Katz: Study Says Radio Reaches Independents In Battleground States Better. The study was done by Nielsen and commissioned by Katz Media Group and Katz says it concludes that “customizing radio messages to local markets in key battleground states is the most impactful way to swing young Independent voters in the upcoming presidential election and in critical down ballot races.” This is the fifth wave of “The Local Vote 2016” that analyzed custom data from Independent voters across seven states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Colorado.) Some of the key findings include: One in three battleground Independents spend more time listening to radio than watching television. On average, these voters listen to over 2 hours of radio daily, while watching less than 1 hour of TV; and radio – across a diverse range of formats – outstrips cable news. On a weekly basis, more Independents will listen to news/talk/sports radio stations (33%) and music formats such as adult contemporary (43%), rock (40%) and country (35%) than watch cable news channels CNN (23%), Fox News (15%) or MSNBC (10%). As far as key local radio findings are concerned, the study indicates geographical differences. For example, in Ohio, Independents gravitate towards different formats depending on the Ohio market they live in. Adult/classic hits has the highest share of listening with Cleveland Independents; adult contemporary garners the highest share in Columbus; and news/talk/sports and country are the strongest formats in Cincinnati. Katz Media Group’s Stacey Lynn Schulman, EVP of strategy, analytics and research, says, “‘The Local Vote 2016’ continues to unearth important insights to help candidates and political strategists effectively use media to engage the local electorates. Everyone is voting in the same election, but you need to speak to people where they live. It’s a national election won by reaching local voters. And, what we have consistently found is radio delivers better national reach with the ability to connect on a local level than any other medium.”
Trey Ware to Host Special Race Relations Show on KTSA. The program will air tomorrow (8/19) on Alpha Media’s KTSA, San Antonio at 7:00 pm. It’s titled “Race Relations in San Antonio and Beyond,” hosted by morning drive personality Trey Ware. The station says, “This is a topic that has dominated local and national news many times in the past with the police officer shootings in Dallas and the Black Lives Matter movement. The discussion panel consists of well-known religious, law enforcement, and community leaders. Ware comments, “Everyone has something valuable to contribute. That is why this event is so important. People who are different from us have so much to offer, and together we make each other better.”
CBS Philly Inks New Deal with Ray Didinger. Philly sports media legend Ray Didinger signs a new, multi-year contract with CBS RADIO to continue his weekend program on sports talk WIP (co-hosted with Glen Macnow) and take on new duties with the cluster. The Pro Football Hall of Fame writer’s show will be heard on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. He’ll continue to make frequent appearances on WIP throughout the year, especially during football season. Additionally, he will also be heard on news/talk WPHT with morning host Chris Stigall on Fridays during the football season, and he’ll do commentary on all-news KYW. Didinger says, “I’m delighted to continue my relationship with WIP. I’ve had a great time working with so many good friends, in particular Glen Macnow, my weekend partner for many years. I enjoy talking sports with the Philadelphia fans and I’m grateful to CBS RADIO Philadelphia for giving me that opportunity.”
iHeartMedia Realigns Northeast Division; Promotes Preacher and Carwile. This realignment within iHeartMedia’s Northeast division is part of a dismantling of its former Mid-Atlantic region. The Washington, DC and Baltimore markets will now form the new Washington, DC Region and the Virginia markets will join the existing Carolina region to form the new Virginia-Carolina region. To lead these new regions, the company has promoted Michael Preacher – formerly the SVP of Strategic Partnerships to president of the Washington, DC region and government initiatives. Region president Dave Carwile is now president of the Virginia-Carolina region. That region consists of the following markets: Richmond, VA; Harrisonburg, VA; Norfolk, VA; Roanoke and Lynchburg, VA; Winchester, VA; Charlotte, NC; Raleigh, NC; Asheville, NC; Greenville, SC; and Greensboro, NC. Both Preacher and Carwile report to Northeast division president Hartley Adkins.
Bill Kelly ‘Unretires’ with Cumulus Youngstown. Radio management pro Bill Kelly retired from iHeartMedia in February, ending his career with the company as regional president. But on October 3 he’ll leave the ranks of the retired and join Cumulus Media as vice president and market manager for the Youngstown market. Kelly worked in the Youngstown market for 35 years, beginning with the original owners of heritage AM signal WKBN. He helped build the six-station iHeartMedia cluster when it was first acquired by Jacor in 1997. Kelly comments, “After meeting with CEO Mary Berner and other senior leaders at Cumulus, I knew I had to take advantage of this opportunity. I can’t thank them enough. The Cumulus brands as well as the staff are well positioned. I look forward to helping them get to the next level.” Cumulus owns eight stations in the Youngstown market.
NYMRAD Releases Q2 2016 Report. The New York Market Radio Association releases its second quarter 2016 State of the New York Market Report. The organization calls it’s a “comprehensive analysis of the NY marketplace…[that] assesses the New York area economy, including business drivers and provides up-to-date consumer research on music consumption, radio usage, and more.” The report states that “New York Radio revenue showed some positive growth in the first half of 2016. Four hundred and fifty advertisers increased their spending by double-digit percentages. Fourteen percent of these advertisers more than doubled their radio ad spend, each paying more than $100K for airwaves. Of these larger spenders, six were in the automotive space and nine were part of the food and beverage sector. In the entertainment category, advertisers for concerts, theatre, and movies had a 22% increase over the last six months. Communications/Cellular spending has increased by 7%.” Read the entire report here.
Odds & Sods. At the Salem Media Group Denver operations, Scott Curtis is the new afternoon drive news anchor on the Steve Kelley and Krista Kafer program. Curtis says, “I am excited to finally be working at a great team at Salem Media. For a radio guy, this is a dream job!”…..NBC Sports Radio is adding Emmy Award-winning Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya as a featured contributor across NBC Sports Radio programming in which she’ll also do interviews with affiliated stations. She says, “I began my broadcasting career in radio and I absolutely love the medium. Sports talk radio offers a certain freedom to talk more conversationally than most formats. NBC Sports Radio has been a fun platform for me over the past couple of seasons, so I’m looking forward to this extended role.”…..CBS Sports Radio unveils its football-intensive weekend programming that begins Saturday (8/20) with the “Eye on Fantasy Football” show. Other shows this fall will include “Eye on College Football,” “Sunday Morning Football,” “Fantasy Football Today,” and “Eye on Football.”…..Entercom’s news/talk KNSS, Wichita takes the top prize from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters in the Best Complete Newscast category for Large Market Radio in the organization’s 2016 awards. The station’s Steve McIntosh, Ted Woodward and Jad Chambers, earned honor for their work on the “Day After Hesston, KS Mass Shooting.”
The Presidential Race, Milwaukee Shooting Case, Rio Olympics-U.S. Swimmers Detained, Louisiana Floods/SoCal Wildfires, Battle for Aleppo, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/17). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the aftermath of the shooting death of an armed black man by police in Milwaukee; the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro and the controversy over U.S. swimmers’ allegations they were robbed at gunpoint; the devastating floods in Louisiana and the Southern California wildfires; the battle to retake Aleppo from Islamic State forces and Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
The Conclave Names New Board Members. Three broadcast executives join the board of directors for The Conclave. The new members are: Peter Bowen, vice president/market manager, Cumulus Media Chicago; Tony Coles, EVP, programming, iHeartMedia; and Melek Demir, director of radio, National Association of Broadcasters. Cumulus Media VP, social Lori Lewis says, “As volunteers, it’s not always easy to find time to give back. We are all busier than ever. And because of that, I’m grateful for Peter, Tony and Melek for giving their time to Conclave. I am also grateful for the current board members that work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure Conclave serves our industry. We are working on dates for Conclave 42 in 2017 and will have an announcement soon!”
What’s Cupping? WHMP, Northampton, Massachusetts morning personality Bob Flaherty – like many watching the Rio Olympics and noticing the dark spots on U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps – was intrigued by the ancient healing practice known as cupping. But instead of just asking an expert about it, Flaherty decided to get “cupped” live on the air and stream it live on Facebook as well. Flaherty is pictured here with the small glass globes still on his back while doing his program.
Beasley to Acquire Greater Media’s 21 Stations in Seven Markets for $240 Million. The two communications firms surprised the industry last night with an end-of-the-workday announcement that Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. will acquire Greater Media, Inc. The deal is being structured so that Beasley will acquire all of the outstanding stock of Greater Media for an “aggregate consideration of approximately $240 million, subject to adjustments.” Greater Media shareholders are expected to receive approximately $100 million in cash and approximately $25 million in shares of the company’s Class A common stock (at a fixed value of $4.61 per share). In addition, the shareholders of Greater Media will receive the net cash proceeds from the sale of its tower assets, estimated to be approximately $20 million. Beasley will refinance approximately $80 million of debt of Greater Media. The deal will add Greater Media’s 21 radio stations to Beasley’s portfolio and gives Beasley entrance into the major market of Detroit with rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX, and classic hip hop and R&B WMGC. It seriously beefs up its Boston presence by adding five stations to current property ethnic WRCA-AM. Those stations are: classic hits WROR, country WKLB, rhythmic AC WBQT, adult contemporary WMJX, and alternative WBOS. It bolsters Beasley’s Philly and Charlotte holdings with the addition of sports talk WPEN, classic rock WMGK, rock WMMR, and adult hits WBEN in the former and news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK in the latter. Beasley will be over the station ownership limit in Charlotte and will have to divest a couple of FM signals. Six New Jersey stations are also part of the package. Beasley says it intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under a new credit facility that it expects to enter into in connection with the closing of the acquisition, together with cash and cash equivalents available to the company and the issuance of Class A common stock as described above. RBC Capital Markets and U.S. Bank have provided committed financing in support of the acquisition. Upon closing, Beasley’s portfolio of stations that it owns and operates will expand to 73 stations (52 FM and 21 AM) in 16 markets. BBG interim CEO and CFO Caroline Beasley says, “The acquisition of Greater Media’s broadcasting and related digital assets represents a transformational growth opportunity for Beasley and is strategically and financially compelling for our shareholders. The transaction increases our broadcast portfolio by approximately 40% and more than doubles our audience reach, giving us both market leading stations and great brands.”
WPHT, Philadelphia Personalities Report from RNC. Covering the Republican National Convention this week are WPHT, Philadelphia personalities Chris Stigall (AM drive) and Rich Zeoli (PM drive). Zeoli tells TALKERS magazine that on Tuesday, the CBS Philadelphia booth drew a big crowd as Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos and author and conservative pundit Ann Coulter joined him for the entire 5:00 pm hour, live from media row (pictured at right). This interview happened just before Yiannopoulos was permanently suspended from Twitter for comments he made about Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones. Meanwhile, Chris Stigall has been pulling double duty at the RNC, first hosting his morning show from 6:00 to 9:00, then serving as a correspondent for the company’s KYW-TV “CBS3” live from the convention floor for the station’s evening news (pictured above).
Rumors of Possible FOX News Talent Exodus If Ailes Forced Out. Coming on the heels of widespread media reports of Fox News chief Roger Ailes’ potential ouster from his long-held position, is a report in Breitbart that indicates some of Ailes’ faithful talent at FNC would be willing to follow him out the door, ostensibly to start a new, competing network. Ailes is being accused by former FNC personality Gretchen Carlson of sexual harassment. Other reports indicate Megyn Kelly has also said Ailes harassed her. The Breitbart piece states that the FNC talent referenced includes Bret Baier, Shepard Smith, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, and, possibly Bill O’Reilly. However, the piece concludes by saying none of the report is certain and that the situation could change quickly. Read it here.
The Presidential Race/Republican National Convention, Baton Rouge Cop Slayings, Black Lives Matter Movement, Turkey Coup Attempt, Twitter Bans Milo Yiannopoulos, FOX News-Ailes Case, Rio Olympics Troubles, and Garry Marshall Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tied with the action at the Republican National Convention; the aftermath of the slaying of three Baton Rouge police officers; criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement; the failed attempt to overthrow Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; conservative media figure Milo Yiannopoulos is banned from Twitter after attacks on Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones; the controversy surrounding Roger Ailes’ status with FOX News; the problems facing Rio De Janeiro as it prepares to host the Olympics; and the death of television’s Garry Marshall were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. At the Tulsa operations of Cox Media Group, Mary Garcia is promoted to digital sales manager. In this role, Garcia will work directly with the Cox Local Solutions team, a collaborative effort between Tulsa TV, its six radio stations, and its cable platform. She joined the company 16 months ago as a digital sales specialist. In Tulsa, CMG operates news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, country KWEN “K95.5,” adult contemporary KRAV “Mix 96,” classic rock KJSR “The Eagle 103.3,” and contemporary Christian K289CC “Spirit 105.7.”…..Cumulus Media fills the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot on sports talk WJOX-FM, Birmingham with Alabama natives Joe Hunk and Jon Lunceford. Their new show – “JOX Primetime” – replaces the previous 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm show hosted by Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison…..The NHL’s Florida Panthers and CBS RADIO’s sports talk WQAM, Miami have reached a multi-year contract extension to continue to broadcast play-by-play of Panthers games. Doug Plagens and analyst Bill Lindsay return to the broadcast booth…..Futuri Media announces that broadcast news pro Jill Manuel is joining the company as director, TopicPulse partnership development. The company says her “expertise with broadcast newsroom digital integration and successful history blending compelling journalism and engagement will provide a unique and specialized strategic resource for Futuri’s TopicPulse partners.”
Radio and TV Pro Pat O’Brien New Host of ‘Business Rockstars.’ The “Business Rockstars” media franchise has a new feature talent as radio and television pro Pat O’Brien becomes lead anchor. The company says O’Brien will play an “integral role in the newly revamped daily show that targets the 30 million entrepreneurs and ‘wantrepreneurs’ interested in starting and growing a business.” The company also notes that “Business Rockstars” is available on TV in more than 40 million homes and airs in 150 radio markets. Plus it’s streamed on numerous digital and social media platforms. O’Brien will join a team of hosts including five-time Emmy award winning TV news anchor Thuy Vu, best-selling author and entrepreneur Mark Lack, and correspondents Laurel Mintz (CEO of Elevate My Brand), Darren Kavinoky (“Investigation Discovery” host), Rachel McCord (The McCord List), James Sun (BBC TV’s “Sun Tzu’s ART OF WAR”), and Jessica Naziri (tech expert and content strategist). Business Rockstars chairman and co-founder Steve Lehman says, “Pat is a long-time friend and one of the greatest broadcasters on the planet. He brings a fresh new approach to business interviews with some of the world’s biggest CEOs, disruptors, and entrepreneurs. From hosting six Olympics, to anchoring “Access Hollywood” and “The Insider,” Pat brings a unique perspective in his approach and style to “Business Rockstars.”
Super Tuesday Aftermath/Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM. The results of this week’s Super Tuesday primary elections and events surrounding the presidential race were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the Hillary Clinton email server investigation. At #3 was U.S. immigration policy followed by European migrant problems at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Candidates’ Rhetoric Spurs KEX, Portland Host Michael Castner to Come Out. Citing some of the rhetoric coming from the GOP candidates that he believes is rekindling Americans’ “hate and fear,” especially with regard to the candidates’ vows to overturn gay marriage, KEX, Portland talk host Michael Castner came out to his audience as gay. Admitting that he’d kept his sexual orientation secret out of fear and “perhaps even cowardice,” Castner believes he has a responsibility to speak up both for himself and for others who don’t have a voice. Castner observed that both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have vowed to make overturning the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage a priority and that Trump has indicated he’s also in favor of overturning.
WPHT, Philadelphia Adds Dave Ramsey Show. Nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramsey’s radio program is being added to the lineup at CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot, effective March 7. CBS RADIO Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring Dave Ramsey to WPHT. He has been creating powerful radio broadcasts with the passion and positivity that will fit perfectly into WPHT’s lineup. Combining Dave Ramsey with the great local talent like Chris Stigall, Dom Giordano and Rich Zeoli has everyone at the station excited to bring this new roster to our listeners.” Ramsey Media VP Brian Mayfield adds, “We are excited to join the team at WPHT and to work with another strong CBS Radio affiliate. Philadelphia is already a great market for our brand, and we look forward to what the future holds with this new relationship.”
PodcastOne and WTOP, Washington Partner for ‘Target USA’ Program. A new podcast series is being launched on the PodcastOne platform from Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and WTOP.com titled, “Target USA.” The program will focus on the threats facing America today and is reported and produced by WTOP national security correspondent JJ Green. WTOP and PodcastOne say Green will investigate the risks, from terrorists to anarchists, and cyber criminals to nation states, diving into the people behind them, the agencies fighting them and their impact on Americans.” WTOP senior regional vice president Joel Oxley states, “As an all-news station with a tight format, our content is consumed in very short form. This partnership with PodcastOne gives us an opportunity to showcase and distribute some of our longer form, in-depth material. Norm Pattiz and his team are pros, and we look forward to this launch and many more opportunities to come.” In the first installment, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper opens up in an exclusive interview about the dark threats and dangerous enemies the U.S. faces.
