Holland Cooke: Start Your Own Media Station. Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke says getting laid off during this year’s pre-Christmas industry bloodbath, though painful and scary, might not be the worst thing that can happen to enterprising broadcasters. In a boldly worded opinion piece, the forward-thinking programming advisor connects numerous dots and cites fascinating examples painting a positive picture of just how much opportunity now exists in the digital world for radio people daring enough to go “stickless.” He points to a number of telling signs in the changes in our culture – such as Larry King’s new online show being listed in a larger font on the USA Today television listings page than his former home, CNN. Cooke writes, “Anyone who uses Twitter online can click-to-listen. Those who Tweet on smartphones or iPad simply touch-to-listen. Voila! You’re in-the-pocket, where AM/FM radio used to be.” Read his piece here.
Rumors of Format Change at WTKK, Boston Rampant. The Boston media is all over the rumors that Greater Media will flip the news/talk station to a different, music-based format in the near future. The local media picked up on domain name registrations such as 969BostonsBeat.com, 969TheBeat.com, and Power969.com. The Boston Herald speculates the change is coming because “’toxic’ all-talk formats aren’t attracting enough younger listeners.” Greater Media spokesperson Heidi Raphael states, “We deal in a business of attitudes and being responsive to the preferences of our audiences and the needs of our advertisers and communities. We are continually exploring our options, looking for ways to improve our product and brands. No decisions have been made on any changes to the format.” Radio operators register domain names that go unused frequently so the actions by Greater Media don’t necessarily mean a change is coming but it certainly means the company is considering it.
Dave Ramsey Changes Affiliates in Home Town of Nashville; Jumps from WWTN to Sports WPRT. The nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show will move to Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 FM The Game” beginning January 1. Ramsey’s program has aired on Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville since the program debuted in the early 1990s. Ramsey states, “After 20 years on WWTN it is very difficult to leave. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come to terms with Cumulus on a simple renewal agreement. There are a lot of great people at WWTN and we’ll miss them. But we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with an independent radio station owner the caliber of Bud Walters.” It appears as though the move is being precipitated by Cumulus’ desire to give its own talk programs more exposure – in this case, giving Mike Huckabee a full three hours on WWTN. The new schedule at WWTN puts Huckabee on live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and allows Phil Valentine a 3:00 pm start to his PM drive show. At the same time, Cumulus announces its newly acquired Michael Savage will air live from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Cumulus Nashville market manager Mike Carpenter states, “We believe in the Mike Huckabee show and anticipate that this change will accelerate the governor’s popularity in Nashville. Mike is a man of such character that we feel our clients will appreciate the opportunity to make him a key part of their marketing plans. His on-air interest in music expands our talk repertoire and will play extremely well in a city where the music industry is the number three employer. As for Savage, we assure you that a large number of our listeners will be happy to learn that their pleas have been heard and that Michael Savage is back on in Nashville.”
FCC Approves Transfer of WFAN-FM, New York to CBS Radio. The $75 million deal that sends Merlin Media’s former WRXP, New York to CBS Radio as WFAN-FM, New York is approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The station changed its call letters to WFAN-FM and CBS began operating it under an LMA on November 1 simulcasting sports talk WFAN-AM on the signal.
More on Changes at XEPRS, San Diego. Yesterday, TALKERS reported sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “XX1090” let morning hosts Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth go. But now we’ve learned more as midday hosts Josh Rosenberg and Charod Williams have also been let go. Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton is now on mornings and the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that former morning hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith will return to the station in AM drive soon and Darren Smith will move to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Kaplan and B.R. (Smith), who were fired after Kaplan made disparaging comments about a female sportscaster, have been hosting the San Diego Union-Tribune’s online TV morning show and, according to the report, would continue in that role.
Dave Wheaton Exits WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne. As tipped by Indiana Radio Watch’s Blaine Thompson, news director Dave Wheaton leaves his position at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne to take the assignment editor post at Granite Broadcasting’s WPTA-TV, Fort Wayne (channel 21) and WISE-TV, Fort Wayne (channel 33).
Envision Radio Network Names Paul Harris “America Weekend” Host. Talk radio pro Paul Harris is named the host of the new “America Weekend” program from Envision Radio Networks. Executive producer Kipper KcGee says, “I’m thrilled to be working with Paul again. We will be announcing the remainder of the ‘America Weekend’ lineup in coming weeks, and look forward to demonstrating that news/talk radio can enjoy weekend ratings and revenues!” McGee worked with Harris in St. Louis and at WLS, Chicago. Harris states, “I’m excited about launching ‘America Weekend’ to give both affiliates and listeners something more compelling, with great stories, interesting interviews, and my own perspective on what’s happening.”
Clear Channel Donates WDTW, Detroit to the Minority Media and Communications Council. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is donating progressive talk outlet WDTW, Detroit – a 5,000-watt Class B signal – to the MMTC under the Clear Channel-MMTC Ownership Diversity Initiative. Clear Channel CEO and chairman John Hogan states, “We applaud MMTC for creating a program that helps minority broadcasters develop the skills and experience necessary to become successful broadcasters. We’re pleased that the donation of these resources will give the opportunity for enthusiastic new entrepreneurs to own and operate their own radio station.”
Main Street Radio Network Launches New Weekly Program. “The RichLife Show” with host Beau Henderson is a weekly one-hour program that, according to syndicator Main Street Radio Network, is “a fast-paced hour with a BIG mission to help listeners live healthy, wealthy, fulfilled lives on purpose by combining a highly engaging mix of education, entertainment, inspiration, and motivation. The format of the show is financial Q&A, discussion around listeners’ biggest questions and concerns, and relevant expert interviews.” Henderson is a senior financial advisor, Master Certified Success Coach, and Certified Master Behavioral Analyst and author of the book, The RichLife – Ten Investments For True Wealth. Main Street president Jane Silk says, “We know ‘The RichLife Show’ will be a great addition to our current shows and our rapidly growing radio network. Beau Henderson is a caring, honest person who truly has the listener’s best interest in mind. Beau will cover a variety of topics such as all aspects of living rich: money, health, meaningful relationships, and living a fulfilled life of purpose. Beau and RichLife advisors have built an online community through a weekly newsletter and social media that now exceeds 35,000 committed to living their definition of a RichLife.”
KGO, San Francisco Partners with Good News in Oakland for News Feature. Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talker KGO announces a partnership with internet media outlet Good News in Oakland to create a feature that “will highlight a person or organization in Oakland that has made a difference in creating a positive image for the East Bay’s largest city.” Good News in Oakland is described as an “internet-based renewable psychological socially responsible environmentally focused media outlet.” Stories will be produced by KGO reporter Tihanna McCleese and Good News in Oakland founder Sean Kennedy. KGO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to enter into this partnership with Good News in Oakland. This collaboration will give KGO listeners an opportunity to hear about the positive side of the city…stories that have not been told before.” Features will air at 6:46 am, 1:46 pm, and 5:46 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
WNYM, New York Begins Picture Caption Contest for Lunch with Sliwa & Lichtman. Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York’s PM drive team of Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman are enjoying their new street-level studio with the giant display window at the Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Avenue. The station and hotel management say they are getting such a buzz from New Yorkers about the setup that they’re beginning a photo caption contest to capitalize on the publicity. WNYM is asking fans to take a picture of Sliwa and Lichtman broadcasting, give it a caption and post it via Twitter or Instagram or send it to the station via email. First prize is lunch with Sliwa and Lichtman. Other prizes include Broadway show tix, restaurant deals and more. WNYM general manager Sean O’Neill states, “The iconic Hotel Pennsylvania with Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman broadcasting live in the hub of midtown Manhattan is an extraordinary opportunity to personalize the radio experience in the digital age. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers walk through this block daily and now have the opportunity to connect face to face with their favorite radio personalities.”
Quentin Tarantino Entertains Live Audience at SiriusXM. As part of the “Town Hall Series” on SiriusXM, noted filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (l) was interviewed by Village Voice film critic Scott Foundas (r) before an intimate, live studio audience. Tarantino, who also took questions from the crowd, discussed his new film “Django Unchained” and told stories about his career as a film director. Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur / WireImage for SiriusXM.
ESPN Radio Broadcasts 24 College Bowl Games. The college football bowl season will bring plenty of play-by-play to ESPN Radio affiliates as the sports media giant announces plans to broadcast 24 bowl games. Beginning with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on December 15 and wrapping up with the National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama in Miami on January 7, ESPN Radio’s coverage will span 16 days. David Norrie and Bill Rosinski will call five of the games beginning with the S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on December 20. Additionally, both the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and “SVP & Russillo” programs will originate from South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, January 7 and 8.
Lotus Communications’ ‘SuperGol’ Soccer Show Scores Affiliates. The Spanish-language soccer show “SuperGol” recently snagged its 25th affiliate for the one-hour program targeted to younger Hispanic men. The show airs live from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm PT and is hosted by Halim Zadat and Erika Garza. The show is produced by Lotus’ KWKW, Los Angeles and station president James Kalmenson says, “The young US-born Latino is a growing segment of the sports audience that’s responding extremely well to the program. Latinos of all generations are avid soccer fans, making the soccer-themed talk show an ideal platform for younger audiences while maintaining the traditional sports target of men 25-54.”
