program I am involved with – Ron Ananian, The Car Doctor. A friend who has a voice over business posted that he’s heard the show through one of his clients and thought it was a good show and sounded really good. I posted back that I bet he never would have guessed we deliver the audio to the satellite uplink via an IP codec. Another voice over friend chimed in wanting to know what codec we were using. My first friend then said, “what’s an IP codec?” Uh, oh.
Back in the “good old days”, if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (aka, the phone company) or you sent a tape.
Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate. These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK – The challenge of working at most radio stations or broadcast companies is the staff is pre-occupied with job security. As a result, trends that should be noted and discussed are dismissed in order to prepare the weekend schedule and worry about corporate. As the CEO of an executive-on-demand company, Sabo Media, we are presented daily with new products, talent and ideas. Here are five that are interesting and may be helpful in growing your business:
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Up 4% in Q4 of 2012; Premiere National Sales Down. The Media and Entertainment division of CC Media Holdings was up 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 on revenue of $821.5 million. But that figure was helped greatly by the $40 million in political advertising the division realized. Otherwise it would have been down by as much as $9 million. During yesterday’s conference call with analysts, CFO Tom Casey also said, “We increased national advertising sales by 17% over last year’s fourth quarter, or 3% excluding political, and local revenues grew 5%. We also saw a nice lift in revenue from digital, with our listening hours up 68% over the fourth quarter of 2011, fueled by increased iHeartRadio usage, which reached 118 million total listening hours in December.” But both Premiere Networks and the Total Traffic Network had down fourth quarters and are off to sluggish starts in 2013. The company does not break down specific numbers for these divisions. Casey did say Total Traffic Network is still struggling with the merger of Metro Networks. As for Premiere, he simply said national sales were weak for the division. For the full year of 2012 Casey reported, “Media and Entertainment revenues grew 3% to $3.1 billion. National revenue rose 9%, driven by both our new national advertising efforts and political. Local revenue was up 2% for the year. Our top advertising categories were auto and telecommunications. Political advertising reached $70 million for the year.”
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Remain on WABC, New York – for Now. During yesterday’s CC Media Holdings conference call with analysts, chief financial officer Tom Casey did not give specifics when asked about the much-speculated-upon move of Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh from his current and longtime home at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR. But he did say, “No decisions have been made…we’re working through our options.” Contracts with WABC for both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity run through the end of 2013 and it doesn’t appear CC is preparing to exercise the 90-out clause and move the shows to WOR. Still, the option to move them to WOR in January of 2014 after their deals with WABC end must seem like a nice, clean way of doing it – if that is the company’s ultimate goal.
Sports Talk in Boston Is “Its Own Breed.” That’s the sentiment from sports talk personality Mike Salk, who is preparing to return to his native Boston to join Michael Holley for the PM drive shift on Entercom’s WEEI in mid-March. He says he can’t say enough about the people of Seattle and how much he’s enjoyed his time at Bonneville’s KIRO-AM co-hosting with Brock Huard. But he also says, “The passion and intensity of Boston sports fans – the frustration when things don’t go as they’d like – those things are different in Boston than anywhere else in the country.” Salk will fill the void in the afternoon show that opened when longtime Boston sports personality Glenn Ordway was let go from the station last week. Salk tells TALKERS the fact that Boston is such an intense sports town helps make WEEI “the gold standard for sports radio. It’s why people have always talked about it as one of the biggest sports stations, if not the biggest and most important sports station in the country.” Salk says the opportunity to work in his hometown at WEEI is one thing, but the goal is to capitalize on it and he’s excited about working with Michael Holley. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to talk sports with him every day. Not just talk sports but ‘banter.’ That’s the fun thing about sports radio, it’s not always arguing, it’s not always angry or fighting; I think of it more as bantering – two guys going back and forth with a smile on their faces. Sometimes it gets heated, sometimes it’s just straight fun, but it’s banter.” Salk is a rabid Boston Bruins fan and he says he’s looking forward to getting back to a hockey town. “It’s in my blood. I grew up watching those games.” Salk and Huard helped build the midday show at KIRO-AM to the point they hit the #1 mark in men 25-54 last September. He’s been a part of the ESPN Radio network since 2007, hosting “SportsCenter Saturday” and serving as a regular fill-in host over the past few years. Prior to going to Seattle in 2009 he worked for ESPN 890 in Boston (WAMG) for four years co-hosting middays with Bob Halloran. Vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “Mike Salk has a proven record of success, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him back home to Boston. He’s a very skilled broadcaster, a fun personality and a passionate sports fan. I’m really looking forward to the new dynamic that he and Michael Holley will provide on a daily basis.”
Emmis Adds FM Translator to Sports WFNI, Indianapolis Brand. The translator W298BB at 107.5 FM is simulcasting part of sister WFNI-AM’s programming but is carrying ESPN Radio’s midday programming of Colin Cowherd and SVP & Russillo from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. In a statement, Emmis Indianapolis SVP and market manager Charlie Morgan says, “The launch of ‘FM 107.5 The Fan’ demonstrates Emmis’ deep commitment to making ‘The Fan’ Indy’s dominant sports brand. Given that Emmis is credited with creating the first sports talk station in the United States, it only seems fitting that we would deliver the city’s first FM sports station to Indy’s sports-loving fans.”
Illinois Attorney and Radio Host Found Liable in Missing Money Case. Illinois attorney Kathleen Niew, her husband and her law firm were found partially liable in DuPage County Court for the some $2.3 million that a local couple claims Niew misappropriated. Niew hosts a brokered financial advice program on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago. The couple, Jamal and Leda Khoury, deposited the money in an account controlled by Niew. According to the Chicago Tribune, her former attorney stated in court filings that the Niews are victims of the same crime as a third party is responsible for the missing money.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington reports a big January in the Arbitron PPMs. Vice president of news and programming Jim Farley says the station went up dramatically from January a year ago in the 25-54 demo. He also says, “WTOP is # 1 25-54 full week and both drives, #2 nights and #3 middays and weekends. Note the incredible 11.4 share in persons 25-54 in morning drive and the even more eye-popping 14.4 women 25-54. Full week we’re also # 1 with women 25-54 and I give the credit on that to WTOP PD Laurie Cantillo.”…..In another note from WTOP, the station announces it is adding Wall Street Journal Network news anchor Joan Jones to its roster of news anchors. Jones has been a network business anchor for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2008, writing and anchoring network broadcasts and customized business updates for major market stations. Prior to joining WSJ, Jones was the morning news anchor at WPHT in Philadelphia and the morning co-host of “Chris and JJ” on Philly’s B101. She states, “What an honor to join this legacy radio station and to work alongside the best in the business.”…..WFLA, Tampa-based news anchor Martin Giles is retiring from Clear Channel on March 1. In a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the 76-year-old Giles says he’s leaving the place he’s been for 28 years due to the workload where the company requires them to do news for Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and other markets as well. “It’s an overload of work they were handing us. I’ve had a little trouble with it…I am really worn out when I go home on Friday.”…..The Heritage Foundation-produced “Istook Live!” talk show – hosted by former Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook – adds C.J. Wheeler as co-host and executive producer. In the additional role of executive producer, Wheeler will oversee the show’s content across radio, digital and TV platforms.
Sequestration/Deficit Reduction, Gun Control Issue, Immigration Reform, Soaring Gas Prices, and Oscar Pistorius Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). The Washington battle over who’s responsible for the looming sequestration; the ongoing dialog over new gun control measures; the Obama Administration’s policy on immigration reform; the fast-rising prices at the pump; and the murder case of Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Spencer Brown to Sole Dial Global CEO Post; David Landau Resigns. In a major top-level management move, Dial Global ditches its three-person CEO structure and Spencer Brown becomes the sole CEO of the corporation. Former co-CEO David Landau resigns and former co-CEO Ken Williams takes on the president title and reports to Brown. In a statement, Dial Global says the reason for the changes are to “sharpen the company’s strategic focus and provide greater clarity to its advertising clients, station affiliates, producer partners and stockholders.” Spencer Brown states, “Along with me and Ken, David has led Dial Global since its formation in 2002, and he has been a cornerstone of the company’s growth and success. I am personally grateful for his significant contributions over the years, and I know that the entire organization feels the same. While David will certainly be missed, I am excited to lead the company forward and am convinced that Dial Global’s best days lie ahead.” David Landau adds, “Working with Spencer, Ken and many of the other talented executives at Dial Global over the last 10 years has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, both personally and professionally. I have tremendous respect for Spencer and believe that he has the necessary qualifications and passion to lead the company through its next stage of growth. I remain a meaningful shareholder of Dial Global and its most ardent supporter.”
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Gets Attention in Hometown Media Over Focus Group. The Boston Globe is reporting that Entercom’s sports brand WEEI, Boston conducted a focus group of 15 young men – believed to be on the younger side of the 25-54 demo – in late January. The key aspect of this is the subjects are reported to have been converts from WEEI to CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” The questions by the moderator of the focus group zeroed in on the perceptions about the morning and afternoon drive personalities, how they discovered WBZ-FM and what they think of various WEEI contributors and co-hosts. WEEI PD Jason Wolfe responded to a question from the Globe in an email simply stating, “These things are common. All companies do market research from time to time to gain insight into how they can improve.” Globe writer Chad Finn goes on to give his opinions about the WEEI personalities in the piece. That WEEI-AM/FM and WBZ-FM are locked in a battle in a lucrative sports town is not news, nor is the fact that WBZ-FM tends to beat WEEI in the younger demos while the strength of Boston Red Sox baseball pumps up WEEI during baseball season. Clearly each station has its own sound and one doesn’t have to listen very long to hear why they appeal to different demographics. The question for WEEI is, do they want to re-tool their lineup and alter their programming philosophy to go head-to-head with WBZ-FM for the younger demos or stick with the programming that has made them iconic in the region and sell the fact that they appeal to an older demo that has more disposable income. Decisions, decisions…
Attention Radio Managers: Time Cannot be Managed – but Tasks Can! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison once described the job of managing an active radio station as feeding human time and energy into a black hole in space. No matter how much you shovel in, it keeps demanding more and wants to be fed quicker and quicker. In today’s frenetic world of inter-connective multi-tasking, this observation rings truer than ever and it impacts all levels of communications industry management. Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers several valuable ways to navigate the time demands placed upon today’s radio managers. First of all, he says, “Time cannot be managed – don’t even try! But tasks can!” Read Cooke’s strategy for staying on top of the mountain of tasks facing today’s radio manager while avoiding the pitfalls and wipeouts of the non-stop stream of distractions, interruptions and nightmarish disorganization by clicking here.
Midway Broadcasting’s urban talk WVON, Chicago to Address City’s Deadly Violence. The market’s urban talk outlet is hosting and broadcasting a special live forum this evening addressing the ongoing violence that is plaguing the young African American population. Station personality Kendall Moore will host the event in front of a live, selected audience. Appearing on the program will be: Nathaniel Pendleton, father of Hadiya Pendleton; Tio Hardiman, director for Cure Violence Illinois; the Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of The Faith Community of Saint Sabina; Richard Wooten, member of the Chicago Police Department; Che’ Rhymefest Smith, recording artist, writer and community activist; Harold “Noonie G” Ward, former high-ranking Gangster Disciple gang leader and members of the Guardian Angels; Chicago’s Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has also been invited. The broadcast will air tonight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Larry Gifford to Exit Bonneville Seattle. Programmer Larry Gifford has been at the helm of news/talk KIRO-FM and conservative talker KTTH in Seattle for the past two years. But Gifford says that after some soul searching, he’s decided to resign from the post. In a memo to the staff he writes: “I am a big fan of Bonneville Seattle, the brands, philosophies, purpose, and the people who breathe life and personality into our products. I believe KIRO-FM and KTTH are positioned for success. I also recognize the stations have both evolved greatly in the two years I’ve been here. As stations evolve, their leaders need to evolve as well. As I’ve considered where we are and the road ahead, it has become clear to me that the type of leadership needed to keep moving these stations forward requires someone with different strengths and passions than mine. So, with mixed emotions, I have resigned my position at Bonneville Seattle. At Carl’s [GM Carl Gardner] request, I will be here through March 1 to help both stations through this transition. As to what comes next? I don’t know. Though, Becci, Henry and I are planning to go on a month-long RV adventure this Spring to visit friends, favorite places and make some memories.”
Tom Ray Resigns from Engineering Post at WOR, New York; Will Launch Consulting Business. After a 15-plus year career based at the former Buckley Broadcasting facility in Manhattan, engineer Tom Ray announces his resignation from the station via Facebook. He writes in a press release: After 15-1/2 years, Tom Ray is leaving WOR Radio in New York City. During Tom’s tenure at WOR, he had taken the station from an older analog facility into the digital world, culminating in the move of the WOR studio facility to downtown Manhattan. This was the world’s first large scale Axia deployment. Subsequently, he built WOR a new state-of-the-art transmitter facility in the New Jersey Meadowlands, retiring the former Lyndhurst, NJ facility that had served WOR for 40 years…Tom has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, was Chairman of SBE Chapter 15 in New York City for 9 years, has been on the NAB’s Broadcast Engineering Conference Committee several times, serving as Chairman of the Committee twice. Until the acquisition of WOR by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, he was corporate director of engineering of Buckley Broadcasting and chief engineer of WOR Radio. Tom’s immediate plans are to consult as Tom Ray Broadcast Consulting. He can be reached at email@example.com, or at 845-418-5065.
KGMZ, San Francisco Adds Sean O’Connell to Midday Show. Entercom sports talk KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” names college footballer and current MMA fighter Sean O’Connell to the midday program alongside Matt Steinmetz. O’Connell hosted AM drive and middays at Cumulus’ KFAN, Salt Lake City. In college, O’Connell played for the University of Utah, where he was a teammate of San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith and was coached by Urban Meyer (now with Ohio State). He was part of the undefeated 2004 team, which won the Fiesta Bowl and finished the season ranked #4 overall. After finishing his playing days, O’Connell began competing in MMA and was part of the cast of the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 on Spike TV. KGMZ PD Jason Barrett says, “To say that Sean O’Connell is a unique talent would be a tremendous understatement. Bay Area sports fans are going to love his passion, plus, now we also have a guaranteed bodyguard at future events, which will come in handy since our hosts have a tendency to fire up the fan base.” O’Connell begins his duties February 21.
SCPR’s Craig Curtis to Leave Pubcaster. Program director Craig Curtis will exit his role with Southern California Public Radio at the end of this week. LA Observed reports it’s not known if Curtis has a new position lined up or if recent turbulence at SCPR (the demise of Patt Morrison’s show and the matching of A Martinez with Madeleine Brand on the KPCC morning show and the popular Brand’s departure soon thereafter) had anything to do with Curtis’ exit. In other recent news about SCPR, the newsroom staff voted to unionize with SAG/AFTRA. Curtis received accolades from VP of content Russ Stanton in an email to staffers. He wrote, in part, “Craig has played an integral role in the growth and success of SCPR. From his then-perch as program director at Minnesota Public Radio, Craig oversaw the transformation of KPCC’s programming from its music and news format into the 24/7 news and information programming we deliver today. He also has been involved in the hiring of virtually all of our on-air talent, as well as the broadcast production staff. He is responsible for KPCC’s distinctive on-air sound which, among other things, boasts a core audience loyalty of 74%, a remarkable achievement.”
Jeff Katz Reports from the Heart of Nemo! Talk radio pro Jeff Katz didn’t waste the opportunity to take a few minutes from shoveling the two-plus feet of snow from his Boston-area driveway to appear on radio stations across the country on Friday. Katz shared his observations with the Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated Todd Schnitt show; Simon Conway’s WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive program and on the Kitty O’Neal and Pat Walsh morning show on Clear Channel’s KFBK, in snowless Sacramento. We couldn’t help noticing that, in the heart of Boston Bruins country, Jeff is sporting a Montreal Canadiens jacket. He is truly fearless!