Merrill Cook to Host Mornings on KLO, Salt Lake City. Former U.S. Representative Merrill Cook is joining KLO Broadcasting’s KLO-AM, Salt Lake City to host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program, beginning on March 14. Station general manager Matt Webb says, “Our audience has been asking for more local, live radio and Merrill is a huge part of that. Merrill Cook is part of the fabric of Utah and, in particular, Utah politics. We’re very excited to have him as part of our radio family.” Cook comments, “I’m thrilled to be part of such a prestigious radio lineup on a legacy station such as KLO. To be on the same station with radio icons like Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, and Dennis Prager is a true honor.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York political editor Rita Cosby (right) poses for a photo with writer and political commentator Ann Coulter (left) at last night’s “Dinner with Rita Cosby: A Night of Political Entertainment & Fun” at Delmonico’s Kitchen in Midtown Manhattan. Cosby hosted the sold-out, intimate dinner event that featured political commentary and conversation, a phone-in interview with Dr. Ben Carson, live discussion with Coulter, and musical performances by Tom Bednarek and actor Dominic Chianese…..WGOW, Chattanooga mid-afternoon talk host Brian Joyce is pictured below with on Tuesday, March 1 taking part in “Reading Across America Week” with the second grade class and Dupont Elementary School. Joyce tells TALKERS magazine that the class’ teacher is a big fan of Joyce’s radio program and invited him to take part in the event…..Tampa Bay radio and TV personality Nancy Alexander launches a podcast titled, “LOL! With Nancy Alexander” on the Radio Influence digital platform. Alexander began her radio career at WRBQ “Q105” on the station’s “Q Morning Zoo” show in the 1980s. She worked at WMTX during the 1990s and 2000s and was a features reporter for WTVT-TV “FOX 13.”…..CBS RADIO Pittsburgh is presenting its third annual ‘eat.drink.PITTSBURGH’ on March 19 at the city’s Wyndham Grand Hotel. The event’s media sponsor is WHIRL Magazine and the event is being presented by Fat Head’s Brewery and Lexus of North Hills. The food fest allows attendees to sample food from dozens of Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants and enjoy new products, wines, beers and more…..Nationally syndicated talk personality Laura Ingraham did her program from the studios of affiliate WBEN, Buffalo today (3/4) prior to serving as keynote speaker at the New York State GOP Convention in the city…..CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York “Sports Radio 66AM and 101.9FM” and New York City FC announce updates to the soccer club’s radio broadcasting in advance of the 2016 MLS season. Glenn Crooks and Tom Kolker will once again be the English-language announcers. Back for his second year, Roberto Abramowitz will be one of the Spanish-language analysts, alongside new team member John Rojas.
Mark Levin Named Recipient of TALKERS 2016 Freedom of Speech Award. Highly rated, nationally syndicated, Cumulus/Westwood One talk radio personality Mark Levin has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board as the 2016 recipient of the trade publication’s annual Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. Levin is also the prolific author of numerous New York Times best-selling books about the United States Constitution, American history and conservative ideological principles. He is a respected legal scholar who serves as president of the Landmark Legal Foundation as well as being a highly sought-after public speaker, and host/principal of the newly launched LevinTV digital platform. Levin has a stellar background in both the private and public sectors having served, among many roles, as advisor to several members of President Ronald Reagan’s cabinet and chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese. In making the announcement of Levin’s selection, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Mark Levin is more than a superbly talented and extremely successful talk show host. He is a dedicated legal scholar who consistently displays unbending courage in standing up for the core principles of the Founding Fathers – and that means an unswerving, ongoing defense of the First Amendment – on radio, television and in print. He has been a champion of these principles since morphing from a radio guest to a host back in 2002 and is being honored for a body of work that goes back for many years.” Mark Levin will be presented the award personally by Harrison at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging The Generations convention on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on Friday, May 20.
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Agenda Developing; Registration Underway. More than 60 leading industry speakers will fill a power-packed day and evening of panel discussions, special presentations, keynote addresses, exhibits, social networking functions, meals and live broadcasts at the forthcoming 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The event kicks off at 8:00 am with the traditional “Breakfast with Hannity” opening social. It will conclude 12 hours later with a gala, early-evening reception on the university’s magnificent television soundstage. Located just outside of New York City, Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s most respected and influential breeding grounds of great broadcasters. The NAB honored WRHU-FM in 2015 with a Marconi Award as the first ever “student operated” non-commercial station of the year! Radio Hofstra University WRHU-FM is also currently ranked number one – best college radio station – by the Princeton Review. WRHU-FM also earned a Pinnacle Award – station of the year – from the CMA. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “2016 marks a great leap forward in the rich and colorful history of this legendary conference. Tapping into the theme ‘Bridging the Generations’ TALKERS 2016 will intensely focus on talk radio’s successful and as seamless-as-possible transition into the digital era concentrating on attracting younger demos, broadening the format menu, modernizing political positioning, enhancing both journalistic and entertainment impact, incorporating all aspects of pop culture, understanding Millennials and the New Authenticity, creating a viable cross-platform presence, embracing the new technology, and of course, podcasting, podcasting and more podcasting.” Harrison adds, “This conference will be inter-generational. I cannot begin to express the level of excitement and pride we have in partnering this year with Hofstra University, its wonderfully dynamic Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and its famous radio station WRHU – clearly one of the greatest, heritage campus outlets in America. Their amazing, state-of-the-art resources will provide an exhilarating backdrop and platform for this gathering. As far as we are concerned, the future of talk media begins now!” The cost of a full registration is $299 per person with a special student rate of $249. Registration is only open to professionals currently or recently (within one year) employed in media-related industries as well as students enrolled in accredited colleges or universities. Registration includes all sessions, presentations, exhibits, receptions, and tours as well as breakfast/lunch/refreshment and social networking activities. Registrations can only be taken over the phone (to verify qualifications) and paid for with a credit card. As in years past, for the sake of intimacy and productivity, total attendance will be limited to 500 and TALKERS 2016 will be an early sellout. No registrations can be sold after that point. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable. To register or obtain sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413. Information about special local hotel discounts for attendees is detailed below. Agenda and speakers to be announced in the days and weeks ahead, leading up to the event. Register now!
Fantastic Group Rate Available at Long Island Marriott for TALKERS 2016. A limited number of rooms are still available for a limited amount of time for the nights of Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 at the fabulous Long Island Marriott hotel located near Hofstra University – the site of TALKERS 2016. To take advantage of the $169 per night rate, book as early as possible by clickinghere or calling reservations at 1-800-228-9290 and telling the agent you are with the TALKERS event group.
Andy Bloom Exits WIP-FM and WPHT, Philadelphia OM Post. This is being termed a budget-related move as programmer Andy Bloom – until Friday the operations manager for sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT – exits the CBS RADIO Philadelphia station group. There’s lots of speculation in the Philly media about why Bloom was let go and what this will mean for WIP and WPHT. Bloom tells Philly.com, “It is part of another restructure and strictly a budgetary move. That has happened across the industry over the past several years. It’s been an incredible 8 years with CBS Philly.” Philadelphia Business Journal wonders what this means for news/talk WPHT citing its November 2015 PPM (6+ AQH share Mon-Sun 6A-12M) rating of 1.5. The mag reports Bloom previously noted the current lineup has only been in place for a year and needs time to gel. Local news and opinion site Crossing Broad wonders what Bloom’s exit will mean for WIP, especially afternoon drive personality Josh Innes. Kyle Scott opines that Innes’ future at WIP could be affected by this change, “[H]e was Bloom’s guy and given a long leash with which to do his sometimes-sports thing. I’m assuming a successor will not be as lenient as Bloom. One would wonder if Josh would even want to stick around. A general turmoil has surrounded the station since he came on-board, and most of Bloom’s decisions since can be traced to Innes’ presence.”
Anthony Cumia Arrested on Domestic Battery Charges. New York radio personality Anthony Cumia was arrested on Saturday on charges of strangulation, criminal mischief, unlawful imprisonment and assault. He’s pled not guilty to all and his attorney tells the New York Post, “Mr. Cumia emphatically denies the allegations brought against him and is optimistic that when the truth comes out he will be exonerated.” This comes after a woman described as Cumia’s girlfriend used the app Periscope to request police assistance at Cumia’s Long Island home after claiming Cumia broke her hand, took her phone when she tried to call police and held her captive. The woman uses the handle Dani Golightly. Cumia was released on his own recognizance and ordered to stay away from the woman. Cumia was fired from SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony show last year after he authored a series of racist Tweets and they went viral.
iHeartMedia Goes Sports in Denver on Former ‘Real Talk 760.’ The calls change from KKZN to KDSP and the new sports talker is branded “Denver Sports 760.” Local programming will include longtime iHeartMedia Denver personality Dave Logan co-hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program with Susie Wargin and Andy Lindahl hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. (Lindahl also hosts “PrimeTime Sports” on sister KOA from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.) Also airing on the station will be: Dan Patrick from 7:00 am to 10:00 am; “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “Jay Mohr Sports” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; “Ferrall On The Bench” from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; Ben Maller from 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am; and “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North from 4:00 am to 7:00 am. iHeartMedia Denver market president Tim Hager states, “We’re excited to serve our listeners, partners and advertisers with a new station featuring original Denver Broncos content and the biggest names in sports.”
California Environmental Regulations Preventing KSCO, Santa Cruz from Addressing Flooding Problem. KSCO, Santa Cruz, California station owner Michael Zwerling is in a tough situation, stuck between California environmental laws and the need to keep his station on the air with current weather conditions creating flooding problems for his transmitter. Zwerling was prevented by sheriffs from digging a trench that would allow flood waters to drain as they usually do after a citizen complained to police about potential violations of the environmental laws. A look into the law indicates Zwerling will have to try to convince officials that his station – as a facility licensed to serve the public – is worthy of protection as well. KSCO has long been recognized as one of the nation’s most community-involved as well as marketing-innovative local talkers in the nation. Zwerling says the solution does not involve harm to the beach or the marine life but activists have risen to challenge his desire to do the minor excavation necessary to abate flood waters. Hear his appeal, broadcast over the KSCO airwaves, here.
Karter Named Radio One Cincinnati OM. Inbound from iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, Kenard Karter will assume operations manager duties of Radio One Cincinnati. Radio One vice president of programming Colby Tyner comments, “We are excited to be working with Kenard; he is a very smart programmer with a lot of creative energy. Our team in ‘Cinci’ can’t wait to get started.” Station manager Mitch Galvin notes, “Kenard will be bringing strong leadership to our station cluster and a drive to win.” According to Karter, “I am truly humbled and excited about the opportunity to lead the Cincinnati radio brands that the Radio One family has afforded me. I am proud to join a team that is so full of passion and promise.” Prior to his WGCI-FM stint, Chicago native Karter – who begins his Cincinnati duties in three weeks (1/11) – spent four years at San Francisco urban contemporary KMEL, where he was the station’s assistant program director/mid-day talent. Radio One Cincinnati consists of urban contemporary WIZF “101.1 Cincinnati’s Hip-Hop & R&B,” urban-rhythmic oldies WOSL “Old School 100.3,” and WDBZ “Your Talk Station 1230 The Buzz.” According to 6+ stats in the latest (November 2015) Nielsen Audio PPM report for Cincinnati, WIZF ranks #8 with a 4.6 (+.7) from October and its best performance since June (also 4.6); WOSL is #13 (2.5); and WDBZ is #22 (.4). The (6+) market leader is iHeartMedia talker WLW (10.2).
Cumulus Brings New HR Exec Aboard. Human resources pro Todd C. McCarty comes to Cumulus Media from his most recent position as SVP of global human resources for Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says, in making the announcement of McCarty’s appointment, “Cumulus has tremendous assets with our reach to 245 million listeners across 90 markets and our outstanding audio content and brands. However, it’s critical that, as we move quickly and efficiently to build on our strengths, we retain and attract top performers on and off-air, and support and motivate them to deliver exceptional performance across all disciplines and markets. Todd stands out among his peers in terms of qualifications and experience and we are fortunate and delighted that he will be leading our effort to consolidate and centralize our key human resources disciplines into a department that has the capabilities and focus to deliver the services and solutions we need to grow our business.” McCarty has served in similar positions at The New York Times Company and The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated Stephanie Miller show is now being aired on the CRN Digital Talk Radio network from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET. Miller’s show is syndicated WYM Media Managemen…..Live radio coverage of the CBS Sports Classic college hoops event from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was provided by Westwood One Sports. Pictured here calling the games for the network are WW1 sports announcer John Sadak (right) and CBS Sports Radio personality Doug Gottlieb (left) as North Carolina beat UCLA 89-76 and Ohio State upset Kentucky 74-67. WW1 reports more than 300 affiliate stations carried the games…..Andi Poch joins CBS Local Digital Media to serve as SVP Sales. Poch is being charged with managing and executing the overall digital advertising sales strategy for the division. She’ll work closely with the local digital sales teams for CBS RADIO’s 117 stations and the 29 CBS Television stations, as well as the entire national sales group. She comes from Townsquare Media where she was SVP, integrated/digital sales and strategy…..At Townsquare Media, the company brings Susan Kravitz aboard to serve as SVP, head of national digital sales and will oversee the company’s national digital and branded entertainment sales efforts. Kravitz was most recently head of global sales at Say Media.
Entercom Offers New Employee Benefits. Beginning in 2016, Entercom Communications Corp. will begin offering qualified employees three significant new additions to the benefit plan designed to further enhance the quality of life for its staffers. They are: 1) Personal Volunteering Time – a half-day off each quarter to volunteer for a non-profit organization of their choosing; 2) Discounted Stock Purchase Program – Entercom employees will be able to purchase Entercom stock at a 15% discount through a payroll deduction plan; and 3) Student Loan Reimbursement Program – $1,000 per calendar year to reduce outstanding student loans for employees who have graduated within the past eight years. Company CEO David Field states, “We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and make Entercom a better and stronger organization, and that includes enhancing the quality of life for our team. We have examined benefits programs from leading companies all across the country in a wide range of industries and have honed in on a few highly compelling programs that we think will make outstanding additions to life at Entercom. We are very excited to be delivering these new benefits to our people.”
Making Merry in Vegas. Pictured here enjoying the festivities over the weekend at the Beasley Media Group Las Vegas holiday party are (from left to right): director of sales Cory Cuddeback; market manager Tom Humm; news/talk KDWN program director John Shaffer; and nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs.
Democratic Primary Debate, Star Wars Film Opens and Miss Universe SNAFU Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The coverage of and the aftermath of Saturday night’s Democratic candidates’ debate; the record-breaking opening weekend of the new Star Wars film; and Steve Harvey’s mistake misidentifying the winner of the Miss Universe pageant, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend on stations airing live talk shows.
Art Bell Ends Latest Talk Show Effort Citing Attempts on His Life. Quite suddenly on Friday evening, Art Bell posted on his ArtBell.com website that he would not be going on the air that evening – or ever again, in fact – and explained that he and his family are in danger after recent attempts on his life. Here’s what Bell posted: “I am sorry to have to announce this but I will not be on Tonight or any other night, yes I am going to hang it up. Whoever this crazy person is, they are not stopping and it has come to the point that we as a Family do not feel it is worth the risk. While I think the person or persons are after me, my Wife and now my Daughter are really scared, the other night after the latest incident my Daughter was off in the corner of her bed scared to death as the Police cars came screaming up. I will not put my Family through this. As you all know I dearly love what I do but not at the expense of never ending Terrorism. I want to thank those of you who have shown so much support and it has been my joy, short as it has been to have cracked that Mic open for a last time. This was a Family decision. The girls stuck with me and still would but if one of them were harmed because of what I love doing my life would be over.” Bell had returned to AM/FM radio with a late night program called “Midnight in the Desert” via his Dark Matter Radio Network earlier this fall after years away from broadcast radio. To say this is controversial in the minds of his fans is an understatement. Chatter on the website DreadCentral vacillates between those who are sympathetic to Bell’s claim and those who simply don’t believe a word of it. Regardless, Bell is off the air, seemingly for good. The network intends to provide programming to affiliates for the next 30 days with Rowland Communications Network airing either previous Art Bell-hosted shows or Heather Wade hosting the program.
Three More Years at Salem for Mike Gallagher. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Mike Gallagher will remain in his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program on the Salem Radio Network through the end of 2018 after signing a three-year extension. He’s currently heard on some 300 stations nationwide, including new affiliate WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.” Gallagher states, “After 15 years with Salem, I’m still amazed at how fortunate I am to have a radio home at this amazing company. I’m ecstatic and humbled to be continuing for at least another three years with this world-class organization.” Salem Media Group SVP Phil Boyce comments, “Mike is one of the most talented, entertaining, and informative hosts in the country. What a pleasure it has been to be reunited with him at Salem, and be able to have a small part in the next generation of his talk show host career.”
Legal Analysis: What Do Sam Goldwyn and Geraldo Rivera Have in Common? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman offers his take on the suit against Cumulus Media filed by ousted WABC, New York talk host Geraldo Rivera:
Sam Goldwyn was a legendary movie producer from the early days of Hollywood. In fact, the G in MGM was for Goldwyn. Goldwyn died in 1974. Geraldo Rivera is a legendary and prize winning investigative reporter and media personality who is very much alive. So what do they have in common? Sam Goldwyn was quoted as saying that “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” Once you get over trying to figure out the logic of this statement, the essential truth remains that relying on and proving an oral contract is a difficult task indeed. Geraldo Rivera recently filed a lawsuit in state court in New York alleging that Cumulus Media, Inc., the owner of WABC – 770 AM radio in New York breached an oral, one-year contract with him pursuant to which he was to be paid $600,000 for 2016. In addition, he alleges that Cumulus locked him out of his studio at WABC where he already was working as a talk show host. Geraldo alleges that he had negotiated the contract with then vice president of Cumulus, John Dickey during a lunch meeting in July. However, the contract was never reduced to writing and nothing was signed by the parties. In the fall, there was a change of management at Cumulus in which its founder and CEO Lew Dickey along with John Dickey no longer were involved in active management of the company. Although Cumulus has not, as of the writing of this, responded officially to Rivera’s complaint in court, Cumulus has responded with a statement by Davidson Goldin on behalf of the company which states, “We offered Geraldo Rivera a new contract commensurate with the value of his show and our offer was repeatedly rejected.” As for locking Rivera out of his studio, no contract requires a radio station to give air time to someone under contract. All the station is required to do is to pay the talent. In this case, it would appear that Cumulus would have rather eaten the rest of Rivera’s present contract which would terminate under its own terms at the end of December rather than permit Rivera to air his grievances over the air. As for Rivera, he has stated, “It is not about the money. Because of their unforgivable disrespect, I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in salary.” What are the real facts? That will be determined in court where Goldwyn’s comment may take on new meaning.