Gow Broadcasting Acquires Sports Flash Radio Network. The service that specializes in sports updates is acquired by Gow Communications, the company that is operating Yahoo! Sports Radio. Gow announces at the same time that its affiliate base has grown to more than 360 stations. David Gow states, “We are really pleased with the ongoing expansion of our affiliate base. The acquisition of the Sports Flash Radio Network extends our reach to both sports-format and non-sports-format stations. And the additions of new shows we have introduced over the past year have enabled us to achieve industry-leading growth.”
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Looming ObamaCare Costs, Michigan Right-to-Work Bill Controversy, Hillary in 2016, and Aussie DJ Prank Fallout Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10). The GOP versus Obama fight in Washington over avoiding the “fiscal cliff”; the costs associated with ObamaCare that will begin to take effect in 2013; the battle in Michigan over the union-busting right-to-work bill; the proposition Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016; and the fallout after the Australian DJ prank call to Kate Middleton’s hospital in London were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Promotes Dan Potter to AM Drive Show. There’s been a lot of movement among Cox Media Group staffers between properties lately. It started with long-time KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa program director Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando at the end of the summer. Then it was announced that WDBO morning host Jim Turner would retire and KRMG AM drive personality Joe Kelley would move to Orlando to take over the morning show there. Now, KRMG announces that it is promoting “Tulsa’s Afternoon News” host Dan Potter and he will slide into the morning drive chair beginning November 19. Potter says, “Under Joe Kelley’s leadership, the ‘KRMG Morning News’ has become the single most important morning show in Oklahoma, both in terms of content and listenership. I hope to continue the growth Joe started and to attract new listeners to the show. I am humbled, honored and very excited for this opportunity. I anchored newscasts on a similar morning show in Dallas-Fort Worth for over 15 years and am constantly impressed by KRMG’s commitment to covering breaking news better than anyone. You could take this newsroom and this product and put it in any major market in the country and be competitive.”
ESPN Audio Debuts New PM Drive Show with Jonathan Coachman. A new sports talk show from ESPN Audio debuts this afternoon hosted by ESPN studio anchor Jonathan Coachman. The 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET show will have Coachman initially joined by a rotating array of ESPN on-air personalities to present three hours of personality-driven opinion, analysis, humor and interviews covering the news of the day, as well as interaction with listeners via e-mails, texts and calls. The program is available to terrestrial affiliates as well as being heard via the ESPN app, espnradio.com, TuneIn and SiriusXM. During his time at ESPN, Coachman has hosted “NBA Tonight,” “College Football Live,” “NASCAR Now,” and “ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.” Coachman says of the new venture, “To say I am excited about ‘Coach’ & Company would be an understatement, but it’s going to be about our entire team – our production team and the team of fans at home – who will all have a hand in hopefully making it a successful show. I am very serious about sports, but people can expect above all else a show that is fun. And, with my background in the WWE, I feel I can really bring an entertainment value to the show in a strong way.”
Clear Channel’s Columbia, South Carolina Country Jocks Pull Double Duty; Host PM on News/Talk WVOC. Jonathon Rush and Kelly Nash – known to their country WCOS, Columbia listeners and Rush & Nash, hosts of the “Morning Rush” program – begin a new chapter in their careers hosting the “Afternoon Rush” on sister news/talk WVOC. The station parted ways with PM drive host Keven Cohen last week. Rush and Nash will continue to host their morning program on “My Country 97.5.” In a statement, Kelly Nash says, “This is an opportunity I’ve dreamed of for years. We can play the world’s greatest music for the greatest music fans in the morning and talk with the most passionate radio listeners every afternoon.”
WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne Names Ryan Reker PD. Federated Media’s heritage WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne, Indiana announces the hiring of Ryan Reker as program director. Reker comes to the station after a management shuffle that saw Gregg Henson (now at Clear Channel’s WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh) exit the post and Federated’s own Woody Zimmerman oversee the station briefly before being reassigned to oversee the company’s Warsaw, Indiana cluster. Reker most recently served as program director and morning host at Maverick Media’s classic rock WEGE-FM and as program director of sports talk WWSR-FM, both in Lima, Ohio. Reker also worked at Clear Channel’s news/talk WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids and Entercom’s sports WSSP, Milwaukee. He says of his new position, “WOWO is a unique station with very unique listeners. I love the reputation and passion they’ve built with the community. I’m honored and excited for the opportunity to work with such a great group of broadcasters.”
How to Write a Professional Radio Facebook Post (Part 2). Radio digital consultant Chris Miller was so amazed by the high level of interest in his previous TALKERS piece, “Start Doing THIS Right NOW on Facebook,” published here last week, that he decided to share a few more tips to help you get your radio station’s pages and posts right! Miller writes, “A lot of us radio folks see the value in social media. Still, many could use some help working it in a way so you’re building your brand, instead of just spinning your wheels. Many of the mistakes businesses make on Facebook have to do with how your write what you post. We tend to speak in marketing-ese or like we’re scripting a promo. That’s a huge error that may have people consistently hiding your content.” Read Miller’s entire article explaining how to write a post that works for you, here.
President Obama Friendly to African American-Targeted Radio. President Obama is credited with being the first presidential candidate to seriously use social media to assist his election and re-election efforts but he’s also been a user of radio programs that target the urban audience. SiriusXM talk radio star Joe Madison (whose program is also heard on terrestrial outlet WOL, Washington, DC) tells TALKERS magazine the president reached out to him early and often. “His administration nurtured a relationship with black talk radio since he first took office. I have had access to most members of his cabinet. They have addressed issues related to the black community and the general population. Contrast that with Romney’s campaign, we have not received a single news release or response to appear on my show.” In fact, Madison will host the president on his radio show today. Madison says he believes the get-out-the-vote effort targeted to black radio by the Obama campaign appears to be working. “I believe the early voting we’ve seen in our community is due to black talk radio encouraging our audience to vote. Yesterday in Dade County, Florida, voters were in line until 1:00 am.”
Report: Actor John Cusack to Produce and Star in Film About Rush Limbaugh. The Huffington Post reports that actor John Cusack’s company, New Crime Productions, is putting the finishing touches on the script of a movie about Rush Limbaugh tentatively titled “Rush.” The story quotes actress/director Betty Thomas (who also directed Howard Stern’s “Private Parts”) saying she will direct and that production starts sometime next year.
NBC Sports Radio Names Stan Van Gundy NBA Senior Analyst. The former head coach of the Orlando Magic joins the NBC Sports Radio network as senior analyst for the NBA. Stan Van Gundy will call into network shows each week during the NBA season. He’ll talk exclusively to NBC Sports Radio affiliates and co-host for an hour every Friday during the NBA season, on a show soon to be announced. NBC Sports Ventures senior vice president Rob Simmelkjaer states, “We are thrilled to add one of the most respected and outspoken coaches in the NBA to the NBC Sports Radio roster. Our listeners will get to enjoy Stan’s unique insight into events and storylines around the league on a weekly basis.”
KABC, Los Angeles’ Doug McIntyre Emcees Bennett Film Opening. KABC, Los Angeles morning drive host Doug McIntyre had the opportunity to emcee the Los Angeles opening of the new Tony Bennett documentary titled, “The Zen of Bennett” before a sold-out crowd at the Landmark Theater. McIntyre tells TALKERS, “The distributor of ‘The Zen of Bennett’ is a fan of the documentary I made with my wife, ‘Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon.’ Since I had a background in music — specifically the Great American Songbook and jazz, and have a ton of experience doing these kind of interviews (Robert Redford, Betty White, etc.,) – he recommended me to Tony’s manager, Danny Bennett. I had met Tony a number of times before but this was the first chance I had to really spend some time with him, a thrill for me, probably less so for Tony.” McIntyre says the event was not a KABC promotion but the station did give away tickets to the premiere.
“Free Talk Live” Celebrates 10 Years on the Radio. “Free Talk Live” – the evening and weekend independently syndicated talk program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – celebrates its 10th anniversary. Freeman writes, in a memo to affiliates and the industry, that the program began in Florida after a format change at the station at which he was working. “In 2001, rock WYNF, Tampa flipped to hot talk and was using content from Orlando’s successful ‘Real Radio’ WTKS-FM as well as the other ‘Real Radio,’ WZZR-FM in West Palm Beach. After a year of this, I approached management, Big Jim Davis and Ron White, and pitched the idea of a local show for the weekend. I said we’d be willing to do it for free. They gave us the green light and ‘Free Talk Live’ was born, at first on Sunday nights. The response from the audience was so spectacular that it was within the first few weeks that we were asked to take over weeknights. Clear Channel ended up flipping the format of the station back to rock in 2003, but FTL continued online, then on another station in town, then another, until I approached the Genesis Communications Network and asked them if they were looking for new programs. We started in syndication as a weekend show and within a few weeks were offered weeknights. Since then we have continued doing our live Saturday show (our most popular) and added a live Sunday show as well. We’ve grown to over 110 AM/FM affiliates and are also heard all week on XM.”
Odds & Sods. Former New Orleans Saints quarterback and current WWL, New Orleans PM drive co-host Bobby Hebert was ejected from the press box at Saturday’s LSU-Alabama game for ignoring warnings not to create a disturbance by cheering. The Times-Picayune reports the press box was stuffed with 947 credentialed media people and police escorted Hebert out in the fourth quarter of LSU’s 21-17 loss…..Proving that she CAN hang with Democrats, on Friday night (11/2), KRLA, Los Angeles morning drive host Heidi Harris sang in the Barbra Streisand concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. She was in the choir for “Make Our Garden Grow.”…..Kim Komando, host of the eponymous nationally syndicated weekend computer talk show is appointed to the Phoenix-located Musical Instrument Museum’s President’s Cabinet. The President’s Cabinet is comprised of Valley leaders who provide guidance and support to MIM’s president and director, Dr. Bill DeWalt. Komando joins the ranks of other notable Phoenix-area business leaders and philanthropists and will assist MIM with furthering its mission.