Cumulus Wins First Round in Birmingham Non-Compete Case. A federal judge in Birmingham has ruled that sports talk WZNN “ESPN 97.3” program director Ryan Haney cannot work for the Cox Media station until more evidence is heard at a hearing scheduled for March 4. The Birmingham News reports Cumulus sought the prohibition after Haney – who had been with its crosstown competitor WJOX for the past 14 years – left the PD job there on January 21and began working at WZNN a week later. Cumulus claims Haney breached the six-month non-compete in his contract. Cumulus also states Haney could not work for a competitor during that time without giving Cumulus a chance to match the prospective employer’s offer. The animosity between the two sports talk stations did not begin with Haney’s case. In 2012, Cumulus and Birmingham sports talk personality Paul Finebaum engaged in a legal tussle over his employment situation but Finebaum eventually worked out his contract with WJOX and is sitting out a six-month non-compete after which it is widely assumed he’ll join WZNN. On a side note, Cox Media has put its Birmingham properties – including WZNN – up for sale.
Lew Dickey Tells Bloomberg “We’re Seeing a Shift in Spoken-Word Radio.” During an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey discussed his company’s plans involving marketing vertically based on the lifestyle appeal to consumers interested in certain types of entertainment. Although still bullish on Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, Dickey sounded much more behind sports than news/talk. “We’re seeing sort of a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports.” When asked why he stated, “I think people may be tired of all the partisan bickering so the ratings are a bit down in talk but they’re moving up nicely in sports.” Dickey said the reason sports is so popular among advertisers is because advertisers follow the audience and sports is popular right now.
Question of the Day: Why Do Radio Stations Still Announce School Closings? As the big Blizzard of ’13 begins to rumble across the Northeast (2/8), TALKERS monitors have been hearing morning shows across the region reading the perfunctory long lists of school closings within their listening areas. While there is no doubt that localism is proving to be a valuable asset to radio – especially when the medium rises to the occasion of serving the public interest during natural disasters and weather events – we have to shake our heads and wonder why so much valuable airtime is spent on reading these seemingly endless lists. Is it a matter of serving the public or just trying to sound like you’re doing so? It is a well-known (to parents and students alike) fact that most school districts in America post their snow status on their websites as soon as the information is available. If stations want in on that action they can list all the closings on their websites as well and announce that availability on the air. Considering that most, if not all, schools in a region close for blizzards, it would make a lot more sense to only announce those schools that might be choosing to remain open. Programmers might think that announcing school closings on the air over long chunks of time makes the station sound local and in touch – but in truth, it makes the station boring and seem out of touch.
Cumulus Birmingham Imports Sports Talk Duo from KTCK, Dallas. In a story related to the one above, Cumulus sports talker WJOX, Birmingham is bringing the duo of Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison from its Dallas sports outlet KTCK “The Ticket” in to take over the midday slot. The position opened up after Paul Finebaum exited the PM drive show at the end of his contract and the station moved “The Jox Roundtable” with Lance Taylor, Ryan Brown and Jim Dunaway to the PM drive position. McClearin and Harrison hosted a weekend program at KTCK.
TALKERS Spotlight: The Talk Radio Watchdogs. There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.” He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks. They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there. Does the industry still value this breed of talk host? Does the public still want to listen to them? Do their station managers support them? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft. Read his story here.
CBS Radio’s WHFS, Tampa Makes Lineup Changes. The new FM sports talk station CBS Radio put on the air in Tampa in August undergoes some changes. “Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan” cuts the morning show with Kirk McEwen and Chris Dingman to three hours and shifts Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The PM drive show with Rich Herrera and Anthony “Booger” McFarland moves to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Evening host Todd Wright exits the station and The Fabulous Sports Babe moves from overnights to the evening show. CBS Sports Radio Networks’ Scott Ferrall and Damon Amendolara round out the late night and overnight shifts, respectively.
TuneIn Adds Four Pubcasters to its Offerings. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has agreed to strategic alliances with major public broadcasters KQED, San Francisco; KCRW, Santa Monica; KEXP, Seattle; and American Public Media, which includes Southern California Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Classical South Florida and nationally distributed programs. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley states, “KQED, American Public Media, KCRW and KEXP have a rich history of offering listeners engaging, cutting-edge programming while supporting the radio community. Our goal at TuneIn is to bring the best programming from around the world to everyone, for free, wherever they are, and partnering with these respected public broadcasters brings us one step closer to that goal.” TuneIn also just unveiled a new website design featuring a new content-first display with large album cover photos and trending stations.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Chicago Blackhawks Live” promotional series on February 18 at the city’s Old Town Pour House. The promotion is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the 2012-2013 season featuring current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives with “WGN Sports Night” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan, and Andrea Darlas. WGN began hosting these events during the 2011-2012 season and sold them out in record time…..SiriusXM announces legendary recording artist Tony Bennett will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with an audience of SiriusXM listeners, moderated by Alec Baldwin, at the SiriusXM studios in New York City as part of its “Town Hall” series. It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 13, and will air on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, on the Siriusly Sinatra channel and on the SiriusXM Stars channel…..Clear Channel announces that Houston Astros play-by-play will shift from news/talk KTRH to its sports talk KBME “Sportstalk 790” beginning this season…..In another baseball note, Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with the MLB’s Reds through the 2017 season…..The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which benefits Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – are celebrating their 60th year working together to raise funds for cancer research and treatment. Part of that celebrating will include the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Entercom’s WEEI and New England Sports Network on August 27 and 28. The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.
KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship. CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio awards the Richard Monetti Scholarship to local high school student Kimberly Coterwas (second from right) – one of the 86 students to graduate from KYW Newsradio 2012 Fall Newstudies program. She receives a $2,000 scholarship. The award was announced at the Newstudies Graduation ceremony on January 31. The Richard Monetti Scholarship is awarded every year to the Newstudies student who demonstrates the most potential and enthusiasm throughout the six-week student reporter program. The scholarship is named for Richard Monetti, a 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Additionally, 11 other students who participated in the Newstudies program received awards. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well, and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America’s Peter Schiff program picks up new affiliates for the program including: KPAM, Portland; WGUF, Ft. Myers, Florida; WEZS, Concord, New Hampshire; KFAR, Fairbanks, Alaska; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois….. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WTBF, Troy, Alabama. Also, existing affiliate combo WGVA, Geneva and WAUB, Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of New York adds Free Talk Live’s live Sunday show.
Sequester Cuts and Tax Hikes Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8. The debate in Washington over the coming sequester budget cuts and more tax increases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, earning it the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was immigration reform. At #3 was the costs of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and at #4 was gun legislation proposals. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Conservative Talk Host Steve Malzberg Begins New Project with Newsmax. Longtime New York City conservative talk host Steve Malzberg – he’s worked at WABC and WOR – is joining the talk media initiative of Newsmax, the Florida-based conservative news and opinion outlet. Malzberg is doing an afternoon drive program (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET) that will air online in both audio and video formats and for which Newsmax will seek terrestrial radio affiliates. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “When I first heard Steve Malzberg on WABC he was an innovator in bridging radio content with other media. He developed that talent further at WOR with ratings success and I think he will bring the same type of innovation and success to Newsmax TV.” The program will emanate from Newsmax’s New York City offices and begin on February 4.
Schnitt Versus Bubba: Day 4. The defamation case Compass Media Networks talk show host Todd Schnitt filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) was back in session Tuesday after a break for the Monday holiday. Plaintiff Schnitt took the stand (as did Bubba producer Brent Hatley) and told the jury how his life and career changed after Bubba returned to the air in Tampa in 2008 and the morning show battle began. In order to win the case, Schnitt must convince the jury that he suffered damages and that’s what he tried to do on the stand yesterday as he painted a picture of feeling harassed both via email and telephone and in person through physical confrontations with the “Bubba Army” as Todd Clem’s radio fans are called. WTSP, Tampa reports that when asked if his reputation had been harmed, Schnitt replied, “Yeah, I consider myself, still, a broadcaster in good standing. But um… not as good as it used to be.” That Schnitt and his wife were affected by the battle being waged by Bubba is pretty clear. The goal for Schnitt’s attorney is to get the jury to believe that Bubba the Love Sponge was responsible for their pain and suffering.
WTOP’s Jim Farley to Retire. He’s not going anywhere right away but WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming Jim Farley announces he’ll work full time through 2013 and step down into a consultant role with Hubbard and WTOP after that. In his official announcement, he says he’ll remain dedicated to the brand. “I bleed WTOP blood and am deeply invested in our continued success. I plan to stay involved until I start to drool conspicuously. I’ll be a proactive resource for Joel Oxley, Laurie Cantillo, WTOP, and Hubbard, and I will visit often. I have so many good friends in this building and spent the best part of my long career here. On to the next chapter, but not until 2014.”
Sports Talk Host Paul Finebaum Begins Sitting Out a 90-Day Non-Compete. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum has exited Cumulus’ WJOX, Birmingham and, according to the Birmingham Business Journal, his representatives say he will not entertain any media offers until the 90-day window has closed. Finebaum had been in a legal battle with Cumulus earlier this year but after numerous back-and-forths in court ended up working to the end of his deal with the company. That deal ended Monday. The smart money is on Finebaum landing at Cox Media’s crosstown WZNN but Finebaum’s camp is saying nothing until the 90-day period is over. (WZNN is one of a number of signals that Cox Media has put up for sale.) The paper also reports that Cumulus does have the right to match any offer Finebaum receives within the 90-day period but after that, Finebaum’s a free agent.
CBS Radio to Flip WNEW-AM, Washington to Sports Talk. For four months, CBS Radio aired “1580 Gov.Biz Radio” on WNEW-AM, Morningside, Maryland in the Washington, DC metro in hopes of competing with Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED “Federal News Radio.” Now TALKERS learns that CBS will flip the AM signal to sports talk using the national programming from CBS Sports Radio Network. The station will also apply for the WJFK-AM call letters to match up with sister DC sports talker WJFK-FM.
Clear Channel Gives WLW, Cincinnati an FM Presence. It’s not a big presence – 99 watts on the translator W233BG at 94.5 – but according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, the signal reaches most potential listeners within the market’s I-275 loop. Clear Channel bought the translator from Northern Kentucky University and then moved the city of license from Port Union, Ohio to Cincinnati. Kiesewetter reports there’s been no comment from Clear Channel about why the need for an FM presence for “The Big One,” but speculates getting the market dominating talk station on FM where more people are listening is what local management wants in the long run. Another thing to consider is smart phones with radio receivers get FM, not AM.
KHRO, El Paso Talk Host Hector H. Lopez to run for Mayor. KHRO, El Paso afternoon drive host Hector H. Lopez has filed papers to run for mayor of El Paso. The election is May 11 and at this time there’s no indication when Lopez will step down from his radio show.
The VP Meets the Governor. New Townsquare Media regional vice president Greg Janoff (second from right) meets New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (second from left) on Tuesday, January 22 before he goes on the air on WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for his monthly “Ask the Governor” program. Pictured here with the governor and Janoff are “Ask the Governor” host Eric Scott (right) and New Jersey 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson (left).
Obama’s Second Term Agenda, Israel Parliamentary Election, Benghazi Attack Testimony, and Gallup American Optimism Poll Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The agenda for President Obama’s second term as outlined in his Inauguration speech; the parliamentary elections in Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu’s likelihood to remain as prime minister; the pending testimony from Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attack; and the Gallup poll that concludes American optimism is at its lowest point since the Carter Administration were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem Communications Ups Sean O’Neil in NYC; Names Jerry Crowley VP/GM of WNYM and WMCA. Former WOR, New York general manager Jerry Crowley joins the Salem Communications New York operations as vice president and general manager of news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian WMCA “New York’s Christian Talk.” Sean O’Neil is promoted from GM to market manager for the NYC cluster. Crowley, who had been with Buckley Broadcasting until late December when Clear Channel assumed control of WOR, reports to Salem Communications vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce. He states, “With Jerry’s longtime tenure running one of the nation’s leading talk radio stations, we could not have found a better match for our stations in New York. I admired Jerry’s work across town during my 14 years programming WABC. To get him on my new team at Salem is a huge opportunity to grow the station’s revenue and make an impact in New York radio.”
Talk Host Steve Gill to End Radio Program. Nashville, Tennessee-based talk host Steve Gill announces he will end his nationally syndicated talk program – including the local appearance on Clear Channel’s WLAC from which he operates – and focus his energy on his Gill Media enterprise that provides consulting and has seen him an increasing amount of public speaking. Gill reports to TALKERS that “as part of the expansion plan under the Gill Media umbrella, his Gill Report published at www.gillreport.com will broaden its platform as the ‘go-to’ source for news and commentaries while introducing a variety of new ventures and service offerings. The media company strives to enable its clients to better utilize both traditional and new media opportunities to communicate more effectively within various mediums.” Speaking about leaving his talk show, Gill states, “While I have truly enjoyed my tenure at Radio America and WLAC, the commitment and restrictions associated with a daily, weekday morning show limit my ability to thrive in the areas where I can truly ‘give back’ in a more hands-on, one-on-one format. Our time on the air has allowed us to make a difference, particularly in the political arena. Rather than simply talking about the problems we face, I am excited to redirect our focus from radio to support clients, small businesses and individuals in a creative, results-oriented environment.”
KKOB, Albuquerque Notches 50th Straight Arbitron Book at #1 12-Plus. Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque garnered a 7.6 share in the Fall 2012 Arbitron book (Mon-Sun 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight) and hitting the top spot in the market for the 50th straight ratings period. Operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS, “When you think about it, that’s a long time – 12 ½ years at #1. I hear it is the longest streak of any talk station in the top 70 markets. I have been here 13 ½ years now. And Rush and Hannity blew away the competition in middays 12-plus with an 11.2 share.”
Big NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend for Dial Global. The play-by-play of this weekend’s NFL playoff games is carried exclusively on radio by Dial Global. The schedule is as follows: on Saturday the Baltimore Ravens take on the Denver Broncos. Kevin Kugler has the play-by-play, along with analyst Mark Malone and sideline reporter Scott Kaplan. The action continues when the Green Bay Packers meet the San Francisco 49ers. Kevin Harlan serves as play-by-play announcer, along with Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Hub Arkush as sideline reporter. On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks go head-to-head with the Atlanta Falcons. Dave Sims has the play-by-play, with Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and sideline reporter Tony Boselli. Following the conclusion of that game, the Houston Texans face the New England Patriots. Ian Eagle has the play-by-play, along with analyst Trent Green and sideline reporter Lewis Johnson. Scott Graham hosts the pregame, halftime and postgame shows for all four broadcasts.
Matt Rodriguez Named General Sales Manager at KFWB, Los Angeles. He comes to the KFWB Asset Trust news/talk station from Amaturo Group Ltd.’s Southern California cluster where he served as general manager. Matt Rodriguez will be in charge of the sales efforts for its news and talk programming as well as Los Angeles Clippers basketball. General manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Putting Matt in charge of our overall sales and sports efforts is a great win for KFWB. He has raised the bar in generating sales wherever he’s worked and is a valuable addition to our team.”
Award-Winning Journalist Jane Robelot Anchors WMUU, Greenville, South Carolina Morning News. Former CBS News correspondent and anchor Jane Robelot begins her position with Salem Communications’ WMUU, Greenville, South Carolina “Conservative Talk 94.5” today (1/10). Robelot worked for CBS News in New York from 1995 through 1999 where she co-anchored “CBS This Morning.” While at CBS News in New York, she won two national Emmy awards for journalistic excellence, and a national Emmy nomination. Robelot returned to her hometown of Greenville in 2006 where she and her husband, Mario DeCarvalho, created their own production company, Carolina Zoom Productions. She is a contributing anchor and reporter for Hearst-owned NBC affiliate, WYFF-TV in Greenville. In 2009, Jane and her team won the prestigious Peabody Award for “Chronicle: Paul’s Gift,” a documentary about organ donation. She also co-hosts a nationally syndicated Christian radio program, “Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.”
