WTOP, Washington Names McMearty Program Director. Three months after former programmer Laurie Cantillo and Hubbard Radio parted ways, the company names 23-year staffer Mike McMearty program director for the multi-platform news operation. McMearty moves up from his news director post to the new position of director of news and programming. Hubbard Washington SVP/GM Joel Oxley comments, “Mike has been an integral part of our success for more than two decades. He has led the newsroom to hundreds of industry awards for excellence in journalism, including 18 National Murrow Awards and more than two dozen honors already in 2015. I look forward to him taking the department to new heights.” The station reports that Jim Battagliese continues his role as director of traffic, transit and weather. Mitchell Miller is promoted to senior news director managing the newsroom weekday mornings, Darci Marchese moves up to a full-time news director weekday afternoons, and Jamie Forzato now will manage news operations on the weekends as weekend managing editor. Meera Pal moves to social and digital engagement director reporting to Julia Ziegler, who moves from web and operations manager of FederalNewsRadio.com to become the news director of WTOP.com. All of the changes will take place over the next several weeks.
Talkers New York 2015 Videos Begin Being Posted Today (6/22). Starting today with WFAN, New York superstar Mike Francesa’s opening “Keynote Greeting,” TALKERS will be posting videos of each of the sessions that made Talkers New York 2015’s agenda one of the most successful in the convention’s 18-year history. A session will be added each business day for the next nine days in a row, in the order that they took place at the event, until the entire agenda, video-recorded by Art Vuolo, is posted in a special Talkers TV feature sponsored by independent station owner, Michael Zwerling’s KSCO, Santa Cruz. The entire feature will remain posted for the rest of 2015. To see the opening session with Mike Francesa, please click here. Tomorrow: “The State of Radio Ratings” panel moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel icon Sean Hannity.
Mike Francesa Opens Talkers New York 2015 on Upbeat Note – See Video Today! In a video posted today (6/22), legendary WFAN afternoon drive personality Mike Francesa sets the tone for what proved to be a realistic, but highly optimistic and solutions-oriented, agenda at the recent industry mega-conference, Talkers New York 2015 (6/12). The tell-it-like-it-is broadcaster – who has been ranked at #1 on the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio” for the past two consecutive years – blasted the pessimism that he says permeates the radio industry and offered his assessment of the tremendous opportunities available to radio in the digital era. Francesa drew applause form the packed house stating, “It’s amazing the amount of negativity that exists no matter what part of the business you’re in… I’m here to tell you that even though I am a little closer to the finish [of my career] than I am to the start, back [in 1987] when I was pounding on the door at WFAN with Jeff Smulyan – it took me 18 interviews to get hired, folks — I would be as bullish on radio and as gung ho about getting a career and feeding my family on radio NOW… as I was back then.” Francesa discusses the multi-platform nature of programming content today and the need/opportunity to monetize every element of it. He praises the spread of smartphones as being equivalent to a theoretical resurgence of the old transistor radio and thus providing radio with universal portability… something it hasn’t enjoyed in decades. He discusses the importance of branding in today’s media environment and vehemently champions the importance of “live and local” being the key to radio’s survival and purpose in the coming era. To see Francesa’s entire speech, please click here.
Westwood One Names Ron Russo EVP Northeast Sales. Radio sales pro Ron Russo is named EVP, Northeast Region for Westwood One’s network sales division. In this position, Russo will “manage and oversee the New York sales office and be responsible for revenue growth and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events.” Russo will report to Westwood One president Steve Shaw. In a statement from WW1, the company notes that Russo comes to them from iHeartMedia where he was general sales manager for the NYC station group. “In addition to building and overseeing the sales teams, he was instrumental in managing the transition when iHeart purchased WOR-AM from Buckley Broadcasting. He also played an important role in securing the station’s radio rights to the NY Mets.” He worked for CBS RADIO at hot AC WWFS, “Fresh 102.7” before joining iHeartMedia. Russo says, “I am really looking forward to working with this great team of sellers and collaborating throughout the organization as we look for innovative ways to drive and accelerate results for our clients.”
Rob Ellis Lands at WPEN, Philadelphia. Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia personality Rob Ellis debuts on crosstown Greater Media’s WPEN, Philadelphia, partnered up with Harry Mayes. Ellis exited CBS RADIO’s WIP in March after failing to come to terms on a contract renewal with the station. Ellis, who also hosts “Breakfast on Broad” on cable’s Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, takes over as co-host of the midday show for Eytan Shander, who remains with the company. Former WIP personality Anthony Gargano also joined WPEN late last year as morning drive personality.
Odds & Sods. Both FOX Sports and ESPN are reporting that former San Diego Chargers player and longtime radio play-by-play analyst Hank Bauer has been let go from the radio broadcast team. Bauer served a one-game suspension last season – missing the final preseason game – after he used a Jewish slur during the third preseason game. He later apologized…..Westwood One presents coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s College World Series Finals beginning this evening from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Nebraska. The best-of-three championship series between Vanderbilt and Virginia is being covered by (pictured here in front of the famous Road to Omaha statue standing from left to right) Ted Emrich, Scott Graham, and Kevin Kugler.
Dr. Joy Browne Tours Israel as Guest of Prime Minister – Meets with Victims of Terror. Nationally-syndicated (GCN) talk show host and clinical psychologist, Dr. Joy Browne returns to New York today (6/22) after an intense week-long tour of Israel on a fact-finding/counseling mission that brought her into one-on-one encounters with Israeli victims of terror. Browne (right) is pictured meeting with Israeli citizens at the Jerusalem headquarters of the OneFamily organization during what has been her first visit to the Middle East democracy this week. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, during the emotionally charged encounter, which was hosted by OneFamily CEO Chantal Belzberg, Browne met with former residents of the US, Canada, and the UK who were physically and emotionally scarred in terrorist attacks across Israel during the past few years. “I am delighted and honored to be here,” Browne tells the Post. “After experiencing the aftermath of 9/11, we all share a common echo and I am impressed with the resilience of the people here who have worked or who are working to transcend fear and are getting on with their lives.” The perennially popular radio personality, in addition to interviewing and counselling victims, also interviewed the organization’s various psychologists and therapists for a future segment on her widely heard program. Browne’s trip to Israel was sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister and America’s Voices in Israel. (Photo courtesy of the Jerusalem Post and Sarah Levin.)
FOX News Commentators Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton Honored by Grenada’s St. George’s University. Media personalities Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton were recognized with honorary doctorates from St. George’s University in Grenada for their charitable works. Pinkerton and Ratner – who work together as conservative and liberal commentators, respectively, on FOX News Channel’s “FOX & Friends Weekend” on the “Long and Short of It” segment – are known for separate charitable efforts. Pinkerton has been working with the school assisting with its cure strategy for diseases. Ratner has been working for years to provide some of the basic tools for subsistence farming to people in South Sudan. Ratner (third from left) and Pinkerton (fourth from left) are seen here receiving their honorary degrees.
Dallas Newsman Bob Morrison Dies. Former KRLD-AM and WBAP-AM, Dallas newsman Bob Morrison died yesterday (6/21) after a long illness. Salem Radio Network VP, News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “When I served its VP/general manager, I hired Bob as news director of the USA Radio Network in 1999, and he brought a professional demeanor to reorganizing USA that was nothing short of amazing. His planning and execution of the national political conventions in 2000 remains a highlight, and nurturing his strong delivery and solid journalistic skills will always remain a highlight of my career.”
“American Family Farmer” Hosted by Doug Stephan Graduates from Experimental Lab to Terrestrial Platform. For the second time in its first 15 months of operation, TalkersRadio – the experimental talk radio platform launched in September, 2013 by TALKERS magazine – has spawned a program that has been picked up by terrestrial radio. The first TalkersRadio program to be acquired by terrestrial radio was “The Brent & Meg Show” hosted by the husband/wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald. Now, “American Family Farmer,” hosted by highly accomplished talk show host Doug Stephan, will launch in January 2015 on two terrestrial syndication platforms — Washington, DC-based Radio America and Minneapolis-based Genesis Communications Network (GCN) – and be available for general radio affiliation. According to Stephan, the show is specifically geared to stations located in small- to medium-sized rural markets with signals covering locally owned-and-operated family farms. Although the program is a spoken-word presentation it would fit any number of music-formatted outlets as well as talk because it is only an hour per week and can run any time deemed convenient and appropriate for the station. “American Family Farmer” is an information and advocacy forum targeted specifically to the beleaguered sector of the American agriculture industry that is comprised of small, independent operators. What makes Stephan qualified to host such a specifically targeted program? The answer: In addition to being a dedicated lifelong radio broadcaster, he is also a dedicated lifelong family farmer! The program’s producers emphasize that this show is being marketed and produced as an entity completely separate from the other Doug Stephan properties. “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan” is now available by barter on a market-exclusive basis. Interested stations should contact Bob K. Telephone: 774-643-6450. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For the complete details written by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, please click here.
What’s Next for TalkersRadio? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The graduation of ‘American Family Farmer’ and ‘The Brent & Meg Show’ to solid terrestrial platforms within the first 15 months of TalkersRadio’s existence is extremely gratifying – especially considering that both programs were conceived as ‘out-of-the-box’ concepts and never would have had the chance to develop into such special properties if it were not for this experimental platform.” According to Harrison, TalkersRadio will go on a one month “hiatus” for technical updates and improvements and come back in early January, 2015 with a new roster of programs headlined by “Healed Planet,” hosted by Alan Colmes, and “The Lionel Show,” hosted by Lionel. Harrison says, “‘Healed Planet’ – which deals with the leading edge of the human consciousness movement – shows a side of Alan Colmes’ wide realm of interests and journalistic skills that most people have not yet had a chance to experience. It’s a truly great radio show ‘in the bud’ and I am enthusiastic about its potential for development. ‘The Lionel Show’ presents the legendary and iconoclastic broadcaster – Lionel – in an unbridled format totally geared to his verbal genius. Although what he says neither breaks the rules of taste nor the bounds of legitimate clear thinking, I don’t think there has been a tightly wound terrestrial operation out there with the courage to put him on the air and let him run free without tinkering with the brilliant product that just oozes from his fertile mind… at least not up until now. I suspect that is about to change and the industry will catch up this year with and gain the benefits of what the ‘real’ Lionel has to offer.” TalkersRadio is powered by Boston-based Backbone Networks. Readers interested in learning more about TalkersRadio should contact Michael Harrison at email@example.com.