Bubba Lawyers Again Filed Motion to Dismiss Nielsen’s $1 Million Suit. On Friday (12/11), lawyers for Bubba the Love Sponge filed a motion to dismiss the $1 million fraud suit filed against their client by Nielsen Audio. Bubba’s attorneys say that Nielsen can’t prove that it has been damaged by their client’s ratings tampering incident, that allegations of additional attempts to tamper with the ratings have not been proven and Bubba’s already been punished for the one case to which he’d admitted. They also point to Nielsen’s statements after the tampering became public knowledge that the company was able to root out the panelist in question and the rest of the market’s ratings were not adversely affected as proof Nielsen can’t show damages. This filing comes just days after Beasley Media Group re-branded Bubba’s flagship station WBRN, Tampa from “Bubba 998.7” to “98.7 No Rules Rock,” bringing into question whether the business relationship between Bubba and Beasley in Tampa will continue in the New Year.
NYMRAD Issues Third Quarter State of the Market Report. The latest edition of this quarterly report from the New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association is a “comprehensive analysis of the New York marketplace designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its prominent role in the local advertising landscape.” NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan states, “In third quarter, retailers effectively used radio leading up to the holiday shopping season. Radio has always done a terrific job of reaching people on the go, and is a huge benefit for influencing consumers closest to their point of purchase.” Regarding radio advertising in the market, the report’s “research on the department store, mass merchandiser, home improvement, and fast food sectors found that exposure to radio ad campaigns increased sales, number of buyers, and dollars spent. For department stores alone, sales increased by 10%, the number of buyers increased by 3%, and dollars spent per customer increased by 6%.” See the report here.
Odds & Sods. The patriotic rock band Madison Rising is beginning its preparation for its 2016 national tour with the release of its “Soldier’s Christmas” song and video. The presentation honors the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, along with their families who endure their loss throughout the year and during the holiday season in particular. The band (pictured at right) is on a mission to reignite authentic American culture through great rock music. Its new album American Hero (RED) is dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces, along with the police, firefighters and other first responders. The band just completed a 70-city tour, and is preparing to launch its next stretch on January 9…..Toledo market sports talkers WLQR-FM, Delta, Ohio, flips affiliations from CBS Sports Radio Network to ESPN and begins airing much of the latter network’s sports talk shows. The Cumulus-owned station is keeping local personalities Bob Frantz (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and Mike Miller (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) on the program schedule…..There’s end-of-year programming available from ABC News Radio with programs including: “Playback 2015” with Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky; a year-end edition of “Perspective”; “World News This Year”; “2015 As it Happened”; “The Economy 2015 Year in Review” with ABC News’ chief business and economic correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and ABC News correspondent Richard Davies…..KEGL, Dallas “The Eagle” afternoon personality Russ Martin is thanking police for their work rescuing him after he was the victim of a home invasion. A story in the Frisco Enterprise reports that three masked men ambushed him outside his home, bound him and stole items from his house before escaping in Martin’s 2010 Dodge Challenger. The men have not been apprehended yet. Martin was not harmed.
‘Tis the Season for Sports Talk Radio. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes in a column posted today that this time of year represents what can be a boon for sports talk radio. With the NFL’s season zeroing in on the playoffs and basketball, hockey and college sports also in high gear, the opportunities to get creative from a sales standpoint are numerous. He notes some of the sponsored segments he’s recently encountered during play-by-play broadcasts. “‘The collision of the game’ sponsored by a vehicle repair shop; The ‘injury time-out’ sponsored by a medical group; ‘The gem of the game’ (the best play) sponsored by a jewelry store. I even heard one that was called ‘The catch of the game.’ It was sponsored by a bait and tackle shop! Laugh if you must, but this special creativity has to be acknowledged.” Read the entire column here.
Sid Mark Signs Contract Extension to Continue Hosting ‘Sound of Sinatra.’ The program has been airing in one form or another in Philadelphia for the past 59 years – the last 16 on CBS RADIO’s WPHT – and radio pro Sid Mark will continue to host the nationally syndicated “Sound of Sinatra” after recently inking a contract extension. Mark comments, “My thanks to the management of WPHT, our sponsors and, of course, my listeners for making this possible. Look forward to a big bash for the 60th.” CBS RADIO SVP/market manager for Philadelphia David Yadgaroff adds, “What Frank Sinatra is to music, Sid Mark is to radio. We are so happy to continue the tradition that Sid started 59 years ago.” As legend has it, “The Sounds of Sinatra” began with a call from a listener, who suggested that Mark spin one hour of Frank Sinatra songs. That tradition developed into “Friday with Frank,” as well as “Sunday with Sinatra,” which presently airs on WPHT on Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. It’s still heard on more than 100 radio stations from coast to coast and is the only radio program of its kind to have been personally authorized by Frank Sinatra.
Bringing Joy to the Ugly. Nationally syndicated (GCN) talk star Dr. Joy Browne invited listeners to enter photos on Facebook for her annual “Ugliest Christmas Sweater” contest. She came up with two winners – both who work as interns at the York Theatre Company’s current Broadway production of a musical titled “Plaid Tidings.” Pictured (l-r) Daniel Lees, Dr. Joy Browne, and Lucas Camp. York Theatre Company’s slogan is “Where musicals come to life.”
Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit and Tomorrow’s GOP Debate Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The passage of a week-long spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown after this week; the ‘Paris Agreement’ climate deal inked among the U.S. and 185 other countries; and tomorrow night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas were some of the top news/talk stories discussed on weekend talk radio programs, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cooke: C.T.A. in Santa’s Sleigh. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from the Consumer Technology Association’s annual preview of the enormous Consumer Electronics Show scheduled for Las Vegas in January. (Yes, the Consumer Electronics Association has changed its name to the Consumer Technology Association.) As Cooke notes, the data from the CTA is instructive for radio people. According to CTA research, the top five items being sought by consumers this year are (in order of desire): TVs, tablets, smartphones, notebook/laptop computers, and videogame consoles. Read Cooke’s entire report here.
WPHT, Philadelphia Adds Award-Winning Journalist Dawn Stensland to Rich Zeoli’s PM Drive Show. Respected television journalist Dawn Stensland is joining CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, as part of the afternoon drive show with Rich Zeoli. According to the company, she’ll join him to provide news, traffic and weather updates as well as her views on the day’s trending stories. Stensland joined CBS’ KYW-TV in 1997 and anchored afternoon and evening newscasts. She hosted the “CBS News Saturday” morning network broadcast in New York and in 2001, she began an eight-year run as the anchor of WTXF-TV’s “Fox Philadelphia’s 10 O’Clock News Hour.” She has numerous “Best of Philly” honors from Philadelphia Magazine under her belt. Station OM Andy Bloom comments, “Dawn is a well-known voice and face to the Philadelphia public. She has two decades of success in Philadelphia, New York and other major markets that will be an asset to ‘Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.’ In getting to know Dawn, I’ve been struck by her charismatic presence and infectious laugh. I think the audience will truly enjoy what she brings to the ‘Rich Zeoli Afternoon Show.’”
Colin Cowherd Performing for FOX Sports. The arrival of sports media personality Colin Cowherd at FOX Sports produced satisfying numbers in its first month for the company. According to FOX Sports and radio syndicator Premiere Networks, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” had a “total reach” of 19.5 million people between September 8 and October 9. Here’s how FOX and Premiere break it down: video clips of the show drew 11.7 million video views via Facebook, YouTube, FOXSports.com, FOXSportsRadio.com, the live-streaming FOX Sports Go app and Twitter video player; on television, a combined 5.8 million viewers watched at least one minute of the program on FS1 and FS2 (based on Nielsen data); and program podcasts ranked #2 in the Sports & Recreation podcast category on iTunes, netting 1.2 million downloads. On the radio, Los Angeles affiliate KLAC “experienced a 106% gain” in its time slot with Men 25-54 over the previous year.
Odds & Sods. Chicago radio legend Milt Rosenberg’s program at Kovas Communications-owned suburban talk station WCGO, Evanston will end soon with the company citing financial reasons for canceling the two-hour afternoon drive program. Rosenberg’s “Extension 720” program aired for years on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…..iHeartMedia Denver extends its deal to broadcast University of Colorado sports for another four years. The deal extends Buffalos play-by-play on KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” with select games airing on sister station talk KKZN “Real Talk 760.”…..PodcastOne reports that the first episode of “Heather Dubrow’s World” – the new podcast from the “OC Housewives” star – debuted at #3 on the iTunes chart. PodcastOne says that Dubrow trended on Twitter when the episode was released resulting in hundreds of thousands of downloads.
Chris Krok in ‘The Office.’ WBAP, Dallas evening personality Chris Krok (right) is pictured in this selfie with actor John Krasinski (left) at this year’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Krasinski was the race’s Grand Marshal. Krok is celebrating his third year partnering with the track. This year’s “Krok and His Flock” offered listeners a chance to get a tour of the Sprint Cup Series Garage, a concert with Sammy Hagar and the opportunity to hold the American Flag during the National Anthem, all before watching the race.
2016 Presidential Race/Debate Aftermath, Immigration Policy, Hillary Clinton Wig Flap, Climate Change Controversy, University of Missouri Racial Tensions, Veterans Day, Russian Airliner Crash Investigation, and Early Snow Hits Midwest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and discussion about Tuesday night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; talk about the United States’ immigration policy; speculation about whether Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is wearing wigs; the threat of climate change and the international climate talks scheduled for December in Paris; the racial tensions at the University of Missouri; the observance of Veterans Day; the ongoing investigation into the downing of a Russian airliner in the Sinai desert; and early snow hitting the Upper Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
NextRadio’s Future Analyzed in Indy Business Journal. The business publication based in Emmis’ chairman Jeff Smulyan’s hometown has published a story that looks at the next 12 months – a period it reports experts say “will determine whether Smulyan’s years-long quest ultimately succeeds or fails.” Of course, the Indianapolis Business Journal is referring to NextRadio – the initiative that seeks to have cell carriers activate the FM chips in smartphones. As radio industry watchers are probably aware, NextRadio has deals with Sprint, AT&T and one in the hopper with T-mobile to turn on the FM chips in smartphones sold by those carriers. The next target is Verizon. Obviously, carriers make their money off data usage and the NextRadio app allows users to listen to FM radio stations using a fraction of the data they would use accessing services like Spotify or Pandora. So, gaining the cooperation of carriers is a challenge. The piece also notes that there is a hurdle to leap in getting the advertising industry on board as media buyers tell the paper the radio industry needs to get triple the current total of 4 million users in order to have the attention of the ad industry. But NextRadio president Paul Brenner tells IBJ, “We’ve been talking to national ad agencies in the biggest markets and we haven’t found one yet that hasn’t fallen in love with this in five minutes.” IBJ’s Anthony Schoettle writes, “NextRadio’s interactivity allows stations for the first time to offer coupons and on-the-spot purchase opportunities to listeners. Revenue sharing from these new ads likely will be key in attracting and maintaining deals with cell phone providers.” Read his entire piece here.
Salem Media Group Adds John & Leah Show to Seven O&Os. The Envision Networks-syndicated weekend program “The John and Leah Show” featuring hosts John Ziegler and Leah Brandon is added to seven new stations owned by Salem Media Group. They are: KRLA-AM, Los Angeles; KNTH, Houston; KLFE-AM, Seattle; KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KTKZ, Sacramento; WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina; and WLSS, Sarasota, Florida. Salem Media Group SVP/spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “John and Leah is a wild ride across all kinds of topics including the hot stories of the week. I promise you will learn something and be entertained. John and Leah have been doing great radio since their KFI [Los Angeles] days, and the ride now continues on Salem stations. Welcome aboard!”
Odds & Sods. Radio news pro Monica Rix is leaving her position at Cox Media Group’s WDBO-FM, Orlando “News 96.5” to become a Manhattan-based reporter for FOX News Radio…..CBS RADIO adds a daily, two-hour live program to its Play.it platform hosted by pro wrestling star Taz, called, “The Taz Show: Bodyslams & Beyond.”…..Former WUCS, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower is sitting in for Jeff “Defo” DeForrest on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WINZ today (8/24) and tomorrow (8/25)…..The Bubba The Love Sponge Foundation has donated $2,200 to the Gulfport Pirates Youth Football Program. The Gulfport, Florida program has had to overcome financial difficulties, putting its season at risk, as it attempts to overcome a $12,000 deficit. League vice president Sophia Dottin told Bubba their team works with low-income, high-risk children.
Volatile World Markets Top News/Talk Topic Over the Weekend. Issues-oriented talk radio, as monitored by TALKERS magazine, was strongly focused on the financial markets activities both in the United States and across the world during broadcasts over the weekend. The markets – most of which closed sharply down on Friday – opened to volatility this morning (8/24). Aspects of the greater discussion included the relationship between the United States’ and China’s economies, political responsibility for markets stability, and economic recovery and jobs creation in America.
WMAL, Washington’s Larry O’Connor Ties the Knot! Oklahoma City was the site of WMAL, Washington radio personality Larry O’Connor’s marriage ceremony to his lovely bride Meredith. Telling us that it was an honor to serve as his best man, WPHT, Philadelphia morning host Chris Stigall sends TALKERS magazine this great selfie from the nuptials. Pictured (from l-r) are: Stigall, Meredith O’Connor, Larry O’Connor, and maid of honor Jacqueline.
By Chris Stigall
Talk Show Host
PHILADELPHIA — A listener called the show today to define talk radio as he saw it. He called it a place where average Americans of all means, politics and professions can discuss and explore important issues. It’s not a matter of being famous, or being a member of an editorial board or Congress. It’s not a nightly news anchor reading the teleprompter, delivering their version of the news. Talk radio is of the people, by the people, and for the people, he said.
Simply, it’s the purest form of honest dialogue available in all of media.
Earlier this week at a live event, a listener explained the importance of talk radio in her life. Not only does it help her through her days as her parents’ full-time caretaker, but she honestly believes there would be no publicly available opposing view to most media coverage today.
iHeartMedia Reports Q2 Revenue Up 4%. The privately-owned iHeartMedia announces its Q2 financial numbers and reports revenue was $841 million – up 4% compared to the same quarter in 2014 – and stating that it saw “strength across the business (core local and national broadcast advertising revenue, traffic and weather business, syndication business and events).” The company says its expenses rose 5% year-over-year attributable to “event production costs, timing of barter and trade expenses, sales compensation expense and costs related to music licenses and performance royalties.” Chief operating officer and chief financial officer Rich Bressler says in a press release, “We’re pleased with the revenue and OIBDAN growth we achieved this quarter. We continue to invest in our capabilities across both iHeartMedia and outdoor to realize the full value of our multi-platform assets. With no significant debt maturities until 2018, we can continue focusing on growing the top and bottom lines across our business segments.” Total debt for the media giant is reported as just shy of $20.4 billion.
Stigall: The Importance of Talk Radio. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall writes in a piece published in TALKERS today about recent events that have given him pause to reflect on the value of talk radio to the greater society. Stigall says that an important cog in the media machine would be missing if talk radio did not exist. He says, “Call talk radio propaganda if you’d like, but it can only thrive if it offers something consumers want to hear and delivers results to advertisers and sponsors. I know in our show’s case we’re blessed with both. Whether it’s Limbaugh’s leading voice of conservatism, Levin’s case for millennials to engage in their country’s political future, Hannity’s demands for more scrutiny of a taxpayer-funded entity, or simple assessments of current and future leaders’ character – talk radio is the only place it’s found consistently.” Read Stigall’s entire piece here.
iHeartMedia Charlotte Hikes Hotchkiss to Market President. Senior vice president of sales Keith Hotchkiss is elevated to market president of iHeartMedia‘s six-station Charlotte operation. Hotchkiss remarks that, “iHeartMedia Charlotte boasts some of the most talented on-air hosts, programmers, and sales professionals in the country. It is my goal to lead and expand, providing innovative solutions for our client partners across all our platforms, while also creating the best radio for our listeners. This is an exciting time to be in the radio industry. I could not be more proud to represent one of the world’s most enterprising media companies in one of the nation’s greatest cities.” Prior to being transferred to Charlotte, Hotchkiss spent more than 15 years at the company’s Cleveland cluster, where he ultimately became general sales manager. With (6+) Nielsen Audio June 2015 PPM market share and market rank in parentheses, iHeartMedia’s Charlotte cluster consists of country WKKT “The Kat” (7.3, #3); classic rock WRFX “The Fox” (6.5, #4); adult hits WLKO “The Lake” (6.3, #5); CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1” (5.3, #7); and WEND “New Rock 106.5 – The End” (3.1, #12 ). WRFX-HD2 “Fox Sports FM 98.7″ does not appear in Charlotte’s June sweep.
Odds & Sods. The news/talk format airing on WMEL, Cocoa Beach, Florida and operated by John Harper’s Broadcast House LLC will move to Genesis Communications’ WIXC (licensed to Titusville, Florida) beginning Sunday, August 9. Rama Communications has been leasing the station to Broadcast House…..Matt Jones’ “Kentucky Sports Radio” will continue to be heard on stations in the Blue Grass State as Jones renews with the network. The show airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WKJK, Louisville; WLAP, Lexington; and other iHeartMedia stations across the state using the Kentucky News Network…..Christopher “Jack” Johansing is promoted to marketing director at Benztown. He’s been with the company for the past five years serving as coordinator, web, marketing & affiliate relations.