Crain Media Moves Little Rock Talk Station; Adds Full Time Sports Outlet. Little Rock-based Crain Media announces it is moving the news/talk programming on KKSP — “Fresh Talk” — from its 93.3 FM dial position to the 96.5 position currently occupied by CHR KHTE beginning today (Thursday, January 10). The station will add Cumulus Media’s Mike Huckabee and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller in the midday where sports talk shows currently air. At the same time, the company is debuting a new full-time sports talk station branded “Fox Sports Radio FM93.3 Little Rock” using Fox Sports Radio Network programming as well as local shows “Game On with Wess and Michael” and Bo Mattingly’s sports talk show. Station president Tatum Owenby says, “Our goal is to provide the Little Rock metro area with the most relevant and entertaining sports talk programming. We are confident that Fox Sports Radio’s first-class lineup, combined with quality local content, will be a perfect fit for the sports fans in our market.”
WNTB and WLTT, Wilmington, NC Combo Adds Local Shows. The Wilmington, North Carolina simulcast of WNTB, Topsail Beach and WLTT, Bolivia – owned by Hometown Wilmington Media and branded as “The Big Talker 93.7 & 106.3” – announces two new local programs. Port City Daily sports writer and local media personality Joe Catenacci will begin hosting a one-hour daily sports talk show from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Monday, January 14. Also, local community leader L.S. “Bo” Dean Jr. debuts the Saturday morning “Hometown Solutions” show dedicated to featuring citizens, organizations and businesses that are agents of change in the local community focused on generating success for health and wellness, education, employment, economic development and other facets impacting quality of life in the Cape Fear region. Program director Aimee Bowen states, “We are very excited to launch these two new programs that highlight the regional citizens and organizations working toward a better tomorrow and our incredible local sports scene.”
WXOS, St. Louis Debuts New Weekend Programs. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces three new weekend programs: “The Hot Corner” airs Saturdays from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm hosted by 101 ESPN’s Cardinals insider Brian Stull and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Cardinals columnist Derrick Goold will be talking all things Cardinals baseball; “MMA Hit Squad” a show dedicated to mixed martial arts/ultimate fighting starts January 19 and airs from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Saturdays. It will be hosted by Jesse Finney and Chad Range; and, with the return of NHL hockey, “St. Louis Faceoff Today” begins airing Sundays from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm hosted by Fox Sports Midwest St. Louis Blues play-by-play voice John Kelly and St. Louis Post-Dispatch Blues beat reporter Jeremy Rutherford. WXOS program director Kent Sterling states, “The next step in the growth of 101 ESPN will be in the weekends. St. Louis is a seven-day-a-week sports town, and where there is hunger for unique content, 101ESPN will provide it.”
Happy Birthday, Charles Osgood! Respected veteran Dial Global radio personality Charles Osgood, host of the popular “Osgood File” broadcasts, celebrated his 80th birthday on Tuesday. He’s pictured here posing for a photo in his newly revamped studio. He’s holding a plaque presented by Dial Global executives and featuring a rhyme by his late father, “Early to bed, early to rise. Work like a dog and advertise.”
Biden Gun Control Meeting/Executive Order Threat, Morgan-Jones CNN Debate, Obama Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal Proposal, and ‘All My Babies’ Mamas’ Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9). Vice President Joe Biden’s gun control meeting and threat of executive order to change gun laws; the contentious debate over gun laws between CNN’s Piers Morgan and talk host Alex Jones; the proposal to draw down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the flap over the Oxygen channel’s “All My Babies’ Mamas” program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Hires Bruce Gilbert for New Sports SVP Post. Most recently, Bruce Gilbert has been the vice president of news, talk and sports programming at CBS Radio Dallas where he’s been in charge of KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080,” and the Texas State Network. Now he joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for the newly created position of senior vice president of sports operations. CC says Gilbert will be “responsible for the creation, development and direction of sports programming at CCM+E, including Premiere Networks and the Fox Sports Radio Network. He will also work with the National Programming Platforms team to expand sports branding across the company’s multiple platforms.” Prior to CBS, Gilbert headed up Washington, D.C.-based Red Zebra Broadcasting as CEO, where he grew the company from three to 13 stations. Gilbert also held the role of VP/general manager for the ESPN Radio Network, where he led programming, affiliations and sales for the network, and worked with owned-and-operated ESPN stations. Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “We are ecstatic to have one of the nation’s leading sports executives join our company. Bruce has an amazing track record and unmatched dedication to building winning teams. His credibility in the sports arena brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and leadership to CCM+E.” Some industry observers have noted Clear Channel has been lagging behind other major companies – especially CBS Radio and Entercom – in developing sports talk stations. The arrival of Gilbert could signal a change and the company may begin to consider operating more sports talk stations.
Fox News Channel’s “The Five” Soaring in Ratings. The 5:00 pm ET program “The Five” on Fox News Channel – co-hosted by Andrea Tantaros – has been climbing steadily in the ratings. Last Friday, for example, the program logged more than 2 million viewers (Persons 2-plus), 339,000 viewers (Persons 25-54) and 807,000 (Persons 35-64), easily doubling its closest competitors on the other cable news/talk channels. Andrea Tantaros is also host of her own talk radio program on Talk Radio Network (airing live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon) alongside best-selling author Jason Mattera. TRN CEO Mark Masters says he believes she’s the only female broadcaster to star in a weekday TV program and host a nationally syndicated talk radio program. “In a post 2008-2009 economy, we have been seeking shows that are highly entertaining, yet responsible and profitable for our station affiliates and advertisers. Andrea has the ability to do both. She’s a fresh voice who will inject new energy to the airwaves.”
Bob Moore Joins Sports USA Media. He’ll assume the title of president of Sports USA Media in his role with the independent sports play-by-play content syndicator. Sports USA Media founder and CEO Larry Kahn says of him, “I’ve known Bob Moore for over 30 years. His experience in working with play-by-play sports rights and creating programming around them is a perfect fit for us. Bob has worked with multiple teams, including the L.A. Dodgers, the L.A. Kings, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Anaheim Ducks, the Oakland Raiders, the USC Trojans, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Nets. Bob’s knowledge and background will be key factors in the continued growth of Sports USA Media.” Moore states, “I have long admired Larry for building the largest independent play-by-play sports network and am eagerly looking forward to helping him expand his play-by-play business and making a major statement in the digital space. We all know the demand for live sports is growing for both the audience and the radio stations. We will be announcing several major expansions for Sports USA Media over the next several months. If NBC, CBS and ABC can dedicate 24-hour sports television and radio networks, I think we can say the space is secure.”
Talk Host Doc Thompson Joins TheBlaze Radio Network. Talk radio pro Doc Thompson – recently heard on stations including WLW, Cincinnati and WRVA, Richmond – becomes part of the lineup at Glenn Beck’s online TheBlaze Radio Network hosting the morning drive program. Program director Dom Theodore says of Thompson, “Doc Thompson has an amazing track record of success at some of America’s biggest talk stations, in addition to his many years of guest hosting for Glenn Beck. His humorous style and unique approach make him the perfect choice for mornings on TheBlaze Radio Network.” Also from TheBlaze, Chris Peterson signs on with the network to serve as assistant program director. Peterson has served with Premiere Networks for the past five years.
Martha Zoller Back on the Radio. After a run for Congress in Georgia that took her off the radio for the better part of 2012, talk host Martha Zoller returned to the air this week on Cox Media’s WGAU, Athens, Georgia alongside co-host Tim Bryant for the Zoller & Bryant morning drive program. Prior to her run for office, Zoller was heard on Cox Media’s WXKT. At the time the station was a talk and sports hybrid but has since flipped to a classic hits format.
Entercom’s Sports Talk WSSP, Milwaukee Drops Fox for CBS. The change will take place on Friday, January 11. Entercom’s Milwaukee sports talk outlet WSSP “SportsRadio 1250” ends its affiliate relationship with Fox Sports Radio Network to begin airing the new CBS Sports Radio Network. WSSP airs local programming during much of the day but will use CBS for the evening, late night, overnight and weekend dayparts.
Odds & Sods. Michael Bull’s Atlanta-based “Commercial Real Estate Show” goes into national syndication via the Wall Street Business Network. The program was founded in 2010 by commercial real estate broker Michael Bull on WAFS, Atlanta in 2010 to examine national commercial real estate and business issues and feature high-caliber guests from around the country, including well-known analysts, accountants, brokers, lenders, developers, attorneys and architects. About the expansion, Bull states, “I’ve been delighted at the impact the show has had in just two years, and I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to continue to extend its reach. We can tell by the location of podcast downloads that the content is relevant to audiences across the globe. As we continue to add stations, the show’s comprehensive analysis and enlightening conversations will reach a much larger audience.”…..Dial Global nationally syndicated late night and early morning talk host Jim Bohannon will be one of six Inauguration Parade announcers who’ll be stationed along Pennsylvania Avenue on January 21 addressing the crowd. Bohannon says, “This is quite an honor, and I’m eager to do it again. I also announced the Carter parade in 1977, so I seem to do this every 36 years. Guess I’d better enjoy it since I’m not sure how many 36 year increments I have left. It should be fun announcing, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Southeast A&P Remedial High Marching 37, as they form a giant grid…and a giant lock…in honor of this year’s inaugural theme!’ (applause).”
Dr. Alan Pressman Moves to WOR, New York. After 11 years on Access.1’s WWRL, New York, Dr. Alan Pressman takes his “Health Radio News” program to Clear Channel’s WOR, New York for a Sunday 8:00 am ET airing. He says the show will be a live, caller-driven program. Dr. Pressman states, “There are so many breaking stories about health and nutrition; stories the general public does not have easy access to. We’ll be discussing issues in the news from around the world. It’s really hard-hitting information.”
Gun Control Legislation, RGIII Controversy, Looming Additional Tax Battles, Obama Cabinet Nominations, and Flu Epidemic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8). Gun legislation proposals; the controversy over Robert Griffin III’s playing time in the Redskins’ loss to Seattle; future tax hike debates in Washington; President Obama’s cabinet nominations and the flu epidemic that has hospitals overwhelmed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
It’s Official: Tom Cuddy to Program WOR, New York. The rumor of former WPLJ, New York PD Tom Cuddy’s new gig as programmer of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WOR turns out to be true as the company officially announces his joining the station. He says of his new position, “I’m beyond excited to be joining a news/talk station that enjoys legendary status in New York. We have amazing plans to grow WOR and make it the hottest spot on the AM dial. WOR has one of the best signals on the East Coast.” Cuddy will work under former WABC, New York general manager Steve Borneman who recently joined WOR, as well.
Jolana Smith Named PD at Cumulus Media’s WFAS, Westchester, New York Combo. In her new position, Jolana Smith will program both the news/talk AM and the adult contemporary FM Cumulus is operating in Westchester. She comes to the stations from Cox Media’s AC WEZN, Bridgeport, Connecticut “Star 99.9” where she co-hosted morning drive and did the midday shift. In addition to programming both stations, Smith will host the midday shift on WFAS-FM. Smith states, “What an amazing opportunity to be part of the Cumulus programming ranks and to be working with SVP/programming Mike McVay and VP/AC format captain Emily Boldon…Somebody pinch me!”
David Sirota Exits KHOW, Denver. Progressive writer and columnist David Sirota exits Clear Channel’s KHOW, Denver where he’d been paired up with conservative Michael Brown for the past six months. Prior to that Sirota hosted the morning show at progressive talk sister station KKZN. The Denver Post reports neither side is saying much, obviously agreeing to not discuss the change in the press. But Sirota confirmed he’s no longer with Clear Channel and CC Denver VP of programing Greg Foster offered the obligatory “we thank him and wish him well” statement.
Rick Sanchez Lands Radio Gig at WIOD, Miami. Former CNN personality Rick Sanchez had been seeking a talk radio gig since his departure from CNN in the fall of 2010. Now, Sanchez takes over the afternoon drive slot at Clear Channel’s WIOD, Miami, replacing Rich Minaya. The hiring of Cuban-born and Spanish-speaking Rick Sanchez is interesting in as much as his media experience doing bi-lingual talk and news programs will give him a unique approach to connecting with the Miami audience. Sanchez was let go from CNN after making a comment on a radio program about Jews as minorities in the media business that was construed at politically incorrect.
Steve Deace Show Clears New York City. The Iowa-based Steve Deace talk show clears the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” airing weeknights from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Deace’s program is in its second year of national syndication. Deace states, “To go live in New York City after only 13 months in syndication is quite an honor. There are good hosts on hundreds of radio stations around the country who can’t get cleared in New York City, so I’m well aware of what this means for the future of our show.” Salem director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce says, “We’re excited to see what one of the real rising talents in our industry can do in the nation’s number one market. Many of us have been waiting for the next generation of talk radio to emerge, and Deace represents that next generation.” Deace hosted a local program on WHO, Des Moines prior to going into syndication. His national show is carried on WHO.
Daily Kevin McCullough Show Adds Nine Affiliates in 2013. The nationally syndicated Kevin McCullough show adds nine new affiliates including: WWRC, Washington, DC; WGKA, Atlanta; KRCN, Denver; and WCRU, Charlotte. The program is syndicated by McCullough’s XtreMedia Inc. and the recent additions put McCullough’s program over the 300-affiliate mark. XtreMedia also syndicates the Dani Johnson radio program as well as the weekend Baldwin/McCullough show featuring McCullough and actor Stephen Baldwin.
Sports Offers Social Success Templates. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show but prior to that, he took in the New Media Expo (formerly the Blogworld conference). Cooke reports on the nuances of understanding and using social media for radio station promotion after hearing Amy Jo Martin’s keynote speech. Cooke says Martin believes, “One of the fundamental adjustments broadcasters need to make the most of social media is to understand that tools like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just transmitters. They’re conversations.” And social media tools can help jocks and talk hosts be more authentic to their audiences. Read more of Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
Alex Jones Takes on Piers Morgan. Nationally syndicated talk show host Alex Jones appeared on CNN on Monday evening with host Piers Morgan to debate the gun control issue and the petition to have British citizen Morgan deported in the wake of his high-profile call for new gun laws after the Newtown massacre. Traditional talk show hosts tend to shy away from gun issues on their programs but the right to bear arms is a cornerstone of Alex Jones’ belief system and a regular topic on his program. The feisty exchange on CNN was good TV theater and raises Jones’ national profile. See the program here.
Obama Cabinet Nominations, Debt Ceiling Issue, NFL Playoffs, Gun Legislation Discussion and Aurora Theater Massacre Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and John Brennan for CIA chief; the issue of the nation’s debt ceiling; the weekend’s NFL playoff games; debate over changes to the nation’s gun laws; and the hearing in Colorado for Aurora theater massacre suspect James Holmes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Townsquare Media has an opportunity for the position of operations manager in Wichita Falls. If you have experience in country, rock, CHR and news/talk formats this could be the job for you. The OM will also serve as brand manager for our CHR station, 92.9 NIN, and must have a track record in that format. You will also host an on-air shift on 92.9 NIN. In addition to a strong ratings record, candidates should demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, e-commerce, streaming platforms, mobile and texting. This job is much more than picking the hits. The successful candidate will be a great leader, a talent coach, and a highly organized strategist. You’ll need exceptional teamwork skills to produce results with experienced talent, programmers, sales and digital teams. Strong working knowledge of music scheduling systems, digital audio systems and online media platforms are required. You’ll manage multiple tasks at once, and great communication skills, attention to detail and a sense of humor are all a must. We work hard and have fun doing it! If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative, proven winner who loves working in media, contact Chuck Armstrong at Townsquare Media: firstname.lastname@example.org. Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.