Lincoln Financial to Exit Radio Biz; Entercom to Acquire LFM Assets in Four Markets. The deal announced this morning will see Entercom Communications Corp. acquire Lincoln Financial Media from Lincoln Financial Group for $105 million plus working capital. Entercom expects to take over operation of the LFM stations in late January and should close on the purchase in the second quarter of 2015. The agreement includes 15 radio stations in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego markets, and it will expand Entercom’s station portfolio to more than 130 stations in 26 markets. The deal allows Lincoln Financial to get out of the media business and focus on its “core lines of business.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are excited to announce the acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and welcome the addition of their outstanding brands and talented broadcasters to Entercom. LFM is a great organization that has done an excellent job serving its listeners, customers and communities over many years and we look forward to building on that tradition. LFM is a perfect fit for us as it bolsters our position in Denver and expands our footprint into Atlanta, Miami and San Diego with terrific brands that have significant growth potential. Furthermore, it fulfills our disciplined acquisition criteria as it enhances our company’s competitive position and growth and should be accretive to shareholders in 2015 while having a minimal impact on leverage.” The stations to be acquired include: Atlanta outlets hot AC WSTR and sports talk WQXI; Denver stations country KYGO, rhythmic CHR KQKS, oldies KRWZ, sports talk KEPN and KKFN, and comedy-formatted translator K276FK; San Diego signals alternative KZBT, country KSON and KSOQ, and adult contemporary KIFM; and Miami outlets AC WLYF, classic hits WMXJ, and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM. The transaction is structured as an acquisition of the stock of LFM with a tax election that allows Entercom to receive a step-up in the tax basis of the station tangible and intangible assets providing additional future tax shields and enhancing future free cash flow. The $105 million purchase price will be paid in the form of $77.5 million in cash and $27.5 million in new perpetual cumulative convertible preferred stock that will be issued to Lincoln. Entercom expects to finance the cash portion of the purchase price through a combination of its existing $50 million revolver, cash on hand, and through other financing sources, if necessary.
Napa Valley Radio Promises New Local Content, Music in 2015. The new digital audio platform Napa Valley Radio – a service of Napa Broadcasting – is promoting new local content plus curated music streaming coming to the site in 2015. Napa Valley Radio is being led by longtime broadcasting executive Jeff Schechtman. The station marked its three-month anniversary with a message to listeners touting its local content – local election coverage including long-form interviews with candidates, local arts & music happenings, and promotion of the area’s wine industry – plus promises of the content to come. In what TALKERS editors consider a creative move, the station has partnered with Napa Community College to bring an infusion of youth to the project. Napa Valley Radio says the New Year will see more content originate by students at NCC and will also bring music shows of various genres to the station. It will be interesting to watch this local media venture as music rights fees are added to the station’s expenses but, regardless, this local approach to the digital audio service is one to watch and Napa Broadcasting appears to be dedicated to serving a broad spectrum of the community with a relevant mix of news, talk and music.
Howard Stern to Return to “AGT.” As tipped by the Hollywood Reporter, SiriusXM star Howard Stern will return to NBC TV’s “America’s Got Talent” as a judge. The show is entering its 10th season. In a Facebook post, Stern writes, “I decided that a life without ‘AGT’ is not worth living. America needs a caring, compassionate and wise judge, and who am I to deny the people what they want? It would be selfish of me to walk away.”
Sports Talker Tony Bruno Heard on BlogTalkRadio. Philadelphia native Tony Bruno – most recently heard on AM/FM radio on Greater Media’s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” in middays – is podcasting via BlogTalkRadio. In a statement from BlogTalkRadio, Bruno comments, “Deciding who to partner with was an exhaustive process. BlogTalkRadio is the ONLY company out there with a fully portable stream and call screener system built into one application and when they approached me with their new PRO STUDIO in full HD hosting platform, the choice was clear. I am excited to be a part of a company that is striving to bring both innovation and quality content directly to the fans.” Bruno is producing new shows twice per week, on Mondays and Thursdays.
CBS RADIO Announces Wing Bowl 23. The competitive chicken wing eating event that CBS RADIO’s sports talker WIP, Philadelphia debuted as a promotional prelude to the Super Bowl is in its 23rd year and will be held at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, January 30 at 6:00 am. The station is presenting the now-nationally famous contest in conjunction with sponsors Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino. The station will broadcast the contest on WIP-FM as well as online via CBSPhilly.com. The $10 ticket price will help benefit the Philadelphia Police Department Survivor’s Fund, The Police Athletic League, the Comcast-Spectacor Charities and other beneficiaries to be named soon. CBS RADIO says that this year’s competition promises to be the biggest party and the prizes have a different twist. The overall winner of Wing Bowl 23 wins a 2015 Harley-Davidson FLSTF Softail Fat Boy Motorcycle courtesy of Barb`s Harley Davidson, along with $10,000 in cash and a Wing Bowl 23 Championship ring both courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers. For the first time ever, SportsRadio 94WIP and Steven Singer Jewelers will give $10,000 cash to the Overall Runner Up as well. This makes it a $20,000 grand total of cash provided by Steven Singer Jewelers. Once again, WIP has two cars up for grabs: one for the top Local Eater and one for the top College Eater. The Wing Bowl 23 Local Winner has the chance to win a Chrysler 300 and the Collegiate Eater will win a Chrysler 200 both from Barbera`s on the Boulevard. The Wingette of the Year walks away with $5000 cash courtesy of Rumer Cosmetic Surgery and a Riviera Spas, Orchid 5 Person Hot Tub from Diamond Pools. PJ Whelihan’s is the official supplier of wings for WIP Wing Bowl 23, their eighth consecutive year as sponsor and supplier.
Important Guest. Pensacola talk radio personality Brandon Rathert (left), is pictured here with Qatar Ambassador Mohamed Jeham Al-Kuwari (right) in the WNRP “NewsRadio 1620” studios. Rathert tells TALKERS magazine that his program was graced with the presence of the Qatar ambassador through the work of the Panhandle Tiger Bay Club and Edward Howard (pictured here at center). Rather says he and Ambassador Al-Kuwari discussed the differences between the two countries and the similarities of its peoples. The ambassador shared some thoughts on relations between the Arab nations and the U.S. Al-Kuwari also made a $10,000 donation to a local charity.
Police Killings Protests, Potential Government Shutdown, CIA Interrogation Report, Rolling Stone-UVA Rape Story, Battle Against ISIS, Gruber and the ObamaCare Hearings, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/8). The continuing protests against police killings of black Americans; the looming threat of a government shutdown; the controversy surrounding the CIA interrogation report expected to be released today; the flap over the Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape at a UVA fraternity house; the ongoing battle against ISIS; Jonathan Gruber’s appearance before a House committee on the Affordable Care Act; the list of potential presidential candidates in 2016; and the weekend’s NFL action were among the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC Appears to Back Off of Newsroom and Issues Study. When it was announced last May, the proposed Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs the Federal Communications Commission would be undertaking rankled many lawmakers and broadcasters as it was perceived as an intrusion into broadcasters’ First Amendment rights in addition to being outside the bounds of the FCC’s jurisdiction. Now, according to a piece in Ad Week, the FCC appears to be backing off, or at least re-defining, the research intended to “study entry barriers” to information media to determine if there are small businesses unable to break into broadcasting. This would have been determined by quizzing news broadcasters about how they choose their stories. Last year, some GOP lawmakers termed it an “end-around” the Fairness Doctrine and heavily criticized the study as well as the jurisdiction of the FCC to getting into content matters. Earlier this week FCC commissioner Ajit Pai penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the study is not necessary to filing its required report to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry in the communications industry. He writes, “This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN (critical information needs) study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?” Whether or not the first field study slated for Columbia, South Carolina this spring gets underway as proposed or not remains to be seen. Ad Week reports it was told by an FCC rep that the agency “has no intention of interfering in the coverage and editorial choices that journalists make. We’re closely reviewing the proposed research design to determine if an alternative approach is merited.”
WGN to Program WKQX 87.7 Beginning Monday. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune’s WGN will begin an LMA operation of WKQX-LP at 87.7 in Chicago starting Monday, February 17. Feder reports that under terms of the LMA with license holder Venture Technologies Group, the deal commences Monday at 1:02 pm on the 17th, a minute after Cumulus Media drops the alternative rock simulcast with 101.1 FM. President and general manager Jimmy de Castro tells Feder, “We’re outgrowing WGN with great talent. Everything we have said we wanted to do is based on the strength of WGN and our personalities. It’s all about getting the best spoken-word talent and getting more bandwidth.” Vice president of creative content for WGN, Todd Manley, will announce a full lineup soon but mornings will begin with Jonathon Brandmeier who’s been doing a morning program on WGN.fm since last September. Read Feder’s full story here.
Phil Hendrie Exits AM/FM Radio. Talk radio host and satirist Phil Hendrie announces he’s leaving the production and syndication of his daily AM/FM radio program after March 14 in order to fully focus on his podcast and other media ventures. He’ll continue doing “The World of Phil Hendrie Show” on TuneIn, iTunes, the Sideshow Network and www.philhendrieshow.com. He says that “Due to the tremendous positive growth this past year owing directly to his fans,” he’s decided that is the area where he should focus all his energies. He adds, “The digital world is where we have made our living the last seven years so as radio attempts to find itself we’ll put our energy in our digital and online product, our animation project, my one man show and of course TV and film opportunities wherever they may occur. To our fans, we haven’t gone anywhere! Our daily show will continue” on digital platforms.
Gerry Callahan Remark Irks Dunkin’ Donuts; Company Cancels Ads on WEEI Affiliate Stations. The Boston Globe is reporting that Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts has cancelled ad buys on stations in the region airing WEEI, Boston programming after WEEI morning co-host Gerry Callahan made a “disparaging comment,” presumably about the company’s donuts. In the Globe piece, Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary says Callahan admits he “screwed up badly” with the off-the-cuff remark and that Zachary understands how Dunkin’ Donuts feels. “You just don’t call somebody’s baby ‘ugly,’ even if it’s unintentional.” Zachary wouldn’t say what Callahan’s words were. He says the ad buy was not a lot of money but that’s not the point. Dunkin’ Donuts has separate ad buys for WEEI, Boston, Callahan’s endorsements and WEEI’s O&O affiliate stations in Providence, Worcester and Springfield. The Boston deal ended in January before Callahan’s comment. Dunkin’ Donuts has been a long-time advertiser with WEEI, especially on Red Sox broadcasts which are ready to resume in a few months. How the incident will affect that remains to be seen.