Cecil the Lion Case, 2016 Presidential Candidates-Trump Criticisms, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Iran Nuclear Deal, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Samuel DuBose Slaying, Lois Lerner-IRS Case, and the NFL’s Tom Brady Decision Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29). The case of the Minnesota dentist who hunted a protected lion in Zimbabwe and the public outcry; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the intense scrutiny of Donald Trump; the aftermath of the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price of body parts from abortions; the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the rape allegations being leveled against Bill Cosby; the slaying of unarmed motorist Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati by a police officer; new allegations of Lois Lerner destroying evidence in the IRS scandal; and the NFL’s upholding of the four-game suspension of Tom Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Update: The Glenn Beck Defamation Suit. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reports on the status of the defamation suit in which Premiere Networks talk host Glenn Beck is defending himself. Saudi Arabian national Abdulrahman Alharbi is suing Beck for defamation after Beck continued to talk about his belief that Alharbi had a role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing after authorities had investigated him and cleared him of any involvement in the crime. Now, Weisman says the case has taken another legal step after Judge Patti B. Saris allowed Alharbi to amend his defamation lawsuit by adding a count for unjust enrichment. In allowing this count to be added to the complaint, Judge Saris has significantly upped the amount of a possible judgment. Weisman says the case is a long way from trial and that it’s in the discovery phase right now. Read more here.
WCCO Honored by NAB for Service to Community. On Tuesday (6/16), CBS RADIO heritage news/talk station WCCO-AM was honored by the NAB with the National Association of Broadcaster’s Education Foundation’s “Service to Community Award” for the station’s year-round outreach to help the hungry. For the campaign, WCCO engaged listeners, celebrities and charity groups to collect food and replenish food shelves across 59 counties. Pictured here are (from l-r): U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, CBS RADIO Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo, WCCO program director Bob Shomper, and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. Photo: CBS.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Sold-Out Book Event with Ann Coulter. Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) brought author and conservative media icon Ann Coulter (left) to the Colonial Theatre near Philadelphia for a sold-out event on Monday, June 15 to talk about, among other things, her latest book, Adios America! (Regnery Publishing 2015). Stigall reports to TALKERS that the conversation touched on a wide variety of topics including Coulter’s friendship with Bill Maher, and her real concern about the state of free speech in comedy and commentary today.
Howie Carr: Presidential Kingmaker! It is no secret that every four years in the weeks and months leading up to the high-visibility New Hampshire presidential primary, radio talk show hosts in the state take on an importance and influence in national affairs that exponentially outweighs what their market size and audience reach would normally deliver. Taking that fact into consideration, regionally syndicated host Howie Carr, whose recently launched, independent Howie Carr Radio Network covers the six New England states like a blanket (and is starting to leak into neighboring New York), has become a potential presidential “king maker.” Carr’s immensely popular afternoon drive program is now affiliated in seven top New Hampshire markets with an eighth reportedly on the way — giving him an unprecedented level of “local” presence in the strategic primary battleground that makes him a must-visit by all candidates hoping to have a shot at winning the crucial election. Carr, who ranked 15th in this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred, is considered by many industry observers familiar with his impact in the Northeast as somewhat of a “sleeping giant of news/talk radio” just waiting to invade the nearby Empire State and beyond. To hear a promo currently running on Carr’s network referring to his role in the primary, please click
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan Bernstein Suspended for Tweet. The Chicago sports talk host sat out yesterday’s show (without pay) and will return to the “Boers & Bernstein” show today. This, reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, came after Dan Bernstein revisited rumors that WLS-TV meteorologist Cheryl Scott was romantically involved with one or more Chicago Blackhawks players when he Tweeted: “And the real award for this year’s close connection to the @NHLBlackhawks is @CherylScottWX!!” Scott had vehemently denied the rumors via social media and after Bernstein’s Tweet, Feder reports that WSCR was contacted by WLS-TV management and Scott’s agent protesting the Tweet. This is the second recent Tweet that’s got Bernstein into trouble. Earlier this year he apologized for sexist comments made about Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal.
‘The John and Leah Show’ Lands on WHAS, Louisville. It’s a return to WHAS, Louisville for talk host John Ziegler, whose new Envision Networks-syndicated weekend show with co-host Leah Bandon is being heard every Sunday night at 10:00. Ziegler was a daily personality on the station earlier in his career and iHeartMedia Louisville senior vice president of programming Kelly Carls says, “John Ziegler is already well known to many fans around Kentuckiana. We’re glad they’ll once again get to hear his well-thought-out, unique take on major events and the news.”
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated political weekend show “Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont” celebrates its 35the anniversary next weekend (6/28) with a special program on Sunday preceded by a private gathering on June 24 with frequent program guests from over the years. The show began in 1980 as a 13-week experiment on WBEZ-FM, Chicago to cover the 1980 presidential campaign. In 1991 it went into syndication on public radio. In 1992 it switched to commercial WLS-AM, Chicago and its national profile grew.…..Financial talk host Robert “Bob” Hardcastle – host of the weekend “Money Talk” program on KTRS, St. Louis – has written a memoir of his days as a college baseball player at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1959 titled, College Baseball and Other Shenanigans. Hardcastle is an honored SIUC alumnus from the Class of 1962 and a member of the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Trump Enters Race, Rachel Dolezal Case, Pope Francis’ Global Warming Encyclical, U.S.-Russia Tensions, SCOTUS ObamaCare Subsidies Case, Woman to Be on $10 Bill, ISIS Military Progress, EU Uncertainty Over Greek Debt, and Golden State Warriors Win NBA Title Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17). The candidates for president in 2016 and Donald Trump’s entrance into the GOP primary; the ongoing talk about former Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal’s “identifying” as black; the leaked encyclical in which Pope Francis calls for global governmental action on climate change; the military tensions between Russia and the U.S.; the Supreme Court to hear arguments over federal ObamaCare subsidies; the Treasury Department’s announcement that a woman will replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill in 2020; the progress of ISIS in Iraq and the U.S. military’s policy there; the state of the European Union as Greece warns it can’t pay its debts; and the Golden State Warriors’ victory over Cleveland in the NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Stigall
Talk Show Host
PHILADELPHIA — Please understand this is personal. It’s not a matter of whether you agree with me or even care about the man. I’m writing this for me. Selfishly. Right now, all I can think about is how much he mattered to me in the most formative years of my life. Saying goodbye to David Letterman is breaking my heart and I’m having a tough time thinking about much else.
I can’t claim to have been watching him since his morning show in the early 80s. I was too young. I found Dave during high school in the 90s. Specifically, when Carson was leaving “The Tonight Show.”
Westwood One Announces: Here’s Johnny! Bona fide Chicago radio cult legend Jonathon Brandmeier takes to the national stage next month when Westwood One commences syndicating his daily three-hour eponymous show-gram. Executive vice president of content and programming for Westwood One’s parent company – Cumulus Media – John Dickey comments, “Jonathon is one of the most versatile performers in radio today. We know audiences will enjoy his lively humor and take on each day’s topics. We are thrilled to add ‘Johnny B’ to the Westwood One roster of relevant and relatable talk programming.” Remarking this is an “extremely exciting” time for all those associated with his show-gram, Brandmeier – who has achieved industry success in Los Angeles (on talk KLSX) and Phoenix (on KZZP) as well as in Chicago – notes, “We look forward to continuing to entertain audiences in Chicago and expanding our reach nationwide. Fasten your seatbelts – it is going to be a wild ride.” Simultaneous with Brandmeier’s addition to the Westwood One roster is the departure from it by the program hosted by Dennis Miller. The former “SNL” cast member states that he is “stepping aside from radio at the moment” and that, “it has been a great run. I have had a phenomenal time interacting with my guests and audience, but with so many other commitments, it is hard to maintain a daily talk show. It is time to pass the torch as I move on to explore other opportunities – I wish ‘Johnny B’ lots of luck.” Three top-five market Cumulus-owned AM stations (KABC, Los Angeles, WLS-AM, Chicago, and KLIF-AM, Dallas) have already cleared Brandmeier’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (ET) program. In addition, there are affiliates in Salt Lake City (KKAT), Providence (WPRV), and Albuquerque (KTBL) – all are Cumulus Media AM properties.
Steve McCoy to Host Mornings on ‘News Radio 106.7’ in Atlanta. The Cumulus Media news station is changing morning shows, bringing aboard Atlanta market pro Steve McCoy, effective Monday, March 1. McCoy worked at the old WZGC “Z93” in AM drive where he was the longest-running morning personality in the station’s history. He also worked at “Power 99,” WSTR “Star 94” and WSB-FM “B98.5.” WYAY “News Radio 106.7” program director Greg Tantum says, “Steve has had a personal relationship with millions of Atlanta radio listeners for years. Steve’s deep roots in the community bring a one-of-a-kind perspective and understanding to the daily lives of Atlanta residents. Most important, Steve has proven he is the best at entertaining listeners and making them feel good – even in Atlanta traffic.”
Weisman: The Battle Over Net Neutrality. With yesterday’s passage of the FCC’s proposal to reclassify the Internet as a public utility and regulate it, the battle may have just begun. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, in a timely column examining the matter, writes that this is sure to bring about court challenges by the ISPs. Weisman notes that even though there was support in both the Democrat and Republican parties for preventing ISPs from creating multi-tiered delivery services, there are other issues that Republicans say are problematic. “Opponents of the FCC’s classifying the Internet as a utility are concerned that, by doing so, the FCC would have increased authority to regulate rates and take other actions that they believe would stifle investment by Internet Service Providers and slow innovation. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said that he is cognizant of the power that classifying the Internet as a utility would provide the FCC, but that he expects to use a ‘light touch’ in regulating the Internet and would ignore powers that the FCC had that did not relate to broadband. The devil is often in the details and it will be important to see whether a ‘light touch’ is reflected in the specific regulations to implement the vote which will not be published for a few days and will not become effective for a few months.” Read Weisman’s entire column here.
Today Is the Last Day to Receive the Early Bird Discount for Talkers New York 2015. Registrations are already being booked at a rapid pace as Talkers New York 2015 is heading toward being an early sell-out. The session will be held as part of the day-long conference set for Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early-bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET this afternoon. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced next week.
Jim Bohannon to Emcee Awards Ceremony at Talkers New York 2015. Talk radio great Jim Bohannon will reprise his stellar performance as Emcee of the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12. The veteran Westwood One syndicated personality (a past recipient of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award) will preside over the presentation of the honors which include awards for: Freedom of Speech, Lifetime Achievement, Woman of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year. Stay tuned for the names of the award recipients as well as those who will be making the presentations.
Rogers Upped to News Director for Entercom Upstate. Morning news personality Lee Rogers is promoted to news director for Entercom’s Upstate South Carolina station group. Rogers anchors the morning news on news/talk WYRD, Greenville “106.3 WORD” during “The Tara Show.” Entercom Upstate OM Mark Hendrix comments, “Lee brings a wealth of news experience and Upstate knowledge. I look forward to Lee expanding 106.3 WORD’s position as the Upstate’s breaking news leader. Listeners will hear more proprietary content on the news that matters most to them.”
Odds & Sods. With the signing of Jonathon Brandmeier to the Westwood One network and the show being picked up by Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago, the station cuts ties with John Kass and Lauren Cohn, who were co-hosting the late morning daypart, although Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the station is auditioning Lauren Cohn for work on the morning show hosted by Big John Howell. Filling in on the late morning program until Brandmeier starts is talk radio pro Tom Becka, who’s on the air there today through March 6…..American political satirist – and five-time Emmy nominee – Will Durst joins the regular panel of humorous pundits on the weekly podcast “The Koz Effect,” which streams live at 7:00 am ET Saturdays via the Radio Titans podcast network…..San Antonio news/talk KTSA is now heard on the FM dial in the market as Alpha Media begins simulcasting the station on translator K296GK at 107.1 FM…..Powell Broadcasting’s news/talk KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa begins simulcasting its programming on translator K235CA, Sioux City at 94.9 FM…..ABC and PodcastOne are debuting a new, original podcast series which takes an in-depth look at the new television drama “American Crime.” The weekly podcast will be hosted by film critic and radio personality Elvis Mitchell.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Joining Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey, who will air in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. His show is also being added to the evening program schedule at CBS RADIO’s news WNEW-FM, Baltimore/Washington…..The “Good Day” show with host Doug Stephan adds 11 new affiliate stations, including: WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; and KFTL, Gilbert Arizona…..The “Business Rockstars” show with Ken Rutkowski is added to the program schedule at 18 Rocking M Media outlets in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma…..“The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan joins the program lineup at WXTK-FM, Cape Cod…..WCGO, Chicago adds Bruce DuMont’s “Beyond the Beltway” to its weekend lineup…..BizTalkRadio clears several shows, including the Ray Lucia program, on new business talk outlet WHFS-AM, Tampa and the 11-station “SuperTalk” chain in Mississippi…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” featuring Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete joins the program lineup at WRKO, Boston.
Hannity Visits Chris Stigall Show at CPAC Radio Row. In this photo, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity (right, standing at mic) makes an impromptu stop at the WPHT, Philadelphia booth on the radio row at the CPAC conference. He appeared on the morning show hosted by Chris Stigall (far left, seated). During the broadcast Stigall spoke with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, her daughter Bristol, and potential 2016 candidate Senator Ted Cruz.
Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Takes Sacramento. Nationally syndicated radio talk star Dave Ramsey’s “Smart Money” live event tour continued last night (2/26) in Sacramento as he presented his program about how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future at Adventure Church. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. Local affiliate KSTE helped promote the event. KSTE program director Bill White comments, “Dave Ramsey touches, inspires, and helps people every day. He not only provides a healthy perspective in regards to personal and professional finances but has an overall ‘LIFE’ philosophy that resonates with his audience far and wide. His show isn’t just about money; it’s about life. We’re proud to have Dave on “Talk 650” KSTE, a radio show that’s important and matters to listeners and our clients.” Pictured here are (from l-r): KSTE’s Joel Mordhorst, account executive; Darren Mounts, general sales manager; Ramsey; Michelle Alfano, account executive; Jeff Bussani, account executive; and White.
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Department of Homeland Security Funding Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 23-27. The battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was President Obama’s amnesty order tied with the controversial comments made by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Coming in at #3 was the brutality of ISIS tied with the Iran nuclear weapons program, and following at #4 was the allegation of Bill O’Reilly’s violating the journalistic ethics code. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and it published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Magazine Presents 2014 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. Today (10/31), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the third annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list ranks sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 10 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming. With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio. The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication. Now you know the criteria, so who’s #1 this year? Number two, and three? Click here to find out.
Round Four of October PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of October 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was September 11 through October 8. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Two More Salem News/Talkers Take ‘The Answer’ Brand. Joining the 11 Salem Communications-owned news/talk station to begin using “The Answer” as their brand are WRC, Washington and KLUP, San Antonio. Beginning November 4, they become “AM 1260 The Answer” and “AM 930 The Truth,” respectively. Salem VP director of spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Since this is decision day in America, we felt the perfect time to make the brand name switch was on Election Day, and both markets were ready to go.” Boyce says the brand has resonated with listeners in the markets where the company is using it.
Schechtman Launches Local Digital Effort NapaBroadcasting.com. Napa Valley broadcasting pro Jeff Schechtman – for the past 10 years the GM of radio stations KVON and KVYN in the region – is launching an online radio station targeting the Napa Valley community. Schechtman is partnering with Napa Valley College and the operation’s offices and studios are located on the school’s campus. In a press release, Schechtman notes that since leaving KVON and KVYN, former local talk station KVON flipped to sports using Fox Sports Radio and he says both stations have outsourced their news. “There is currently no original audio reporting and no chance for the community to hear the voices of local leaders, opinion makers or other citizens.” He says his venture hopes to provide that local content. “Suddenly it became clear to me and others in the community that there was a huge need for local programming that wasn’t being served. Napa also provides a unique economic opportunity, because in addition to local news and talk, we can expand the effort to incorporate wine, food and health programing, which has both local and worldwide appeal. We can use the internet for both local, regional and worldwide purposes.” The partnership with Napa Valley College provides both programming and creative personnel. Music programing will also start in January. Schechtman believes that being on a college campus helps provide the energy and creativity that represents what this effort is about. “This is radio for the way we live now,” he explains.
Odds & Sods. With the move of evening host Rich Zeoli from the evening shift to afternoon drive at CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, current afternoon drive co-host Gary R’nel slides back into the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. R’nel has been working with Dick Morris who exits the station on November 5…..New general managers are named by Salem Communications for its San Diego and Sacramento station groups. Dale Hendry relocates to San Diego to lead the team there. He moves south from the company’s Sacramento cluster where he’s been serving as GM. Taking over Hendry’s role in Sacramento is Mark Durkin who is promoted from his director of sales position. And Scott Hamilton becomes general sales manager in Sacramento.
Big Bax & O’Brien Bash in Springfield. The long-running, highly-successful morning talk team of Bax & O’Brien (Mike “Bax” Baxendale and John O’Brien) of Saga Communications’ classic rocker, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, Massachusetts presented their second annual “Thursday Night Live” show last night (10/30). The bawdy, irreverent comedy spectacular played before a sold-out house of more than 200 core fans at downtown Springfield’s prestigious City Stage theater who paid $27 each for the honor of being entertained by a slew of guests and performers that included salty crooner Red Peters & the Alan Pinchloaf Singers, show producer/newsman/sidekick Steve Nagel, a “mystery guest,” comedic appearances by several high-profile local sponsors as well as hilarious video drop ins from Lionel of LionelMedia.com and show regular, Fitsy. Pictured above (l-r): Bax & O’Brien on stage. Pictured at right (l-r): Saga Communications EVP Steve Goldstein and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison with a photo bomb appearance of associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison taken at a selfie machine set up in the theater lobby.