WNIR, Akron Host Tom Erickson Mourned. Talk show host Tom Erickson died on Saturday (11/3) after a long battle with peritonitis. He was 58. Erickson was the evening host on Media-Com’s WNIR, Akron. He worked for nearly 30 years in the radio and television news end of the media business and became a talk show host at WNIR in 2001. He was on medical leave to deal with his health issues and last appeared on the radio in early June.
From WMAL’s Swing State Road Show. Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC has been touring the “swing state” of Virginia broadcasting from diners across the commonwealth as the election approaches. The tour wrapped up on Friday with the final road show broadcast featuring former House Speaker (and former presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich. Pictured here are (from l-r): Breitbart columnist and WMAL guest co-host Larry O’Connor, Gingrich, and WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” host Brian Wilson.
The Week of Sandy for Broadcasters in the Northeast; Broadcasters Associations Tout Virtues of Local Radio and TV. Natural disasters bring the importance of radio to the fore and Hurricane Sandy was no different. Even as we write this, broadcasters in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are – days after the storm – struggling with ongoing issues of lack of electricity, fuel shortages, staff with homes damages and destroyed, and more. In fact, contacting broadcasters in the affected areas to report how they are getting by is a challenge since all of their resources – such as they are – are being used to perform the function of emergency broadcasting. However the degree to which the storm affected the hub of media in this country – New York City — threw another wrench into the works. Even though radio stations were able to get information out one way or another – for example, all-news WINS using sister station WXRK’s signal when its transmitter went down – broadcasting companies were hampered by the lack of electricity and the business end of operating a station or network remained, and in some cases remains, challenging. New Jersey Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Paul Rotella is using the disaster to raise the FM chips in cell phones issue. “This deadly disaster points out the absolute necessity of having FM chips in cell phones activated, which would turn every cell phone into an emergency ‘transistor’ radio. (Many cell phones already have FM chips either installed or easily implanted and activated.) I understand that cell phone carriers want to make money off of consumers with streaming rate plans, etc., but maybe they could light the FM chip up in times of emergency so that more people can receive emergency information that only our local broadcasters are capable of transmitting to everyone. It’s worth exploring.” New York State Broadcasters Association president David L. Donovan notes in a press release touting the value of over-the-air broadcasting that 25% of cell towers in 10 states were affected by the storm, relegating the public to using battery-powered radios and TVs to get news and information. (The flood image is courtesy of Cox Media Group Connecticut from a video of the group’s coverage of the storm and its aftermath. See the entire video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix9PvdYKvkc)
CBS Radio Names Ryan Maguire KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh PD. Rising sports programming star Ryan Maguire has been tabbed by CBS Radio to handle the PD position at Pittsburgh sports talk outlet KDKA-FM “SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.” Maguire fills the shoes left by Terry Foxx who moved to Atlanta to program CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet WZGC “92.9 The Game.” Maguire currently serves as PD for Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio.” Prior to that he programmed Entercom’s WSSP, Milwaukee “Sports Radio 1250” and Cumulus Media’s WTKA, Ann Arbor “The Ticket 1050.” CBS Radio SVP and market manager Michael Young states, “Ryan has a very impressive track record in programming sports radio stations. He has produced strong ratings and successfully developed a number of dynamic on-air sports personalities. Furthermore, Ryan has an uncompromising passion for sports and his leadership will well serve Pittsburgh sports fans.” On his new gig, Maguire says, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity and privilege to be a part of ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. Western Pennsylvania is home to some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the country and I’m looking forward to seeing KDKA-FM continue to be a big part of their sports experience.”
Media Broker Says Opportunity is Knocking Right Now for First-Time Station Buyers. Sandi Bergman, whom TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a dynamic rising star among today’s crop of media brokers,” has positive news for the many recently laid-off radio management figures looking to apply their seasoned skills in a new and productive direction in the industry. They should consider radio station ownership! Although it is a tough sales-driven business and there are daunting obstacles to obtaining financing, ownership is not just for the mega-corporations who are burdened with seemingly insurmountable debt. It is indeed possible that many of them will be spinning off unwieldy properties in the months and years ahead creating new opportunities for fresh blood in the business. According to Bergman, who owns the innovative website www.RadioTVDeals.com and a New Mexico-based brokerage firm (MyMediaBroker.com) and is one of the relatively few major female brokers in the game, there are many incredible opportunities for first-time buyers. Read the entire TALKERS interview with Sandi Bergman here.
It’s Official: WFAN, New York Broadcasts on 101.9 FM. CBS Radio took over WRXP 101.9 FM under an LMA at midnight last night and the nation’s first full-time sports talk station WFAN, New York is now heard in the region on FM. CBS Radio is buying the class B FM signal from Merlin Media for $75 million.
Keven Cohen Out at WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ousts PM drive host Keven Cohen from news/talk WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina. Cohen announced his departure from the station via his Facebook page stating, “An hour ago, Clear Channel relieved me of my duties and fired me. Obviously, I am devastated. I am not getting the chance to do so on the radio, so I want to thank all of you for the love and support you have offered my way over almost 19 years at WVOC. Please keep the Cohen family in your prayers. This will be a significant challenge.” WVOC has not announced its plans for PM drive at the station.
Now That You’re in Sales… Because all radio staffers are in sales now – or should be, according to radio consultant Holland Cooke – if they want to keep their jobs. But as Cooke writes, just because you’re a talent doing personalized spots doesn’t mean you have job security these days. So, what’s a talent to do? Still more, says Cooke. “Offer to write copy. You got your on-air job because you’re good with words, right? That could make you handy to have around if yours is one of many stations where the creative department fell victim to a recent bloodbath. Too often, account reps are writing spot copy, and too much of it sounds like…well, spot copy.” Also, have you accompanied a sales rep on a call? No? Uh-oh…better read more of Holland Cooke’s wise advise for air talent here.
Steve Kelley to Prove Colorado is a Swing State. Steve Kelley, along with Bill Rogan and Murphy Wells, hosts the morning drive show on Salem Communications’ KNUS, Denver. Kelley is a well-known Denver radio personality who has performed various stunts for charity in the past. Now, Kelly has begun an effort to break the world record for time spent swinging – a tongue-in-cheek nod to Colorado’s political status as a “swing state” and with the desire to highlight the need for all registered voters to cast their ballots. Kelley will report on his progress live on the air and plans to finish his attempt sometime Saturday evening. In past stunts, Kelley has rode a pogo stick from Boulder to Denver and sat in every seat in both the old and new Mile High Stadiums.
Welcoming Herman to Tulsa. Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa held a live local event with some of its showcase talent to welcome talk show host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain to the market where he’ll take over as host of the Cox-syndicated Neal Boortz show in January. Pictured here are (from l-r): Cox Media star Clark Howard, Boortz, Cain, and Cox Media radio news director of the Washington Bureau Jamie Dupree.
Hurricane Sandy Destruction Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of October 29-November 2. The destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the NY/NJ/CT Gas Shortages. At #3 was climate change controversy followed by the presidential race polls and predictions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across the country and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WYD Media-produced and Dial Global-distributed Michael Smerconish is added to the program schedule at WCMY, Ottawa, Illinois and WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire…..Independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the lineup at KBZZ-AM/FM, Reno.
Lionel Joins Morning Show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia. Talk media personality Lionel – known for his years of expanding talk radio’s dimensions with successful stints in national syndication and in local markets gigs including New York City – joins the morning drive show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia beginning today. Lionel, who anchors Tribune’s WPIX-TV, New York’s “Morning News” from 4:00 am to 6:00 am and produces commentaries for the station that air on its 10:00 pm news, will join the program with Al Gardner from 6:00 am to 8:30 am. In addition to these “traditional media” gigs, Lionel has been operating the digital media station LionelMedia.com for the past several years.
Gregg Henson Named PD at WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh. Sports talk and news/talk pro Gregg Henson takes the programming reins at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh and sister sports talk WBGG “970 ESPN.” Henson most recently served as director of programming operations at Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Henson says, “I’m excited to return to the Clear Channel family and I look forward to working with the excellent staff at ‘FM News Talk 104.7’ and ‘970 ESPN.’ Pittsburgh’s passionate and loyal Steelers and Penguins fans make this an exciting new opportunity.” CC Pittsburgh OM David Edgar states, “Gregg has the skills and passion to lead our sports, talk, and news programming on all of our brands in Pittsburgh to new levels of success. His past experience will be a great asset to the Clear Channel Pittsburgh team.” Henson replaces Jay Bohannon who exited the cluster last month.