TALKERS to Publish 2014 Heavy Hundred on Monday, March 3. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication Monday, March 3, 2014. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board. It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely-discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.
Radio Mercury Awards Final-Round Judging Panel Announced. Chief judge Matt Eastwood helped assemble the jury for the 23rd annual Radio Mercury Awards. The panel represents radio’s top advertising categories including automotive, communications, financial services, packaged goods, over-the-counter, retail, spirits, and quick-serve restaurants. Final-round judging panel consists of JWT New York group creative director Jill Applebaum; BBDO New York executive creative director Chris Beresford-Hill; Cog NYC founder Wayne Best; Grupo Gallegos chief creative officer Pablo Buffagni; Young & Rubicam Group New York chief creative officer Jim Elliott; DDB Chicago executive vice president/executive creative director Mark Gross; Publicis New York executive creative director Joe Johnson; and Deutsch New York chief creative officer Kerry Keenan. “This list is a ‘who’s who’ of well-established creative executives, and perennial award-winning agencies with a long history of creating exceptional, noteworthy creative executions,” remarks Eastwood, who is chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide Communications Group New York. “More importantly, our panel consists of brilliant thought leaders who have a true love and appreciation for the greatest writer’s medium of all time, radio.” Radio Creative Fund chair – and Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber – adds, “We feel so incredibly privileged to have gathered such a pinnacle group of creative ambassadors for this year’s competition. The bar has been set high, but I am confident this group will help ensure that the mission of the Radio Mercury Awards lives on as we award the best creative audio commercials over the past year.” Prizes will be handed out in a variety of categories such as “Agency Production,” “Radio Station Produced,” “Student,” “PSA,” “Spanish Language,” and “Best of Show.” Deadline for submissions is April 1, with the awards event taking place June 4 at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge.
Southern California Broadcasters Association to Provide Quarterly Guidance Report. Planning and research material is for California advertising agencies, clients and its members. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan notes that, “The SCBA Quarterly Market Guidance Report fulfills a growing need among California ad agencies and clients to look ahead to the next quarter to learn, plan, create, and execute even more effective radio advertising campaigns based on market conditions, trends, and the upcoming quarter’s business environment. As an additional service to the advertising community, the SCBA will encourage face-to-face planning and development meetings with advertising agencies and major clients to provide full-year guidance and customization of our extensive market research.” The QMG report will give current and predictive regional economic data, radio category growth, and commentary on advertising and business trends. The report uses regional economic development corporation reports, member reports on market trends, Miller Kaplan Arase data, and audience measurement data. It will be posted late next month for second quarter 2014 guidance on the SCBA’s website (www.scba.com).
S-Class Mercedes-Benz to Have HD Radio. Mercedes-Benz of Mexico is launching its S-Class with HD Radio. iBiquity Digital is the developer of the digital technology and its chief operating officer Jeff Jury states, “We are very pleased to achieve the key goal of North American standardization with Mercedes-Benz. With this expansion, Mercedes-Benz drivers across Canada, Mexico and the United States have access to HD Radio technology in their cars. This coincides with our continuing efforts to bring HD Radio broadcasting to all markets across North America. By offering the technology as standard, Mercedes-Benz is ensuring that all their customers can enjoy the current services and be ensured of enjoying the coming ‘all-digital’ future.” The 2014 S-Class is now at dealerships across the United States and Mexico. More than 2,230 digital stations are on-air; over 1,480 HD2 and HD3 digital-only channels broadcast content that can only be heard with an HD Radio receiver.
Odds & Sods. WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” sports talker Tony Bruno is scheduled to begin making weekly appearances on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN 2 program. The first appearance will be tonight (2/14) live from ESPN’s Times Square studios in New York City…..Cumulus Media’s KOH, Reno is holding a radiothon today at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa to benefit the Veterans Guest House which provides temporary housing for vets and their families while they are being treated at the Reno VA. This is the 11th annual radiothon the station has produced for the cause…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the winners of its first annual Food & Wine Awards. CRN Digital Talk Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is home to several food and beverage-oriented programs. It asked listeners to decide 2013’s Best Chef, Restaurant, Sommelier, and Winemaker. President and CEO Mike Horn says, “Food and wine are best enjoyed with good company. Our listeners deciding the year’s best of the best in the culinary and beverage arenas was very much akin to sitting down, honoring some great people, enjoying a fun meal.” This year’s winners are: Best Chef of the Year – Andrew Sutton – Napa Rose, Anaheim; Best Restaurant of the Year – Gary Danko – San Francisco; Best Sommelier of the Year – Paul Coker – St. Regis, Monarch Beach; and Winemaker of the Year Jeff Stewart – Hartford Family Wines…..Broadcasts of New York Yankees baseball on new flagship sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York will debut with the February 27 exhibition game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yankees games moved from CBS RADIO‘s all-news WCBS after a new contract was negotiated in the fall.
Wichita Police Make Arrest in Case of Slain Radio Station Staffer. Police in Wichita have a suspect in custody in the early Monday morning slaying of Steckline Communications employee Daniel Flores. Authorities say that in responding to a Crime Stoppers tip, they pulled over Antwon Banks who proceeded to stab himself in the stomach. He’s in a local hospital under police guard and will be booked on felony murder charges when he’s recovered. He was apparently the ex-boyfriend of Steckline office manager Lisa Bryce, leading authorities to conclude that Flores was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Clear Channel Commits to Campaign for ‘American Heart Month.’ For the purpose of educating the public about heart disease, its risks and preventative measures, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is committing more than $1 million worth of on-air media to that end. Today (2/14), Clear Channel is kicking off a two-week public service announcement campaign across its 840 radio stations to educate listeners on the symptoms of heart disease and stroke in honor of American Heart Month. Certain Clear Channel stations will air a comedic yet informative public service announcement voiced by Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks that highlights the signs of heart attack in women, while all other Clear Channel radio stations will air a second PSA, created by the Ad Council and the American Heart Association, to help people recognize and respond to the sudden warning signs of a stroke.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New station affiliations for Cumulus Media Networks programming this week include: for Michael Savage – WTAR, Norfolk; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; WQSI, Tuskegee, Alabama; and WWBA, Tampa; Phil Valentine – WCOA, Pensacola; Mark Levin – WGKA, Atlanta; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; and WVOC-FM, Columbia, South Carolina…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at KNOX-AM/FM, Grand Forks.
Dave Ramsey Counsels Bobby Bones’ Staff and Listeners. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey (right) sits in on the Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show based at WSIX-FM, Nashville, right down the road from Ramsey’s home base of Brentwood. Ramsey appeared with Bones (left) after Bones show producer Ray lost his truck in a Super Bowl bet and is some $8,000 in debt. Ramsey talked to the crew and audience about various topics including the terrible odds of gambling, tax withholding, and even the psychology behind using the debt snowball to pay off debt.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of February 10-14 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and the delay in the employer mandate, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the debt ceiling issue. At #3 was speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 and at #4 was immigration reform. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Still Pioneering After All These Years – 74-Year-Old Alex Bennett Is Building New Platform and Inventing “New” Talk Format. Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams. To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions. It would have been quite easy and understandable for radio legend Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73-years-old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago). Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take on talk radio. Bennett is innovatively and opportunistically using Skype to create “citizen panels” of up to 10 callers per clip interacting with him in on-air conversation at a time. To learn more about this creative venture and the ongoing adventures of one of radio’s truly cooler characters, read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s feature piece posted today (2/5) in its entirety by clicking here.
SiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 12% in 2013. During yesterday’s Q4 conference call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told investors and analysts that the company delivered on all of its guidance for 2013 and enjoyed a revenue spike of 12% for the year plus saw its subscriber base rise to 25.5 million. Meyer, like Mel Karmazin before him, is touting the company’s dedication to increasing free cash flow and, to that end, Meyer reports free cash flow was up 31% to $927 million for the year. Looking back on 2013 Meyer underscored the importance of deals that get SiriusXM radios into new cars and stated the satellite service is now available in 71% of cars sold in the United States. Meyer also spoke about the company’s strategy with regard to the “connected vehicle,” saying, “We’ve acquired a smart team of technology engineers who are accelerating development of our overall connected car architecture, including the combination of satellite receivers with LTE hardware, a strategy that should also yield benefits to our existing audio business…We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years. We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into SiriusXM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can check out the entire conference here.
Greater Media Suspends WPEN, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli for Gay Slurs. This story goes to show how even a seasoned pro like Philadelphia sports talk host Mike Missanelli can make the mistake of engaging with a critic online. Greater Media has suspended afternoon personality Mike Missanelli after he called a critic a “latent homosexual” in an email exchange. The station issued the following statement, “We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners. This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse. However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct. The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company. Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.” The story broke after the email exchange was posted on Deadspin.com.
Beasley Broadcast Group Beefs Up Digital Division. In announcing the hiring of three new regional digital directors, Beasley reveals its dedication to digital sales efforts. In a statement, vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook speaks about the expectations after bringing Eddie Thorpe, Adam Meltzer and Carolyn Cope aboard. “The formation of this team will surely be the foundation of our success. Having the right people on my team is as important to me as having the right products and services to sell. Eddie, Adam and Carolyn were hand selected for their talents, capabilities and, most importantly, their nimble thinking. Our objective is to drive revenues for our advertisers, especially those smaller businesses and growing brands in the communities we serve. To achieve this goal, our regional digital directors will assist Beasley’s local market sales teams in creating enhanced advertising campaigns that include digital products and services tailored to the specific needs of our existing and new clients.” Eddie Thorpe comes to Beasley from the Tampa Bay Times where he was senior digital director. He’s responsible for the Miami and Fort Myers-Naples markets. Adam Meltzer is responsible for the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware markets. He most recently was multimedia sales manager for Wicked Local. Carolyn Cope also served with Wicked Local as senior digital account executive of major accounts and is now overseeing the Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Eastern North Carolina markets (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville). Sedbrook is responsible for the company’s Las Vegas group.