Journal Reports Radio Revenue Up 5.1% in Q3. Bucking the industry-wide third quarter trend, Journal Communications is reporting a downright outstanding quarter for its radio and television division. On the radio side, operating earnings were up 16.1% and the net revenue figure of $21.6 million saw a percentage hike of 5.1%. Television net revenue was up 22.8% but publishing fell 5.4%. The irony here is that Journal is entering into a complex deal with E.W. Scripps that would put the combined TV and radio properties into one company and the publishing platform into another called Journal Media Group. Journal Communications CEO Steve Smith states, “Journal benefitted from continued growth in television retransmission revenue along with significant political and issue advertising spending in a number of our markets. Our focused broadcast sales efforts grew both television and radio revenue, excluding retransmission and political, by approximately 3% and drove television and radio digital revenue up 22% and 31%, respectively.” Journal has fared better than other radio station owners in the political advertising arena by luck of the draw – it owns stations in states and markets with tight and high-profile races and ballot issues.
Another Stop on the ‘WMAL Diner Tour.’ This photo is from the latest stop on the October “WMAL Diner Tour” in which the station broadcasts (each Friday this month) live from a different diner in Maryland or Virginia. It’s all part of the station’s content leading up to Tuesday’s elections. Seen here are (from left to right): guest Ed Henry, Fox News White House correspondent; WMAL “Mornings On The Mall” hosts Larry O’Connor and Brian Wilson.
Mid-Term Elections Take Over Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. After three weeks of the Ebola pandemic threat as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, the run-up to Tuesday’s mid-term elections was the prevailing topic this week. At #2 was the domestic Ebola cases and the threat of a global pandemic. Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Western citizens joining the radical organization, followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Los Angeles Sports Media Legends. The opening of the Los Angeles Clippers 2014-15 season was the reason for the remote broadcast from “Fan Fest” outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the team’s flagship KFWB “The Beast 980.” Pictured here are (from left to right): Ralph Lawler, who appears on the station at 7:30 each morning; midday personality Fred Roggin; and late morning syndicated talk host Jim Rome. Additionally, the station’s other weekday personalities Marques Johnson, Jeanne Zelasko, Brett Winterble and George Wrighster appeared at the broadcast.
Dick Morris to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia Talk Show. The notorious political operative has been hosting the afternoon drive program on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia for the past 18 months, but now informs the company he will exit after the mid-term elections to return to the political campaign business, focusing on assisting Republicans in 2016. Dick Morris made the announcement on his Wednesday program and the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that CBS RADIO Philly SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “He has done a great job for WPHT and we knew his busy schedule might one day make doing a daily radio show difficult.” Rayfield expects to have news of the station’s plans for the daypart as soon as next week. Philadelphia talk radio pro Gary R’nel co-hosts the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show alongside Morris and has been a largely unsung component of the program’s professional smoothness and appeal. Also, it is reported in the Daily News story that noted media consultant Walter Sabo has been seen at the station in recent weeks and has even recently hosted several talk programs during nighttime hours under a fictitious name – fueling speculation that the Sabo Media CEO is either involved in the station as a consultant or even more provocatively as a potential replacement for an on-air talent opening. Although Sabo’s involvement is officially denied by CBS market management, TALKERS magazine editorial intelligence indicates it is not unusual for well-known programming consultants to occasionally moonlight as fill-in talent simply for the sake of keeping their first-hand “feel” for the format active… or as is likely in the case of Sabo, simply for the fun of it. Regarding developments at WPHT, Walter Sabo tells TALKERS, “Under [OM] Andy Bloom and [PD] Jared Hart, WPHT has become a dynamic, Philadelphia radio station. They’ve made a series of great decisions, they will make the right one again.”
New Local Show to Debut on WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. The two sports talk stations are operated by Genesis Communications and, although they carry the slogan “The Team,” are branded collectively along with the website of the same name, “Sports Talk Florida.” Now the simulcast adds a new local show to the program lineup. Debuting in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is “The Front Office,” hosted by Tom Veit, a.k.a. The GM. The station says the program “will take a unique look at the Central Florida sports world giving listeners the perspective from those that make the deals and the sports insiders that know how they’re made. Veit is a seasoned sports executive with over 25 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry.” Veit comments, “With 10 major professional sports teams and seven all sport Division I collegiate programs in Florida, there needs to be a place during the midday to talk local sports. Every day there will be passionate debates on the hot topics. After spending so many years working in the Central Florida sports scene, the one thing I know is that there is passion from every point of view.”
Westwood One’s Unique Fourth Down. Pro football fans this Sunday (10/26) will experience either pure nirvana or pigskin overkill when Westwood One airs four consecutive NFL games. The league’s “International Series” affair between the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons from London’s Wembley Stadium kicks off the coverage, beginning at 9:00 am (ET). Assigned to that contest are Dave Sims and Mark Malone. Kevin Lee and Ross Tucker will call the Houston Texans versus Tennessee Titans game, which starts at 12:30 pm (ET). Immediately following, the Philadelphia Eagles play the Arizona Cardinals, with Tom McCarthy and Rod Woodson handling play-by-play and analysis duties, respectively. Wrapping up Westwood One’s quadruple-header marathon is the 7:30 pm (ET) tussle between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, with Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, and Chris Doering doing the broadcasting honors.
On the Scene in Ottawa. As Canada deals with the attacks at the country’s National War Memorial and Parliament that happened on Tuesday, ABC News Radio‘s Aaron Katersky is on the scene. He’s pictured here just down the road from the Parliament building in Ottawa reporting after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Canadian Army reservist Nathan Cirillo who was serving as a guard at the capitol.
Michael Brown Autopsy Report/Ferguson Tensions, Mid-Term Elections, Ebola Pandemic Threat, Monica Lewinsky Speech, Canadian Killings, Battle Against ISIS, and Renee Zellweger Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The unofficial release of the autopsy report on Michael Brown indicating he was shot at close range and the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about a majority change in the Senate; the Ebola pandemic threat and the Obama Administration’s response; the revisiting of the Monica Lewinsky–Bill Clinton affair after Lewinsky’s recent speech blaming the Drudge Report for “ruining” her life; the recent killings in Canada related to homegrown “jihadists”; the coalition battle against ISIS in Iraq; and the flap over actress Renee Zellweger’s changed appearance were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Barry Young’s Retirement from KFYI, Phoenix Pushes Mike Broomhead into Mid-Morning Slot. As TALKERS magazine reported back on March 14 of this year, longtime Phoenix talk radio personality (and president and CEO of WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment) Barry Young (left) is retiring from his daily talk show duties at iHeartMedia-owned news/talker KFYI. Now, the station announces that after Young does his last show on November 7, current afternoon drive personality Mike Broomhead (right) will move to the 7:00 am to 10:00 am slot. Broomhead states, “Barry Young is a legend in this business and will someday soon be in the Arizona Broadcasting Hall of Fame. It has been an honor to work with and learn from him. I’m looking forward to hosting mornings. I want to talk about the issues that concern all of us and find solutions that are best for Arizona. I’m not always right, but I always want what is best.” KFYI program director Neil Larrimore adds, “Mike is a superstar who has worked hard to earn this opportunity. He’s a great host, but even more so, he’s a good man.” The station will begin a search for a new afternoon drive host.
Former WNIR-FM, Akron Talk Host Sues Station Over Harassment Allegation. Former morning drive personality Nancy Jones – who went by the on-air name Maggie Fuller – is suing Media-Com Inc. for reinstatement and/or back pay plus damages alleging she was sexually harassed by current morning drive host John “Couchburner” Denning. The complaint states that Jones, who was a staffer with WNIR-FM, Akron since 1999, began, in 2013, receiving “hostile” and “disrespectful” treatment from Denning, culminating in his using the c-word to describe her to listeners at a promotional event. Jones claims station management did nothing to address her complaints. Read more about this case in the Norwalk Reflector here.
It’s Synchronicity for BizTalkRadio’s Weber. After more than a decade with BizTalkRadio and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network,president Jeff Weber departs the Center Post Holdings company to join Synchronicity in a consulting capacity. Weber asserts that, “Synchronicity’s technology has begun to revolutionize the industry; I don’t make statements like that unless I mean them. Just as John Armstrong created and built DG Systems, this new company of his is totally cutting-edge. It will be a major asset to broadcasters, syndicators, and others who want to reduce costs with a user-friendly and efficient platform.” According to Weber, Synchronicity increases revenue through localization of advertising and real-time accountability. In his 12 years with the former Business TalkRadio Network (now BizTalkRadio and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network), Weber was its executive vice president; acting chief executive officer; and one year ago, became president. Additionally, Weber will consult Connecticut-based Forte Family Broadcasting.
KFWB Selects Koontz as Sports Sales Manager. Former KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles station manager Bob Koontz joins newly launched all-sports KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” as sports sales manager. The Southern California native comments that he is “thrilled” to be part of the new sports outlet and that he looks forward “to working with our great talent to help build strategic partnerships and unique opportunities for our clients and listeners.” Prior to becoming KSPN’s station manager (2006 – 2008), Koontz spent six years as the station’s first sales manager. He also held the sales manager title for Los Angeles stations (talk) KABC; (rock) KLOS; (sports-talk) KMPC; (adult contemporary) KIQQ “K-Lite,” and (regional Mexican) KSCA.
McMorris Tapped as Radio One Washington, DC News/Community Affairs Director. “News One Now” weekly contributor Ebony McMorris is appointed news and community affairs director for Radio One Washington, DC. The company’s nation’s capital cluster consists of urban AC WMMJ “Majic 102.3,” urban contemporary WKYS; gospel WPRS “Praise 104.1,” gospel WYCB “Spirit 1340,” and talk WOL. According to Radio One vice president and general manager Alan Leinwand, “We are very fortunate to have Ebony moving into this very important position. She will play an integral role in helping us deliver a first-class news product, while also helping grow our community footprint.” Replacing Sheila Stewart, who passed away 11 months ago, McMorris comments, “Taking over a position held by Sheila is an honor because she mentored me early in my career. I cannot forget her power to connect people. The vision of this company and its staff is unmatched.” In addition to her new duties, McMorris – who has worked with Radio One since 2007 as WOL’s national reporter and host of public affairs programming on “Praise 104.1” and “Majic 102.3” – will serve as a daily reporter for the syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” McMorris was morning news correspondent on Roland Martin‘s radio show.
ABC News Radio and Hearst Strike Deal for News and Info Service for Baltimore Stations. When Hearst Radio’s news/talk WBAL and rock WIYY in Baltimore begin using ABC News Radio products later this year, it’ll mark a return to the outlets for ABC after more than 10 years absence. In addition to the two stations using ABC’s “premium national, international and entertainment news programming,” ABC Radio will provide music news for WIYY’s website and ABC Air Power, the most immediate, most topical and most complete radio show prep service in the industry today. WBAL and WIYY president and GM Cary Pahigian comments, “From reliable top hour newscasts and breaking news for WBAL and prep and digital support for ‘98 Rock,’ we are delighted to welcome the powerful resources of ABC to Hearst Radio Baltimore.”
Stigall and Ted Cruz Talk the Constitution. Pictured here at the National Constitution Center on September 17th in Philadelphia are WPHT, Philadelphia morning personality Chris Stigall (left) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (right). Cruz joined Stigall for a one-on-one discussion about Constitutional conflicts in the news today. The event drew hundreds of WPHT listeners to hear Cruz – a noted Constitutional scholar – discuss the issues.
Consultant Bill McMahon Sounds Off on Key Radio Issues. One of the veteran consultants who’s had a significant influence on the modern era of talk radio as a thinker and innovator is Bill McMahon. He and his company, The Authentic Personality, developed what has been come to be known as the Authentic Personality method, the first formal training process for radio personalities and program directors. Hundreds of radio personalities and program directors in the US and the UK have participated in his Authentic Personality workshops. McMahon was one of the first to recognize Rush Limbaugh‘s “talent on loan from God” and give him a platform for its use. In addition to Rush, he has influenced the careers of many of radio’s biggest stars including Kidd Kraddick and Johnny Vaughan in the UK. Interestingly McMahon was the featured interview in the very first print issue of TALKERS almost 25 years ago. At a time when radio is facing all kinds of new high-tech competition for the consumer’s time and attention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (who also conducted that first interview in 1990) thought it appropriate to sit down again with McMahon and talk about the current state of radio and radio personalities. In what turned out to be a fascinating 55-plus minutes of conversation, McMahon opines the following observations:
- Very little has changed in terms of radio content/format development since the initial conversation 25 years ago.
- The vast majority of radio’s content over the past 50 or 60 years has been created by the music industry. The radio industry has functioned primarily as the distribution and promotional arm of the music industry. The radio industry has created very little of its own content since the inception of television… with the notable exception of talk radio.
- Major innovations in radio content creation have come from individual on-air talent like Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Scott Shannon, etc., not radio industry management.
- Radio is no longer attracting the best and brightest talent. This is a critical and a potentially fatal problem for radio.
- Radio needs to launch an immediate campaign to recruit extraordinary talent who love creating audio entertainment and have ideas for new programs and formats that consumers want and need.
- The radio industry’s desire to create big mass appeal formats and programs goes against everything that’s happening in the world. Things that are succeeding have clearly defined specialties. Think Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, and Fox News. In this world of unlimited choice where consumers are in control of what they consume and when they consume it, having a clearly defined and distinctive specialty is a must for success.
- The “Fourteen Traits Inherent in the Best Radio Personalities” provide a guide for evaluating and recruiting the kind of talent radio needs to attract to continue to be viable.
To listen to the entire unedited audio conversation between Bill McMahon and Michael Harrison conducted for this story, please click
To contact Bill McMahon call 208-887-5670 or email Bill@AuthenticPersonality.biz
Odds & Sods. A special series is being presented by SiriusXM on the Howard 101 channel. Howard Stern show media producer and aspiring film maker JD Harmeyer interviewed five Hollywood directors while at the 2014 Comic Con International in San Diego earlier this summer and the result the “JD Directors Special” during which Harmeyer interviews “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” director Jonathan Liebesman, “Children’s Hospital” creator Rob Corddry, “Into the Storm” director Steven Quale and legendary film director and writer Guillermo del Toro. The program airs on Friday, September 19, at 7:00 pm ET…..Westwood One extends its partnership with Harpo Studios and Dr. Mehmet Oz for the daily, one-minute feature, “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz.” Dr. Oz says “Not a day goes by that I don’t get positive feedback from listeners of ‘Daily Dose.’ My goal is to spread the message of good health – body, mind and spirit. Syndication with Westwood One helps to expand that message to an attentive and diverse audience.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Celebrity Golf Tournament Raises $250,000. Monday’s 2014 Celebrity Golf Tournament at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Tarrytown, New York helped raise $250,000 for the Broadcasters Foundation of America. More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including famed sportscasters, athletes, and actors. Celebrity golfers included: Michael J. Fox; Bruce Beck, WNBC-TV; Craig Carton, WFAN; John Franco, Mets Hall of Famer; Sterling Sharpe, Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer; Tina Cervasio, Fox Sports and MSG Network; Howard Cross, New York Giants great; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-TV; Rachel Grant, actress and philanthropist; Jay Harris, ESPN; Mary Calvi, WCBS-TV; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Sean McDonough, CBS and ESPN; Lonnie Quinn, WCBS-TV; Dana Tyler, WCBS-TV; Chris Wragge, WCBS-TV; and more.
‘Into Tomorrow’ Visits Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. As part of a whirlwind tour of techie events to cover for his weekly consumer electronics talk show “Into Tomorrow,” host Dave Graveline (center, surrounded by his staff) was in Berlin and is pictured here in front of the historic Checkpoint Charlie. During a two-week period, Graveline covered the IFA in Berlin, the recent Apple event in San Francisco and the annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF).
The NFL and Domestic Violence, the U.S.-led Coalition Against ISIS, Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Prospects, the Mid-Term Elections and a Possible Change in Congressional Majorities, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Australian Terror Plot Foiled and Scotland Secession Referendum Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/17). The continuing controversy over the NFL’s domestic violence policy and the several players facing criminal charges and league suspensions over incidents; the Western coalition of countries vowing to combat ISIS; Hillary Clinton’s visit to Iowa and her prospects for running for president in 2016; the looming mid-term elections and talk about majority changes in Congress; concern over the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa and the possibility of a pandemic; the thwarting of a terror plot in Australia; and today’s referendum in Scotland on seceding from the U.K. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Joan Hamburg to Host Weekend Show on WABC, New York. After a long career at crosstown heritage AM news/talker WOR, Cumulus Media announces that New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is joining its news/talker 77 WABC to host a weekly Saturday program to air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Cumulus says on the show Hamburg “will continue discussing the most important social, economic and political issues that impact listeners’ lives each week. Hamburg will also interview major celebrities and powerful political figures on the program.” In addition, the deal calls for Hamburg to produce weekly features and exclusive programs available in digital formats. Hamburg comments, “How excited I am to join legendary WABC radio and work with Kim Bryant, Craig Schwalb and the rest of the Cumulus family. And what a treat to join their roster of the best talk talent in the country. New York get ready — the conversation is about to begin.”
Talk Host Jim Villanucci Resigns from KXL, Portland. There is little known at this time about what has transpired to cause midday talk show host Jim Villanucci to resign from his position with Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland but a Tweet from KXL’s Lars Larson states simply that Villanucci has resigned for “personal reasons” and that Larson wishes him well. Filling in during the daypart is Victoria Taft.
Tension Between WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Management Over Fox Sports Simulcast. According to a story by Neil Best in Newsday, WFAN, New York afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa has been ordered by CBS RADIO management – under threat of lawsuit – not to gripe publicly about the simulcast of his show being bumped from cable’s Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 for live sporting events. Best reports that while Francesa didn’t talk specifically about the Fox Sports simulcast issues, he said on his radio show that in contrast to a corporate statement to the contrary, he has been threatened with legal action if he speaks publicly about anything that costs the company money, with the implication being the Fox Sports arrangement. In other words, he could be held liable for any income CBS loses if the Fox Sports relationship dissolves. Read Best’s piece here.