Dave Ramsey Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Radio with Big Nashville Bash including Affiliate Meetings and Gala Live Broadcast. This past Friday, September 28, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey marked his 20th year in radio with a special episode of “The Dave Ramsey Show.” The program took place before a live audience of more than 2,000 listeners in a huge tent in the parking lot of Ramsey headquarters in suburban Nashville. It included calls from long-time listeners and well-wishes from friends and celebrities such as Brad Paisley, George Stephanopoulos, Mark Cuban, Billy Gibbons, Piers Morgan, Zac Brown, Neil Cavuto, Darrell Waltrip, and Glenn Beck. Video of the show was streamed live online. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declared September 28, 2012 Dave Ramsey Day in the state of Tennessee. He presented the proclamation to Ramsey during the first hour of the radio show (see photo). The show was the culmination of Ramsey’s fifth annual Affiliate Executive Council (AEC) meeting held last week between Wednesday and Friday (9/26-28) in which he and his staff provided some 60 executives from his affiliates across the country with seminars, workshops breakout sessions and entertainment activities experienced in true Nashville fashion. A highlight of the AEC event was an industry trade panel featuring professionals who have never been on one stage together. The panel focused on current industry issues and events and was moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber. Al Peterson from NTS Media Online, Gene McKay from Inside Radio, and Michael Harrison from TALKERS and RadioInfo participated on the panel (see photo). According to Harrison, “Attending the Ramsey event was an eye opener into how this amazing broadcaster and his superb staff have created a viable, productive partnership with their affiliate radio stations as well as a personal bond with them on a level unmatched by any other syndication company or network in the business. Ramsey has created a business model and success story worthy of emulation, indeed!”
Syndicators Hit the Deck Running Today to Promote Shows to Stations Left Unprepared for Savage Exit. After a weekend during which approximately 300 radio station managers who were affiliated with TRN’s Michael Savage Show (“The Savage Nation”) were trying to figure out what to put in the gaping vacancy left in their schedule by the sudden exit of Michael Savage from the airwaves this past Friday, the syndication and network community are readying a mad dash to get to them and have them consider taking any of a number of their available programs as its replacement. Savage left the airwaves without warning after scoring a victory in a fierce legal battle with TRN to get out of his existing contract (see story below). Talk Radio Network has teased that it will name Savage’s replacement (as “radio’s October surprise”) – at least within its stable of available hosts – sometime today.
Talk Host Michael Savage Produces First Internet-Only Broadcast. Former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicate host Michael Savage – who won his arbitration case against the company last week to get out of his contract and left terrestrial immediately thereafter – produced his first Ustream-hosted webcast on Sunday evening (9/30). Savage broadcast for about an hour. His website encourages visitors to check back for announcements of future broadcasts. The video is not being archived for repeat views at this time – so it must be watched live – and chatter on Ustream’s message board reveals some Savage fans are irked by that move. Could it be that Savage is trying to create an appetite for a pay model? The arbitrator’s decision voided Savage’s contract with TRN and allows him to work anywhere he likes. Stay tuned!
TRN’s America’s Radio News Network Inks with Armed Forces Radio Network. Talk Radio Network-owned America’s Radio News Network announces it has signed an agreement with Armed Forces Radio Network to serve as the top-of-the-hour news on the broadcast service for American military personnel. American Forces Radio Network Worldwide director Jef Reilly, tells ARN, “The troops want news, not agendas, and I think you’re delivering that.” ARN/ANN vice president for news John McCaslin says, “Our expanding team of news anchors, producers and board operators is extremely proud to enlist the trust of the millions of men and women of America’s armed forces, who every day put their lives on the line and sacrifice so much for those of us here at home.”
Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington Brings Del Walters Aboard Full Time. Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP announces broadcast journalist Del Walters is promoted to a full-time position with the station. WTOP states, “For more than two decades, Walters has been broadcasting in the Washington/Baltimore area, working as an anchor and investigative reporter for various stations including WJLA in Washington and WMAR in Baltimore. Walters joined WTOP in 2010 as a part-time anchor and reporter but will now step into a full-time role.”
Clear Channel Flips WGST, Atlanta to Spanish Sports Talk. Last week we reported that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment would be dropping the news/talk at heritage WGST, Atlanta and flipping to either a Spanish-language format or all-comedy. CC chose to go with Spanish sports talk and debuted 640 ESPN Deportes on Friday afternoon.
Radio Vet Ron Cutler Shares Secrets of his Financial Success in New Radio Biz Book. Radio veteran Ron Cutler turned a $15,000 investment in this industry into a $10 million payoff and now he’s written a book explaining how he did it. The colorful radio and business book is titled How I Turned $15,000 into $10,000,000 (HIT) and You Can Too, and it serves up a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the radio business. The advice is based on Cutler’s colorful experience as a top-rated Philadelphia DJ “Ron Diamond”; as the original owner and creator of the legendary KOME, the San Jose FM radio station that he sold to Michael Wiener and Gerald Carrus who formed Infinity Broadcasting making KOME Infinity’s first station; as the creator of 15 hit radio shows and services, Cutler was instrumental in launching the national shows of Rick Dees, Tom Joyner and Cousin Brucie; as the owner of Cutler Comedy Networks, a leading comedy programming company that serviced more than 4,000 radio stations and was acquired in 1996 by Premiere Radio Networks; and as an entrepreneur in numerous entertainment ventures. He tells TALKERS, “My path wasn’t an easy one. At this stage in my life, I’d like to help others get a leg up, particularly during this challenging economy. Perhaps the lessons that taught me resilience, determination and self-reliance will resonate with others.” For more information visit www.roncutlerbooks.com. To interview Ron Cutler contact Amir Forester at 310-857-6207 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
ESPN O&O WEPN-AM/FM, New York Separate Sports Talk Programming. English-language sports talk is now heard only on the FM at ESPN O&O WEPN in New York as the sports media giant took the AM side Spanish with the debut of ESPN Deportes Radio Nueva York 1050 on Friday, just in time to broadcast the New York Jets season opener victory over division rival Buffalo in Spanish. Station GM David Roberts says, “We are thrilled to add the New York Jets to our solid roster of play-by-play offerings just in time for our launch. There is tremendous passion for the NFL among the Hispanic community of New York, and this alliance with an elite franchise will further position 1050 AM as the Spanish-language audio destination for the Hispanic sports fan in New York.” The station debuts two local sports talk shows today. The first is “Firma ESPN” from 7:00 am to 10:00 am billed as the only radio program devoted to the New York Hispanic sports fan. It is hosted by ESPN Deportes Radio veteran Renato Bermudez alongside the renowned Ernesto Jerez, the “signature Spanish-language voice of MLB,” plus Jorge Ebro and many other ESPN Deportes Radio experts. The second program is “Zona ESPN NY,” airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and hosted by Carolina Guillen, Sebastian Christensen, along with Enrique Rojas.
Talk Host Ian Punnett Suffering from Tinnitus; Cuts Back On-Air Hours. Hubbard Radio morning drive talk host Ian Punnett is cutting his hours on the radio by half in order to curb his exposure to audio that aggravates his tinnitus – a condition he’s been dealing with since 2009. The Pioneer Press reports Punnett, who co-hosts the morning drive show on KTMY, Minneapolis with his wife Margery, joins her on the air from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Margery starts the program at 5:30 with Elizabeth Ries and wraps it up at 10:00 am. Punnett tells the Pioneer Press he first noticed the intense ringing in his head during a remote broadcast in 2009. “It never goes away. It’s the last sound I hear at night, it’s the first sound I hear in the morning. It often wakes me up in the middle of the night.” The story notes Punnett and his doctors have decided cutting back on his air time is part of a more aggressive treatment for the condition.
Host Shuffle at ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles. 710 ESPN Los Angeles flips its midday and PM drive shows moving Steve Mason and John Ireland to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm shift beginning today. Midday duo Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley go to the PM drive slot. The changes also include the debut of the late morning “ESPNLA Now” show airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and hosted by Mark Willard.
Good Karma’s WKNR, Cleveland Hit with $4k Fine for Contest Violation. The FCC is hitting Good Karma’s sports talk WKNR, Cleveland with a $4,000 forfeiture order for running what it called a “bogus” contest called “Who Said That?” from November 2007 until September 2009. The contest involved callers having to identify the speaker of a clip played over the air. The complainant asserted that the station originally talked about offering prizes and then “dropped talking about prizes.” Good Karma tried to argue that the programming in question was not a contest but was more accurately characterized as a program. But the commission ruled that the stations did conduct a contest and didn’t “fully and accurately” and “with sufficient frequency” list the prizes that a contestant could possibly win.
Rare Opportunities at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne. Jon Zimney tells TALKERS magazine that there are two tremendous opportunities at Federated Media’s heritage news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne. After the departure of OM and PM drive host Gregg Henson in August, Woody Zimmerman was named PD for the station. But he’s now been re-assigned to general manager of the company’s Warsaw, Indiana cluster. In the interim, Zimney, who serves as program director and news director at Federated’s WTRC, South Bend – 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel – is doing double duty programming both stations. Additionally, WTRC morning host Casey Hendrickson is handling the PM drive duties at WOWO. Federated Media is looking for two individuals to fill the PD and talk host positions at WOWO. For the program director position, Zimney is looking for someone who can get the most out of talented talk show hosts and make them even better; has a strong understanding of local news and solid station programming; understands great news writing, presentation, and on-air execution; has a strong sense of news ethics and integrity; embraces and champions new technology in news (web, text, social media, video, etc); has examples of really good marketing, promotion and community involvement projects that they’ve conceived and executed. For the talk host position, they are looking for “a personality who is well-rounded in politics, social issues and recognizes compelling stories that generate talk. The ideal host is entertaining, informative and creative…can debate with listeners and guests in a spirited, but respectful manner, follows news like a hawk, expresses passion about local issues as well as national issues and also recognizes how everyday life can contribute to a show that is unique and compliments our winning lineup of Beck, Rush and Sean.” To apply for either position, e-mail materials to Jon Zimney at: email@example.com.