Klatt Yields the Winning Run. In this case, that is a good thing as The Winning Run is the name of the full-service consultancy that Len Klatt is opening. The former Premiere Networks senior vice president/director of research is gearing the new undertaking – which will have Los Angeles and New York City offices – to national media companies and talent, programming services and advertisers. Among his clients are Sound Mind, Compass Media Marketing, Big Shoes Productions, Reel World, and The Blaze Radio Network. “Len continues to do the best job industry wide in both interpreting audience numbers and explaining them to clients interested in exploring the value premise of audience engagement on radio, online, and in digital media,” comments Sound Mind president Kraig Kitchin, Premiere’s former president/chief operating officer. “We are fortunate to have his talents for the benefit of our sponsors.” Klatt remarks, “It is not just about columns and numbers, it’s about how they can be used to shape the story in such a way to advance my clients’ vision. With The Winning Run, I want to cover all the bases.” Before the nearly two decades he spent at Premiere, Klatt was Westwood One‘s New York City-based director of research. He began his media research career at Media Buying Services International.
Learfield Adds to Footprint with Nelligan Acquisition. One of the leaders in college sports play-by-play rights is adding 41 schools to its roster with the acquisition of Nelligan Sports Marketing. Learfield Sports will now hold the multi-media rights to 92 schools, which puts its total above that of its fiercest competitor – IMG Sports, which holds the rights to 79 schools. Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown tells SportsBusinessDaily, “In some cases, this will open up new markets for us. In other cases, it will further fortify what we’re doing…Early on in our discussions with Providence [Learfield owner Providence Equity Partners], we identified some strategic opportunities that would be productive for our business. Nelligan is consistent with the business we’re already in. This was right down the middle of the fairway for us.” Nelligan Sports founder T.J. Nelligan will remain with the new company in a leadership role. He comments that he doesn’t expect attrition with this merger.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is helping the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by naming it the station’s WTOP Charity of the Month recipient for February 2014. Through the program the MS Society will receive more than $20,000 worth of in-kind contributions to support Multiple Sclerosis awareness and programs, including 64 promotional announcements on WTOP and sister station Federal News Radio. Additional content and exposure for MS Society will be included on WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com throughout the entire month of February…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces the next in its “Blackhawks Live” series when forwards Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad take part in the live event at the Old Town Pour House in suburban Oakbrook on February 24. The event includes a photo op with the players, an autographed photo and dinner, tax and tip. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests…..The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has created PSAs for member stations reminding drivers in the Garden State that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that hasn’t had the snow and ice properly cleared off it. Interested stations can visit www.njba.com for information…..The Radio Television Digital News Association names WBIR-TV, Knoxville news director Christy Moreno to its board of directors, representing Region 8, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.
WestwoodOne to Present Exclusive Coverage of Winter Olympics. When the 2014 Olympic Winter Games commence in Sochi, Russia on Friday, WestwoodOne will be the exclusive network for audio coverage. WestwoodOne’s programing will include: shortform coverage Olympic updates three times an hour, 24/7, from February 7- February 23; longform coverage – “Today in Sochi” including two hours of longform coverage for 17 consecutive nights; coverage of all U.S. Olympic Hockey (Men’s and Women’s) plus the gold medal games in Men’s and Women’s hockey regardless of who is playing.
Dana Loesch Visits ‘The View.’ Conservative talk media figure Dana Loesch – who just entered national syndication for her daily talk radio show via Radio America – appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” on Monday in her stead as a host on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze where she hosts a daily, 5:00 pm program. Pictured here (center) between the program’s Jenny McCarthy (left) and Sherri Shepherd (right), Loesch spoke about her conversion from a progressive liberal to her current conservative philosophy and fielded questions from the four co-hosts.
Obama Administration Splits with Some Democrats, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death/Heroin Use in America, Hillary in 2016, Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Component, ObamaCare Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Sochi Olympics Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The reported rift between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the Obama Administration on some issues; the aftermath of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the light it’s shed on heroin abuse in America; the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the proposed immigration legislation working its way through Congress and the possibility of amnesty for current illegals; ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; activity on the U.S. and world financial markets; and reports of the problems Russia is facing getting Sochi ready for the Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Short Ideas for a Short Week. As the industry returns from a holiday weekend, digital media consultant Chris Miller offers some quick thoughts regarding your digital efforts. If you’re still wondering about the changes Facebook made that affect the way content lines up on your news feed, Miller has three items to consider. Also check out his thoughts on the type of content you put on your station website and whether that content lines up with your brand’s “message.” Plus, Chris has a final word about attitude. Check it all out here.
Promotions Conflict at Philly Eatery Brings Abrupt End to Live Broadcast. The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the quick shutdown of a WIP, Philadelphia remote broadcast with afternoon hosts Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis at Chickie’s & Pete’s may not have been the result of an ISDN breakdown but the fact that rival Greater Media sports talker WPEN personality Jon Marks was also at the establishment for a personal appearance. The paper reports that about 30 minutes into Gargano’s and Ellis’ broadcast, WPEN’s Marks arrived along with rock WMMR jock Matt Cord for a $1,000 MetroPCS giveaway in another part of the pub. The Daily News goes on to write that Chickie’s & Pete’s management tried to move Marks and Cord to a different part of the restaurant but Greater Media refused. CBS tells the paper the ISDN problem was the issue and while no one else is commenting, it appears it could have been nothing more than a scheduling snafu that ruffled the feathers of the stations involved.
Linder Joins WMEN, West Palm Beach for Afternoons. The JCE Licenses-owned sports talk station names Jon Linder host of the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, replacing Andy Slater who left for Clear Channel’s sports talk WINZ, Miami “The Sports Animal” in December. Linder joined WMEN as a fill-in host last year. He’s worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami serving as a sports reporter and studio host during Miami Hurricanes football broadcasts from 2010 through 2012.
Cleveland Host Faces Jury Trial in Domestic Violence Charge. WKNR, Cleveland sports talk host Tony Rizzo will appear in Medina Municipal Court on February 27 for a jury trial after being accused of domestic assault by his wife Catherine Rizzo in December. Rizzo remains on the air at Good Karma-owned WKNR. The company issued a statement after the incident leading to the charge calling Rizzo “an exemplary teammate and member of the community and his status with us is unaffected.” Police were called to Rizzo’s home after his wife called them saying she had locked herself in the bathroom after Rizzo choked her and hit her in the face. Rizzo pleaded not guilty on December 9.
KCAA, Lorma Linda, California First to Accept Bitcoins for Airtime. The Fred Lundgren-owned news/talk station that serves the Riverside/San Bernardino market is claiming it’s the first radio station in North America to Bitcoins as payment for advertising and airtime. The station says it signed its first programming agreement purchased with Bitcoin on January 17. KCAA utilized a service called “Coinbase” to process the payment. Lundgren comments, “Our first transaction paid us 9.4 Bitcoins, which Coinbase displayed as approximately $7,200.00 USD. These funds will appear in our bank account in two to three business days.” Lundgren adds, “The value of Bitcoin as a digital currency will grow as more businesses accept it. I predict it will become a viable alternative to ever increasing bank charges.”
Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Emcees Senate Campaign Fundraiser. KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry is headlining a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Col. Rob Maness (USAF, Ret.) on Friday, January 24, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Berry’s program is heard on stations across the U.S. including on WJBO, Baton Rouge from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Maness is running for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mary Landrieu.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sochi Olympics Terror Threats, Syria Torture Allegations, ObamaCare Criticism, Wendy Davis Bio Questioned and Chris Christie Sandy Aid Charge Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday; concerns over security at the Sochi Winter Games; new allegations of the Assad regime’s use of torture in Syria’s civil conflict; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ life story disputed by critics; and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces charges of misappropriating Hurricane Sandy aid were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
More Q2 News from Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey. Yesterday TALKERS reported Cumulus Media’s second quarter revenue figures and the fact that Lew Dickey largely avoided the Rush Limbaugh–Sean Hannity flap by saying he wouldn’t discuss it because they are still in contract negotiations. He addressed other topics TALKERS readers may be interested in: those 10 “code red” stations (big news/talkers bringing down the rest of the company); the health of the CBS Sports Radio Network project for which Cumulus is handling affiliate and ad sales; and the state of network talk programming. First, Dickey told investors the number of “code red” stations is down from 10 to 1 but didn’t specify which station still lags. Second, he states the CBS Sports Radio format is on 300 affiliate stations and is exceeding its revenue plans. “We’re highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver for our company in 2014 and beyond.” And third, addressing the state of the Cumulus Media Networks (which includes syndicated talk – Huckabee, Savage, “Red Eye Radio” – as well as a lot of music programming) Dickey reports it’s been a bit “choppy” but he sees it settling down. “It grew for us in the second quarter and we look for it to be positive in the back half of the year. It’s a pretty fragmented space that ultimately begs for more consolidations… it did turn in a positive performance for us in second quarter.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can see the entire conference call here.
Wall Street Journal Radio Network Executive Director Nancy Abramson to Exit Post. Radio management pro Nancy Abramson tells TALKERS the company is reorganizing its management structure and she is moving on. She says she’ll remain with the company through mid-September to assist with the transition. As for the rest of the staff with which the industry is familiar, Abramson says the affiliate team of Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran will continue to service the affiliates of “The Wall Street Journal Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” “The Dow Jones Money Report” and “MarketWatch.com Reports.” John Wordock and Patrice Sikora will continue to oversee the news product for The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch.com Radio Networks. Abramson says she is excited about new opportunities and looking forward to the next adventure. Abramson has served with WSJRN since 1996.
Greater Media Promotes Jake McCann to Director of Sales for Detroit Stations. Jake McCann moves from Greater Media’s Philadelphia stations where he was general sales manager at sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” and classic rock WMGK. In Detroit he’ll be in charge of sales for rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX and currently-AC-but-rumored-to-soon-be sports talk WMGC. The fact that McCann has experience selling sports talk could be part of the reason McCann is making this move if, as expected, WMGC flips to sports in August. In a statement, Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Jake is the right person to lead our three station sales operation in the Motor City. His passion, dedication and leadership are exactly what we need to take our three outstanding radio properties to the next level.”