Cisco Cotto Joins CBS RADIO’s WBBM-AM, Chicago. Newsman and talk show host Cisco Cotto is becoming part of the staff at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM and WCFS-FM, Chicago, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Cotto has worked in the Chicago market his entire career. He started at CBS’ former all-news WMAQ and has served as news anchor at Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM (where he also went on to host a talk show) as well as at Salem’s news/talk WIND, and the Moody Bible Institute’s Christian talker WMBI. His position at WBBM and WCFS is anchor/reporter. Read Feder’s entire column here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Adds Comic Jim Krenn to Friday Program. Joining the “KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway” each Friday is Jim Krenn, a popular Pittsburgh radio personality and comedian. KDKA-AM program director Jim Graci says, “KDKA is delighted to have Jim Krenn on the station each Friday morning. It’s like adding another big bat to an all-star lineup, and will give KDKA listeners another reason to smile heading into the weekend.” Krenn is a Pittsburgh native who worked successfully in Steel City radio for 24 years. He is currently producing a weekly podcast titled, “Jim Krenn: No Restrictions.”
Dreyer Named Director of Integrated Media for NRG. Appointed to the newly created position of director of integrated media for NRG Media is Erica Dreyer. In making the announcement, NRG president and CEO Mary Quass noted that Dreyer recently served in the same post for both Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois and Mid-West Family Broadcasting of Rockford for the past seven-plus years. Quass states, “Digital media offers the greatest potential revenue growth for radio today. Erica Dreyer has earned seven awards for excellence in the digital arena. Dreyer’s the maverick we need to lead this new department.” In this position, Dreyer will be responsible for infusing new inventory and pricing techniques into NRG’s interactive portfolio. Dreyer will also train and educate sales departments in the station group to produce more sophisticated, high-value integrated solutions for clients and help educate advertisers about integrated solutions for their business needs. Dreyer starts with NRG on September 30.
WPHT, Philadelphia Speaker Series Hosts Senator Ted Cruz. Tonight’s event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is the latest in the WPHT Speaker Series and will feature Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussing the First and Fourth Amendments. The program takes place in observance of Constitution Day and WPHT morning drive personality Chris Stigall is moderating the discussion.
The Big Issue of the Day. Pictured here are ESPN personalities (from left to right) Jemele Hill, Jane McManus and Cari Champion in the studio during the production of the podcast “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL on ESPN Radio.” The show was a joint effort by espnW and ESPN Radio. Also appearing on the program were espnW personalities Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain. ESPN host Keith Olbermann and National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill joined the conversation as guests.
The NFL and Domestic Violence, U.S.-Led Coalition Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Run, New Benghazi Investigation, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Scotland Succession Referendum, and Obama Amnesty Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The ongoing furor over the domestic violence issues plaguing the NFL; debate over the potential effectiveness of the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS; the looming mid-term elections and how they may affect majorities in Congress; Hillary Clinton’s weekend appearance in Iowa and her possible run for president in 2016; the new Benghazi investigation; the status of the Ebola outbreak in Africa and the potential for a pandemic; Thursday’s referendum on whether Scotland breaks away from the U.K.; and Senator Ted Cruz’s effort to prevent amnesty action by President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WABC, New York Adds Larry Mendte to Weekend Programming Lineup. Joining the WABC, New York Sunday evening lineup is Larry Mendte, who will host a weekly 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm program beginning July 27. The station notes that Mendte is “a familiar voice to the New York metro area, having most recently been a contributor to WPIX-TV’s nightly newscast producing commentaries…Returning to New York on 77 WABC allows Mendte to expand upon these commentaries, talk about New York’s biggest stories, and speak to Tri-State listeners with warmth, wit, and honesty that New York listeners have come to expect from Mendte and 77 WABC.” Mendte co-hosted the morning program on WWIQ, Philadelphia during its time as a news/talk outlet operated by Merlin Media. Mendte also hosts a television news and public affairs show for Me TV in Philadelphia. The show will soon air in New York on Me TV.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Julie Talbott of Premiere Networks Receives the TALKERS “Woman of the Year” Award. Today (7/23) marks the seventh business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 2 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Radio by a Woman (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award) by last year’s recipient Heather Cohen, EVP, the Weiss Agency to Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. Talbott delivers an uplifting acceptance address in which she states, “This is really a fun business. But it’s a business…and it’s a tough business and we all have to continue to work together. I know we’re competitors – but we have to work together to really make something great happen.” Continuing on the theme of keeping radio work enjoyable, Talbott discusses her early days as a “pretty naive University of Kentucky small-town girl graduate” looking in New York City for a career area to enter and originally being attracted to the media field because the interviewers – unlike those in other areas of business she explored – seemed to be having fun in their work and were just as successful as the people she met in banking and other fields of business she encountered. She quickly realized, “That’s the creative business I want to be in!” She suggests, “We can’t forget the fun. We have to continually try to find some fun environment for the folks working for us.” To see this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: part 3 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which Westwood One founder and Courtside Entertainment Group/Podcast One CEO Norm Pattiz receives the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Entercom Chief David Field Asks Employees to Embrace Change, Lists Accomplishments in Mid-Year Memo. In his twice-annual memo to staffers, Entercom president and CEO David Field writes that everyone in the radio business must embrace change and innovate and challenges employees to do so within the guidelines of what Entercom believes in. He goes on to list those beliefs which start with its dedication to “building the best local radio stations with the best local personalities.” Also, Field speaks about the company’s accomplishments and points to the launch of new radio stations, the debut of its SmartReach Digital local marketing arm, and the “two-minute” promise at Seattle’s alternative “The End” which limits spots to six minutes per hour on the station with never more than 2 minutes of commercials at one time. Read his entire memo here.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Debut Non-Sports Show Featuring Packers. The show is called “Tauscher and Kuhn” and will feature former Green Bay Packers lineman Mark Tauscher and current Packers fullback John Kuhn. It will air from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm on eight select Tuesdays beginning in September. The Journal Broadcast Group news/talk station has the show sponsored by Associated Bank. The program is not a sports talk show and will instead revolve around the two discussing current events, pop culture and more. Journal Milwaukee VP/GM of radio operations Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ is committed to developing original, live, local programming and talent for our listeners. Mark and John have great chemistry. This is a chance to hear them unplugged discussing all areas of life, beyond the Xs and Os of sports. We look forward to have Mark and John on our team!” Tauscher says, “One of my favorite things while playing in the NFL was debating and arguing a wide range of topics in the locker room. John was and is always ready for a lively discussion, so I am looking forward to bringing our unique perspectives to the airwaves and having lots of fun along the way.”
Sabo: Five Steps to Managing a Problem. Media consultant Walter Sabo writes that because talk radio’s very purpose is to nurture controversy and opinion, there are ways to handle what might be perceived as a too-controversial event that help avoid “bad” PR and, worse, loss of advertising revenue or the decision to fire employees. Sabo notes that talk radio practitioners should be prepared to combat advertiser boycotts by arming themselves with examples of “controversial programming” on television on which they advertise because, most “family oriented” advertisers do air spots on TV shows that could be considered just as controversial – perhaps more so – than talk radio programming. For examples of this and more of Sabo’s five-step prescription, click here.
Odds & Sods. WPHT, Philadelphia mid-morning personality Dom Giordano is being inducted into the Philadelphia Area Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in a ceremony that will take place on November 21 at the Hilton Philadelphia. See a complete list of inductees and honorees here…..Former San Francisco Giants pitcher and current team broadcaster Mike Krukow is suffering from a degenerative muscle disease called inclusion-body myositis. Krukow is part of the broadcast team for Comcast Sports Bay Area and for Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco. The disease is not life-threatening but there is no cure or treatment and it’s forced Krukow to use a cane for balance and to ride in a motorized cart at times…..Jake McCann is named vice president of sales for Cumulus Washington which puts him in charge of the sales effort for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM…..Digital Syndicate Network-owned sports talker WDKT, Beulah, North Dakota re-brands as “KDKT SportsRadio 1410” with the change in network affiliation from Fox Sports Radio to CBS Sports Radio. The station keeps Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick and brings CBS’ Jim Rome back to the market after a year’s absence…..John Harper is named host of Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air” program. Harper joins the Catholic broadcaster after a career that includes time spent with ESPN building the sports giant’s “SportsCenter” into the iconic sports news programming that it’s become.
Bringing the Flight 17 Story Home to Listeners. Reporting from Kiev, Ukraine, ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky (left) speaks with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (right) in Kiev about the downing of Flight 17 and the political ramifications of Russia’s involvement in arming the Ukraine rebels.
ObamaCare Court Rulings, Flight 17 Investigation-Russian Responsibility, Gaza Strip Violence, Tony Dungy-Michael Sam Comments Controversy, Primary Races, Western Drought-California Water Shortage, Bill Clinton’s ‘Energizer’ Flap, and Illegal Child Immigration Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). Two separate and different Appeals Courts rulings on tax credits for citizens signing up for the Affordable Care Act; the ongoing investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s battle with the West over blame; the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Western airlines’ cessation of flights into Tel Aviv; the controversy over Tony Dungy’s comments about not drafting openly gay footballer Michael Sam because of the “distraction” it would cause; the mid-term primary races held on Tuesday; concern over the ongoing Western drought and Southern California’s low water supply; the latest published allegations about Bill Clinton’s paramour dubbed “Energizer”; and the influx of child illegals into the Southwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale Receives the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” Award. Today (7/22) marks the sixth business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 1 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Broadcaster by Talk Media, Inc. CEO Carole Marks (pictured here at left) to WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman (pictured here at right). Kaufman gives a powerful acceptance speech in which she expresses her humble appreciation and encourages her fellow talk show hosts to exercise their radio programs’ full potential as a service to their communities, which she says are becoming increasingly disconnected due in part to the very technology of the modern era. She states, “If not us – who? If we don’t move people from merely talking into actually doing, we are missing the blessing that this platform gives us. If we don’t help the people who deserve our help, we will feed into the notion that we are a dispassionate nation that needs government to take care of us.” View the video of the award presentation here. Coming tomorrow: part 2 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which last year’s recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Radio Industry by a Woman (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award), Heather Cohen EVP, The Weiss Agency presents the honor to this year’s recipient, Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Mancow Sues Maverick Radio Partners. From a story in today’s Chicago Tribune, Chicago-based talk show host Erich “Mancow” Muller is suing Maverick Radio Partners – led by Rodney Rainey – for allegedly trying to defraud him of $50,000 purported to be targeted to radio station investments. The Tribune story relates that Muller was approached by Rainey in December 2011 to be an investor in a project that would acquire a number of radio stations — beginning with WFRE and WFMD in Frederick, Maryland – and that the company had financial backing from Spartacus Partners Group. Based on a verbal deal, Mancow transferred $50,000 to Maverick with the understanding it would be held in escrow until Mancow was provided with documented proof that the additional funding for the station purchases was secured. That never happened and when Mancow sought his money back from Maverick, he alleges he received promises the money was on its way but it was never returned. Mancow is suing Maverick for fraud and breach of contract and is seeking the $50,000, plus interest and attorneys’ fees. See the Tribune story here.
Christa Dibiase Named GM of Clark Howard Brands. Accepting the promotion from executive producer of the Clark Howard show to general manager of Clark Howard Brands is Christa Dibiase. Effective immediately, Dibiase will be responsible for overseeing the Clark Howard nationally-syndicated radio show, television products, and all digital products, including ClarkHoward.com and consumer apps. In addition, she will continue to oversee the operation of The Consumer Action Center, a national service outreach that advises the public on money, financial and consumer questions via phone and internet. CMG Atlanta VP/market manager Ben Reed says, “We know Christa was the perfect person to take on this role. She led the radio show to become the most prominent consumer talk show in the country, and has repeatedly demonstrated her leadership abilities. She has been a key collaborative player in our organization over the years, working with radio, digital, television, and newspaper on many successful projects.” Dibiase comments, “I’m grateful for this opportunity to work with Clark and showcase what CMG is all about – collaborating with TV, radio, digital, and newspaper to create and distribute excellent content for our audience. In addition, the assistance provided by the Consumer Action Center is right in line with Clark and CMG’s commitment to serving others in our communities. I’m amazed every day by the 80-plus volunteers who give their time and energy to help others with their consumer dilemmas.”
KVET, Austin Names Sean Adams Midday Personality. Sports talk radio pro Sean Adams lands a daily gig on Clear Channel’s sports talker KVET-AM, Austin “Sports Talk AM 1300 The Zone” where he’ll hold down the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show beginning August 4. In addition to hosting “The Adams Theory,” he’ll also have a prominent role in game day broadcasts for University of Texas football. KVET-AM is the flagship station for radio play-by-play. Adams says, “I’m really excited to join the team at ‘AM 1300 The Zone.’ To cover the Texas Longhorns, and sports in general, on the official Longhorn station — backed by the power of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment — is a tremendous opportunity.”
Dan Patrick Broadcasts Live from KXTG-AM, Portland. The shot of Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV personality Dan Patrick is from the Bing Lounge in Portland where Patrick did his show live for Alpha Media affiliate KXTG-AM “750 The Game” on Friday, July 18. In addition to the live broadcast, Patrick and The Danettes also held a listener meet and greet at Buffalo Wild Wings in Beaverton, Oregon from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm where the crew took pictures and signed autographs. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “We were thrilled to be able to bring Dan and the Danettes to the Pacific Northwest. They took time to genuinely connect with the listeners. This is definitely an experience all of us will remember for a long time.” The sports talk station recently began simulcasting on its new translator K274AR at 102.7 FM in the market.
WPHT, Philadelphia Presents Live Event as Part of Speaker Series. Midday talk show personality Dom Giordano will host WPHT, Philadelphia’s next speaker series event tomorrow evening as he’ll conduct a sit-down interview with former Marine Colonel Tom Manion about his book, Brothers Forever. The interview will take place aboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey. Manion’s book details the courageous lives of his son, Marine 1st Lieutenant Travis Manion who died in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in 2007 and Travis’ former roommate U.S. Navy Seal Brendan Looney who also perished in battle. Manion will sign copies of his book for attendees.
Hangin’ with the Stars in Lake Tahoe. Pictured here is NBC Sports Radio weekend personality Brian Webber (left) with comic and television star Ray Romano (center) and SNL alum and movie and TV celeb Kevin Nealon (right) at the recent American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe. NBC Sports Radio broadcast from the charity tournament on Thursday and Friday and throughout the weekend.
Downing of Flight 17/Russian Responsibility Question, Gaza Strip Violence, Illegal Child Immigrants Crisis, NYPD Choke Hold Death Controversy and Clinton, Inc. Book, and Tony Dungy’s Michael Sam Comments Among Top Stories Yesterday (7/21). The continuing global controversy over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, Russia’s connection to the crash and the United States’ role in determining responsibility; the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in brokering peace; the influx of illegal child immigrants in the Southwest and the larger topic of immigration reform; the death of a New York City man who was put in a choke hold by police; the new Clinton, Inc. book; and Tony Dungy‘s comment he would not have drafted openly gay football player Michael Sam in order to avoid controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WYD Media Ad Sales Debuts. The New York-based sales venture being launched by WYD Media Management is called WYD Media Ad Sales, LLC and former Westwood One EVP of talk sales John Murphy takes the helm as president. WYD CEO Ron Hartenbaum announces the company will focus on personality-created spoken word content that’s distributed across multiple platforms such as audio, digital, video and more. He adds, “Based on his 30-year track record of success in national radio ad sales, specifically in the spoken word format, John is the ideal sales and marketing executive to build WYD Media Ad Sales.” Murphy, who spent more than a decade with Westwood One, comments, “This is the best time to start a new venture that focuses on monetizing spoken word content as the format expands across numerous distribution platforms. I look forward to working with WYD’s existing clients as well as creating new partnerships and content opportunities.” During his career Murphy has repped such talent as: Charles Osgood, Laura Ingraham, Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Clark Howard, Herman Cain, Mark Levin, Dennis Miller, John Gibson, John Tesh, Brian Kilmeade, Thom Hartmann, Lars Larson, Neal Boortz and more.
Ginny Morris Transitions to CEO of Hubbard Radio; Bruce Reese to Special Advisor Role. Since 1996, Bruce Reese had been serving Bonneville as president and CEO prior to the acquisition of the Bonneville stations by Hubbard in 2011. He kept his president and CEO role and joined Hubbard. Ginny Morris has been chair of the Hubbard board since 2011. Now, Reese will step back into a special advisor role and Morris will become chief executive officer. The company states that Reese has been “instrumental in the transition when the 17 Bonneville radio stations across four markets (Washington, D.C., Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati) were purchased by Hubbard Radio. The acquisition also meant the addition of 547 Bonneville employees.” Morris says, “Working with Bruce over these last three-and-a-half years on the integration, first on the Bonneville assets and subsequently those we bought from Sandusky and merged into a new Hubbard Radio, has been a great experience. Bruce is smart and strategic and he shares many of the values that our family holds dear — a commitment to localism, honesty and integrity. He has helped to establish a great foundation for the company and we are grateful to still have the benefit of his wise counsel.” Reese comments, “Over the last two decades, I’ve had the opportunity to run two great radio companies. After Bonneville was brought into Hubbard Radio, we all worked to preserve the values and spirit of both organizations while creating one corporate identity and culture. The success of the transition has exceeded my hopes, and I am grateful for the trust shown to me by Ginny and the entire Hubbard Radio family. Our company is performing well, and the time is right for Ginny to step into this role. I look forward to continuing to work with the Hubbard team in an advisory capacity while eagerly looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”
O&A Fans in ‘Watch and Wait’ Mode After Anthony Cumia’s July 3 Firing. Fans of the Opie & Anthony show on SiriusXM are waiting to see if co-host Gregg “Opie” Hughes continues the show without longtime partner Anthony Cumia after Cumia was fired from the satcaster on Friday, July 4. By now you’ve probably heard about Cumia’s vulgar rant about his confrontation with an African American woman in Times Square who was reportedly upset she was in his camera’s field of view as he took photos on the street. An altercation took place during which Cumia says the woman began punching him. Police were not called to the scene. Cumia took to Twitter to talk about the incident and used foul language while making the woman’s race part of the issue. After being fired, he Tweeted that SiriusXM “decided to cave” and fired him for something that didn’t happen on air and wasn’t illegal. TALKERS is not aware of the content of Cumia’s contract with SiriusXM but it appears the satcaster was within its rights to terminate him. He’s neither the first nor will he be the last radio personality to lose his gig after a Twitter rant. The advice seems obvious: Your employer will ultimately see what you do in the digital world; consider how the company would view your actions before posting.