Mark Simone Begins Late Morning Show on WOR, New York. Longtime WABC, New York personality Mark Simone is heading downtown to begin a new chapter in his career with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR. Simone tells TALKERS he’s excited to begin hosting the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program. He says, “It’ll be a fast and fun daily look at what’s going on in the world, the city, entertainment, politics, tech, gossip, food, nightlife, my life, lives and whatever else they want to talk about. Lots of great guests and listener calls, too.” Simone says his 13 years at WABC were great. Management was always good to him and he’s finding it hard to leave his fellow co-workers but he’s encouraged to be re-joining general manager Steve Borneman who recently left WABC and is now with WOR. “He’s a great leader and the best GM we ever had on the 17th floor at WABC and everyone on the air there would tell you that they would follow him anywhere. He’s also hiring the best and smartest programming mastermind around. This is just the beginning. So, while I hate leaving the best co-workers in radio, it may not be long before many of them decide to join me here.” Simone’s program fills the slot on WOR previously held by Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.
WPRO, Providence Makes AM Drive Change; Gene Valicenti to Anchor. Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence announces WJAR-TV co-anchor Gene Valicenti (pictured at left) is the new host of its “WPRO Morning News” program. The station says “Gene brings more than 20 years of Rhode Island news broadcasting experience to the ‘WPRO Morning News’ each and every weekday. With an intimate knowledge of Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts, the ‘WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti’ will help listeners get their weekday started with news, traffic, weather and the unique touch of Gene Valicenti.” For more than two years Valicenti has been hosting his eponymous Saturday morning show on WPRO. He says, “Rhode Island has been waking up to WPRO since the days of Salty Brine. It goes without saying that hosting the ‘WPRO Morning News’ is a real honor for me.” TALKERS columnist and respected industry consultant Holland Cooke, who happens to be a longtime resident of Rhode Island, comments that he believes this to be a very good move. “I’ve been a big Gene Valicenti fan for years, but who here in Rhode Island isn’t? His NBC10 newscasts have consistently led the ratings. Beyond those impressive news chops, Gene’s approach to talk radio demonstrates what I hear as a welcome new trend, an antidote to the format’s caricature. His Saturday radio show SMILES more than most other talkers I hear; and, though topical, he’s not obsessed with politics. Gene strikes me as ‘a next-gen Salty Brine.’” In related news, current morning news host Tara Granahan is promoted to assistant program director for the station.
TALKERS magazine’s Sports Radio Feature, Part 3. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian wraps up a special three-part sports talk radio feature with a look at the December 2012 PPM ratings for sports talk stations in those markets. Numbers freaks will enjoy checking out how some of the nation’s most prominent sports talk outlets performed during that period. Peruse that data here. Mike Kinosian’s three-part feature kicked off with a thorough look at the new CBS Sports Radio Network that debuted on Wednesday. If you missed that, read it here. The second part of this piece covered the new sports talk venture from NBC and Dial Global that premieres its weekend programming tomorrow prior to a full launch in April. You can read that piece here.
George Noory Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ It was 10 years ago this weekend that George Noory took over the permanent host gig at Premiere Networks’ super-successful overnight program “Coast to Coast AM” and he plans a special show Sunday evening to celebrate. The show will feature appearances by many fan-favorite guests, including paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren and internationally known psychic Joseph Jacobs. Noory will also share memorable interviews and highlights from the past decade. Of the anniversary, Noory says, “It’s amazing how fast 10 years goes by and I’m looking forward to 10 more. We have grown the affiliate base from 445 stations when I came on to 564, and have increased our digital, multi-platform audiences tremendously. I want to thank my staff of dedicated producers and engineers, our affiliates, as well as the entire Premiere Networks team – they are the best in the business.” Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “After 10 successful years, George continues to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ to new heights. His ability to not only entertain and engage his loyal following of sleep-deprived listeners across multiple platforms, but also deliver positive results for stations and sponsors, is what makes him a stand-out star in the world of talk radio. We look forward to celebrating many more milestones together.”
Big NFL Weekend for Dial Global Sports. The first round of the NFL playoffs is here and Dial Global is providing radio broadcasts of the four Wild Card round games this weekend. Play-by-play of the NFL playoffs has been a successful venture for Dial Global (and Westwood One before that). Last year, the company commissioned a study by Edison Research to calculate listenership to the playoff games and the Super Bowl which, according to Edison, pulled in 23.1 million unique listeners to last year’s championship game, underscoring how many Americans aren’t able to be near a TV and turn to the radio to hear the big game.
SNL Kagan Reports Current TV-Al Jazeera Deal a Challenge for Middle East Operator. The pending $500 million sale of Al Gore-founded cable news/talk channel Current TV to Qatar-operated Al Jazeera is a bounty for Al Gore and Joel Hyatt but will likely be a big hurdle for Al Jazeera. SNL Kagan states, “We think Al Jazeera may have to drop the license fee to zero in order to gain widespread support for carrying the channel in the U.S., a move that would certainly imperil its economic model, which relies upon license fees for 80% of the network’s revenue. But maybe this is the only way for Al Jazeera America to gain a solid foothold in the U.S…In the U.S., the channel is available only in New York; Washington; Burlington, Vt.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bristol, R.I., versus 250 million households across the world in 120 countries.”
Entercom’s WEEI Expands Its Brand in the Granite State. New England’s Boston-based WEEI sports talk radio brand expands in New Hampshire adding its eighth affiliate – Great Eastern Radio’s WZEI, Meredith. WZEI is a class A FM covering the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. The station will carry the entire WEEI daily sports talk lineup, its weekend programming and Boston Celtics basketball. Great Eastern CEO Jeff Shapiro says, “We are very excited to bring coverage of everything New England sports to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with 101.5 WZEI. Great Eastern Radio and WEEI have a great partnership that has been key to great sports programming in northern New England for the past few years, and we look forward to extending that for years to come!”
KGO, San Francisco Wins Regional News Awards. Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco picks up two 2012 awards for broadcasting excellence from the NorCal Radio Television News Directors Association. The station won “Best News Broadcast” for the in-depth coverage of the Occupy protest and closure of the Port of Oakland anchored by Bret Burkhart and Chris Brecher; produced by Linnea Edmeier and Laura Podolak. The judges said it “grabs you right out of the box (with) passionate and engaged reporting (and) paints a good word picture of what was going on.” KGO reporter Scott Lettieri won “Best Light Feature Reporting” for his “Spotlight 810” piece on inmates performing Shakespeare in San Quentin. The judges said it was “interesting and meaningful,” with a “great mix of dramatic Shakespeare readings, music, (and) inmate reflections on what they’re gaining personally by taking part.” KGO program director Paul Hosley says, “We’re humbled by these awards. The 5:00 pm hour is highly popular with listeners and features contributions from the entire news team. We’re thrilled to have Scott Lettieri recognized for his remarkable work as well. Scott is a master story teller and it showed in this report about inmates performing Shakespeare behind bars.”
Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York Celebrates 20th Anniversary. Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York is celebrating its 20th anniversary as Bloomberg Radio – the 24-hour business and financial news outlet in the Big Apple. To mark the occasion, anchor Tom Keene and reporter Charlie Pellett will join staffers at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Legislation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 31 – January 4. Debate over and passage of the laws designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, putting it at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the Boehner House Speaker vote. At #3 was financial markets activity followed by Hurricane Sandy aid legislation at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Holland Cooke
Talk Radio consultant
Here’s why I predicted Cain’s success oh-so-publicly at the recent Arbitron Client Conference:
KFI, Los Angeles’ John and Ken Appear on WOR, New York. New WOR, New York owner Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has begun airing talk radio duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou in the evenings on the station. On Wednesday night, a simulcast hour from the final hour of the pair’s highly rated KFI, Los Angeles program aired at 9:00 pm followed by a 10:00 pm hour of custom programming for the New York station. John and Ken are no strangers to the region having grown up in the New York area and having gotten their start on radio stations in the Tri-State Area. They rose to prominence during their stint at Trenton-based “New Jersey 101.5” (WKXW). John and Ken have been syndicated in the past. During a brief period in the late 1990s, the duo began a national syndication effort under Fisher Entertainment but that ended when they moved to KABC, Los Angeles to take the morning drive slot.
Peacock Sports Network Playing the Hits. In TALKERS magazine’s second part of its three-part series on the new sports talk radio players (and the growing field in general), managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian gets inside the heads of those involved in the new NBC Sports Radio Network that is launching its weekend programming this weekend and its full daily slate in April. NBC Sports Radio programmer Jack Silver tells TALKERS his network is focusing on finding talent it believes is the next generation. “The weekday and weekend lineups mirror the network’s mission statement, which is to be a new wave of sports talk. We did not hire the more traditional names. The developmental mindset we have is to find new sports talk talent. CBS Sports Radio has veterans like Jim Rome and Scott Ferrall. We are looking for the next versions of people like that, as well as Dan Patrick and [ESPN Radio morning personalities] ‘Mike [Greenberg] & Mike [Golic].’ We are producing this sports network like a rock station, with in-your-face production. To my ear, it feels like an FM talk station – which is my specialty. It is based on opinions and talk show topics.” Read Mike Kinosian’s entire piece here.
Cumulus Media Returns 44 Markets to Arbitron Diary Service. After three years with no Arbitron diary ratings service, Cumulus Media-owned stations in 44 markets will resume subscription to the service effective immediately. Cumulus Media and Arbitron announce they have agreed to a multi-year contract that brings Cumulus stations in the 44 markets back into the fold and renews the company’s PPM ratings service deal in the 17 PPM markets in which it operates. Arbitron states that the deal covers all 450 Cumulus stations in the 100 Cumulus radio markets currently surveyed by Arbitron. It also renews ratings agreements in 39 diary markets. In addition to diary and PPM local market ratings, the agreement also provides Cumulus with access to Arbitron software applications, Scarborough consumer profile services, and national and network radio ratings for Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus has also agreed to collaborate with Arbitron on cross-platform services that would quantify the total impact of the Cumulus radio brand. Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey says, “With this agreement, Arbitron and Cumulus are demonstrating a long-term commitment to collaborate for the benefit of the radio industry. We will work closely with Arbitron on its ongoing quality and service enhancement initiatives. Specifically, we look forward to participating in the development of an integrated, total radio audience service that gives broadcasters full credit for our audiences regardless of how listeners access our content.”
Herman Cain is Coming and Consultant Holland Cooke Predicts Success. Businessman, talk show host and one-time presidential candidate Herman Cain is prepping to take over the WSB, Atlanta and Cox Media syndication of the Neal Boortz program when Boortz retires this month. Radio consultant Holland Cooke predicts Cain will succeed and offers eight reasons why, beginning with: “He’s a radio natural, as we heard when he filled-in for Sean Hannity last summer. Even if Cain’s primary run hadn’t made it so familiar, his voice jumps-out-of the speaker. And he speaks in sound bites that are made for AM radio.” There’s more. Read Cooke’s piece here.
Larry Mendte Exits Merlin’s WWIQ, Philadelphia. Announcing his departure from the Philadelphia talk outlet via his Facebook page, talk personality and former market TV news anchor Larry Mendte states the reason was not due to ratings as his show was “by far the highest-rated local show.” But Mendte, who joined the station in May of last year, says in his post that he believes his exit will spur rumors the station is for sale. He says he hopes that’s not true as he believes the station “fills an important void.” Mendte was hired to work the morning show alongside programmer and co-host Al Gardner. Earlier in the fall, New York-based multi-media star Lionel was brought in to work with Gardner for a portion of the morning program. WWIQ’s website lists both Gardner and Lionel as co-hosts of the 5:00 am to 9:00 am program.
Clear Channel to Flip WOKY, Milwaukee to Sports Talk. Beginning Monday, January 7, Clear Channel-owned classic country WOKY, Milwaukee will become a sports talk outlet as “The Big 920.” The station will feature regional sports talk personalities as well as Fox Sports Radio Network syndicated programming including Dan Patrick and Jay Mohr. According to a report in The Business Journal, the station will run the same programming that airs on CC’s Madison sports talk station WTSO “The Big 1070.” The station will air a talk show featuring morning drive hosts Mike Lucas and Matt Lepay from 6:00 am to 8:00 am. It will be in competition in the market with Good Karma’s WAUK and Entercom’s WSSP.
WQRT, Cincinnati to Drop Talk; Station Will Go Dark, Launch New Format in February. The Cincinnati market sports and talk station WQRT “Real Talk 1160” will go dark after the broadcast of the BCS National Championship game on January 7 and take the rest of the month to prepare for a new format. Christian Broadcast System owner Jon Yinger tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter the station did not perform as the company had hoped despite hiring numerous local personalities over the course of the past few years to challenge competitors in the market. Local staffers including morning host Dean Miuccio, news staffer T.C. Summers, afternoon sports talk hosts Dennis “Wildman” Walker and Jeff Piecoro have been let go and the station will air syndicated programming until it signs off. The station recently lost operations manager Rob Williams and sports talk host and producer Rick Ucchino who left to join Cumulus Media’s crosstown WCFN which debuted the CBS Sports Radio Network format on Wednesday, January 2.
Al Gore’s Current TV Bought by Al Jazeera. The Al Gore– and Joel Hyatt-owned Current TV cable news/talk channel has been purchased by the Qatar-based Arab world cable news operation Al Jazeera for a reported $500 million. Bloomberg reports Gore and Hyatt paid $60 million for the media outlet in 2004. Bloomberg notes in its report that Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cable company, said it would stop carrying Current TV with the ownership change. “Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service…We are removing the service as quickly as possible.” Time Warner Cable currently carries the Al Jazeera English-language programming in New York City however it does not offer Al Jazeera in the Los Angeles market. The Associated Press reports the acquisition will give Al Jazeera access to about 40 million more homes. It also states that Al Jazeera – owned by the government of Qatar – plans to gradually transform Current TV into a network called Al Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists. More than half of the content will be U.S. news and the network will have its headquarters in New York City.
Fox Sports Radio Network’s Jay Mohr Debuts on 70-Plus Stations. The new late-morning program on the Fox Sports Radio Network hosted by long-time FSRN fill-in host, comedian and actor Jay Mohr hit the ground running with about 70 affiliates yesterday. Fox Sports reports the show aired in markets including: Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Portland and Pittsburgh. Mohr’s program fills the slot held for so many years by Jim Rome who left Premiere Networks for the new CBS Sports Radio Network.
Bill Keeler to Host Mornings on WIBX, Utica. Local media personality Bill Keeler will begin hosting the morning drive program on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WIBX, Utica, New York on Monday, January 14, according to WKTV-TV, Utica. Keeler, who has been hosting a restaurant program on WKTV-TV, has also worked in the market in radio at CHR WSKS and rock WXUR. He says, “I am so excited about doing mornings on WIBX. This is a heritage radio station that’s been around for 87 years and it remains one of the top stations in the market. I can’t wait to get on the air and get started.” Keeler will be joined by news anchor Kristine Bellino.
WMVP, Chicago Personality Steve McMichael Pulled from Broadcasting After Equal Time Request. Former Chicago Bears great and WMVP, Chicago sports talk personality Steve “Mongo” McMichael was yanked from Sunday’s program prior to the final Bears game of the season after the mayor of Romeoville, Illinois filed an equal time request with the station. McMichael filed papers on December 26 to get on the ballot to run for mayor of Romeoville in April and one of his opponents, current Mayor John Noak, filed the request citing equal time regulations. McMichael tells the Chicago Tribune, “I was ready to go on and talk football. I by no means used that pre-game show as a political platform this year. But if that’s the law, it’s the law and I have to accept it.”
Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces Record Results for Holiday Toy Drive. WTMJ, Milwaukee program director Joe Scialfa announces the Journal Broadcast Group station collected more than 19,000 toys during its 2012 “Kids to Kids Christmas” Scialfa says more than 50 schools in the region participated in the charity drive that encouraged children to shop with their parents for toys to donate to those less fortunate. Scialfa states, “The listeners of Newsradio 620 WTMJ are amazing. Again this year, they have shared the message of giving with their kids in a record setting way! We couldn’t be prouder to come to work each day to inform and entertain this great audience.”