Radio One Gives Up on FM Sports in Cincinnati. After seven months, WCFN, Cincinnati “FM 100.3 The Fan” has let go most of its staff, cut ties with CBS Sports Radio Network and flips back to an urban oldies format as “Old School 100.3.” The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports that production manager Rob Williams was the only staffer to survive the change. Tom Gamble, Richard Skinner, Will Chambers, Chad Brendel, Rick Ucchino, Rick Broering, Jeremy Lance, former Reds pitcher Joe Price, and Steve Harris all exited the station on Tuesday morning. Richard Skinner, who hosted “Two Angry Guys” along with Tom Gamble, tells Kiesewetter he’s not angry about the change, “Radio is so cyclical, that you know your time is coming (to get fired). They (Radio One) didn’t seem to have a plan of attack, and they’re pulling the format at a time of the year when all the people are listening for football and baseball.” Clear Channel operates two sports talk stations in the market – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio affiliate and WCKY, which uses ESPN Radio programming – both of which air largely national shows.
Holland Cooke: Radio from the Newspaper. Radio consultant Holland Cooke adds to the discussion about newspapers entering into the digital talk radio streaming business that’s been a major part of industry chatter in the wake of the Boston Herald’s announcement about the creation of Boston Herald Radio coming Monday, August 5. Cooke has experience in this arena and he offers advice to publications considering the move. Among some dos and don’ts: don’t separate the studio from the newsroom (the sound of busy reporters is crucial!); don’t assume good reporters make good talk hosts; do promote you’re emanating from a storied newsroom; and do make content available for download and later playback. Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
‘News 92 FM’ and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ in Houston Agree to Content Sharing Deal. Radio One’s all-news KROI and Gow Media’s sports talk KGOW in Houston agree to a content sharing deal that will have KROI producing newscasts for KGOW and the latter producing sports updates and actualities for KROI. Here’s how it will work: Beginning in early August, “News 92 FM” reporters will provide hourly, short-form news updates to “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560,” initially for use on nights and weekends, and ramping up to a full broadcast schedule shortly thereafter. In like manner, “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560” reporters will provide sports updates and actualities twice per hour for integration into the “News 92 FM” broadcast clock between 7:00 pm and midnight daily, and from 6:00 am to noon on weekends. Radio One RVP Doug Abernethy and Gow Media CEO David Gow began discussing the possibility earlier this year. Abernethy states, “Research suggests that news and sports stations have shared listener bases. So this makes sense for both stations. We have the best newsgathering and reporting resources in the city, and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ enjoys an equivalent reputation in the world of sports. We’re leveraging our respective strengths so that the ‘News 92 FM’ listener can get a quick sports update from ‘Yahoo Radio 1560,’ and their listeners can get top-flight news from ‘News 92 FM.’”
ZWERLING: The Smartest Programming Move I Ever Made for My Radio Stations. You might be surprised to learn which syndicated host turned out to be so spectacularly successful for outspoken, independent radio station owner Michael L. Zwerling at his widely admired AM combo of KSCO and KOMY, Santa Cruz, California that he felt compelled to share it with the entire industry. Then again, you might not. Find out the answer and more in a new exclusive TALKERS opinion piece posted today (7/31) by clicking here.
‘Broadway Joe’ Joins Sports USA for Weekly Podcast. Sports USA announces NFL great Joe Namath will join the company to produce a weekly podcast for the company during the 2013 football season. Sports USA president Bob Moore says Namath’s podcast will begin in the middle of August and run through this year’s Super Bowl. Moore states, “It doesn’t get bigger than Joe Namath! Joe is extremely passionate about football and his insights are amazing. This podcast will give him the platform to reach all of his fans across the country and beyond.” Namath comments, “I’m thrilled to join the Sports USA team with my new weekly podcast. I look forward to expressing my opinions on both the NFL and college football each week from the beginning of the season all the way through the Super Bowl.”
WTKS, Orlando’s Russ Rollins to Face Bubba the Love Sponge in Wrestling Match. Yes, you read that right. As you see in the poster here, it’ll take place at the Arena Bowl in Orlando on August 17 and feature “The Monsters” vs “Bubba’s Army” as Russ Rollins & The Demon take on Bubba the Love Sponge & Kevin Nash with Marc Mero as a special guest referee. Rollins tells TALKERS it’s the “Battle of the #1 morning shows!” and pits Clear Channel against Cox Media in front of 15,000 to 16,000 screaming fans!
2016 Presidential Race, Weiner Sexting Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, ObamaCare Implementation, and Bradley Manning Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the ongoing backlash from the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal; new developments in the NSA surveillance program case; the costs of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the verdict against Bradley Manning in the Wikileaks case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Peter Boyles to Debut New Morning Show at Salem’s KNUS, Denver. Longtime KHOW, Denver morning drive personality Peter Boyles joins Salem Communications’ KNUS, Denver for a new morning drive program beginning Monday, July 1. Boyles was let go from Clear Channel’s KHOW after a widely publicized incident of workplace violence in which he became physically aggressive with producer Greg Hollenback. Boyles took responsibility for his actions in a regular column he writes for the Cherry Creek Chronicle but, as the Denver Post reports, he also took the opportunity to slam Clear Channel saying, “Clear Channel is a culture of fear.” Regarding bringing Boyles aboard, KNUS vice president and general manager Brian Taylor tells the Post, “He’s a legend. He really cares about wanting to speak for his audience.” Boyles’ arrival at the station moves the Steve Kelley program to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on KNUS. In a statement from Salem, Boyles comments, “I believe we can change the face of Denver radio as well as the political future of Colorado. That’s how much I believe in this show and what we can do. I’m delighted to join the Salem team in Denver and help take KNUS to the next level. We’re going to do some great radio and I can’t be more excited.” Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “There is no doubt Peter Boyles is a Denver talk radio institution. When the opportunity came for us to grab Peter’s show we wasted little time in making it happen. Denver radio needs this guy, who truly does a remarkable show.”
New Sports Talk Programming to Air on WGNU, St. Louis in August. Well, it’s not exactly new. According to Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, current KFNS sports talk personality Tim McKernan, via his company insideSTL Enterprises LLC, will lease time on 920 AM LLC-owned WGNU – currently airing urban talk – beginning on or around August 1. The lineup will be familiar to St. Louis sports talk fans as it will include many of the market’s well-known sports talk personalities who’ve worked at KFNS and at other stations: McKernan himself with Doug Vaughn and Jim Hayes; Frank Cusumano; Kevin Slaten plus (former MLB slugger) Jack Clark; and a new show featuring Post-Dispatch columnists Bryan Burwell and Joe Strauss plus KTVI-TV sportscaster Charlie Marlow. McKernan is undertaking the venture as KFNS owners are shifting the programming to a guy talk format. The programming will also be available on McKernan’s insideSTL.com, an important aspect of his business plan. McKernan tells Caesar, “What this opportunity provides us is a chance to see if this lineup, if this website and this business plan can indeed work and can set us up for the potential of purchasing a radio station in the near future.” McKernan is not leasing the weekend time from WGNU.
WPEN, Philadelphia’s Darren Daulton to Have Brain Surgery. Greater Media sports talk outlet WPEN, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” announces baseball talk show host and former MLB star Darren “Dutch” Daulton has been diagnosed with two tumors on his brain and will undergo surgery to have them treated next week. Daulton – a member of the 1993 pennant-winning Philles – hosts the nightly “Talking Baseball with Dutch” show that airs from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm during baseball season on WPEN.
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Donates 1,000 Red Tickets to First Responders. As a way of saying “thanks” to the many first responders who came to the aid of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing in April, Entercom’s sports talk WEEI donated 1,000 tickets to last night’s Boston Red Sox game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. The company says, “These groups and individuals will include those who have displayed acts of heroism and valor, and have shown us examples of courage.” Tickets were distributed to: First responders including the Boston Police, Fire and EMS workers; the Boston Athletic Association; the communities of Dorchester, Arlington and Medford; the Massachusetts State Police; the Massachusetts National Guard; Boston area hospitals. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “On behalf of Entercom and WEEI, we send our deepest appreciation for the bravery and service of these responders during our city’s time of need. We are forever grateful for their heroism and hope this small gesture brings a smile to some faces across Boston on Thursday evening.”
The Conclave to Feature Performance by Recording Artist Keaton Simons. The Conclave’s first-ever “GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports, will wrap with a performance by Best Revenge Records recording artist Keaton Simons (pictured here). It’ll take place at a reception at KTWN, Minneapolis’ studios just before the Minnesota Twins vs Cleveland Indians game at Target Field. The Conclave says that the Los Angeles Times termed Simons “a triple threat” captivating audiences with an authentic voice, compelling and soul-baring songs, and a true command of both acoustic and electric guitars in every genre. Simons’ second album “Beautiful Pain” is co-produced by Mikal Blue who has also worked with Colbie Caillat and One Republic, and includes songs co-written with friends and peers including Jason Mraz and others. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon says of Keaton, “‘No Rain In The Forecast’ is the tune I’m singing. His appearance at the KTWN rooftop party during Conclave 38 will be a night of great music, baseball and beer. How could it get better than that?”
The NAB Announces Panelists for Leadership Breakfast. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) announce the panelists for the 2013 Radio Show Leadership Breakfast, titled “Opportunities in a Changing Economy,” presented by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. The event will be held Thursday, September 19, from 7:15 am to 9:00 am at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. The Leadership Breakfast will feature a panel discussion about expanding opportunities in radio for acquisitions and revenue in a growing economy. Panelists include Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus Media; Mary Quass, CEO of NRG Media; Jeff Warshaw, CEO of Connoisseur Media and Larry Wilson, CEO of Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting. The panel will be moderated by Lew Paper, a partner with Pillsbury, and will be preceded by opening remarks from Marci Ryvicker, managing director, senior equity analyst, for Wells Fargo Securities, LLC.
Centennial Stations Win Virginia Association of Broadcasters Awards. Centennial Broadcasting II, LLC’s Fredericksburg, Virginia, hot AC WBQB “B101.5” and “NewsTalk 1230” WFVA (formerly adult standards during the contest period), won five First Place awards at the 76th Annual Virginia Association of Broadcasters Awards Banquet held June 21 at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel. WBQB won the following awards in the Medium Market category: 1st Place – Outstanding Website; and 1st Place – Best Commercial – Steamers Seafood Grill and Bar Star Search. WFVA won the following awards in the Medium Market category: 1st Place – Outstanding News Series: “Battle of Fredericksburg”; 1st Place – Best Human Interest Series: “Teen Violence Turns Personal”; and 1st Place – Best Documentary Or Public Affairs Program: “Sniper: 10 Years Later.” Market manager Tom Hamilton states, “I am so proud of the sensational, award-winning talent at B101.5 and NewsTalk 1230 WFVA. This is certainly a reflection of their passion for creating great radio and their dedication to the Fredericksburg community.” WBQB and WFVA operations manager Chuck Archer says, “There is one word that comes to mind when I think of the individuals involved in the creation of these award winning pieces and that’s ‘passion.’ They eat, drink, breathe and sleep great radio and constantly find ways of making it better.”