Ethan Bearman Produces and Performs One-Hour Independence Day Special on WPHT, Philadelphia. Rising talk star Ethan Bearman, who is regularly heard weekends on Cumulus O&O KSFO, San Francisco and nationally on Genesis Communications Network (GCN), has expanded his broadcasting footprint to include CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia. Bearman was smartly recruited by WPHT, PD Jared Hart to do a live hour of Independence Day content last Friday between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm ET on Philly’s 50k flamethrower and reports from the TALKERS monitoring corps indicate that it was a provocative, informative and powerful hour of spoken word radio. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Bearman analyzed the historical, cultural and political fabric of the American institution of the 4th of July in a meticulous and precise manner that had a number of ‘aha!’ moments. He took intelligent calls and made a number of really relevant points that left the audience thinking. I especially like the way he compared the leaders of that period – those folks we call the ‘Founding Fathers’ – to today’s crop of politicians asking the question, “Are there any political leaders today who would sign a document supporting an issue and campaign in which they believed at the significant risk of their lives?” Bearman was part of a larger WPHT July 4th salute in which station morning and midday hosts Chris Stigall and Dom Giordano broadcasted their shows from the Independence Hall Visitors Center.
Jason Lewis to End GCN Syndication Run. As tipped by “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman, nationally syndicated talk show host Jason Lewis will cease his syndication efforts with Genesis Communications Network effective August 1. Lewis first ventured into syndication from his Twin Cities home base several years ago with Premiere Networks. After his relationship with Premiere Networks ended, he joined GCN for national syndication three years ago. There’s no indication whether Lewis will leave flagship station KTLK, Minneapolis at that time.
Brad and Britt Debut Podcast Today from Branded Studio. Following up on last week’s report about the new podcast project being produced by talk radio personalities Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire, the two inform TALKERS that when they begin their podcast show – available for download by 3:00 pm ET today – they will be doing so from their sponsored studio: The Brad and Britt Tarheeldentist.com Studio. In a piece about the duo’s exit from WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte in the Greensboro News & Record, Krantz says they believe that money is starting to flow in the direction of audio on demand and are excited about the new venture.
Alpha Media Promotes Portland Cluster Marketing Pro Randi P’Pool to Corporate Position. This promotion for Portland market director of marketing Randi P’Pool comes shortly after the completed merger of Alpha Broadcasting, L&L Broadcasting and Main Line Broadcasting. P’Pool’s new title is corporate VP of marketing and promotions. Alpha Media president/CEO Bob Proffitt states, “I’m very happy Randi has accepted this position, as she has proven to be an invaluable asset to our Portland cluster and now will be true resource to the Alpha Media markets. She is creative, intelligent, and relentless – perfect qualifications for a corporate VP of marketing and promotions.” P’Pool comments, “I owe much gratitude to Bob Proffitt, Scott Mahalick and Larry Wilson for giving me the opportunity to be part of this exciting journey not only in radio but within our company. I look forward to continuing to grow and promote the live and local brand across all of our markets.” Prior to joining Alpha Broadcasting three years ago, P’Pool served with Citadel Broadcasting in the Salt Lake City market.
AdLarge Ups Tom Fleming. Adding more duties at AdLarge Media is Tom Fleming who is promoted to vice president, Midwest sales and sports sales. In this expanded role, Fleming will be responsible for the AdLarge repertoire of live, play-by-play NFL and NCAA football offerings, Yahoo Sports Radio, and all Midwest sales, including the Detroit office. Fleming had been serving as vice president, Midwest sales since joining AdLarge in October, 2013.
Pascagoula, Mississippi Radio Personality Walter Thornton Dead at 53. The Pascagoula-Moss Point community is mourning the death of local morning radio host and sportscaster Walter Thornton, who died over the holiday weekend of an apparent heart attack. The SunHerald reports the 53-year-old broadcaster was a standout high school athlete who remained involved in the local sports scene and became a sports talk host covering the prep scene in the area. Most recently he hosted the morning show and sports talk programs at Tri City Radio-owned WPMO, Pascagoula-Moss Point and sister station WVGG, Lucedale.
Will It Be “Governor Freeman?” Probably not, as “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman admits he’d have trouble “governing” anyone even if he beat the odds and is elected. But the co-host of the New Hampshire-based, GCN nationally syndicated show says his goal with the campaign is two-fold: “First, to needle the current governor, Maggie Hassan, on her refusal to decriminalize or legalize cannabis in NH, while admitting she smoked it in college; second, to promote the idea of NH declaring independence from the United States.” Freeman says he’s available for interviews from interested broadcasters about these issues. Contact him at email@example.com. Freeman is pictured here at far right while broadcasting from the recent Porcfest 2014 – the yearly camping gathering of libertarians that drew over 1,500 attendees, many of them FTL listeners. Also pictured are (from left to right) Free Talk Live’s Mark Edge, Nick Gillespie of Reason.com, and Jeffrey Tucker of Liberty.me.
Reaching Out to His Peeps. KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller rouses the crowd at the 48th annual Treasure Valley God and Country Festival. Miller tells TALKERS he was honored to fire up the crowd of some 9,000 that attended the festival to honors “faith and the military in Idaho.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Station Group in Little Rock Arkansas is looking to hire a General Manger to oversee all station operations for news/talk and sports talk. Sales acumen and experience in news and sports talk field a plus. Contact Steve Renfro at 479-287-4211 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
J.D. Hayworth to Host Late Morning Show on Newsmax TV. One of the new programs on the Newsmax TV channel that is launching on both DirecTV and DISH Network is called “America’s Forum” with former U.S. Congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth. The show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and begins during the network’s soft launch this summer before the hard launch this fall. Hayworth, who has hosted a regular show in his home market on news/talk KFYI, Phoenix during his talk radio career, says he’s excited about engaging and serving the expanding audience on Newsmax TV. Newsmax Media founder and CEO Chris Ruddy says, “J.D. Hayworth is a smart, informed, and passionate host who is not afraid to speak his mind, and as a result we expect him to be one of our most watched and discussed personalities. With his experience in Washington, DC, we believe he can give our viewers unique insight into how Washington works.”
Legislation Inspired by Casey Kasem Ordeal Passes Legislative Hurdle. A bill making its way through the California legislative process that would give adult children reasonable access to an ailing parent cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee hurdle on a 6-0 vote. The bill was inspired by the Casey Kasem family’s well-documented situation. The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and it would protect children from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child. Since introducing the legislation in January, Assemblyman Gatto has been contacted by hundreds of people who have been denied access to their ailing parents, and has been working closely with several of them, including radio and television personality Kerri Kasem (pictured here during testimony earlier this week). Recently, Kasem spoke publicly for the first time since her father’s passing last week. She shared her struggle to obtain even basic visitation rights during Casey’s final hours. She also emphasized that her story is not unique to celebrities, a point underscored when she presented a stack of letters representing a small sample of the thousands of letters she has received from folks across the country with similar stories of heartache. View that video here. Kasem said, “I saw my father every single week, talked to him every day, until he lost his voice, every day on the phone, and we were cut off for no reason last July. If this bill had been in place, my dad would still be alive today.” Former radio industry pro, attorney, and district chief of staff for Assemblyman Gatto, Jason Insalaco, played an important role in crafting this bill. Insalaco has worked at numerous Southern California radio outlets – including former hot talk KLSX and news/talk KFI – during his career.
Status of WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Uncertain. From Chicago media writer Robert Feder, sports talk personality Dan McNeil has been off the air at CBS RADIO’s WSCR as he’s in contract negotiations and guest hosts have been filling in with 9:00 am to 1:00 pm co-host Matt Spiegel. Feder reports that McNeil, who’s had his share of personal issues – dealing with substance abuse and depression – makes about $300,000 and is seeking in the neighborhood of $500,000 in his new contract. Feder also reports McNeil has made no secret of the fact he’d like to be in afternoon drive, not middays. Read Feder’s entire story here.
CBS Radio Philly in Done-Deal with Didinger. Among facets of the just-signed pact with CBS Radio-owned Philadelphia sports outlet WIP-FM, Saturday’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm “Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow Show” will be expanded to include a Sunday version. WIP operations manager Andy Bloom declares, “Ray is one of the most respected and revered authorities in Philly sports. Our simple goal was to ensure Ray spends his entire radio career playing for one team, CBS Radio Philadelphia. We think with this agreement we have accomplished that goal.” Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Didinger is “very happy” to continue his relationship with WIP. “I am delighted that I will now be able to partner with my good friend Glen Macnow on Sundays, as well as Saturday. With the level of interest in the Eagles this season, we will have plenty to talk about.” Didinger will do commentary on all-news sibling KYW, and each Friday during the football season, he will appear with (CBS Radio Philadelphia talk outlet) WPHT morning driver Chris Stigall.
British Broadcaster Graham Mack Produces Outstanding Audio Podcast Depicting His Experience at Talkers New York 2014. Internationally known, award-winning broadcaster Graham Mack attended the recent Talkers New York 2014 conference (6/20) and compiled an array of on-the-scene audio interviews with its participants into a Radio Academy podcast (28:42) that has already drawn positive attention around the world. In addition to his highly decorated special programs which have been heard on some of the most prestigious networks in the world including the BBC, Mack is the program director and morning show host on BOB-FM in Hertfordshire. He hails from Liverpool and spent his early adulthood and career in Australia. The podcast includes conversations with Michael Harrison, Sean Hannity, Brent & Meg, Tom Leykis, Joe Piscopo, and Phil Boyce. To hear it in its entirety, please click here. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more coverage of Talkers New York 2014. Videos covering most of the conference will be posted after the July 4th weekend.
Fifty and Done For Salem’s Gratner. After spending 50 years in radio – the last 23 as general manager of Salem Communications Pittsburgh – Chuck Gratner will retire next Tuesday (7/1). Twelve-year Salem Pittsburgh general sales manager Tom Lemmon will succeed Gratner. According to Salem radio division president David Santrella, “Salem is blessed to have so many outstanding general managers taking care of business in our markets around the country – Chuck has been one of our strongest for all these years. Chuck has earned his reward for a job well done. We wish him many more years of success, only this time with a fishing rod instead of a radio tower.” Regional operations vice president Linnae Young – who oversees Pittsburgh – comments, “We have been so fortunate to have had Chuck’s wisdom and expertise all these years managing our stations in Pittsburgh. While Chuck will be sorely missed, we are pleased to have Tom ready to take on this new responsibility.” Gratner began his radio career as an on-air talent in greater Los Angeles at KNJO, Thousand Oaks. He was part owner of KCNO, Grass Valley, California; worked in Dallas at KRLD, KCBI, and KLTY; and spent time in Sacramento at KCRA and KROY.
Odds & Sods. With the departure of Tony Bruno from Greater Media’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia (reported yesterday at TALKERS), Harry Mayes goes solo in the late morning shift with evening host Nick Kayal sitting it at least temporarily…..The man known as “Radio’s Best Friend,” Art Vuolo, will appear on news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh this weekend as a guest on Stony Richards’ Saturday evening program beginning at 6:00 pm. In addition to being responsible for chronicling much of radio’s modern history on video, Vuolo also has served as the official videographer for the Talkers New York conference for the past several years…..Bradley George is the new senior anchor/correspondent and local host for “Morning Edition” on Georgia Public Radio. He comes to GPR from Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN where he was news anchor and “Morning Edition” local host…..ABC TV’s “The View” will look very different next season as at least two of the show’s hosts – Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd – are leaving. According to TMZ, executive producer Bill Geddie is also exiting. One report indicates all but Whoopi Goldberg are out as the network is “cleaning house.”
Magnum Finds Bliss in Milwaukee-Area Quartet. In a recently announced deal, Magnum Communications is acquiring four greater Milwaukee properties from Bliss Communications, the parent company of Racine Broadcasting and West Bend Broadcasting. Stations involved are two AM talk outlets WRJN and WBKV; adult contemporary WEZY “Lite Rock 92.1”; and country WBWI. Magnum Communications president Dave Magnum points out that as a result of this acquisition, “My co-workers and I will program radio signals connecting from Milwaukee to La Crosse. When my late wife, Lynn, and I started from scratch 23 years ago, we wanted to grow across Wisconsin. I’m blessed to work with so many talented and loyal individuals, many of whom have been on board since the early-1990s.” Bliss president Sidney “Skip” Bliss remarks, “These stations have been an important part of Bliss Communications for 17 years in Racine, and 43 years in West Bend. We have enjoyed our relationship with the communities and all of our terrific employees. This sale, however, represented an opportunity for me to pass the ownership of these great radio stations on to another Wisconsin broadcasting family. The staffs of the Racine and West Bend stations have served a large number of listeners and advertisers for many years. We sincerely appreciate the dedication and commitment of this outstanding group of associates.” Bliss – which publishes The Janesville Gazette – will continue operating the stations until the FCC approves the transaction, exclusively brokered by Media Services Group Chicago office director Bob Heymann.
GOP Primary Controversies/State of the GOP Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of June 23-27. The recent controversial GOP primary races – including Thad Cochran’s victory this week – along with talk about the state of the GOP heading into mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential election tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the shrinking U.S. GDP. Coming in at #3 was the IRS scandal and the missing Lois Lerner emails followed by the SCOTUS scuttling President Obama’s recess appointments followed at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
‘790 The Zone’ in Atlanta Drops Local Shows for ESPN Radio Programming. The Lincoln Financial Media-owned sports talk station will still carry Atlanta Falcons football – serving as the flagship – and will also air SEC football this fall. But the station drops the local sports talk shows for the full ESPN Radio lineup that includes: “Mike and Mike,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “SVP & Russillo,” “The Dan Le Batard Show,” “Sedano & Stink” and the “Freddie Coleman Show.” Additional programming will include “SportsCenter AllNight,” and the live broadcast of NBA and MLB games, as well as other major sporting events. Although Colin Cowherd’s program has been airing in middays, David Archer and Mike Bell hosted the PM drive slot. LFM Atlanta SVP and GM Rick Mack says in a statement, “We are excited to launch a new schedule that provides Atlanta-area listeners with an even more robust slate of sports programming. By tapping more deeply into the talent and reach ESPN provides on a national stage, we will enable ‘790 The Zone’ to continue to set the standard each day for how sports news is communicated to the Atlanta sports fan…Staying connected to the Atlanta Falcons and SEC football are important to us. We believe the changes we have implemented serve two important purposes, including offering more programming variety to our listeners and maintaining the local footprint we have worked so hard to establish.”
Bayne Hosts Mornings at ‘Cities 92.9’ in Bloomington, Illinois. Former congressional candidate Ian Bayne is named host of the morning show on Pilot Media’s news/talk WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois “Cities 92.9.” He began hosting “The Morning Buzz with Ian Bayne on Monday, May 19. Bayne says to listeners, “Those of you who supported my congressional campaign in the Illinois 11th congressional district and had conversations with me about the future of our Republican party, I want to thank you. This is a tremendous opportunity for me to continue to rally the troops and inform the voters. Radio has always been my passion. Many of you know that I have a weekend syndicated show that will continue.” Bayne’s program airs from 5:00 am to 8:00 am.
Second in KTTH, Seattle Debate Series to Take Place Next Month. The title of the second in KTTH, Seattle’s debate series designed to encourage robust discussion of important issues in Western Washington is “Religious Freedom: Where My Rights and Your Rights Collide.” The panel of debaters includes KTTH talk show hosts, Ben Shapiro and Michael Medved as well as expert panelists Rev. Monica Corsaro of the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, sponsor of the Boy Scouts troop with a gay leader; Huffington Post religion columnist Valerie Tarico; and James Wellman, chair of the UW comparative religion department and author of Evangelical vs. Liberal: The Clash of Christian Cultures in the Pacific Northwest. KTTH’s David Boze will serve as moderator. KTTH program director Jason Antebi states, “With so many important cultural and religious topics working their way through the court, this panel discussion is especially meaningful. I’m proud we can host another debate that tackles issues that matter to the community most, while actually seeking solutions and finding common ground.” The debate will take place on the Seattle University campus on June 26.
WPHT, Philadelphia to Host Congressional Primary Debate. The two Republicans vying for the right to run in November for the New Jersey Third Congressional Seat will meet at CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia studios on Wednesday, May 21 for a one-hour debate. Candidates Steve Lonegan and Tom MacArthur will participate in the debate moderated by WPHT personality Dom Giordano from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
‘TechSurvey 10’ Investigates Social Media Usage. The query into radio listeners’ social media usage and daily habits confirms what you probably suspected: Facebook is still the most-used social media service; and teens are using upstarts Instagram and Snapchat almost as much as Facebook. Asking radio listeners about their social media “cume” – whether they have a profile – and their “TSL” – daily usage, Jacobs Media reports the study shows that, yes Facebook is still the most-used service, but when it comes to what’s used on a daily basis, Twitter and Instagram begin to show their strength. Drilling down to generation “Z” (those 22 and younger), the study shows that, on a daily basis, that demo uses Instagram and Snapchat even more than Twitter. Check out the “cume” and “TSL” for P1s of the various radio formats as part of the data here.