‘Fiscal Crisis’ Bill Signed, Hurricane Sandy Aid Controversy, Financial Markets Activity, Hillary Clinton Health Status and Gun Control Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2). The aftermath of the bill signed to avert the “fiscal crisis”; the anger over Congress’ bypassing Hurricane Sandy aid; financial markets respond to “fiscal crisis” legislation; the health status of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and ongoing debate of gun laws in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Robbie Student
Radio Talk Show Host/Record Producer
NEW YORK – Here’s some context: I’m a small businessman. In addition to being a talk show host, I run a small, modestly successful music and entertainment production company. Because of the Cliff, the Ceiling, and Obamacare’s paralyzing lack of clarity, I’m not spending one dollar more than I have to on salaried staff, independent contractors, and infrastructure/equipment.
This stingy posture isn’t because I’m a greedy bastard. It’s because neither I (the producer of goods and services), nor the consumers I sell them to, know where our next batch of greenbacks is coming from, or going to. And clients, those a rung above me on the ladder, are behaving in kind. We’re like kidnap victims who’ve had black hoods pulled over our heads, while the van we’re in careens through a sketchy neighborhood of miserably thought out economic policies.
Greater Media Gives Up on Talk in Boston. It can’t be said Greater Media didn’t give WTKK, Boston a chance to thrive. Following a 13-year history of news/talk programming, the station flipped to a rhythmic CHR format at 10:00 am this morning after morning duo Jim Braude and Margery Eagan took to the air say good bye to their audience. The flip had been rumored for some time and, given the station’s less-than-stellar ratings combined with the expense of programming a news/talk format, it was not shocking the company is opting for a music format on the 96.9 FM signal. It’s not clear (since management has made no comment about revenue) how much the “controversial programming” stigma that many talk broadcasters admit can hamper their sales efforts was part of the company’s decision to drop the format. Industry watchers have been quoted in the Boston media charging the station didn’t achieve stationality with its politically incongruous lineup. However, crosstown competitor WRKO is programmed conservatively across the board and its ratings over recent years have been in pretty much the same ballpark as WTKK’s; so trying to find one reason for the station’s demise is probably unrealistic. WRKO afternoon drive host Howie Carr – wooed by WTKK several years ago but retained by Entercom in a highly publicized court battle – writes in his recent Boston Herald column that the programming was the station’s downfall. Read his column here.
Listener Interaction Key in CBS Radio’s New Sports Talk Venture. The new sports talk radio network that’s been in the works for more than six months takes off today and TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports the CBS Radio/Cumulus Media Networks joint venture is based strongly on CBS’ 25 years of sports talk radio experience. CBS Radio SVP Chris Oliviero tells TALKERS the listener interaction is of paramount importance, “It might be in the traditional way of people picking up a phone, or through social media. If you listen to some other sports radio networks, it is a great deal of one-way conversations, but we are going to be doing two-way conversations so listeners will be able to talk back. Yes, we will have interviews and yes, we will have monologs, but that is not all it will be.” As 2013 kicks off, sports talk radio is front-and-center. Read part one of Mike Kinosian’s three-part series on sports talk here.
Dave Ramsey Renews with WOR, New York. The changes at Clear Channel’s WOR, New York before Christmas had many wondering what the status of some of its programming would be once the new year began. One question is answered as Dave Ramsey’s nationally syndicated program will continue on the heritage signal. Ramsey’s organization announces it has renewed its deal with WOR and the Dave Ramsey program will continue to air in the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot. Ramsey states, “We’re excited to continue being a part of the WOR team. We have a great relationship with WOR and their listeners.”
Buzz Bissinger Exits WPHT, Philadelphia. Philadelphia Magazine reports Buzz Bissinger has left his afternoon drive talk program at CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia. The Friday Night Lights author and Pulitzer Prize-winning author tells PhillyMag’s Victor Fiorillo he left before the holidays because he missed his writing career and found managing two careers was becoming impossible. He also said, “While I enjoyed doing talk radio, I had increasingly come to the conclusion that it is fundamentally trivial.” The end of Bissinger’s six-month talk radio career is said to have been amicable but reports from CBS Philadelphia indicate his penchant for profanity required extra caution and staffing in the control room. It also reared its head off the air as Fiorillo’s report states Bissinger was charged with “creating a hostile work environment” on at least one occasion. It’s not clear what CBS Philadelphia’s plans for the PM drive slot are but Steve Martorano and Rich Zeoli have been hosting the program since Bissinger’s departure.
KFTK, St. Louis Talk Host Dana Loesch Sues Breitbart.com in Contract Dispute. Talk host and blogger Dana Loesch – whose programs air on Emmis Communications’ KFTK, St. Louis and WIBC, Indianapolis – is suing Breitbart.com in a contract dispute that Loesch claims is keeping her with Breitbart, though her work is not being used by the site. Loesch, stating publicly that her relationship with Breitbart has gone “tragically awry,” contends she tried to end the relationship in September but Breitbart instead extended her contract by a year and refuses to publish any of her work. She is seeking $75,000 in damages and her freedom. The complaint notes that the working relationship between Loesch and Breitbart had become strained over time, forcing her to try to end the deal.
Journal Broadcast Group’s $6 Million Deal for WNOX, Knoxville Contested. The purchase of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville by Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group announced before the holidays is being contested by Clinton, Tennessee-based M & M Broadcasting. M & M claims it had an agreement to buy the station from Oak Ridge before Journal stepped in. M & M owner Ron Meredith tells Knoxvillebiz.com that he went so far as to order letterhead other business tools in anticipation of owning the station.
Your NEWS Year’s Resolution. Getting the point of a news story across to listeners in a “relevant and plainspoken” way is the key to making your newscasts memorable and habit forming, according to radio consultant Holland Cooke. His advice? “Apply the ‘who cares?’ test to every story. Just because it’s on the wire or in the paper doesn’t mean a story has to play on your air.” And remember, Cooke warns, wire services are controlled by newspapers and tend to be written in past tense. “Advance stories as much as possible. Put the very latest aspect, or some interesting wrinkle, right up top; rather than telling the story chronologically.” Read more of Holland Cooke’s suggestions here.
KFI, Los Angeles Talk Host Bill Carroll to Host PM Drive Show for CFMJ, Toronto. Canadian talk show personality Bill Carroll has been hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program on Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles for the past three years. Beginning January 7, Carroll will add another three-hour program to his duties as he’ll hold down the afternoon drive slot on Corus Radio’s CFMJ, Toronto from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Carroll and his family will remain in Los Angeles.
Veteran Traffic Reporter/Broadcaster Jeff McKay Joins Radiate Media – Will Provide Morning Reports to Cumulus Big Apple Outlets Talk WABC and Hot AC WPLJ. Former Merlin Media traffic reporter and WEMP, New York APD Jeff McKay – famous among New York commuters for the “McKay Way” joins Radiate Media as the morning reporter for Cumulus outlets WABC and WPLJ. McKay, who also serves as a special features correspondent for TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo says, “I’m thrilled joining Radiate Media for the honor of bringing traffic to the legendary Scott & Todd Morning Show on WPLJ-FM, and the legendary Don Imus Show on WABC-AM! I will be working from a custom traffic center built in my home, which only makes the deal even sweeter. Looking forward to what I hope is a long and beneficial partnership with great folks at Radiate Media and Cumulus Radio.”
WOWO, Fort Wayne Names Kayla Blakeslee News Director. Federated Media promotes Kayla Blakeslee to news director for heritage news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne. Blakeslee has been with the company since July of 2011 in various capacities. She says of her new post, “I’m honored to work with such a legendary station and team. Fort Wayne is a great town and I’m looking forward to serving my community in this new role. I’m also looking forward to being around for a while and building new relationships with community newsmakers.” Program director Ryan Reker states, “Kayla has emerged as an afternoon leader by generating stories, anchoring newscasts and managing traffic for our television partners at ‘21 Alive.’” Her dedication to the station and community — and as a respected member of the Fort Wayne community – has already created a solid working foundation on which to build.”
Talk Host Robbie Student Describes the Day the Ax Came Down at WOR. He is considered by industry observers and programmers in the Big Apple as a unique up-and-coming talk show host whose iconoclastic “street-savvy” work has already been heard on such outlets as WNYM (“The Answer”) and most recently the innovative WOR alternative online channel. Robbie Student, a member of TALKERS magazine’s Frontier Fifty, enjoyed one of the largest talk radio audiences on the internet and is clearly a rising star in the genre. In his other life, he is well-known in music industry circles as a record producer currently riding a streak of nine number one dance songs in a row. In an exclusive TALKERS commentary, Student captures the scene and mood at WOR on the afternoon of December 20, 2012 – which he describes as “the day the major overhaul at WOR began in earnest.” Student writes, “I walked into the station at 4:30 pm. I was there to prep for my M-F 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm internet stream show. The show’s existence was an anomaly, as the rule of thumb is to carry the entirety of one’s terrestrial programming on one’s primary stream. I was grateful for the anomaly. I was greeted by a cacophony of sights, sounds, and most importantly, feelings that were close to overwhelming.” To read Robbie Student’s complete article, click here.
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s WFAS, Westchester, New York goes news/talk full time after spending most of last year airing a hybrid of talk and AC music. The station features local talk in the morning, Cumulus Media Networks’ Geraldo and John Batchelor, plus Debbie Nigro in middays and Lisa Wexler in afternoon drive…..WQAM, Miami late-morning sports talk host Dan Sileo had been doing some fill-in work at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston during the holidays. Rumors are that Sileo may be picking up some regular fill-in and/or weekend work on WEEI.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate, House Skips Sandy Aid Bill, Hillary Clinton Health Status, College Bowl Games, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/1). The debate over legislation to avert the “fiscal cliff”; the bypassing of action on a bill for aid to Hurricane Sandy victims; the health status of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; the weekend’s college bowl games; and the matchups in the NFL’s playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WOR, New York Eliminates Air Staff as Clear Channel Takes Over. Yesterday, WOR, New York began making changes to its staffing – both on-air and off – in preparation for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s takeover of the station a couple of months after the $30 million purchase of the venerable New York City signal. Buckley Broadcasting CEO Joe Bilotta announced that CC’s acquisition of the station has officially closed and he thanked the station’s employees for their service. The air staff we know are out include Dr. Joy Browne, PM drive host and former New York Governor David Paterson, and the news staff. Syndicated programs that have been dropped immediately include: Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee. Those local talent still with the station as of today (12/21) include morning host John Gambling and midday host Joan Hamburg. Nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey is also still listed on the station’s program schedule. Off the air, WOR Radio Network director of affiliate relations Willis Damalt has been let go. Governor Paterson appeared on the Curtis Sliwa morning program on Salem Communications‘ crosstown WNYM “970 The Answer” to talk about the changes. Hear his discussion with Sliwa by clicking below.
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Clear Channel Officially Announces New Fresno Talk Combo; Jay Bohannon Named PD. That Clear Channel was going to flip an FM music outlet in the Fresno market to talk is not news; Peak Broadcasting received notice Premiere Networks was exercising its out-clause on such shows as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity earlier in the fall, so the clues were not hard to follow. Now, the company announces hot AC KALZ, Fowler “Alice 96.7” and sports talk KRZR, Visalia will become “Power Talk 96.7 FM/1400 AM” on January 1. The program schedule includes Limbaugh, Hannity, Glenn Beck, “America Now” with Andy Dean, and “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory, plus local host Bill Manders from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle. The company also welcomes back program director Jay Bohannon who previously programmed its WPGB, Pittsburgh. Company regional programming manager Tony Banks says, “We have assembled top-notch talent behind the mic and behind-the-scenes with program director Jay Bohannon, who is one of the premiere news/talk programmers in the country. He has a proven track record of winning in every market he has led.”
Journal Broadcast Group Adds News/Talk WNOX, Knoxville to Its Cluster. Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group buys news/talk WNOX, Knoxville from Oak Ridge FM, Inc. for an undisclosed amount, adding the outlet to its three-station cluster there. Prior to Citadel Broadcasting’s filing for bankruptcy protection in December of 2009, it operated WNOX under an LMA from Oak Ridge. In 2010, Citadel gave up operation of the station and Oak Ridge resumed control. No word on if or when Journal will take over under an LMA. The sale must go through the usual FCC approval process.
Doing Good for Christmas. XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough (r) sits in Truth Broadcasting Corporation’s the Truth Network studios in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with an unidentified host as he broadcasts across the Truth Network to affiliate stations working to reach the Do Good Christmas goal of supporting 800 orphans for the next year. TALKERS has written previously about McCullough’s Do Good charity developed to raise funds to assist orphans across the globe. On Thursday, McCullough spent some 18 hours on the radio, across numerous formats, working to attain the goal. He appeared on the “Truth Network” along with News/Talk AM 980 “The Eagle” and “The Light” Black Gospel Music Network to attempt to feed 800 Orphans for the entirety of 2013. He says, “They had me hoppin’ formats and stations for what seemed like every fifteen minutes. But it was worth it to know that 800 children in Africa and Central America in particular are going to be fed this Christmas and all through next year until Christmas 2013 because of the efforts.” McCullough hosts his own daily radio talk show, a weekend program with actor Stephen Baldwin called “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” His company also produces the Dani Johnson radio show as well as the national television syndication for “Hannah Help Me” hosted by Hannah Keeley.
Holiday Fill-In Work for Matt Patrick. Talk host Matt Patrick – AM drive on KTRH, Houston and PM drive on KPRC, Houston – will fill in for Bill Cunningham on his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Sunday evening show on Sunday, December 30.
Fox Sports Radio’s Petros & Money Take Over ‘NFL on Fox’ Studios. The nationally syndicated, Los Angeles-based Petros & Money show – hosted by Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith – broadcast a special program before a live, studio audience of contest winners on the set of television’s “NFL on Fox” program. Pictured here are Smith (l) and Papadakis (r) welcoming new Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr (c) to the network. Joining Petros & Money on this show were special guests Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jay Glazer, “UFC Tonight” star Leeann Tweeden and the first-ever female UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.
Gun Law Changes Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 17-21. The national debate over making changes to the gun laws in the U.S. was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, pushing the “fiscal cliff” issue off the top where it’s been for the past four weeks. Coming in at #2 were the mental health care system tied with the aftermath of the Newtown massacre. At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and following at #4 was the Benghazi-State Department report. 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 is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Sold Out Talkers New Media Seminar Takes Place in Los Angeles Today. Talk media practitioners from all over the country are gathering in Los Angeles today for the West Coast installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7). The NMS Los Angeles agenda includes solo addresses, panel discussions and the presentation of the “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient Stephanie Miller. More than 55 speakers will be participating including radio talent, PDs, GMs, producers, syndicators and consultants. Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz will keynote. KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel will also deliver a solo presentation. Some of the panel discussions to take place include: “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison; “The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian; “Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities” moderated by PodJockey host Brent Seltzer; “The State of Talk Programming” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; “The Modern Day Pioneers” moderated by KPCC, Pasadena personality Patt Morrison; “The Art of the Show” moderated by Bill Moran & Associates president Bill Moran; and much more. There will be more than 50 speakers and approximately 250 attendees at this event. The TALKERS New Media Seminar LA takes placed today from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Check out the full agenda here. Look for coverage of the event in both RadioInfo and TALKERS in the days ahead.
CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talk Announces Lineup and Start Date. WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” will debut on October 24 and feature the following personalities in addition to Carl Dukes, whom we already reported is moving to Atlanta from Houston where he worked at Gow Communications’ KFNC. Morning drive will be hosted by well-known TV NFL analyst and 49ers great Randy Cross, NBA-TV personality Rick Kamla, and former crosstown WBTS “95.5 The Beat” host C.J. Simpson. The 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot will feature former CNN Headline Sports, Fox Sports Radio and Atlanta Braves and Hawks analyst Jerome Jurenovich paired with former Atlanta Falcon and NFL Network personality Jaime Dukes. Joining Carl Dukes on the afternoon drive show will be Rachel Baribeau, most recently with Cox Media’s WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart. The evening show is yet to be announced but TALKERS hears other personalities to be part of the station in either analysis or fill-roles include NBA analyst Bob Neal, former NBA star Dennis Scott, former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, two-sport player with the Braves and Falcons Brian Jordan, and former Atlanta Falcon Ovie Mughelli.