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM talk show host Michael Smerconish calls his most recent story about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s chances of winning the White House in 2016 published Philadelphia magazine “neither a valentine, nor a hit piece, but rather an analytical look at what impediments he will face if he runs.”…..SiriusXM announces music, TV and movie icon Cher will answer fan questions during an intimate Q&A session with an audience of listeners as part of its “Town Hall” series. The program will be moderated by original Studio 54 doorman Marc Benecke and Myra Scheer, executive assistant to former Studio 54 co-owner Steve Rubell, and current hosts of the Marc and Myra show SiriusXM’s Studio 54 Radio.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with co-hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WBLF, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania and WBAT, Marion, Indiana….. Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WGAW, Gardner, Massachusetts and WLSC, Loris, South Carolina…..GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney adds affiliates WLEE, Richmond, Virginia and WTLS, Tallassee, Alabama…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” featuring Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete is added to the program lineup at CKLW, Windsor/Detroit and WADB, Asbury Park, New Jersey…..“The Commercial Real Estate Show” with Michael Bull adds affiliates KIVA, Albuquerque and WGKA, Atlanta.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 24-28. The Supreme Court’s striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and dismissing and appeal of California’s Proposition 8 on jurisdictional grounds was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Obama emissions policy. Following at #3 was the NSA surveillance program and the case of Edward Snowden and at #4 was the death of the Texas anti-abortion bill. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Talk Hosts and News Operations Deal with Logistical Issues and Weather as Republican National Convention Begins in Tampa Today. The Republican National Convention, a huge “radio row” and live broadcast draw for many radio stations and networks around the country, begins today and talk hosts, programmers and news staffers are dealing with what is already a complex couple of days of remote broadcasting being amplified by the threat from Tropical Storm Issac. Today’s first day of the RNC is being canceled due to the storm and broadcasters are having to make contingency plans as a result. From a logistical standpoint, hosts and news staffers may be forced to cram planned interviews and guest appearances originally scheduled across three days into two days on Tuesday and Wednesday. As for live broadcasts scheduled from the convention center for today, that will depend on how quickly the storm moves through the area. Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS SRN’s equipment on radio row is set up but its two early Monday shows – Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager – will originate from Salem Communications O&O WGUL, Tampa and the Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt programs will broadcast from the convention center radio row later today.
Lincoln Financial Media Buys Miami FM for Sports Talk Simulcast with WAXY. West Palm Beach FM WMSF at 104.3 will change hands from Palm Beach Broadcasting to Lincoln Financial Media for a reported $13 million and the latter will use the signal to give sports talk “790 The Ticket” WAXY an FM presence in the South Florida market. Palm Beach acquired the station from CBS Radio earlier this year. Palm Beach has applied to move the 104.3 signal from West Palm Beach to Miami and that application is still pending the FCC. LFM will begin operating the station under an LMA prior to FCC approval of the sale.
Program Director Jay Bohannon Exits Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh. When Clear Channel fired up the Pittsburgh FM talk outlet in January 2004, Jay Bohannon was named the program director. During his tenure at the station, he was responsible for working with morning show team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent and bringing the program into syndication. He also led news/talk branding and imaging for the company. Bohannon is available for his next opportunity. Reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salem Communications to Buy WMUU, Greenville from Bob Jones University. The station – owned by the Christian college’s Gospel Fellowship Association – currently programs a combo of Christian teaching and beautiful music but that will end when Salem Communications takes over and turns the Greenville, South Carolina FM at 94.5 into a news/talk outlet using programming from the Salem Radio Network. No price has been announced nor has a start date for an LMA.
WOR Low Price Tag Cause of Angst for AM Radio Owners. As the dust settles in the aftermath of the recently announced sale of Buckley Broadcastings’ heritage outlet WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the cold hard reality of the low price tag is beginning to settle in and it is being perceived as a seriously bad indicator about the value and future of AM sticks. Industry observers and players alike remember stories about the late Buckley Broadcasting CEO Rick Buckley turning down offers as high as $150 million for the station as recently as a decade ago. In 2001, Disney paid then-owner The Forward newspaper $78 million for WEVD (1050 AM) to find a New York City outlet for ESPN Radio – a station with a significantly inferior signal than WOR’s. An article in the New York Daily News reports on the topic: “One of the many nervous discussions in radio these days revolves around the future of AM stations — that is, if they have a future.” Perhaps the revelations of the WOR deal will usher in an industry station deal cycle marked by what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as the “lesser fool” theory.
Former Eagles Star Brian Dawkins Joins 97.5 The Fanatic for NFL Coverage. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins will be part of the Friday coverage of NFL football on Mike Missanelli’s program each week at 4:10 pm on Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia. Program director Matt Nahigian says, “There is no one that Eagle fans love and relate to more than Brian Dawkins. We had him on our air about a month ago and the response we received via Twitter and Facebook about wanting to hear him each week was staggering. I am thrilled to bring his passion and insight to the Delaware Valley on a week to week basis.”
KLIN, Lincoln Nebraska Names David Dwinell AM Drive Co-Host; Kevin Thomas Promoted to PD. Dwinell has been working at KLKN-TV, Lincoln as promotions director. He leaves that position to return to radio where he’ll take the radio moniker Dave Miller as he sits beside Jack Mitchell on NRG Media’s Lincoln news/talker. The slot on the station’s morning show opened up when John Bishop left the show to go across the hall and join NRG’s 1620 The Zone for its “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program. At the same time, KLIN PM drive host Kevin Thomas takes on the program director duties at the station that were previously held by John Bishop. He’ll continue to host the 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” show. Also, the sports director post – also previously held by Bishop – goes to Chris Whitney.
Buckley Broadcasting Flips KYZZ, Salinas, California to Sports. The classic hits format disappears from KYZZ as the former “Z97.9” becomes part of the simulcast of “630 ESPN” KIDD, Monterey and becomes known as “97.9 ESPN Central Coast.”
Programmers Owe it to Themselves to See Obama Movie. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says of the new movie “Obama’s America 2016,” “If you work in talk radio, you owe it to your audience to understand what all those network commercials in your show are selling. And as an insider, you’ll recognize the event you’re attending as a theatrical ‘infomercial,’ a rented theater.” Cooke says that regardless of your personal political viewpoint, as a content creator the film is instructive in numerous ways. Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Cuts Ribbon at NJ 101.5 Studio. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 celebrated the opening of its refurbished main studio on August 23 and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on hand to cut the ribbon. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson reports the main studio got some brand new carpeting and – more important – new broadcasting equipment to bring the station into the digital era. PM drive hosts Deminski &Doyle were on the air when the switch was made and the monthly “Ask the Governor” program followed. Christie was there for the program and made the new studio “official” with his gubernatorial ribbon cutting and he even worked the new digital board (pictured here) during the station’s 8:00 pm newscast.
Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers Dies at 68. The cause of death is not yet public but Dale Sommers had been dealing with unspecified health issues since he left the WLW, Cincinnati overnight program in 2004. Although he retired from the show at that time, he resumed the program on satellite radio and hosted it until earlier this year when he again gave it up. As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports, Sommers’ program made national news twice when it helped solve crimes. The first time was in 1984 when he was talking off the air with a regular caller who went by the name of “Mississippi Lady,” a convenience store clerk in Camilla, Georgia “when he heard her tell someone, ‘You can’t come back here’ before quickly hanging up the phone. Sommers called Camilla police, who were familiar with his ‘Bozo Show’ and a store clerk known as the ‘Mississippi Lady.’ Within minutes, an officer apprehended the robber.” His program was also credited with assisting police is catching the DC sniper in 2002 after a listener heard Sommers give the car’s license plate number over the radio.
Clear Channel’s WMMS-FM, Cleveland Disciplines Morning Talent for Off-Color Comment. “Rover’s Morning Glory” cast member Dominic Dieter has been disciplined in response to comments made on the morning show – though the extent of the discipline is not known. A father e-mailed the show stating he saw his daughter kissing another girl and asked what he should do. Dieter responded he should have a friend “screw [her] straight.” For obvious reasons, a bad joke about raping a young woman in response to her possible homosexuality raised the ire of some listeners and caught the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. To the credit of CC’s local management, it acted quickly. The station met immediately with GLAAD representatives, took Dieter off the air (for how long has yet to be determined) and had him record an apology which included the following. “I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said. I regret what I did say. My comments were inappropriate. They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid. And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.” CC Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams stated to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended. We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable. We also want you to be aware that during Friday’s broadcast, he was in fact immediately criticized on-air by the other hosts of the show, and the rest of the segment was dedicated to a productive discussion about the acceptance of all lifestyles. It included call-ins and commentary from members and friends of the gay community. WMMS supports the gay community and again, we deeply apologize.” GLAAD’s Aaron McQuade tells the paper the station has also invited the gay rights group Equality Ohio to join its community advisory board.
Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media Pull Off Big Deal. This deal gives each side what it wanted but it reportedly took about a year to finalize. Here’s who gets what: Townsquare Media gives its stations in Peoria, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois to Cumulus plus $116 million while getting from Cumulus the stations in 11 small markets – Kileen-Temple, Texas; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Binghamton, New York; Bangor, Maine; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Grand Junction, Colorado; Augusta-Waterville, Maine; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Presque Isle, Maine. Industry watchers are noting that Cumulus is very happy to get the cash infusion it needs after spending $2.4 billion on the Citadel deal and Townsquare Media is happy to focus on the local aspect of small and mid-size market radio.
Cumulus Media’s News/Talk KCMO, Kansas City Adds FM Signal. Kansas City news/talker KCMO begins an FM simulcast on 103.7 – a translator that had been simulcasting the company’s classic rock KCFX-FM. The signal is 250 watts but covers the heart of the Kansas City metro. Cumulus Kansas City SVP and market manager Mark Sullivan states, “This is an exciting day for KCMO Talk Radio as it provides us a platform to continue to be successful into the future.” In a statement, the company notes that John Dickey, co-chief operating officer for Cumulus commented in a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that “having this format on FM is really the future!”