Fox Sports Radio’s Petros & Money End Summer with “Deep V & Capri” Remote Bash. Fox Sports Radio Network’s Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith broadcast live from the Hooters restaurant in Anaheim last week for their end-of-summer bash dubbed the “deep V & capri” party. Papadakis (l) and Smith (r) are pictured here with a couple of listeners sporting their deep v t-shirts and capri pants at the event.
CBS Radio Philadelphia Partners with Clean Air Council for Greenfest Philly. CBS Radio’s four Philadelphia stations took part in yesterday’s “Greenfest Philly” at Headhouse Square in Philadelphia for the 7th annual event designed to promote sustainable living. All-news KYW, sports WIP-AM/FM, news/talk WPHT and classic hits WOGL all broadcast live from the event that showcased businesses, regional green innovators, and non-profits of all sizes with strong commitments to sustainability.
Spoken-Word Content Aggregator Stitcher Offers Offline Mode. Stating that 38% of its users indicated they prefer to listen to the service offline to protect against mobile data overages, Stitcher released an offline mode update that enables anytime, anywhere listening for its iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad apps. “Listeners can now seamlessly access and discover the best of over 10,000 shows at work, at the gym, anywhere, regardless of cellular or WiFi connectivity,” the company states. CEO Noah Shanok says, “Our goal is to make on-demand radio more accessible than ever. Our most requested feature, offline mode, solves the biggest obstacle to listening on the go or when users would prefer to use Wi-Fi and conserve mobile data usage.” Stitcher bills itself as “the mobile leader in on-demand news, entertainment, sports and talk radio.”
Let Your News/Talk Flow. WLAC, Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill is pictured here with the Bellamy Brothers at his studios in Nashville. The legendary country duo stopped by the show to play some songs from their latest release, including the title track, “Pray for Me.”
Other Defendants Named in Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit Against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices. As reported yesterday (8/28) by TALKERS, these companies, referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc. They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting antitrust, anti-monopoly and other claims. The complaint, which demands a jury trial, is titled “Complaint for Violations of the Sherman Act and the Cartwright Act, and for Fraudulent Inducement, Interference with Contract and Interference with Prospective advantage.” In addition to Dial Global, it specifically names: Excelsior Radio Networks, Triton Radio Networks, Triton Media Group, Oaktree Capital Management, Verge Media Companies, Courstide, LLC, Compass Media Networks, Compass Media Marketing, and WYD Media Management. Individuals named include Spencer Brown, David Landau, and Ken Williams of Dial Global, Ron Hartenbaum of WYD, Peter Kosann of Compass, and Norm Pattiz of Courtside. To see the entire complaint click here.
Big Staffing Changes at Federated Media in Fort Wayne. Last week TALKERS reported the departure of WOWO, Fort Wayne program director Gregg Henson and his replacement by Woody Zimmerman. Now, after almost 18 years with Federated Media, chief operating officer Mark DePrez announces his departure from the company. Brad Williams, who had been overseeing the Indiana markets of South Bend, Elkhart and Warsaw, will also be in charge of the company’s Fort Wayne and Auburn, Indiana markets as he becomes COO. But that’s not all, as Indiana Radio Watch reports national sales manager Mary DePrez, production director Steve Starbrelz (this November would mark his 35th year there), classic hits WMEE, Fort Wayne middayer Zack Skyler, country WQHK, Fort Wayne GSM Suzee Leavell and several sales staffers have also left the building. IRW also reports Clint Marsh becomes GM of the South Bend properties. On his tenure with Federated Media, DePrez states, “After almost 18 years I’m leaving Federated Media. We accomplished great things in Fort Wayne but all good things must come to an end. I am grateful to the Dille family for the four promotions over those 18 years including my recent tenure as COO. For a decade it has been my distinct honor to be the custodian of such iconic brands as WOWO, WQHK (K-105) WMEE and more recently WBYR (98.9 The Bear). I am immensely proud of the talented team we assembled and know they will continue to do great things.” DePrez is available for his next challenge. He says, “For employers looking for an executive obsessed with top line performance and profit optimization they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-385-2574.”
ESPN and Major League Baseball Agree to $5.6 Billion Deal. The new contract between ESPN and MLB goes through 2021 and runs an average of $700 million per year for TV, digital, radio and other rights. ESPN is currently paying about $305 million per year for TV and about $50 million for radio rights. The new contract would almost double that but gives ESPN more flexibility, some playoff game rights as well as international rights. For radio it means increased ESPN Radio rights, including the additional right to co-exist during two Saturday windows per team, per year.
Patt Morrison’s Southern California Public Radio Show Cancelled. The popular Southern California public radio figure will remain with the organization but Patt Morrison’s six-year-old afternoon program will end on September 10. The move is part of a series of programming changes at KPCC, Pasadena that include the expansion of the Brand & Martinez program and the addition of the “BBC News Hour” and “The World.” KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton is quoted telling the Los Angeles Daily News, “While the show may be leaving, Patt isn’t. What we’re trying to do is take a lot of the segments that she’s produced – which are very popular with a large part of our listening audience – and spread those a little more throughout the programming day when there are a lot more listeners than there are in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.” SCPR notes Morrison will still cover the Democratic National Convention for the organization.
NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Announce More Sports Talk Hires. As NBC Sports Radio continues to prepare for the September 4 launch of the new network, more hosts and sports anchors are being hired. Former NFL star Amani Toomer will team with Eytan Shander (most recently with SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) for a 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET sports talk show. Dan Schwartzman – who’s worked for WPEN, Philadelphia and ESPN in New York – will host an overnight show from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET Tuesdays through Saturdays and Kay Adams joins the network as sports anchor working the 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm shift Monday through Friday. Dial Global is NBC’s partner in ad and affiliation sales and distribution.
Forbes Releases New Highest Paid Celebrities List. Four radio stars landed on the Forbes list of the most recent Highest Paid Celebrities. Of the 21 celebs noted this time around, Howard Stern is the highest at #7 (although he makes a ton of cash from his SiriusXM gig, the NBC TV job helps!); Glenn Beck comes in at #11; Rush Limbaugh lands at #15 and Ryan Seacrest follows at #19.
Larry King to Host Coverage of the RNC on YouTube’s Elections Hub Channel; Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Joins King on Panel. Longtime CNN star and broadcasting icon Larry King is now working with Ora TV – the digital on-demand TV network funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu – and Ora TV is partnering with YouTube to produce the Elections Hub channel. Tonight, King will host coverage of the Republican National Convention live from Los Angeles featuring a roundtable of well-known celebrities and guests on the special series “Ora 2012 with Larry King” from 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean will take part on the panel.
Entercom and University of Florida Enter into Sales Agreement. The college and Entercom Communications have struck a deal which will have Entercom provide sales for the school’s two radio stations – country WRUF-FM and sports talk WRUF-AM. It’s a seven-year deal that begins in September. The university notes that the deal “will provide the College with a guaranteed monthly revenue. Additionally, the stations will participate in a revenue share agreement with Entercom that allows for additional revenue to flow to the stations based on monthly sales performances. In addition to the joint sales agreement, Entercom is launching an academic enhancement initiative to create internships and student opportunities for the College’s students at the company’s stations in Gainesville and around the country. These student involvement opportunities, subject to faculty approval, will include sales, digital marketing programming, news, sports, public relations, strategic communications and promotions.” The stations’ operations director, Jerry Butler, will stay on and co-ordinate the relationship between the stations and Entercom.
Hundreds of Talk Show Hosts from Across Country Broadcasting from RNC. The invention of the “radio row” – largely developed in the modern talk radio era by Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service – has really come into its own at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Numerous networks and syndicators have set up shop in elaborate clusters of tables, microphones, remote equipment, banners and, of course, big talking personalities on both sides of the mic. One of the biggest of these assemblages is again hosted by Talk Radio News Service for its affiliates which include the likes of Rusty Humphries, Phil Valentine, Roger Hedgecock and many more. TRNS bureau chief Ellen Ratner tells TALKERS, “We have more stations than ever – about 40 stations and programs. The RNC gave us a prime spot, right next to their booking office. We are not in the arena but in the building next to it that houses all the press. Other than press conferences, some longer television interviews and hall confrontations between the news media, radio row is the only place to have an in-depth conversation. Radio might have lost some of its audience to the internet, but you would never know it from radio row. Big time politicians want to be there and obviously feel they will get a chance to say what they want. It is still the spot to be and the place to be heard.”
WMAL Morning Hosts on the Scene in Tampa. The final day of the Republican National Convention is today and talk radio and the national press have been busy bringing the political talk home to their constituents. Pictured here are WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive team Brian Wilson (c) and Bryan Nehman (r) interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (l).
Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Iran-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). The progress of tropical storm Isaac and the activity from the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay were two of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. The growing connection between Iran’s military and the violence in Syria was also a major topic.
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.”
How news/talk radio stations can take ownership of breaking news events
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — News/talk stations covering breaking news have a challenge in this era of shrinking news departments and pared-back staffs. In order to be the place to which people turn for coverage of breaking news and then the talk about the news, stations must have a pre-planned approach and use their people creatively in order to compete for the consumer’s attention. With the recent case of the Aurora shootings last month, stations beyond Denver woke up to a major breaking story from out of market that was the only thing people were talking about that morning.