Doug Stephan Syndicated Morning Show Reaches Quarter Century Milestone. This month, Doug Stephan‘s “Good Day,” arguably the second longest running syndicated talk radio show in the country, begins its 25th year on the air. Stephan and his crew will be celebrating this major milestone with an ongoing schedule of fun, games and trivia. Every day for the next year, the show will feature clips offering a retrospective of the top news stories, songs, movies and TV shows from the past 25 years. The celebration culminates in October of 2013 with contests that will be coordinated with “Good Day” affiliates enabling listeners from around the country to win trips and other assorted prizes. The show will also be highlighting other companies and organizations celebrating their 25th anniversary along with “Good Day.” “‘Good Day’ is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago,” Stephan tells TALKERS, adding “The show’s success and longevity is a testament to our ability to keep it fresh and fun while keeping our audience informed.”
WLS-AM, Chicago’s Don Wade Preparing to Undergo Chemo and Radiation. From the Windy City, Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive host Don Wade – after a successful operation to remove a growth from his brain will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment soon. His agent, Eliot Ephriam, says the course is not indicative of any bad news but simply the next step in the procedure for the 71-year-old talk personality. In a statement, Wade says, “I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me to do to beat this thing. Nothing has altered my most positive and optimistic attitude. When they say jump, I say: ‘How high?’” Meanwhile, Wade’s wife and radio partner Roma, thanks the many who’ve sent well-wishes. “The outpouring of caring from thousands of you, our radio family, has filled our hearts and our home, our coffee table piled high and overflowing with love. Your letters, cards, emails, messages, flowers and, most important, prayers lift our spirits every single day. Thank you.”
Clear Channel Sacramento Knocked Off Air by Software Glitch. The cluster-wide loss of transmitting signal that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento stations experienced yesterday were caused by a software malfunction, according to coverage in the Sacramento Bee. President and market manager Dave Milner tells the paper the cluster recently moved into new studios that have a state-of-the-art software system that went down on Wednesday morning around 7:00 and lasted until engineers could repair the problem around 9:00 am. Milner says the office received a lot of calls from people wondering what happened to their radio stations. “It’s never fun to go through something like this but it makes you aware of how much people rely on you.” The company operates news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE, classic hits KHLX, urban contemporary KHYL, and adults hits KQKJ.
Odds & Sods. Journal Broadcast Group announces its “2012 Red, White and Blue Election Initiative” – a campaign that commits each of its television news operations and radio news/talk formatted stations to significant election coverage in the 30 days leading up to the November 6, 2012 general election. News/talk stations taking part include: WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee; KTTS-AM and KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KQTH-FM, Tucson; KFAQ-AM, Tulsa; KFDI-AM and KLIO-FM, Wichita…..Mark Mueller exits Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh where he’s served as the midday news/anchor and reporter since 2009.
Correction! Yesterday TALKERS published the news that the FCC has approved Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. In the piece we wrote that WOR was New York’s oldest station, having gone on the air in February of 1922. WGY, Albany program director Josh Everett writes to correct the record, stating that WGY-AM went on the air on February 20, 1922 – two days prior to WOR-AM signing on February 22, 1922. Even though we were referencing WOR as New York City’s first station – we want to give credit where credit is due. But wait! Former Citadel Wilkes-Barre chief engineer Phil Galasso writes to tell us we’re both wrong and that WABC – which first went on the air as WJZ – was first out of the gate on October 7, 1921 from the Westinghouse plant near Lackawanna Station in Newark, New Jersey. He says WJZ changed its call letters to WABC on March 1, 1953.
Famous Dodgers Join “What’s Cookin’?” Broadcast. CRN Digital Talk Radio’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” program recently broadcast from The Ranch restaurant in Anaheim and had some very special guests on the show. Pictured here in the back row are: Former Dodger pitcher Charlie Hough, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” host and master sommelier Michael Jordan, third base coach and former Dodger All-Star Tim Wallach. Seated at the table are Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda and “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” co-host Mike Horn.
Obama Confesses ‘Bad Night’ at Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, and Sandusky Sentencing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10). The Analysis of the first presidential debate and President Obama’s admission he had a ‘bad night’; the latest presidential race polls; the ongoing investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Hosts and News Operations Deal with Logistical Issues and Weather as Republican National Convention Begins in Tampa Today. The Republican National Convention, a huge “radio row” and live broadcast draw for many radio stations and networks around the country, begins today and talk hosts, programmers and news staffers are dealing with what is already a complex couple of days of remote broadcasting being amplified by the threat from Tropical Storm Issac. Today’s first day of the RNC is being canceled due to the storm and broadcasters are having to make contingency plans as a result. From a logistical standpoint, hosts and news staffers may be forced to cram planned interviews and guest appearances originally scheduled across three days into two days on Tuesday and Wednesday. As for live broadcasts scheduled from the convention center for today, that will depend on how quickly the storm moves through the area. Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS SRN’s equipment on radio row is set up but its two early Monday shows – Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager – will originate from Salem Communications O&O WGUL, Tampa and the Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt programs will broadcast from the convention center radio row later today.
Lincoln Financial Media Buys Miami FM for Sports Talk Simulcast with WAXY. West Palm Beach FM WMSF at 104.3 will change hands from Palm Beach Broadcasting to Lincoln Financial Media for a reported $13 million and the latter will use the signal to give sports talk “790 The Ticket” WAXY an FM presence in the South Florida market. Palm Beach acquired the station from CBS Radio earlier this year. Palm Beach has applied to move the 104.3 signal from West Palm Beach to Miami and that application is still pending the FCC. LFM will begin operating the station under an LMA prior to FCC approval of the sale.
Program Director Jay Bohannon Exits Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh. When Clear Channel fired up the Pittsburgh FM talk outlet in January 2004, Jay Bohannon was named the program director. During his tenure at the station, he was responsible for working with morning show team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent and bringing the program into syndication. He also led news/talk branding and imaging for the company. Bohannon is available for his next opportunity. Reach out to him at email@example.com.
Salem Communications to Buy WMUU, Greenville from Bob Jones University. The station – owned by the Christian college’s Gospel Fellowship Association – currently programs a combo of Christian teaching and beautiful music but that will end when Salem Communications takes over and turns the Greenville, South Carolina FM at 94.5 into a news/talk outlet using programming from the Salem Radio Network. No price has been announced nor has a start date for an LMA.
WOR Low Price Tag Cause of Angst for AM Radio Owners. As the dust settles in the aftermath of the recently announced sale of Buckley Broadcastings’ heritage outlet WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the cold hard reality of the low price tag is beginning to settle in and it is being perceived as a seriously bad indicator about the value and future of AM sticks. Industry observers and players alike remember stories about the late Buckley Broadcasting CEO Rick Buckley turning down offers as high as $150 million for the station as recently as a decade ago. In 2001, Disney paid then-owner The Forward newspaper $78 million for WEVD (1050 AM) to find a New York City outlet for ESPN Radio – a station with a significantly inferior signal than WOR’s. An article in the New York Daily News reports on the topic: “One of the many nervous discussions in radio these days revolves around the future of AM stations — that is, if they have a future.” Perhaps the revelations of the WOR deal will usher in an industry station deal cycle marked by what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as the “lesser fool” theory.
Former Eagles Star Brian Dawkins Joins 97.5 The Fanatic for NFL Coverage. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins will be part of the Friday coverage of NFL football on Mike Missanelli’s program each week at 4:10 pm on Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia. Program director Matt Nahigian says, “There is no one that Eagle fans love and relate to more than Brian Dawkins. We had him on our air about a month ago and the response we received via Twitter and Facebook about wanting to hear him each week was staggering. I am thrilled to bring his passion and insight to the Delaware Valley on a week to week basis.”
KLIN, Lincoln Nebraska Names David Dwinell AM Drive Co-Host; Kevin Thomas Promoted to PD. Dwinell has been working at KLKN-TV, Lincoln as promotions director. He leaves that position to return to radio where he’ll take the radio moniker Dave Miller as he sits beside Jack Mitchell on NRG Media’s Lincoln news/talker. The slot on the station’s morning show opened up when John Bishop left the show to go across the hall and join NRG’s 1620 The Zone for its “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program. At the same time, KLIN PM drive host Kevin Thomas takes on the program director duties at the station that were previously held by John Bishop. He’ll continue to host the 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” show. Also, the sports director post – also previously held by Bishop – goes to Chris Whitney.
Buckley Broadcasting Flips KYZZ, Salinas, California to Sports. The classic hits format disappears from KYZZ as the former “Z97.9” becomes part of the simulcast of “630 ESPN” KIDD, Monterey and becomes known as “97.9 ESPN Central Coast.”
Programmers Owe it to Themselves to See Obama Movie. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says of the new movie “Obama’s America 2016,” “If you work in talk radio, you owe it to your audience to understand what all those network commercials in your show are selling. And as an insider, you’ll recognize the event you’re attending as a theatrical ‘infomercial,’ a rented theater.” Cooke says that regardless of your personal political viewpoint, as a content creator the film is instructive in numerous ways. Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Cuts Ribbon at NJ 101.5 Studio. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 celebrated the opening of its refurbished main studio on August 23 and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on hand to cut the ribbon. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson reports the main studio got some brand new carpeting and – more important – new broadcasting equipment to bring the station into the digital era. PM drive hosts Deminski &Doyle were on the air when the switch was made and the monthly “Ask the Governor” program followed. Christie was there for the program and made the new studio “official” with his gubernatorial ribbon cutting and he even worked the new digital board (pictured here) during the station’s 8:00 pm newscast.
Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers Dies at 68. The cause of death is not yet public but Dale Sommers had been dealing with unspecified health issues since he left the WLW, Cincinnati overnight program in 2004. Although he retired from the show at that time, he resumed the program on satellite radio and hosted it until earlier this year when he again gave it up. As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports, Sommers’ program made national news twice when it helped solve crimes. The first time was in 1984 when he was talking off the air with a regular caller who went by the name of “Mississippi Lady,” a convenience store clerk in Camilla, Georgia “when he heard her tell someone, ‘You can’t come back here’ before quickly hanging up the phone. Sommers called Camilla police, who were familiar with his ‘Bozo Show’ and a store clerk known as the ‘Mississippi Lady.’ Within minutes, an officer apprehended the robber.” His program was also credited with assisting police is catching the DC sniper in 2002 after a listener heard Sommers give the car’s license plate number over the radio.
Clear Channel Will Pay Buckley $30 Million for WOR. The paperwork to transfer WOR, New York from Buckley Broadcasting to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been filed with the FCC and we now know the price CC will pay for the station, pending approval by the Commission, is $30 million. The station is already being operated by Clear Channel under an LMA.
The Other Morning Shoe Drops at KLOS as Brian Phelps Says Adios. The surprise (to many) and sudden exit Friday by Brian Phelps of the KLOS, Los Angeles “Mark & Brian” morning show has some industry observers speculating that there might be more than meets the eye to Mark Thompson’s earlier telegraphed and more-heralded departure. Was the whole thing very possibly all about money? Perhaps Cumulus Media’s new contract offer to Mark Thompson in today’s belt-tightening climate played a bigger role in his decision than the good-natured veteran let on when he told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s just time…guys my age are dropping dead. There are other things I want to do.” The Friday (8/16) program that was billed as the farewell show for Mark Thompson turned out to be the last shift for his on-air partner Brian Phelps as well. Thompson is now off to his new life in North Carolina while Phelps is reportedly teaming up with actress/entertainer Jill Whelan to do a series of podcasts at brianandjillshow.com. Whelan was recently a talk show host at WPHT, Philadelphia. Thompson will also be heading to the internet and podcasting with his wife and three adult children at markandlynda.us. Finishing a quarter-century run, the “Mark & Brian” show exits as the current longest-running morning show in Los Angeles. TALKERS caught up with Cumulus COO John Dickey over the weekend who stood behind Thompson’s account of his reason for leaving the show adding, “I thank Mark for giving us the certainty to begin this search and process in earnest months and months ago — speaks volumes to Mark’s decision to paint on another canvas.” Regarding Phelps, Dickey did not deny the host’s position was changed with Thompson out of the equation stating, “With respect to Brian, he was part of a large consideration pool for the next chapter in rock’s most iconic brand. The decision, which will be announced very soon, was made after a long and thoughtful process.” Oh, something else Dickey says has the TALKERS editors wondering if the multi-talented Thompson (who has dabbled in a bit of movie acting in his time) is only going to be focusing on his podcasts in the near future: “My only comment on Mark is that he is as committed to his movie career as I’m sure he once was to his radio show.”
WOWO, Fort Wayne Names Woody Zimmerman OM. Federated Media announces Woody Zimmerman takes over the operations manager post at the company’s heritage news/talk outlet WOWO, Fort Wayne. Zimmerman has held various programming roles over the span of his career with Federated Media and, previous to working for Federated, Zimmerman was a TV news assignment editor. Federated Media Fort Wayne market manager Jim Allgeier says, “Woody’s sense of urgency, organizational skills, attention to detail and work ethic make him uniquely qualified to take on the complex job of programming a news talk station. The talents and skills Woody has demonstrated as a programmer will transfer quickly as he takes on the assignment of programming a news/talk station for the first time.” Allgeier thanks outgoing OM Gregg Henson for his work with the station and especially his contribution to the launch of their Fan Sports Brand in Northern Indiana.
Fox News Radio Adds Two to News Staff. Fox News Radio vice president Mitch Davis announces the company brings two veteran broadcasters aboard as Steve Knight and Simon Owen begin with the company today. Steve Knight served as both an anchor and reporter for WCBS-AM, New York; CBS News Radio, and Associated Press Radio. He also served as news director and anchor for New York Times Radio and was bestowed the Edward R. Murrow award for best documentary, feature reporting, and use of sound. He’ll be a New York-based anchor. Simon Owen was most recently a reporter with Sky News Radio where he provided live coverage of the 2012 Olympics as well as of the 2011 Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. He also covered the death of singer Amy Winehouse, the resignation of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and secured high-profile interviews with international celebrities such as David Beckham and Jude Law. He’ll be a London-based correspondent.
Talk Host Found Guilty of Felony Wiretapping. “Free Talk Live” co-host Adam “Ademo” Mueller was found guilty of felony wiretapping by a New Hampshire jury and will serve 90 days in jail with an additional one to three years suspended and five years probation – meaning he could end up serving that additional time for probation violation. “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS, “He was accused of recording conversations with government workers while they were on duty, over the phone. He was investigating the brutal attack on a student at Manchester’s West High School by the school police officer. Rather than punish the officer for unnecessarily slamming the student’s head into a table, they went after Ademo for trying to hold them accountable, on-the-record. Monday’s conviction was a sad day for the idea of the right to be the free press. The trial held many outrageous moments, including a government school principal who claimed she is not a public official!” Background on the case can be found at the site CopBlock.org: http://copblock.org/freeademo.
Talk Host and Journalist Aaron Klein’s Latest Book Lands on Best-Seller List. Jerusalem-based journalist and talk show host Aaron Klein’s latest book, Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed (WND Books 2012), hit #18 on the New York Times bestseller list for this week. Klein co-wrote the book with Brenda J. Elliott. He has been on a media tour to promote the book that has included stops on Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee program and Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” morning program. Klein hosts the weekly Sunday evening program “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York from 7:00 to 9:00.
“Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture” Session Set for TALKERS Los Angeles Seminar. A dynamic panel discussion involving a group of knowledgeable talk industry leaders has been set for the forthcoming New Media Seminar 2012 in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club. Titled “Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture,” the panel will consist of an eclectic array of individuals including Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media Management, LLC; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media. The session will be moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The conference will also feature, within its packed schedule, the honoring of KFI/KTLK program director Robin Bertolucci with the “Woman of the Year” award. The presentation will be made by nationally syndicated radio and television talk star, Stephanie Miller. The seminar will present more than 60 leading industry speakers. Its agenda will be posted on Talkers.com next week. It is expected to be an early sellout. To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Yahoo! Sports Radio Moves Travis Rodgers to Afternoon Slot. The man who produced Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome show for many years and is now a host of his own sports talk program with Yahoo! Sports Radio, is moved to a new time that puts him in virtual competition with Rome’s show. Travis Rodgers left Rome’s program in 2009 saying at the time he disagreed with Rome about the direction the program had taken. He became a sports talk host himself. Now his show moves to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot effective today. In a statement, Rodgers says, “I can’t wait to go against the show that I helped build in to the industry standard. It’s not that anymore and I look forward to creating the new standard in sports talk radio.”
More Radio Talent are Becoming Entrepreneurs…and some are doing it kicking and screaming, while others embrace the feeling of independence and potential opportunity that comes with it. An informal in-house TALKERS magazine survey of radio stations and syndication companies conducted over the past two years indicates that the combination of new technology and difficult economic conditions are fueling this trend. The traditional employer/employee relationship between talent and platform provider is increasingly being replaced by independent contractor deals with many air personalities – even at major market heritage stations – operating as the principals of their own production companies. Within this new paradigm, on-air performers are responsible for their own health care, make lower salaries, and have shorter-term commitments from their “employers.” In return, they are granted the flexibility of working from home, broadcasting different shifts to other out of town stations and receiving revenue sharing deals on their shows and related intellectual property.
(Speaking of Entrepreneurism) Premiere Networks Founder Steve Lehman is Developing a Radio Talk Show for Syndication Aimed at Entrepreneurs…and it is already getting traction in Los Angeles on KFWB weekdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The show is called “Business Rock Stars” and it is hosted by well-known entrepreneur Ken Rutkowski. The voice-over announcer for the show is Joe Cipriano (voice of Fox and CBS). Program partner Steve Lehman tells TALKERS that the show, which launched two months ago, is doing very well on KFWB where they are polishing every aspect of it to make it truly special and ready for a national roll-out in the near future. The program focuses on starting and building a business and presents some of the world’s most successful CEOs as well as accomplished small business owners as guests. The program is being designed for multi-platform content distribution. A glass enclosed studio is being designed and built in a highly trafficked Southern California location to house the show and its related seminars. It is being outfitted with three video cameras for streaming content. In addition, Lehman tells TALKERS, “We have a great strategic tie-in with Entrepreneur Magazine and will be broadcasting the Entrepreneur of the year awards live from Dallas. Additionally, we are working with Entrepreneur on their Franchise 500 issue. We are going to give away a franchise on the air!” Ken Ritkowski will be a speaker at the forthcoming TALKERS New Media Seminar on Thursday, October 11 discussing the new business environment of talk show hosting and radio station managing. Talkers tip: Keep your eye on this show and developing company. Steve Lehman is a top notch pro who has had an enormous influence on the modern radio industry. His turning his attention toward talk radio is a big deal for the business.
Leno Takes a Pay Cut. Since we are on the topic of broadcast talents facing pay cuts, the story broken yesterday (8/19) by CNN that NBC television star talker Jay Leno of the Tonight Show has agreed to accept a significant pay decrease to help the company deal with growing expenses and shrinking revenue has eyebrows raising throughout the broadcasting industry. In addition, NBC is still axing about 20 “Tonight Show” support staffers. Leno reportedly took the cut to protect even more of the show’s “little people” from receiving pink slips. You can be sure this provocative and unfortunate bit of news will reverberate around the conference rooms of radio stations as new talent contracts come up for renewal.
Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Sets October 20 Induction in Macon. For the first time in its six-year history, the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame is moving its induction ceremony (set for October 20) out of Atlanta and to the city of Macon. The organization’s president, John Long, who many of you will remember from KRUX, Phoenix and WAPE, Jacksonville, tells TALKERS, “We have struggled from the beginning to make this the GEORGIA Radio Hall of Fame. While 48% of our membership is from the seven-county metro-Atlanta area, that leaves a lot of radio stations and even more radio people in the state who deserve recognition. The members in Macon and Macon board member Ben Sandifer lobbied for the event to come there and veteran Georgia radio people have responded. It is going to be a great evening and ticket sales indicate it will come close to being another sellout.” TALKERS asked Long to describe the philosophy and mission behind the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. His compelling response: “‘Radio people’ used to be considered big deals by their friends, families, and listeners. The changes in radio programming and technology have taken the focus away from people leaving many veterans with nothing more than scrapbooks and reel-to-reel tapes of radio from days gone by. When Sam Hale and I started the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, we were two guys who were fortunate enough to have worked in, what many call, the glory days of radio. The late Larry Shannon founded the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002 for many of the same reasons; to honor the men and women who made radio magic. Larry and Kent Burkhart were invaluable in helping us form our organization. All the work done by our group is volunteer. When someone asks me what I get out of it, the answer is: watching the families of our Legacy inductees brimming with pride when we recognize their dad, mom, brother, or sister; seeing our Career Achievement inductees smiling ear-to-ear when we put the medallion around their neck. We want to make sure that their contributions are not forgotten.” Long continues, “Another important part of our mission is preserving the rich heritage of Georgia radio since March 15, 1922, when the state’s first station, WSB, signed on the air. One of our founding board members, Mike Kavanagh, began wsbhistory.com. When Mike passed away he left the site to the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame with one request: preserve it. This year we partnered with Georgia State University to achieve that goal. In 2013, we will work on a project with them to guarantee preservation, access, and continuity of the history of radio in Georgia, including inductees into The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.” To learn more visit www.grhof.com.
Odds & Sods. If you work in news/talk radio, your input is requested by TroyResearch which is conducting an important national study of talk radio, talk syndicators and the decision making process in radio today. If you haven’t already taken this survey from TroyResearch, please click on this link: http://www.srvy.net/x/1.p?23554461110025479936. 100 respondents, randomly selected from completed surveys, will receive a $5 Amazon.com coupon. A summary of results will be shared with TALKERS magazine and posted at TroyResearch…..Talk show host Pat Campbell, who hosts the morning drive show on Journal Broadcasting’s KFAQ, Tulsa, will sit in for Charlie Sykes on Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon today…..Talk show producer Frank Morano, who produces Curtis Sliwa’s program on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – began his own Saturday morning program on the station. During his first show he interviewed Vadim Vassilenko – a Ukrainian man who’s been in jail in the city for five years without bail or a trial in a case revolving around a $4 million stolen credit card scheme….. Sports talk radio outlet WIST, New Orleans and its FM translator at 104.9 (K285FF) are being sold by GHB Broadcasting to Catholic Community Radio. GHB principal George Buck continues to be majority owner and operator of oldies WTIX-FM, New Orleans. Catholic Community Radio also owns WPYR, Baton Rouge.
Denver Radio Legend Charley Martin Dies. Denver radio fans are remembering longtime KHOW morning drive co-host Charley Martin, who passed away on August 17 at age 67 after a long illness. Martin had been in hospice care in Phoenix for some time. Martin co-hosted the “Hal and Charley” show on KHOW beginning in 1976 – a program that would air on the station until 1995 when the station took a more serious news/talk turn. Denver Post television critic Joanne Ostrow quotes Denver media watchers in her obit who note that the duo of Martin and Hal Moore ruled Denver radio during an era when “humorous DJs” were the order of the day. The duo garnered enormous ratings and had the honor of their program’s audio being heard on the radio during a scene in the 1980 movie “The Shining.”
Ron Hartenbaum and Liz Laud Expand, Merge with Debbie Greenbaum’s DG Media. It was announced yesterday that broadcasting executive Debbie Greenbaum is joining WYM Media Management LLC as co-founder, managing partner with radio impresario Ron Hartenbaum and Liz Laud. Greenbaum’s business, DG Media will merge into WYM as part of its strategic business expansion into providing what is being described by the trio as “the most comprehensive affiliate sales and marketing for all radio formats.” Hartenbaum, who has worked over the years in developing the shows and careers of a number of the top talents in talk radio, via his New York City-based firm WYD Media Management, LLC, had earlier this year joined forces with affiliate sales and marketing veteran Liz Laud to launch WYM. “Deb is an accomplished industry veteran who has successfully launched a variety of shows and products throughout her career and by bringing the ‘The Leslie Marshall Show’ and Good Parts Media services (‘Mr. Prep’ and ‘The Hookup’) into the fold, immediately adds to our arsenal of affiliate sales opportunities,” says Hartenbaum. “I am thrilled to be able to continue our working relationship with her as a partner in WYM and am very excited about what the future holds.” Greenbaum tells TALKERS, “The opportunity to take my shows to the next level and grow WYM with the integration of Ron’s product at WYD and ground-breaking new shows such as “Istook Live!” and “Zach Sang and the Gang” is incredible. The timing couldn’t be better; we are going to have a lot of fun and a lot of success!” Considered a natural extension of Hartenbaum’s organization, WYM was formed to capture the affiliate marketing opportunities generated from the programming currently managed and produced by WYD which includes the “The Thom Hartmann Program,” “The Stephanie Miller Show,” “The Mike Malloy Show,” “The Michael Smerconish Show,” the “David Webb Show,” “Ring of Fire” and most recently “Istook Live!” (Ernest Istook) and “Zach Sang & The Gang,” a new CHR radio program for 12-34s hosted by pop-culture icon, Zach Sang. “I am beyond ecstatic to be working with Debbie again. We had a lot of fun, and more importantly, a lot of success working together at Westwood One years ago and I can’t believe our good fortune that we get the opportunity to do that again, this time with Ron!” says Laud, whose track record includes stints at Westwood One, Jones Radio and Dial Global.
Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal” Tour to Play Big Apple. Only nine days before the election, talk radio and Current TV star Stephanie Miller‘s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” wraps up its 2012 season with what its producers describe as its biggest show ever. The seemingly unstoppable traveling road show — considered by industry observers as a model example of how to bring a talk radio personality to a successful, revenue-generating theatrical platform — has been booked into the prestigious Beacon Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Saturday, October 27. The production, produced by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Management (there he is again) will feature its full line up of “sexy liberals,” Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, Aisha Tyler and Hal Sparks with lots of surprises being promised.
Speculation about Clear Channel’s Plans at WOR Continues Including the Possible Addition of Sports Programming. The radio industry remains abuzz about the acquisition of WOR from Buckley Radio by Clear Channel including speculation that the station could become home to some of CC’s top Premiere Network talents such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity should their present New York affiliate WABC follow its owner Cumulus Media’s stated new course toward a modified approach to political news/talk radio. Now Clear Channel chairman and CEO John Hogan adds a sports wrinkle to the speculation hinting that a push for sports radio rights could be in planning. He told the New York Post, “The Yankees radio rights come up next year, so do the New York Jets and there are others,” Hogan says, “If you look around on other news talk stations, sports can be a component. Part of the New York opportunity is that it allows us to think about the entire cluster, think about promo power of five radio stations plus WOR. That’s a really compelling package for sports players and advertisers.”
Is Another New York Deal Brewing – Putting “The Fan” on FM? Ace radio industry reporter Tom Taylor writes in TALKERS sister trade publication Radio-Info: There’s serious talk behind closed doors, and it’s not just about Clear Channel buying WOR (710) from Buckley or the imminent announcement of Family Radio selling commercial-band WFME, Newark (94.7). There could be a swap in the middle part of the FM dial. So maybe, CBS Radio’s all-sports WFAN (660) gets an FM home – but it wouldn’t be 94.7. It might be 99.5, the perch of Pacifica’s non-commercial news/talk WBAI. The play could be WBAI relocating to 94.7 in exchange for desperately-needed cash, and CBS scoring 99.5. Though wringing a decision out of the splintered family around WBAI could take time. Just yesterday, the board failed, on an 8-8 tie vote, to keep WBAI’s GM from signing a costly three-year renewal to keep it at its Wall Street offices and broadcasting from the Empire State Building. Harold Camping-run Family Radio also has debts. It already sold its commercial-band FMs in Philadelphia (to Merlin) and Washington-Baltimore (to CBS). But the real windfall would be New York’s 94.7. This could all be happening pretty fast, perhaps by the time of the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas, in mid-September. One complication is that WFME has a sister TV station, and they’re operated together. Would Family keep WFME-TV?
Odds & Sods. WHJJ, Providence talk host Helen Glover landed an exclusive interview this morning with George Mendonca, the iconic “Kissing Sailor” who famously graced the cover of Life magazine following the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II. Mendonca is now in his nineties. The interview can be heard on Glover’s web page at http://www.920whjj.com/pages/helen.html…..The New York Post reports convicted former NBA referee Tim Donaghy today was denied permission to continue working as a paid talk radio commentator alongside another man who has several felony arrests in his own past. Brooklyn federal Judge Carol Amon ruled that Donaghy cannot receive paychecks as a radio personality on the nationally syndicated betting advice show “The Sports Connection” and must cut his professional ties with the Philadelphia-based program and its host, Danny Berrelli. The judge noted that an investigation by federal probation officers revealed that Berrelli is actually Daniel Thomas Biancullo — an ex-con with prior arrests for felony interstate gambling in Florida and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in New Jersey.
Presidential Race Heating Up Top News/Talk Story Yesterday (8/14). The addition of Rep. Paul Ryan to the Mitt Romney Republican ticket has intensified discussion of the 2012 presidential campaign with a huge focus on budget and fiscal policy. Syrian violence ran a distant second and lots of gossip in the sports world over Tim Tebow’s controversial shirtless “Jesus” photo and Chad Johnson’s domestic violence scandal being among the big topics of discussion according to ongoing TALKERS research.
Yesterday’s Announcement of Clear Channel Buying WOR Sets Industry Buzzing. The joint Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announcement yesterday that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval, set off an industry wide storm of surprise followed by speculation on how it will impact both the local and syndication landscape. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed although Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports qualified rumors in the vicinity of $40 million.
What Does it Really Mean? As reported yesterday in TALKERS, information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. (See yesterday’s story below.) All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to the speculation that CC is protecting the future of its syndicated and highly valuable news/talk properties in terms of New York clearances . Also subject to question: What will happen to the hosts currently syndicated by the WOR Radio Network who currently claim the legendary 710 AM as their flagship station? Clear Channel says they will “benefit” from the relationship. Stay tuned.
Glenn Beck Sets September Return to National Live Movie Theaters. Following his successful series of six past “cinematic” events, pioneering talk media personality Glenn Beck returns to the big screen this fall with a new comedy stage show titled “Glenn Beck’s Unelectable 2012 Live.” Broadcast live from the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday, September 20 at 8:00 pm. ET with a tape delay for the Western states, Beck will use the debate format to say the things politicians can’t – or won’t – say during this election season. In a timely mock “debate,” Beck will square off against Brian Sack, host of The B.S. of A., a sketch comedy show that airs on TheBlaze (formerly GBTV), Beck’s HD video network. Sack’s “say anything to get elected” character is a composite of what is described as “just about every candidate from all parties.” Beck tells TALKERS, “The B.S. of A and I have a hard job with this comedy show but I think we can pull it off – create a fake debate that is actually funnier and more absurd than the real ones we have to look forward to this fall. I am excited to once again partner with NCM Fathom Events and return to movie theaters across the country.” In addition to the comedy, Beck will deliver a monologue presenting his view on a variety of contemporary topics. The event is a co-production of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts and NCM Fathom Events.
You Can Tell a Lot About a News/Talk Station from its Weekend Programming… or Lack Thereof. Consultant Holland Cooke says news/talk radio stations are by and large missing major opportunities to maximize ratings, revenue and image by wasting weekends on “best-of” reruns and embarrassing paid programs. He offers a suggestion of how to bring the commonly programmed but terribly dated “swap shop” concept into a lucrative 21st century radio role. Read Holland’s article here.