Courtside Entertainment Group Adds Dr. Drew Feature to WTOP, Washington. The “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” finds a home on Hubbard Broadcasting’s major market WTOP, Washington. DC joins New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in receiving Dr. Drew Pinsky’s latest media project – 60-second commentaries covering relationship advice and hot topics plus the latest news from the medical world. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo states, “In addition to breaking news, Campaign 2012, traffic, and weather coverage, WTOP brings listeners useful and relevant information on health, relationships, and consumer issues. Dr. Drew offers practical, actionable content that’s appointment listening on WTOP.”
Greater Media’s Philly Sports Combo Grabs NHL’s Flyers for Multi-Year Deal. There’s an aggressive acquisition of play-by-play rights going on in Philadelphia as Greater Media’s sports talk combo – WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic and WPEN-AM 950 ESPN Radio – adds Flyers hockey to their programming beginning with the 2012-2013 season. This comes just days after the stations grabbed 76ers basketball from CBS Radio’s crosstown WIP. Flyers games will be broadcast on both sports outlets and a few will air on rock WMMR-FM. Comcast-Spectacor (Flyers owner) president Peter Luukko says, “We’re thrilled to be working with a partner that is 100% committed and excited about the Philadelphia Flyers. We’re also happy that the Sixers have moved over to Greater Media Philadelphia along with us. Greater Media is an incredible partner that offers extensive promotional support for the Flyers on all their stations.”
CBS Radio Violated Sixers Contract Reports Philly Daily News. The reason Greater Media was able to snag the 76ers for the playoffs this year though CBS Radio had the rights to the team’s play-by-play throughout this season is because CBS violated the contract, according to the Philadelphia Daily News’ Dan Gross. The paper reports CBS Radio failed to give the Sixers proper notice before bumping an April 3 game to classic hits WOGL-FM. Gross writes that after the deal with Greater Media was consummated, Sixers CEO Adam Aron stated, “The Sixers’ rapidly growing fan base will no longer have to set their radios to ‘scan’ to find where their Sixers will be aired.” CBS Radio market manager Marc Rayfield told the paper the two sides parted ways amicably.
Michael Harrison Set to Address 2012 Radio Show on State of Talk Radio. In what has become an industry tradition running more than a decade, TALKERS magazine founder and publisher Michael Harrison will again deliver the annual “State of Talk Radio” address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show. Harrison will speak on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:30 am and 11:45 am at a special Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS. The national conference will take place this year September, 19-21 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. Harrison’s address is open to all 2012 Radio Show registrants.
Rush Limbaugh Helps Raise $3.3 Million for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh dedicated three hours of his nationally syndicated talk show on April 13 to raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Including a personal donation of $400,000, as of April 20 the cure-a-thon has brought in pledges of $3.3 million. This is the 22nd year Limbaugh’s program has held the cure-a-thon and has helped raise more than $34 million for the organization during that time.
Federated Media to Add FM Simulcast to Sports WKJG, Fort Wayne. Beginning June 4, Federated Media will flip Froggy 106.7 — WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne (licensed to Hicksville, Ohio) to sports simulcasting WKJG – ESPN 1380. At that time the station will also add a local PM drive show featuring sister rock WBYR-FM operations manager Stiller and WKJG PD and WOWO APD Brian LaMartina. Federated Media COO Mark DePrez states, “The Stiller and Brian show is the first step toward combining the world renowned ESPN brand with an increased local connection. Peter Drucker said concentration is the key to all economic success. In Fort Wayne, we have gone from seven to five brands to serve this community more effectively, efficiently and most importantly more profitably. It sounds cliché but it is true that when one door closes another opens. We salute the staff of Froggy 106.7 for their years of dedication and commitment to community radio.”
2012 Presidential Race, Escaped Chinese Activist, EPA vs Oil and Gas Industries, White House Correspondents Dinner, and Bin Laden Death Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). The 2012 presidential campaign; the case of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng on the eve of visit to China by Hillary Clinton; EPA administrator resigns after comments about making an example of oil and gas companies; the aftermath of the White House Correspondents Dinner; and the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Dr. Daliah Wachs Helps Organization Raise $17, 000 for Autism Charity. Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs helped the Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow organization raise some $17, 000 during its FAST for Kids Gala on April 28 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. The event was hosted by local Fox TV news personalities Heidi Hayes and Ted Pretty. Pictured here is Dr. Daliah Wachs (l) promoting the fundraiser on Fox 5 News.
Talk Radio at the Epicenter of Today’s Florida Primary Coverage. The race to secure the GOP nomination to face off against President Obama crosses another hurdle today as Florida Republicans go to the polls. Numerous talk radio hosts and programmers tell TALKERS the coverage on their shows or stations will be intense but, as for the candidates making themselves available to talk radio, it’s been a mixed bag. Oh, and then there’s the money spent by campaigns, Super PACS and others. Media Monitors reports more than 6,800 spots aired in the state during the month of January. Read the whole story here.
Compass Media Marketing and Courtside Entertainment Group Connect for Ad Sales Marketing Deal. The new ads sales firm initiated by Peter Kosann will be repping the products of Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group. Under a recently consummated deal, Compass Media Marketing, led by president Paul Gregery, will handle national sales and manage distribution for “Talking Points” with Bill O’Reilly, Bill O’Reilly’s Radio Specials, “Loveline” with Dr. Drew, Mike and Simone, and “One Minute Clinic” with Dr. Drew. Compass CEO Peter Kosann states, “Courtside Entertainment has a portfolio of the biggest names and brands in each of their respective categories. Our goal is to create incredible sponsorship opportunities for our clients leveraging these incredible assets. We are appreciative of this opportunity and look forward to working with Norm and his organization.”
Bill O’Reilly’s “Talking Points” Feature to Be Syndicated by Courtside Entertainment. The two-minute daily feature from Fox News Channel superstar Bill O’Reilly continued after O’Reilly ended his daily syndicated talk show. Beginning March 1, the feature will be syndicated by Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment. Pattiz states, “After our hugely successful association with Bill last November with his national ‘Radio Town Hall Election’ special, we decided to join forces on ‘Talking Points.’ We’re delighted to continue working with Bill and the hundreds of stations that currently carry his commentary. There’s only one Bill O’Reilly and he’s exactly the kind of superstar personality we want here at Courtside. We will of course continue to provide stations with Bill O’Reilly specials over the course of the year.” The O’Reilly feature has been distributed by Dial Global since its merger with Westwood One, the original syndicator of the program.
Changing of the Guard at Greater Media Boston. After more than 40 years in the broadcasting industry with the last two spent as VP and market manager at Greater Media’s Boston cluster, Tom Baker is retiring. Chairman and CEO Peter Smyth says, “Tom’s contributions to the team have been immeasurable since he joined the organization in January of 2009. We wish him the very best as he begins the next chapter in his life. I consider it a privilege to call him my friend.” The company names Rob Willams to the VP/MM post in Boston. Williams most recently served as CEO of Digital Brand Connections – a company he co-founded. He’s worked with Clear Channel and AMFM before that. He served as president and market manager for CC’s New York stations which includes Z100 and WLTW-FM. Williams says, “I have long admired Peter Smyth and Greater Media. I am excited to lead the Boston team, which has a well-deserved reputation in the market for the strength of its people and stations. I can’t wait to start!”
Progressive Talk Radio Stars Alan Colmes and Leslie Marshall at Live Event in Chicago Tonight. Fox News Radio talk host Alan Colmes and independently syndicated talk host Leslie Marshall visit the Windy City for a live appearance sponsored by affiliate WCPT-AM/FM, Chicago. Colmes and Marshall will appear at Pensiero Ristorante in the suburb of Evanston from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm where they’ll speak and participate in a Q&A with attendees.
Former Philadelphia Eagle Brian Westbrook Joins Greater Media’s Philadelphia Air Staff. Football great Brian Westbrook becomes part of the air staff at 97.5 The Fanatic (WPEN-FM) for the station’s year-round football coverage. The station says he’ll be heavily involved with its coverage of the NFL Draft, training camp and throughout the season starting in September. Program director Matt Nahigian says of Westbrook, “Brian is one of those rare athletes who combined not only on-field excellence but also that ability to connect with Philly fans in a very meaningful way. We all know Philadelphia lives and breathes football, so to have Brian with us year round will enhance our football coverage.” Westbrook joins 97.5 The Fanatic’s stable of football experts and insiders that includes: Jeremiah Trotter, Ron Jaworski, Sal Paolantonio, Chris Mortenson, Cris Carter, John Clayton and Mike Ditka as regular contributors.
Florida Primary Election, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, Middle East Violence, and bin Laden Raid Analysis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/30). Today’s Florida GOP primary election, ongoing concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the uptick in violence in Middle Eastern nations and the Obama Administration’s analysis of the raid that killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Randy Michaels Gets $650,000 Settlement from Tribune Co. Former Tribune Company CEO – and current Merlin Media LLC CEO – Randy Michaels is getting a $650,000 settlement from Tribune after being ousted from the company this past fall. Michaels sought the pro-rated portion of his 2010 management incentive bonus — $900,000 – arguing he was terminated without cause. Tribune considered challenging the assertion with which it disagreed but decided to settle to avoid a drawn out legal battle. Michaels will also get $50,000 to cover his legal fees. According to the Chicago Tribune, part of the settlement includes a non-disparagement clause, provisions to protect Tribune’s intellectual property and a limit of its future liability to claims brought by Michaels.