The Rolodex of the well-run news room can help the station respond to such complex cases where gun law experts, psychology practitioners, crime experts and others are used by stations to bring local analysis to the story. How stations prepare for and execute coverage of breaking news and the talk about that news determines how “on top of the story” a station and its talk hosts sound.
New Sports Radio Network Entrant NBC Announces First Round of Talent Hires. The venture between NBC Sports and Dial Global that debuts September 4 – NBC Sports Radio Network – is beginning with an evening sports talk show hosted by Erik Kuselias (airing 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET). The morning drive sports updates from the network will be delivered by Jon Stashower. Kuselias has been working with NBC on its cable sports network. He’s worked for the Golf Channel as well as ESPN. Stashower has also worked at ESPN. Expect some more talent announcements prior to the network’s post-Labor Day debut.
Dead Air: A Dynamic Reminder for Talk Show Hosts. Vocal dynamics is not a discipline that is really taught to broadcasters anymore. With more and more talk talent coming to the medium from outside the traditional communications schools, talent who use the dynamics of their voices effectively are becoming rare. WFAN, New York talk host Richard Neer offers some suggestions about employing these techniques and the reasons why they are still valid for today’s broadcasters. Read Richard’s piece here.
Salem Communications Posts Q2 Revenue Increase of 3.9%; Broadcast Up 2.1%. That’s the good news for Salem. On the downside, operating income for the entire company dropped 61.1% and the company realized a net loss of $1.8 million or $0.07 net loss per share. Though the broadcast division revenue was up 2.1%, station operating income decreased 3.1%. Internet is still the big winner for Salem with Q2 revenue up 16.6% and operating income up 42.8%.
Federated Media Joins iHeartRadio. Indiana-based Federated Media adds its 17 radio stations to the iHeartRadio digital platform owned and operated by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. Federated Media’s markets include Fort Wayne, South Bend and Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana. Stations now heard on the platform include heritage news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne. Federated Media chief strategy officer James Derby says, “We’re very excited to partner with iHeartRadio. We want to offer our customers and clients both terrestrial and digital listening experiences. It’s important that we partner with those that are open to shared content and opportunities. iHeartRadio is very popular in our local markets and we’re happy to now be a part of it.”
TuneIn Announces New Funding; Increase in Monthly Active Listener Stats. Digital audio service TuneIn reports it has just acquired new sources of funding led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from Jafco Ventures, Google Ventures and existing business partner Sequoia Capital totaling $16 million. TuneIn will use the new funding to scale the company’s technical and business operations worldwide. At the same time, the company reports its monthly active listeners figure has increased to 40 million. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “Our mission is to deliver the best listening experience possible, and it is so meaningful to us that 40 million people have chosen to listen to the world – every month – through TuneIn. This investment will help us fulfill our mission while increasing our headcount and growing our product development and marketing initiatives.” TuneIn says its service is available anywhere there is an internet signal and offers 70,000 stations and two million on-demand programs.
AdLarge Media Becomes Sales Rep for Gow-Operated Yahoo! Sports Radio. Houston-based Gow Broadcasting operates Yahoo! Sports Radio and the company announces it enters into an agreement with AdLarge Media for the latter to sell national advertising for Yahoo!’s radio, streamed audio and mobile platforms. AdLarge Media CEO Gary Schonfeld states, “Yahoo! Sports Radio has a highly respected lineup of sports journalists and commentators, including Tim Brando, Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Steve Czaban, and more. Yahoosports.com is the number one sports website on the internet. With that as our base, Yahoo! Sports Radio delivers insights and reports from sports experts that fans relish, creating an engaging environment for advertisers to reach an extremely passionate audience.”
Odds & Sods. Texas-based Clear Channel talk host (KTRH and WOAI) Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo fills in for Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck on his radio show today and Friday…..ESPN Radio now offers an app for smartphones using the Windows Phone platform and is available in the Windows Marketplace. ESPN reports its app is now available on all three major smartphone operating systems…..SiriusXM is broadcasting coverage of the 2012 PGA Championship beginning this Thursday from the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.
Presidential Race, Wisconsin Sikh Shooting, London Olympics, and Mars Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6). The campaign for president in the 2012 elections; the fatal shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the 2012 London Olympics; and the landing of the rover on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FM Talk Winning in PM Drive with Alan Cox Show on Cleveland’s Legendary Rocker WMMS-FM. The Alan Cox show is quietly defying the conventional wisdom about what talk targeting younger demos on FM is all about. Ensconced in afternoon drive on Clear Channel’s legendary rock outlet WMMS-FM, Cleveland, Cox’s success is not a widely told tale in the radio industry, in part because it doesn’t appear to be a piece of a corporately directed programming puzzle with companywide ambitions. Cox credits local management for daring to be innovative with spoken-word programming outside the realms of news/talk and sports talk. “’MMS, everybody knows, is a legendary station and management had the foresight to realize music on FM is kind of going away and to see if it can work with two talk products and it has worked amazingly well. The foresight that brought them to try this hybrid station also makes them realize that you have to honor the heritage the station has but everything has to move forward.” Read this entire story here.
Gil Gross Replaces Gene Burns in PM Drive at KKSF, San Francisco. Talk radio legend Gene Burns is not going away from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment San Francisco as he continues to rehab from a stroke he suffered last December but cluster director of operations Don Parker gives the PM drive slot to Gil Gross, who’s been one of those filling in for Burns since January. Parker states, “I’m thrilled to have Gil Gross aboard full time for the Bay Area’s only live and local afternoon drive talk show. With his extensive background in network news, everyone in news/talk radio knows the name Gil Gross. I couldn’t be happier to have KKSF be his new home. NewsTalk 910 has been very fortunate to have the highest caliber of talent filling in for Gene Burns since January. I’d like to thank John Rothman, Ed Baxter and Rosie Allen for their contributions and for continuing to play a role on NewsTalk 910 moving forward.” Burns will continue to blog at newstalk910.com and his Saturday “Dining Around” program will remain on the program schedule with Joel Riddell hosting . Additionally, John Rothman is named the station’s political analyst. He’ll contribute to the station’s talk shows and newscasts as well as serve as host for KKSF’s 2012 election coverage. Baxter and Allen will remain with the station for fill-in and blogging duties. On his new position, Gross states, “I am thrilled to keep the live, local talk flame alive in the Bay area. From the Occupy movement to Oscar Grant or the struggles of our economy, it’s important for the Bay area to have a platform to discuss today’s most pressing topics. I look forward to having my friend and colleague, Gene Burns, back in the line-up. I also look forward to building the future at NewsTalk 910, a unique station that will not be one point of view all day long.”
Tony Kornheiser Negotiating for Long-Term Deal to Remain on WTEM, Washington. Washington, DC-based sports media personality Tony Kornheiser tells his audience he hopes to be assured his radio talk show will be heard on Red Zebra’s WTEM – ESPN 980 for “another two years, at least.” The Washington Post reports director of programming Chuck Sapienza hinted the two sides are negotiating, quoting him saying, “Our goal has always been to have Tony with ESPN 980 long term, and we hope to have an official announcement soon.” Kornheiser will take much of the summer off from his radio show telling his audience he will do a few weeks of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” but will not do radio in July or August.
Terry Gross Celebrates 25 Years of National Syndication for “Fresh Air.” Tomorrow “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross will celebrate her 25th anniversary in national syndication via NPR. Gross began the program on WHYY-FM, Philadelphia – where the show is still based – in 1975. Gross tells the Philadelphia Daily News’ Dan Gross (no relation), “I fell in love with radio the moment I started doing it. I still find it a privilege to be able to talk to and engage in a pretty personal level with people whose work I respect.” Surprisingly for some, Gross tells the paper she counts Howard Stern among those whom she’d like to interview but has not. She says she’s a fan of his radio show.
Carmichael Dave Out at KHTK, Sacramento. The producer and sidekick to morning host and PD Don Geronimo and host of his own midday show exits the CBS Radio sports outlet. His tweets about his exit are vague but it appears Carmichael Dave is the victim of a budget-related maneuver. He tweets, “As of today I am no longer a part of CBS Radio…I’m getting a lot of response that this was contract related. I asked for nothing. I can’t go into details. Just know that I love the station and the people.” The station is airing DirecTV/Premiere’s Dan Patrick show in middays.
Analysis: The Legal Basis for the Bob Lonsberry Decision. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reviews the recent ruling by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department of New York in the defamation case filed against WHAM, Rochester talk show host Bob Lonsberry. Weisman writes that for talk hosts who make a living expressing their opinions, it’s important to note that “not all opinion is protected, but when it is made about a matter of public concern, the speaker is protected by the First Amendment.” Read Steven J.J. Weisman’s piece here.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio names Brian Thomas vice president of programming for its Tampa cluster that includes sports talk WQYK – 1010AM Sports…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc. begins distribution of Chuck Woolery’s “Save Us Chuck” political commentary feature on June 4. The game show legend states, “I started in radio and just love it! During all my years on television, I’ve come to realize that radio is truly the only medium where I can connect one-on-one with the audience and help to create real change.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles visits the foothill cities of the San Gabriel Valley as part of its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series. The broadcast will emanate from the Monrovia Coffee Company in the heart of Old Town Monrovia on June 1…..WTKK-FM, Boston midday talk host Doug Meehan’s listeners are launching a campaign to get the host an on-air audition with Kelly Ripa on ABC TV’s “Live! With Kelly.” Meehan has recorded his pitch to be on the show and posted it on WTKK’s website. He’s encouraging listeners to visit the “Live! With Kelly” website touting Meehan for a shot at a guest host appearance…..Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte regular fill-in host Wayne Powers wins his primary contest for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
First Caller Puts Curse on New Talk Show Host. What a way to start a new gig! Gregg Henson, the station’s program director who replaced afternoon drive host Pat Miller on WOWO, Fort Wayne, was greeted with a first call that sounded like something out of a Steven King novel. Not only did the listener with a heavy accent voice his disapproval of Henson and insult him by saying he is “a snake” who “doesn’t bring anything to the table” — he went on to actually put a curse on him! Check THIS out. Listen to the audio here.