WNIR, Akron Names John Denning New Midday Host to Replace the Late Howie Chizek. When legendary talker Howie Chizek died suddenly in June due to a heart attack, WNIR management reportedly began an extensive search to select the beloved midday host’s successor. They decided upon John Denning, known to Chizek’s listeners as “Couch Burner” – a regular and extremely popular 20-year caller who would engage in friendly arguments with the host. As it turns out Denning is a colorful and accomplished local businessman whom station management confidently feel will keep the legacy of Chizek alive. He takes over 10:00 am to 3:00 pm weekdays and Saturdays 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Romney’s Selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Republican VP Choice Top News/Talk Radio Story Yesterday (8/13). The Ryan story significantly leads the pack which also includes the Texas A&M shootings, and the Mars “Curiosity” mission among the most talked about stories on news/talk stations yesterday according to ongoing TALKERS research.
Odds and Sods. Talk host Kevin McCullough, his co-host (and famous actor) Stephen Baldwin and “Secret Millionaire” Dani Johnson are extending their efforts to feed orphans. Hoping in April 2012 to feed more than 2012 orphans before the end of the calendar year, and with more than 3600 children – who have no resources – fed for the coming year, the coalition formerly known as “2012 in 2012” has become www.DoGood.com… Sexy Philadelphia-based “shock jockett” Lois Burak and her podcast-grown program “The Lolo Show” (which includes co-host Joe DeLong) have been given a monthly spot on Sirius XM’s Playboy Spice Channel 103. Burak is the daughter of Marvin Burak, a controversial Philadelphia broadcaster in the 1960s. Talkers Tip: Check this talent out.
Fisher House Honors Premiere Networks. Fisher House Foundation recently recognized Premiere Networks for its support of “A Grateful Nation,” a Memorial Day radio special that used the powerful personal stories of wounded warriors to promote the Fisher House mission. Premiere handled affiliation and distribution of the one-hour show, which aired on 65 news/talk radio stations and Sirius/XM. From left to right: Premiere Networks president/content and affiliate relations Julie Talbott, Fisher House VP Cynthia Campbell and Premiere SVP/affiliate relations for talk and morning shows Peter Tripi. Fisher House provides no-cost housing and other support to the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.
BREAKING NEWS: Clear Channel to Buy Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announced today that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “WOR is an iconic New York City brand with a rich history and an exciting future,” states John Hogan, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. “Clear Channel is excited to add WOR as a powerful, high potential complement to our New York brands. We believe WOR makes our already incredible platform even more interesting for listeners, advertisers, and strategic partners and we look forward to the tremendous potential WOR adds to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment New York.” Joseph Bilotta, president and CEO of Buckley Radio tells TALKERS, “For more than 23 years, Buckley Radio has been the steward of one of the most legendary radio stations in broadcasting history and I would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderful people who devoted their time, energy and efforts over the years to WOR Radio.” He continues, “By passing the baton to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, WOR listeners, advertisers and employees will gain access to the unparalleled resources of a worldwide, multi-dimensional media and entertainment company. We have had a great run with WOR and could not be more confident that it is poised for another great run as part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment team.” Clear Channel Media and Entertainment currently owns five stations in the New York market including 103.5 KTU, Q104.3, Z100, 106.7 Lite fm and Power 105.1.
Speculation Abounds About the Implications of WOR/CC Deal. Information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. Insiders at the station report that the airstaff had no idea what was going to be announced at an emergency staff meeting called on Friday afternoon for this morning at 9:00 am. Big news like this, however, travels fast once released in a small industry – the buzz being that Clear Channel has now gauranteed a number one market home for two of its major syndicated franchises, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity – currently cleared on Cumulus Media’s WABC. All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to that speculation. Stay tuned.
Romney’s VP Selection of Paul Ryan on a Saturday Reminds Programmers: Are You Prepared to Cover Breaking News? How your news/talk station handles a breaking news event on any day of the week – either in your market or outside of it – often determines how the people in your market perceive your value as a source of news and even opinion. TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey reports programmers and hosts across the nation who are dedicated to being the source of news, information and hosting that community “backyard fence” have very similar approaches to covering events such as the recent tragedy in Aurora. It’s all about planning ahead, using the staff you have creatively and being that place where listeners can turn to talk when they need to vent. Read Kevin Casey’s piece here.
Cumulus Rolling Out Geraldo Nationally Today. After recent launches on its O&Os in New York (WABC) and Los Angeles (KABC), Cumulus Media’s syndication division goes national today with the Geraldo Rivera Show. Emanating from New York, the program, titled “Geraldo,” airs between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon ET. Cumulus is banking on Rivera’s middle ground political stance to further underscore its apparent course to modify what some consider news/talk radio’s predominantly conservative and confrontational style. This follows the company’s recent high-profile rollout of former Arkansas Governor/Republican Presidential candidate (and Fox News Channel host) Mike Huckabee’s “more conversational” brand of syndicated news/talk radio. Rivera will reportedly debut on 45 stations including KLIF, Dallas and WCFO, Atlanta with another half dozen expected in coming weeks. Rivera tells TALKERS, “I’m thrilled that just as the nation hurtles toward the highly charged and hard-fought 2012 presidential election, I’ll be coming on the air nationwide. Fasten your seat belts. With America divided along red/blue, right/left lines, I hope to occupy the militant middle and be a referee between ideologies. Everyone is welcome on the radio show, and the conversation is no holds barred.”
Rush Limbaugh Remains #1 on Top Talk Audiences Chart; Listening Dips Slightly in Spring 2012. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Rush Limbaugh keeps his long-held spot atop the TALKERS survey of the top talk radio hosts – based on audience data – for the spring 2012 period of March, April and May. Listenership to many news/talk stations and hosts dipped to a small degree during the period in question, although that conclusion cannot be construed to be one that applies to all news/talk stations across the board nor all hosts. The imperfect science of rating radio in and of itself provides caution to those wishing to come to concrete conclusions about the numbers. Reasons for the “spring dip” are being attributed by some media observers to be the result of “political burnout” as the frenzy of the presidential primary season passes, as well as the easing into the traditionally different mindset listeners get into as summer approaches and schedules begin to change. Regardless, news/talk stations typically enjoy a big bounce from presidential election years in the fall ratings periods illustrating the natural ebb and flow of talk radio listenership. To view the entire Top Talk Radio Audiences chart for the spring 2012 period, click here.
Michael Harrison Receives 2012 Ethical Media Award. TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison was honored Friday (8/10) by the California Coast Venture Forum with its 2012 “Ethical Media Award” at the organization’s Fourth Annual Clean Business Investment Summit on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The award was presented to Harrison by Christie Communications CEO Gillian Christie who praised Harrison as displaying outstanding leadership in his 45 year career as a broadcaster and trade publisher in protecting and defending the principles of free speech in America. In accepting the award, Harrison told the audience of approximately 250 socially responsible entrepreneurs and investors from around California that the precious opportunity in America to start a business or invent a product that bucks the establishment is akin to the rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the First Amendment and should never be taken for granted.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Debuts Weekend Car Show. Using in-house talent Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte, the CBS Radio news/talk station brings “Drivetime” to the air on KDKA-AM Saturday mornings at 7:00 am. Richichi (pictured here at right) is a midday personality on the company’s sports talk KDKA-FM – 93.7 The Fan – and Pratte ( at left) is a 30-year veteran of KDKA-AM where he’s a sports reporter and host of “Weekend Magazine.” The station states, “‘Drivetime’ will be a weekly mix of ‘guy next door’ car reviews, interviews with interesting and informative guests from the automotive world and interactive calls from listeners. Topics will range from selling a car, how to get the most out of your automotive experience and even include discussions on the best drive-in movies in Pennsylvania. Richichi and Pratte approach the show with humor and the passion both feel about their wheels.” Richichi has been reviewing cars for more than 25 years and produces a “Drivetime” radio feature that airs across America and Canada. He says, “It’s a show that gives people who are into cars a place to talk about what they love with two guys who get grease under their fingernails before every show.”
Sid Rosenberg Returns to Miami Airwaves Today. Trouble-prone (but extremely talented) sports talk show host Sid Rosenberg returns to the airwaves today as morning drive host on WMEN 640, Royal Palm Beach, Florida after losing his job at WQAM 560, Miami shortly after being hit with a DUI charge in April. According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that was only his most recent bout with drugs, alcohol and gambling, addictions that had sent him to rehab twice and cost him at least five jobs, by his count. “I don’t blame them. I fired myself. I’m accountable,” said Rosenberg, whose April case is pending. He said he hasn’t had a drink in four months and has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily. He also attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings, going eight months since his last bet. (He lost $750 when Florida State didn’t cover the point spread in its 23-19 win over Miami on Nov. 12.) The report goes on to say that Rosenberg is “really trying” to be humble. That’s the first of AA’s 12 steps to a successful recovery.
Philadelphia Talk Host Dom Giordano Moderates Voter ID Law Panel. WPHT, Philadelphia midday talk host Dom Giordano served as the moderator during yesterday’s “Winning in 2012: Maximizing the Vote and Minimizing the Fraud” panel discussion of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law sponsored by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association and held on Independence Mall. The program was headlined by American Spectator senior editor John Fund and included: political analyst and election law expert, Rich Zeoli; Linda Kerns, Esquire; a GOTV workshop conducted by Martin Gillespie, NE Regional Director of American Majority, and attorney Matt Rooney of SaveJersey.com.
Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network morning drive host Bill Bennett has a special connection to newly-named Republican veep choice Rep. Paul Ryan. Chairman Ryan once worked for Bennett years ago when he and Jack Kemp created the Washington think tank Empower America…..According to a report by The Press of Atlantic City the recent shooting death of New Jersey talk show host April Kauffman has sparked a marked increase in applications for gun permits in the city of Linwood. Police there say the number of requests is on its way to doubling last year’s number – a trend they indicate has been prompted by the shooting. No arrests have been made in the case of 47-year-old Kauffman, a businesswoman and radio show host who was known widely as an advocate for military veterans.
Feliz Cumpleanos. ESPN Deportes Dallas (KZMP-AM) celebrates its fifth anniversary as the first ESPN O&O to take the ESPN Deportes Spanish-language sports format. To celebrate, the station broadcast live on August 9 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at Ojos Locos in Dallas. Pictured here are: Back Row — fifth from the left (blue shirt) Pete Dits, VP/general manager, ESPN Dallas; sixth from left Rafa Ramos, host of Deportes’ Raza Deportiva; seventh from left Tato Noriega, former Mexican National team player and ESPN Deportes TV personality. Front Row – fourth from left (black shirt) Jim Roberts, senior director/Deportes Local Radio Group and ESPN Deportes Dallas station manager.
There’s No Business Like Show Business. Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher spent this past weekend appearing onstage in Los Angeles. Gallagher, who—in addition to his daily SRN program and his duties as a regular contributor to the FOX News Channel—is a member of Actor’s Equity, was guest starring in the West Coast production of the Tony Award-winning “MEMPHIS: The Musical.” As he was leaving his dressing room backstage at the historic Pantages Theatre, who walked up to greet Gallagher but legendary director and funnyman Mel Brooks. Brooks essayed the role of backstage theatre critic and gave Gallagher’s performance a big thumbs-up.
Coming Tomorrow. Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke presents an informative and provocative piece exploring how you can tell a lot about a news/talk station from its weekend programming — or lack thereof.
WFAN, New York Announces On-Air Schedule for 25th Anniversary. CBS Radio’s pioneering sports talk station WFAN, New York prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary as a sports talk station this Sunday, July 1 with a lineup of many of the personalities who have graced the station’s airwaves over the past quarter-century. Prior to that evening’s Mets-Dodgers game, the station begins its celebration at 9:00 am ET. Here’s the schedule: 9:00 am to 11:00 am — Ed Randall (an original WFAN personality) hosting ‘Talking Baseball’ which will include a look back at 25 years of Mets and Yankees. Mets have been on WFAN since day one, July 1, 1987; 11:00 am to 1:00 pm — The Schmoozer and the Sweater: Steve Somers and Russ Salzberg; 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm — Dave Sims (live from Seattle) with a special guest appearance from his former partner and current Mets beat reporter and Mets pre-game host Ed Coleman; 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm — Chris Carlin with special guest Kim Jones (they co-hosted a 5:00 am to 6:00 am show for a year and Chris also did solo shows plus did sports reports on ‘Imus in the Morning’ and ‘Boomer and Carton’ programs at WFAN); 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm — Len Berman long-time WNBC-TV sports anchor and a former midday host at WFAN; 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm — Spencer Ross (also a former WFAN midday host) currently does weekend sports on CBS Radio sister station 1010WINS. Spencer is well known for calling play-by-play of many New York teams including the Jets, Yankees, Knicks, Rangers and the original New Jersey Americans (later to become the Nets); 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm — Richard Neer, current WFAN host (and TALKERS magazine sports editor) who has been with the station since 1988. Richard has hosted a Saturday morning 6:00 am to 10:00 am show continuously since 1992 and also hosts a variety of other shifts on the station; 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm — Howie Rose and Ed Coleman. Howie hosted nights on The Fan from 1987-1995 then went off to do Mets baseball on TV. He returned to WFAN as the radio play-by-play man for the Mets. Howie called Rangers games on The Fan for a number of seasons and has been doing Islanders play-by-play on TV for the past 17 years; and finally, from 7:00 pm to 7:25 pm — A countdown, in order of the ‘Top New York Sports Moments of the Past 25 Years’ as voted by listeners this past March.
Wisconsin Man Cited for Threat Against Talk Host Vicki McKenna. It’s not unusual for radio talk show hosts to get threats at some point in their careers but this one has an interesting legal twist as the Milwaukee County Sheriff disagrees with the Milwaukee County District Attorney on the charge. According to WTMJ.com, Timothy Demeuse admits to writing about WIBA, Madison-based talk host Vicki McKenna (also heard on Clear Channel’s WISN, Milwaukee) via Facebook the following: “Here’s your real ‘expletive’ death threat ‘expletive.’ Come get me. I don’t even own a gun. I can make as many threats as I want. I hope someone kills you. I am going to shoot you in the face and rape your dead corpse.” District Attorney John Chisholm cited him with disorderly conduct for the threat but Sheriff David Clarke believes the level of the threat requires more than a “parking ticket.” But D.A. Chisholm states, “With Facebook — the difference between posting and sending is significant — it’s legally significant.” He suggests the state legislature needs to change the law for Demeuse’s words to be a greater crime.
Tom Joyner’s Reach Media, Inner City Broadcasting and NABOB Among Groups Promoting Advertising to Blacks. Radio legend Tom Joyner and his Reach Media organization, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters and Inner City Broadcasting are three of a number of businesses and organizations comprising a black media and marketing consortium involved in launching the #INTHEBLACK campaign to encourage increased investment in the African American consumer marketplace. The consortium states, “African Americans represent over 42 million strong consumers, product talkers and brand influencers with a buying power of nearly $1 trillion annually. By 2015, African American buying power is estimated to gain a whopping 35%, hitting $ 1.2 trillion, up from $913 billion in 2008.” Nielsen reports in its 2011 State of the African American Consumer study, “Between 2000-2009, African American homes have experienced significant growth among households earning $75,000+ (up 63.9%) and households earning $100,000+ (up 88.7%).” The consortium ran a full-page ad in The New York Times on June 25.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. WOAI, San Antonio morning drive host Charlie Parker re-signs with the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment station. Parker has hosted the “San Antonio’s First News” show since 2007…..WPHT, Philadelphia morning personality Chris Stigall hosts former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell in a live event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm. The two will discuss Rendell’s new book A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great (Wiley 2012)…..Doug Stephan has a new co-host/producer for his nationally syndicated “Good Day” program. Former WILD, Boston producer Heather Bachman joins Stephan MultiMedia immediately…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces Ryan Clune