Report: NBC Still Negotiating with Howard Stern to Judge “America’s Got Talent.” The New York Post is reporting that NBC is still in talks with Howard Stern to bring the Sirius/XM personality aboard its “America’s Got Talent” program to take the place of Piers Morgan who’s exiting to concentrate on his CNN duties. Some industry watchers are skeptical that NBC would pay Stern $20 million and move the show from Los Angeles to New York to have Stern join the show but the Post says some sources close to the process say creator and executive producer Simon Cowell really wants Stern for the role. Neither NBC nor Cowell are commenting stating their policy of not addressing ongoing negotiations in the media.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Adds Two Local Programs to Weekend Schedule. Bonneville’s KTAR-Phoenix announces the addition of two new local programs to the Saturday schedule. Author and business owner Steve Henry hosts his eponymous program from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm focusing on small business and the role it plays in the country’s economy. Henry states, “I couldn’t be more excited to bring our show to one of the best news stations in the country. It’s time to take back control of our financial future by starting our own small businesses and investing in ourselves.” Henry’s program is followed by current KTAR producer and on-air contributor Rob Hunter paired up with Phoenix market radio pro Mark Devine for the Rob and Mark show. Hunter says, “Mark and I come from different perspectives in life as he’s a dad raising two kids and I’m recently married. This dynamic will provide a fun, interesting and relatable Saturday afternoon show for the KTAR audience.” KTAR-FM vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the additions, “Unfortunately in our business, most media companies are filling weekends with more syndicated shows and less local programming to save money. At KTAR, we see the world differently and believe strongly that weekends provide the perfect opportunity to develop new, engaging local content for our audiences regardless of expense.”
Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8. For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast speaking with a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse. This year’s participants include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Curtis Sliwa of WNYM (The Apple), New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;” John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;” Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of “The Lisa Wexler Show;” Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; Dan Patterson of KoPoint and Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service who will be broadcasting throughout the day to several hundred of the news service’s affiliates. Joining the lineup this year will be representatives of college talk radio with WRHU, Hempstead of Hofstra University; WLIU, Brooklyn of Long Island University and WNEK, Springfield, MA of Western New England University in attendance. Included among those who will be taking live and recorded feeds from the event are Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” with several more to be announced. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events. It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries. There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling. Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people. It doesn’t get better than that. We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.” Talkers.com will provide full coverage of the event.
Connecticut Talk Host Lisa Wexler Joins WFAS, White Plains, New York; Station to Flip to Talk. Cumulus’ WFAS, White Plains currently airs soft AC but will flip to talk soon and former WSTC, Stamford/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler will host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Wexler exited WSTC and WNLK when Cox Media Group agreed to sell the two stations to Sacred Heart University which is taking them non-commercial. Wexler will broadcast live from the “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row in New York City on December 8. The event is designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and is produced by TALKERS magazine in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Back to WFAS, the Westchester County station will reportedly also air Dial Global’s Clark Howard as part of the talk lineup.
WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Brings Former Flyers Lindros and LeClair Together to Benefit Children’s Hospital. Greater Media’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet “97.5 The Fanatic” is bringing former Philadelphia Flyers Eric Lindros and John LeClair back together for a series of events to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in conjunction with sponsor TD Bank. Lindros and LeClair will appear on Mike Missanelli’s PM drive program from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on December 14; they’ll be part of a charity luncheon at Morton’s The Steakhouse the following day; and will appear at a public signing at the Granite Run Mall in Media, Pennsylvania on Friday, December 16. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the events will benefit the hospital. WPEN-AM/FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “It’s really going to be great. For Eric and John to partner with the station and to do so for a terrific cause such as CHOP is really tremendous. I know the listeners will enjoy the opportunity to attend these events. We’re very excited.”
Milwaukee Media Writer Tim Cuprisin Passes Away at 53. Tim Cuprisin covered radio and TV for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 23 years before accepting a buyout from Journal Communications in 2009. Since exiting Journal, he’d been continuing to cover the Milwaukee radio and TV beat via the blog OnMilwaukee.com. The Chicago native died on November 23 after complications from advanced melanoma.
Larry King to Address Breakfast at “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.” Some of the most important names in American talk radio will be assembling for six power-packed hours of give and take at what is aptly being described as a “new kind of industry gathering.” Now the addition of one of the most legendary of the legends brings the roster of heavyweights over the top as Larry King signs on as the special breakfast speaker for “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.” The first of its kind event is being presented by TALKERS in conjunction with the Los Angeles Press Club on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Organizers report that as of 4:00 pm ET yesterday the free (including continental breakfast and lunch) mega-regional event has reached capacity for reservations. However names of attendees will still be taken for a standby list on a first-come basis. (The event is open only to members of the working media and press.) Some 30 speakers have been recruited including keynoter Bill Handel, morning host of KFI, Los Angeles; and special guest solo speakers Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment; Don Barrett, publisher, LARadio.com; and Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media. Moderators, panelists, presenters and introducers include (in alphabetical order): Cliff Albert, KOGO, San Diego; Robin Bertolucci, KFI, Los Angeles; Kevin Casey, TALKERS; Chris Crump, Comrex Corporation; Skip Essick, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Charles Feldman, KNX, Los Angeles; Jessica Gillette, C. Crane Company; Michael Harrison, TALKERS; Roger Hedgecock, KOGO, San Diego/Radio America; Jason Insalaco, KFI, Los Angeles; Mike Kinosian, TALKERS; Tom Leykis, The New Normal; Don Martin, KLAC, Los Angeles/Fox Sports Radio; Doug McIntyre, KABC, Los Angeles/Citadel Media; John McMullen, Desert Radio Group, Palm Springs; Stephanie Miller, KTLK, Los Angeles/Dial Global; Bill Moran, Bill Moran & Associates; Patt Morrison, KPCC-FM, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; John Phillips, KABC, Los Angeles; Josefa Salinas, Hot 92.3, Los Angeles; Jack Silver, KABC, Los Angeles; Dave Sniff, KFMB, San Diego; Doug Stephan, Stephan Multimedia; H. Leighton Steward, Plants Need CO2; Chuck Tyler, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; and Jeff Wasserman, Life Coach Media. TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey states, “This event has taken off like a rocket. It is extremely gratifying to see so much interest in this new concept. Part of its charm and appeal is its intimacy. That being said, if we don’t cut off registrations at this point we’ll have to move it from the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater to the Staples Center.” For further information, click here.
Cox Media Group Birmingham Makes Offer to Paul Finebaum. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s legal action against employer Citadel probably won’t be settled in the very near future, especially since recent attempts to settle the dispute out of court appear to have failed, but he may have a place to go if he leaves Citadel’s WJOX-FM. The Birmingham Business Journal reports CMG Birmingham GM David DuBose has made an offer to Finebaum to join his new sports talk WZNN-FM should his separation from Citadel be legally executed. Finebaum is in a battle with Citadel over compensation and contract language. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman recently wrote about the case and you can read that here. DuBose tells the Journal of the conditional offer, “Cox certainly is interested in Mr. Finebaum, but it is all contingent on his release from his existing contract or from a court order that his contract is no longer valid.”
Governor David Paterson Hits Ground Running on WOR, New York. If local is the goal with the hiring of former New York Governor David Paterson on Buckley’s WOR, New York, he accomplished that yesterday. He hosted the two candidates for former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s job on his first program after taking over for Steve Malzberg in the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. Bob Turner and David Weprin appeared for an in-studio debate. Former Governor Eliot Spitzer and former NYPD and Los Angeles Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton also joined Paterson yesterday.
Salem Communications Announces October 3 Start for Steve Cochran on WIND, Chicago. Longtime WGN, Chicago talk show host Steve Cochran – let go from the Tribune station in June of 2010 — will begin his 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm air shift on Salem’s crosstown WIND on October 3, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. Cochran’s joining the station was announced last month but a start date was not announced. Cochran currently holds two air shifts at CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – and Cochran says he’ll continue both but, obviously, something has to give with the 6:00 pm hour at KTRS.
Steve Gill Show Adds Local Hour to WLAC, Nashville Program. The Steve Gill show is nationally syndicated via Radio America from its base at Clear Channel’s WLAC, Nashville from 5:00 am to 8:00 am. Beginning Monday, September 12, the program adds the 8:00 am to 9:00 am hour on WLAC only. Gill says, “We are thrilled to add an extra hour in morning drive that allows us to provide more local talk and listener interaction. Additionally, we will continue to provide the A-list guests, commentary and remote broadcasts that we always have. The combination of national impact and local availability to our affiliates is what sets us apart from other syndicated shows and we will provide more local emphasis in the Nashville and Middle Tennessee areas with the additional hour.”
Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Gains Major Market Clearance. Premiere’s “America Now” with Andy Dean clears WSB, Atlanta and 95.5 FM. Prior to gaining national syndication through Premiere Networks, Dean hosted the nightly overnight program on the Cox Media Group station. WSB, program director Pete Spriggs says, “Andy just breaks through. He’s extremely smart and informed, but there’s also a great flippant sense of humor to go with all the incredible content. You can’t stop listening. His potential is really unlimited.”
Tony Bruno Returns to WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia. Bruno left the midday show he co-hosted with Harry Mayes back in June to concentrate on his Fox Sports Radio syndicated late-night “Into the Night” show. Now, WPEN-AM/FM announces Bruno returns to his place alongside Mayes (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) on October 3.
Westwood One Snags Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald for National Broadcasts. Westwood One spices up its pre-game show broadcasts with commitments from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald to appear for weekly interview segments with Jim Gray during NFL games. Brady will appear weekly during Monday Night Football pre-game broadcasts and Fitzgerald will also make weekly appearances during broadcasts of select games. Gray says, “We have the best quarterback and the best wide receiver in the NFL joining us now every week. In fact, they could be the best two players in the league, period, and we will be the only ones to have them both on a regular basis. I am looking forward to a great season.”
Arbitron Promotes Two. Jon Miller is upped from his post as an embedded account manager for CBS Radio to director of programming services where he’ll be the primary resource for radio programmers. Jenny Tsao moves from PPM market manager to programming and marketing operations manager where she’ll develop training content, presentations and studies to help Arbitron’s clients better understand and utilize the company’s services to make programming decisions.
Obama Jobs Plan, European Economic Turmoil and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/6). President Obama’s plan to announce his jobs creation package before a joint session of Congress tomorrow, the uncertainty over European economic stability and the effect on U.S. financial markets were three of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
“Ay Dios Mio, FIU!” That’s former CNN personality Rick Sanchez in the booth as color analyst for Florida International University’s football broadcasts (from video posted on the Chicago Tribune’s website). Sanchez is working the broadcasts without compensation (his two sons attend the school) but reviews of his initial performance were largely positive. Some say he was a bit too exuberant in his praise of the home team but his knowledge of the game and professional broadcaster technique added to the broadcast. He even came with his own catch-phrase for the game, “Ay dios mio, FIU,” which translates to, “Oh, my God, FIU!” FIU has a large number of students of Hispanic heritage.