2012 Presidential Race, Obama Gay Marriage Issue, Feds to Sue Arizona Sheriff Arpaio, and Putin Snubs Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9). The 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama’s change of heart on the gay marriage issue, the federal lawsuit being filed against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s backing out of meeting with President Obama and the G-8 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Media Veteran and Fenway Park Announcer Carl Beane Dies in Auto Crash. Fenway Park’s voice of the Boston Red Sox, Carl Beane, died Wednesday at age 59 after suffering a heart attack and crashing his car while driving. Beane won the Fenway Park gig after the 2002 season. He was a radio sports announcer, talk host, news reporter and more during his long career. In addition to stringing for AP, ESPN and SiriusXM, Beane had worked at WBZ, Boston and spent many years in the 1990s working at then talk/music hybrid WESO, Southbridge.
Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey Reports Limbaugh Boycott Cost Company Millions. During Monday’s first quarter conference call with analysts, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey announced that the advertiser boycott of Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show – which is carried on 38 Cumulus-owned stations – cost his company “a couple of million” in the first quarter of 2012 and another “couple of million” in the second quarter. Dickey says everything seems pretty much back to normal for June but he blames about 1% of the company’s 3.5% drop in revenue on the Limbaugh boycott. Dickey also addressed the debut of the Mike Huckabee show which airs live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot and is seen by some observers as a direct competitor to Limbaugh. He says they are very close to having Huckabee on 200 affiliates and he’s viewing the show as a long-term project.
Cumulus Media’s 2012 Q1 Revenue Down 3.5%. The first quarter of 2012 saw Cumulus Media report net revenues down 3.5% on earnings of $245.3 million – down from $254.2 million for the same period a year ago. Free cash flow was up almost 95% to $37 million, up from $19 million for the first quarter of 2011 and EBITDA was up 12.2% to $76.8 million. CEO Lew Dickey states, “The first quarter of 2012 was marked by significant progress in our integration of Citadel as we build Cumulus into a robust platform company that strategically monetizes content, distribution and technology. Complementing this progress was the continued deleveraging of our balance sheet, as well as strategic portfolio management that will enable us tremendous financial flexibility going forward.”
FCC Up to Full Complement. Six months after they were nominated, Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to seats on the Federal Communications Commission. Senator Charles Grassley had been keeping the confirmation from taking place due to his concern over the commission’s handling of the LightSquared case. Grassley has been investigating the FCC’s dealings with the troubled satellite venture suspecting that LightSquared has been given special treatment by the commission.
Pat Miller Cuts Back Duties at WOWO, Fort Wayne; Gregg Henson to PM Drive. Afternoon drive talk show host Pat Miller is leaving his role at the legendary Federated Media station to focus on his own local business. Director of programming operations Gregg Henson takes over the PM drive host duties effective immediately. Miller will remain with the station in several capacities. He’ll host a weekly Saturday afternoon program and he’ll make regular appearances as the station’s expert political analyst. Henson says of Miller, “Pat is a great asset to WOWO and we look forward to redeploying him in other areas to take advantage of his strengths. He is a tremendous resource. Pat’s loyalty and love for Fort Wayne are indisputable and we look forward to his continued relationship with WOWO.” Henson assumed the programming duties at WOWO and sister station WKJG a year ago. He says he’s excited about taking over the PM drive show. “WOWO has a special relationship with this community and I look forward to being a part of it.”
Talk Radio Hosts Converge on Washington, DC for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Radio Row. More than 60 talk radio hosts are in Washington, DC today and tomorrow for a radio row sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The event is being led by Radio America syndicated talk show host Roger Hedgecock who organized the first radio row dedicated to this issue in 2007 to protest the Senate Amnesty Bill. Talk show hosts taking part have the opportunity to interview numerous legislators and experts on illegal immigration and related topics over the course of the two days. FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS, “Once again, talk hosts from across the country are gathering to focus on immigration reform and this election year is the most critical of all. The Obama administration continues to dismantle interior enforcement at a frightening pace and is using unconstitutional backdoor methods to grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. With November looming, May is the ideal time to set clear expectations for candidates of all stripes. Responsive politicians respect and listen to the electronic town hall of talk radio and ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a yearly bellwether of public sentiment on the immigration issue.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Peter Sessa has been the vice president of marketing and communications at Westwood One for the past five years. He stayed with the operation after it was merged with Dial Global but now exits and is seeking his next opportunity…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago eliminates a news position as midday anchor Jim Gudas is let go for financial reasons…..Phil Cioppa joins the Greenwich, Connecticut-based Business TalkRadio Network where his show which “tackles global and national events and translates them into how they affect the average American’s pocketbook” now airs on some 140 affiliates…..SiriusXM announces it is launching an expanded suite of 30 play-by-play channels dedicated to streaming the official radio broadcasts of every MLB team on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at SiriusXM.com…..WTOP-FM, Washington offers prizes to listeners in the area with the worst commute. Dubbed “Commuter Idle,” listeners must submit stories of their commute online and the winner receives $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride. Runners-up get $150 gas cards…..Merlin Media’s WEMP-FM, New York lets managing editor Doug O’Brien go. The Former WINS, New York staffer has been with FM News 101.9 since its inception last summer…..Yahoo! Sports Radio pairs up Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel with college sports writer Pat Forde for a weekly Thursday evening sports talk show on the network…..Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City (the AM side) celebrates its 90th anniversary serving the market…..Sports USA announces its 18-game college football schedule for this fall that kicks off with Michigan State hosting Boise State and wrapping up with the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
Putin Returns, Anti-Austerity Backlash in Europe, 2012 Presidential Race, New American Obesity Stats, Student Loan Rate Debate, and Terror Plot Foiled Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The return of Vladimir Putin to power in Russia; voters in Europe show anti-austerity backlash; the 2012 presidential race; the latest statistics on obesity in America; Congress to take on student loan rate debate; and a plot to destroy a U.S. airliner is foiled were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Generations. Television stars Robert Conrad (l) and Jorge Garcia (r) pose for a photo at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles at the grand opening of an exhibit titled, “50 Years of Warner Brothers.” Conrad, who hosts a weekly talk radio program on CRN Digital Talk Radio, was the star of “The Wild, Wild West.” Garcia starred in “Lost” and currently is featured in “Alcatraz.”
Ingstad Group Blows Up Classic Rock for FM Talk in Fargo-Moorhead; Tom Becka to Program and Host AM Drive. James Ingstad’s Radio Fargo Moorhead group in the Fargo-Moorhead market turns classic rock KRWK-FM into “101.9 Talk FM” The Talk of Fargo Moorhead on March 19. Talk radio pro Tom Becka – most recently with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFAB, Omaha as PM drive host – is named program director for the station and will host the morning drive show. Syndicated programs will include Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth will host a 5:00 pm program for at least the first three weeks of the station’s new format. Hayworth currently is hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco. Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Genesis Communications Network‘s Jason Lewis will air in the evenings. Tom Becka states, “This is such a great opportunity to help put a new FM talk station on the air and be the first doing it. Radio Fargo Moorhead is a great independent company that still believes in the traditional radio approach that combines great programming and promotion with local outreach. At the same time they have been leaders in embracing the new technological advances. And about those winters? They are taking up a collection to buy me a warm coat.” The station, as well as sister news/talk KFGO, is being consulted by The Q Consulting Guys’ Jon Quick, who says, “In these days of cutbacks, it is so gratifying that there are operators like the Ingstad group who still believe that hiring great people and promoting them properly results in both ratings and revenue.” Quick also notes that Ingstad is retaining all of the Rock 101 staff.
Federated Media Drops Classic Rock on WFWI-FM, Fort Wayne; Simulcasts News/Talk WOWO. The legendary WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana gets an FM simulcast for its news/talk format at the expense of sister classic rock “The Fort 92.3.” Federated Media COO Mark Deprez states, “The move to FM is a natural enhancement for the WOWO brand that is synonymous with Fort Wayne. WOWO is, and has always been, the one radio outlet that northeast Indiana can count on for breaking news, weather, traffic, information. WOWO’s strong service commitment to our community, along with the entertaining and engaging personalities, has solidified WOWO in the hearts of many of our local residents. The move to 92.3 FM will re-introduce WOWO to listeners that have migrated over the years to FM and also open WOWO’s brand to a new and younger audience.”
Rush Limbaugh Fires Up His Long-Dormant Twitter Account to Fight His Attackers. It probably won’t be very long before Rush Limbaugh’s fans have his Twitter follower numbers through the roof and Limbaugh says he’ll use the account to counter the work being done by organizations such as Media Matters via the social media tool. Politico reports that Limbaugh told his listeners on his Thursday program that he’ll be Tweeting info from time to time that his faithful can share. “Everybody has been asking me what they can do to help in all of this, and I’ve been saying, nah, just do what you’ve been doing just, if you listen, keep listening, that’s fine, but…there’s an army out there that wants to be mobilized, and so, I figured, use Twitter for it. I’m just going to put some things on Twitter that you can help us circulate. It’s that simple you just retweet them.” Limbaugh’s first Tweet after the show was a link to a piece by Cornell Law professor William Jacobson on Media Matters’ astroturfing the boycott against Limbaugh’s advertisers. “Astroturfing” is using digital media to create the illusion of a “grassroots” movement.
Syndicated Talk Host Michael Smerconish: Advertiser Boycotts Won’t Kill Rush Limbaugh. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish writes in his column in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the advertiser boycott being waged against Rush Limbaugh ultimately will not topple him from his talk radio perch. In the piece, Smerconish cites TALKERS and fellow radio trade Radio-Info on the status of the Limbaugh situation. But Smerconish goes on to write that the hard-core, right wing talk hosts that occupy most news/talk radio station lineups serve exactly that audience – the very conservative, politically active segment of the radio-listening audience. Smerconish states that studies indicate the nation as a whole is not as polarized as the media might make it appear and both Congress and the talk media are more extreme now than at any point in the recent past (based on voting records and host ideology, respectively). Change in the flavor of talk radio, Smerconish argues, can only come from programmers. Read his piece here.
RTDNF Presents Freedom of Speech Awards; Talker Jim Bohannon Honored. At a gala black-tie dinner held last night at Washington, DC’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) presented its 22nd annual First Amendment Awards including the Special Recognition First Amendment Award to Dial Global Radio Networks talk star Jim Bohannon (pictured here at left). The award was presented to Bohannon by TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison (r) who stated, “Jim stands tall and strong as a seeker of truth.” Other awards were presented to NBC News president Steve Capus, ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, and Shurz Communications senior vice president Marci Burdick. A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to Andy Rooney. In a rousing speech, Jim Bohannon encouraged the hundreds of newspeople in attendance to promo free speech at every opportunity saying, “We should go out and kick some ass for the First Amendment!”
KCSP, Kansas City Goes All Local Sports Talk. Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City drops Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome from its midday slot and expands its existing sports talk shows. AM drive hosts Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler are now heard from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; midday host Danny Parkins gets the big bump, moving from 9:00 am to 11:00 am to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Carrington Harrison joins the program along with other contributors. Nick Wright’s afternoon show remains in the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Our listeners have wanted more local hosts talking about local sports. With the start of an exciting Royals season only a few weeks away, ‘610 Sports’ has the best local lineup for our game broadcasts. The passionate sports fans in Kansas City now have more than just one option in the middle of their day when it comes to local sports talk. We’re excited that we can be all live, all local all day.”
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Maintains Top Story Spot on Talkers TenTM. The battle for the Republican nomination for president and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 campaign tied for the top spot as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 12-16, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Correspondingly, Rick Santorum tied with Mitt Romney as the #1 most-talked-about person followed by President Obama at #2. The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio is published here every Friday. View this week’s chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity pick up new FM talker KRWK, Fargo-Moorhead…..Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade is added to KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis joins KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham returns to KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WLBE, Leesburg-Eustis, Florida; and KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota…..Dial Global adds its sports Westwood One play-by-play sports – including NFL, NCAA men’s basketball and football, the Olympics, major golf events and more to Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta.
Loose Cannons Live in Downtown L.A. Fox Sports Radio Network’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based “Loose Cannons” recently kicked off March Madness with a live broadcast from the Hooters Downtown Los Angeles where the brand-new Fox Sports Radio remote broadcast studio is located. Pictured here – along with a bevy of Hooters girls – are Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (l) and Steve Hartman (r). Not pictured is the third “Loose Cannon” Pat O’Brien.
Clear Channel Media Holdings Reports 2011 Revenue Up 5%. The entire company’s full-year revenue was $6.16 billion. For the former radio division – now known as Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – revenue for the year 2011 grew 2%. That number would have been a negative one had it not been for the acquisition of Westwood One’s Metro Traffic. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Tom Casey indicated the company is very bullish on its iHeartRadio app. He noted it had 48 million downloads last year and stated the Pandora-like custom music feature will remain commercial free for the foreseeable future.
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Addresses Traffic Incident/Gay Bar Issue. Former Houston city councilman and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry spent the better part of an hour on the morning leg of his talk program yesterday (2/21) addressing his alleged hit-and-run of a parked car outside a bar in Houston on January 31 – sort of. Berry did not address the actual hit-and-run issue in detail stating he couldn’t talk about that – Berry has not been charged with any crime. But he did say he was in the bar, drank a beer and used the restroom. He went on to excoriate KPRC-TV for making his patronage of a bar where some of the patrons “happen to be gay” an issue. He spoke at length against anti-gay sentiment in the conservative and religious communities and took his critics to task for rushing to judgment without the facts. Still, the Houston police are investigating to see if the officers looking into the hit-and-run complaint did a thorough job before concluding there was no reason to charge Berry.
Wisconsin Talk Host Pat Snyder to Run for State Office. WSAU, Wausau, Wisconsin talk show host Pat Snyder announces he will run for state assembly in the fall on the Republican ticket. Already one of his potential opponents is challenging Snyder’s decision to announce his intention to run and remain on the radio. Democrat Jeff Johnson tells WSAU he believes station owner Mid-West Communications is making a mistake, “I think they are opening themselves up to some liability. The case could be made very easily that they are providing an in-kind donation every time they let him on the air.” The station reports equal time rules do not allow a political candidate to work as a radio announcer within 60 days of a general election and within 45 days of a primary election. Radio station managers have said Snyder will leave the show at the end of July if he does have a primary opponent or at the end of August if he does not.
WOWO, Fort Wayne Strikes News and Weather Deal with Indiana’s News Center. Federated Media news/talk outlet WOWO, Fort Wayne announces it has entered into a partnership with Indiana’s News Center to have the operation’s meteorologists Chris Daniels, Curtis Smith and Jason Meyers do weather reports on WOWO and go live on the station with reports during severe weather situations. WOWO provides live traffic reports for INC as well as a simulcast each morning between WOWO personality Charly Butcher and INC anchors Ryan Elijah and Mary Collins. WOWO and INC will also share web stories and news reporters. WOWO operations manager Gregg Henson states, “All of our talent are now multi-platform digital journalists so it only makes sense that the WOWO and INC newsrooms would work together to generate and gather the most relevant content for our customers across all platforms. Viewers and listeners in Fort Wayne can now receive all of our content wherever they want it – radio, TV, mobile and online.”
Compass Media Marketing Client POP Radio Adds Stores. This isn’t a talk radio story but an interesting note about marketing at the point-of-purchase. Radio marketing and syndication pro Peter Kosann’s new venture, Compass Media Marketing, is handling ad sales for client POP Radio – a service that provides in-store audio and advertising for stores. POP Radio recently added the Roundy’s food store chain to up its reach to 18,465 stores. In an age when digital marketing gets so many of the headlines in business and trade publications, it’s interesting to note how popular and effective audio advertising still is for certain types of products – in this case packaged goods. Often the same product will be marketed in the home via TV or radio, in the car on terrestrial radio and again through the use of audio at the point of purchase. POP Radio notes its audience estimates are based on data conducted by Edison Research. An annual update to this data is planned for later this year. Until then, advertisers currently utilizing POP Radio will enjoy a significant bonus in their audience delivery due to the addition of the Roundy’s stores.
Red Wolf Broadcasting to Sign on New FM News/Talk Station in Connecticut. The New London Day is reporting Red Wolf Broadcasting is preparing to sign on a new FM news/talk station next week to serve the markets of New London, Connecticut and the eastern end of Long Island, New York. WJJF-FM at 94.9 is licensed to Montauk, New York. The station is bringing WXLM, Groton, Connecticut talk host Lee Elci aboard to host the AM drive show and will air programming from Talk Radio Network including Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage as well as Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher. Station owner John Fuller tells the paper they intend to deliver local content to the region. The station will be positioned as “94.9 News Now and Stimulating Talk.” In addition to hiring Elci, the station is hiring a local news staff. “We’re going to be out at town hall meetings and out at news conferences.”
The Life of WBZ, Boston Legend Dave Maynard to Be Celebrated Feb. 29. Boston radio personality Dave Maynard passed away on February 9 in Citrus Hills, Florida after a long battle with Parkinson ’s disease. His life is being celebrated Wednesday, February 29 at 11:00 am at Saint Cecilia’s Parish, 18 Belvidere Street in Boston’s Back Bay and his family is inviting the public to attend. Maynard was a long time WBZ radio and TV personality and member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Election, Corporate Tax Reform Plan, Iran Tensions, Rising Gas Prices, and Koran Desecration-Afghan Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/21). The issues surrounding the GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential election; the clash between President Obama and congress over corporate tax reform proposals; Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its oil strategies; rising gas prices in the U.S.; and the reported Koran desecration at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan and the resulting protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Joe Madison and the First Lady Talk Fitness. SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison recently interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama about the second anniversary of her “Let’s Move” fitness campaign at the “Faith and Community Groups Leading the Way” event in Longwood, Florida on February 11. Mrs. Obama’s campaign to eliminate childhood obesity was the subject and the two spoke at length about the importance of physical activity. Pictured here are (from l-r): First Lady Michelle Obama, Sherry Madison and Joe Madison.