WFED, Washington’s Francis Rose Honored with AFFIRM Award. The host of “In Depth with Francis Rose” will be honored by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM) as it recognizes individuals and groups in the federal information technology community for leading innovation in government. The Hubbard Radio personality, heard on WFED, Washington and on FederalNewsRadio.com, will be the recipient of a 2014 AFFIRM President’s Award for Media. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe says, “We are very proud of Francis’ recognition from and involvement with AFFIRM. He brings the same energy and effort to their events as he does every day at Federal News Radio.”
Talk Host Doug Stephan and ‘My Cool Inventions’ Partner. Already recognized as one of America’s hardest-working talk personalities, “Good Day” host Doug Stephan will be lengthening his on-air day by another hour. Starting in less than two weeks (6/2), Stephan will be joining “My Cool Inventions” hosts Akos Jankura “The Solutionist” and John Cremeans “The Doctor of Shopology” in the 9:00 am to 10:00 am portion of their daily two-hour program. Affiliates of both shows will merge in the 9:00 am hour, and according to Stephan, “Being entrepreneurs, we are very pleased to be able to provide a substantial platform for these new inventors. Our listeners get to interact in a special way by not only witnessing the process of creation to execution, but getting to voice their opinion as well by voting.” Jankura comments, “We are lifting American families one innovation, one invention, one American at a time. We are looking for people who have a hundred million dollar product idea floating around in their heads and encouraging them to submit their product to us.” Listeners vote for a daily winner Monday through Thursday. Of those four finalists, an ultimate winner is named on Friday. Stephan Multimedia‘s “Good Day” airs weekdays 4:00 am to 10:00 am and Saturdays 7:00 am to 9:00 am on “more than” 350 stations. America’s Talk Radio Network’s “My Cool Inventions” is fed daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am.
Fisher House Memorial Day Special Lines Up News/Talk Affiliates. The three-hour Memorial Day weekend special “Our Greatest National Treasure” has some 125 affiliate stations. The program is a project of the Fisher House Foundation, which provides no-cost housing and other support for the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones receive treatment at military and VA hospitals. It spotlights their stories and shares the role that Fisher House played in their recovery. The show – hosted by KIRO-FM, Seattle morning drive host Dave Ross — may be aired anytime from May 24-26. It was written and produced by Marshall Adams and imaged by Chris Pendl. The promo voice is Chris Cutler. Premiere Networks is distributing the show via FTP. To sign up, contact Kurt Kretzschmar at email@example.com. Promos are provided and custom materials are available upon request. Stations that have signed up already will receive FTP download instructions via email from Premiere.
Kevin Miller Hosts Colorful Gubernatorial Candidate. The governor’s race in Idaho is getting national attention due to the colorful nature of the candidates. One of them – Harley Brown – is seated next to KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (left) in the picture you see here. Harley Brown’s answers and campaign antics earned him a write-up in the Washington Post after last week’s televised debate. The Post’s Jonathan Capehart writes, “Incumbent Gov. Butch Otter shared the stage with state Sen. Russ Fulcher and two other challengers right out of backcountry central casting.” Those challengers are Walt Bayes and the above pictured Brown. One of Brown’s exclamations during the debate was, “I’ve got a master’s degree in raising hell!” Read Capehart’s entire piece here.
VA Hospital Scandal, ObamaCare Criticism, U.S. vs Chinese Hackers, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, CIA Phony Vaccine Program Policy, and 2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). Controversy over the Arizona VA scandal and charges the poor care is widespread; continued scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the diplomatic battle between China and the U.S. over alleged hacking of U.S. commercial sites by trade secret thieves; Russia’s military incursion into the Ukraine; the White House’s new policy on fake vaccine programs run by CIA operatives; and speculation about candidates for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TRN Companies and Cumulus Media Announce Amicable Westwood One Settlement. TRN Companies and Cumulus Media announced late Friday afternoon (3/7) that they have agreed to settle outstanding claims arising during previous ownership of WestwoodOne, acquired by Cumulus Media in December, 2013. Lew Dickey, president and CEO of Cumulus Media, said, “While Cumulus Media had no role in the lawsuits filed by TRN Companies, we are pleased to resolve these claims and move forward together. We remain supportive of each other and are optimistic for the future.” Mark Masters, CEO of TRN Companies, said: “We are pleased to ‘turn the page’ with the new owners of WestwoodOne and have put past issues behind us. As we build bridges together, we look forward to a mutually beneficial future working with our affiliated stations, customers, Lew and John Dickey and Cumulus Media.”
Emmis to Reward Employees with Stock. The company states that as part of its 2012 Employee Retention Plan, roughly 75% of its full-time employees are being notified they are eligible to receive what it is saying is “a sizeable stock award.” The company further states, “Emmis prides itself on being a destination employer in the media and digital industries, and as such, places a high value on cultivating a culture that allows us to attract and retain the best talent in our industries. The third of Emmis’ Eleven Commandments states: Be good to your people – get them into the game and give them a piece of the pie.” Eligible employees will receive a pro-rata share of approximately 976,000 shares of Emmis Communications common stock. Using Friday’s closing price, the 976,000 shares in the Retention Plan will deliver $3,240,000 in value to the 598 employees who qualify for the plan. To ensure a broad-based distribution, the Plan excluded executive officers and capped the level of salary credit at $50,000. As an example of the award size, a full-time employee of Emmis who has been with the company since April 2, 2012, with a salary of $40,000 per year will get approximately 1,480 shares. That equates to a market value of $4913.60, using the closing price last Friday, March 7 of $3.32. The awards will vest on April 2, 2014 and will be distributed to employees shortly thereafter. It will be their choice whether to hold or sell the stock.
KSFO, San Francisco Names Hughes Late Morning Host. Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco has been trying out talk show hosts in the late morning slot (billed on the station’s website as “KSFO Talk Show”) for the past several months. Now, the station names Spencer Hughes permanent host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Hughes’ resume includes stops at talk stations across America including WRKO, Boston; KGO, San Francisco; KTKZ, Sacramento; and KSRO, Santa Rosa.
WGN VP/GM Jimmy de Castro Talks Radio and More. The vice president and general manager of Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago and the new sports talk WGWG “The Game 87.7” spoke candidly with the Chicago Sun-Times for its online video feature “The Sit Down.” In the interview, de Castro throws out a number quips that’ll interest industry watchers. For example, he’s not trying to bring young listeners to WGN, “I don’t want a younger audience for ’GN. I want 35- to 65- or 70-year-old people.” He says he hasn’t committed a lot of money to his staff. “I don’t have one contract with one person on our station. Not one. They’re all here because of how they feel. Any time they want, they can walk out the door.” The one-time WLUP-FM leader also talks about his career and how he views life after all of his success. See it here.
Jack Roberts Dies at 62. Radio executive/on-air personality Jack Roberts died this past weekend in Los Angeles. Over the course of his career, the 62-year-old Roberts was a general manager, program director, on-air talk host, and producer. Most recently, the Boston College graduate and Massachusetts native was executive producer for CRN Digital Talk Radio programming, including “What’s Cookin’ Today.” CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn comments, “Jack truly understood and loved radio. He became an instant, caring friend to everyone he encountered.” Roberts thought he could get any guest or celebrity, and Horn remarks, “He almost always booked them. Guests and talent, but most especially the listeners, enjoyed what they heard. Jack’s legacy will live on through them and all of us. That would make him very proud.” Roberts was a senior producer on syndicated radio programs hosted by Dick Cavett, and Colonel Oliver North. He was in charge of production for “The Jerry Williams Show” and “The Doug Stephan Show.” His on-air experience includes stops at Boston’s WRKO, WMEX and WXKS; WPRO, Providence; and WDRC, Hartford – where he became general manager and program director. Roberts held those titles at WWRC, Washington, DC as well. Programmer Ron Jacobs writes, “Jack Roberts is great at shining the spotlight on others and not blowing his own horn.” Funeral services are pending for Roberts, who wrote a radio-themed blog – “HollywoodHillsGroup.com” – that highlighted industry achievements and gave publicity to on-air talent.
Twin Cities Star Tom Barnard Talks Podcasting in Profile Piece. Morning radio personality Tom Barnard – a 43-year Minneapolis-St. Paul market icon – is profiled by the Minneapolis Post. The star of Cumulus’ rock KQRS speaks about numerous topics – the death of the voice-over business, his rise to fame, and his decision to get more political after 9/11 – in the story and explains his separate business producing and selling ad time for his daily two-hour podcast. Barnard tells the Post that although he billed roughly $250,000 in 2013, the show is not in the black due to expenses including salaries and the cost of bandwidth. Barnard and partner Don Shelby (former WCCO personality) are not collecting a salary at this point. Barnard’s decision to sell ad time and not charge for subscriptions as well as to go after local ad dollars, flies in the face of the way many of the high-profile podcasters are doing it (think Tom Leykis and Adam Carolla). Read the entire Post story here.
Odds & Sods. In the Duluth market, Midwest Communications flips standards WGEE, Superior, Wisconsin to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio programming…..Sports radio pro Seth Everett becomes part of the New York Mets broadcasts on Clear Channel’s WOR, New York this season where he’ll be hosting the pre- and post-game programs…..Charlotte Knights minor league baseball will air on Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte this summer as the station will carry 10 Saturday night home games and two Friday evening home games.
Chris Stigall Broadcasts from CPAC. The annual Washington, DC gathering of conservative politicians dubbed the Conservative Political Action Conference involves an active radio row and WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) was in the middle of all the action last week as he broadcast his show from the event. He’s pictured here interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (left).
WVBR Returns To Collegetown (Ithaca) in New, High Tech Studio Station to Hold March 15th Dedication Ceremony — Keith Olbermann Makes Major Donation. Proving that grassroots terrestrial radio is alive and well, WVBR-FM is returning home to Collegetown (a proud name sported by downtown Ithaca, New York – home of Cornell University and Ithaca College — per its reputation as being one of the best college towns in America) after a 14-year absence, with a newly-built, state-of-the-art studio. The new studio is located at 604 East Buffalo Street in Ithaca, next to the Carriage House Café and across from The Connection, Loco Cantina, and the Chapter House. WVBR has operated out of 957 Mitchell Street near East Hill Plaza after leaving its longtime home at 227 Linden Avenue in Collegetown in 2000. It will be officially dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to take place this coming Saturday (3/15). WVBR-FM is a commercial, non-profit radio station that is owned and fully operated by the Cornell Radio Guild, a group of Cornell University students. Since 1935, this group’s stated mission has been running a radio station with the goal of training students in broadcasting. Since 1968, WVBR has been serving Ithaca and Tompkins Counties playing an eclectic mix of classic and modern rock under the banner, “Real Rock Radio.” WVBR broadcasts over 93.5 FM and 105.5 FM to Tompkins County and the surrounding area. The newly named Olbermann-Corneliess Studios was purchased with donations from station alumni, most notably ESPN host Keith Olbermann. Olbermann gave what has been described by station management as “a generous donation” with a request that WVBR’s new home studio be named in honor of his late father Theodore Olbermann, as well as the late Glenn Corneliess, his colleague during his years at WVBR who passed away in 1996. Olbermann, the Corneliess family, and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will be among those on hand for the dedication, as well as many station alumni, current staff, and management. A brand new set of professional equipment, a large vinyl library, a live performance space, three soundproof production booths, and two advanced on-air studios are some of the many highlights of the new space. “There is no doubt in my mind that 604 East Buffalo Street will feature the best college radio setup in the country,” says Drew Endick, president of the Cornell Radio Guild, Inc. and general manager of WVBR, telling RadioInfo, “We have been trying to expand our content production operations and provide better services for the local community, and we now have the facilities to meet these challenges.” The new studio will be home to two radio stations – WVBR, which broadcasts with a rock format over FM, as well as CornellRadio.com, which is being launched as a more student-centric, freeform online station. CornellRadio.com will feature pop, hip-hop, dance, and alternative music, as well as talk shows, comedy programming, and sports content provided by a partnership with the Big Red Sports Network. Each station will have its own cutting-edge studio within the building. “This move is extremely important to the goals of our station,” says Michael Mallon, senior vice president of communications. “The latest technology will not only allow us to create better content for our listeners, but it will also allow the students of Cornell University to learn and train on the same equipment as is used in the big stations in major cities.” The move is also significant as the station will now be a close walk for most students. “It’s a perfect location for us, both physically and symbolically,” Mallon continues, “The station is right between the students who operate the station, and the Ithacans who make up most of our listenership.” ASI Renovations managed the huge project. The space was already in great condition, but the design presented some big technical challenges. Sherpa Technologies wired the building for radio operations. Students and weekend staff led the move, bringing over the entire vinyl and CD collections, as well as other important articles from the old station.
Chattin’ with a Legend. WFTL, Fort Lauderdale late morning talk host Rich Stevens (right) entertains legendary disc jockey Cousin Brucie (left) in the station’s studios. Stevens tells TALKERS the pair chatted about numerous topics and took calls from listeners. While speaking with callers, a 92-year-old local listener phoned in to tell Cousin Brucie he remembers winning a contest 40 years ago that Cousin Brucie executed that sent him on a vacation. Brucie asked him if he was still there and needed money to get back!
Sittin’ in on WMAL, Washington. Former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (left) is pictured here in the WMAL, Washington studios as she served as guest co-host on the “Morning On The Mall” program today (3/10). O’Donnell worked with co-host Larry O’Connor (right) while subbing for Brian Wilson.
RAB Connects Radio and Home Improvement Spending. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s Finding Consumer Trends (F.C.T.) Report, “when consumers are determining their next home improvement project, radio ads influence that decision. Also, listener trust is positively influenced when a favorite radio station personality promotes a particular home improvement project or service – especially among 18-34 year olds.” Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “The findings from the survey demonstrate radio’s ability to persuade and influence behavior. With 75% of the survey respondents being homeowners, it’s clear that radio is a key medium for home improvement companies and services to reach their target audience.” The study was conducted from October 29 to November 19, 2013 and queried over 12,300 respondents aged 18+ about their home improvement plans, timelines and estimated budgets. The RAB worked with Presslaff Interactive Revenue on the study and determined some of the top goals of homeowners regarding home improvement projects. Presslaff president Ruth Presslaff states, “The information from this report provides RAB members with the information they need to drive sales for their stations. The identification of consumers’ home improvement goals and preferences is certain to open doors for radio sellers and create a dialogue with local home improvement businesses and services.” The RAB and Presslaff are presenting a webinar on this study on January 30 for members. To become an RAB member, please call Member Response at 800-232-3131.
Sean Hannity for Senator? Governor? President? There’s often speculation in the media about the possibility high-profile personalities – especially those in the news/talk game – would ever run for public office. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated radio star and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity entertained that notion during the #Ask Sean segment of his FNC show on January 21. His response? “The answer is ‘yes, I think about it.’” When asked about what office he’d consider, he responded, “I’m leaving New York as you know…so it would be either in Texas or Florida.” If Hannity does seriously consider a run for office, it would be down the road as he indicates he has ties to New York for the near future – kids in school, etc. – and contractual obligations that have him working in New York. In case you missed it, Hannity’s plans to leave New York come after Governor Andrew Cuomo made public comments critical of those with traditional conservative values including being pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and opposed to same-sex marriage. The idea of Sean Hannity being political office “material” is not new, especially as a concept floated in TALKERS. Almost a decade ago the print version of this publication featured a bold cover with an artist’s rendition of a gray “mature” version of the handsome radio star delivering a mythical presidential press conference as the nation’s Commander in Chief. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who is vehemently non-partisan as a function of his role in the broadcasting industry, makes no secret of his admiration for Hannity’s qualities as a person of substance and potential leadership skills outside the radio show world. Regarding today’s news story, Harrison states, “Regardless of where you stand on his political positions, on the larger playing field of life, Sean Hannity is an extremely authentic human being with remarkable ‘people skills.’ I have witnessed him in action long enough and know enough radio broadcasters over the years to recognize how out of the ordinary he is. Hannity might be a staunch conservative and Republican Party advocate, which serves a purpose in the mosaic of things in radio and the larger marketplace of ideas – but forget the stereotypes…he is also one of the most compassionate and generous human beings in terms of his day-to-day life, his charitable work, and his dealings with colleagues in the business of all stripes. He also works a room (from the position of central player) better than anyone I have EVER seen, including Bill Clinton! I’m not saying Sean Hannity will be president. But I believe he would be extremely effective as a congressional or gubernatorial candidate in the right situation. In the meantime, from a purely selfish perspective, I truly hope he forestalls any such ambitions for years to come. We need people of his talent and character in this business and we need them now.”
Dan Spadafora Named Brand Manager at WHTC, Holland, Michigan. In West Michigan, Midwest Communications brings Dan Spadafora aboard as brand manager and morning drive personality at WHTC, Holland, Michigan (25 miles southwest of Grand Rapids). Spadafora comes to WHTC from his most recent position with Clear Channel’s sports talk WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids “96.1 FM ESPN” and sister news/talk combo WOOD-AM/FM. He says in a statement, “Radio to me has always been more than simply a job. It is about providing a service to the community while also doing something I love. I want to show that not only is radio alive and well, but this station in town can be a station people can depend on for local news and information. ‘Holland’s Hometown Station’ should be a news leader.”
Journal Broadcast Group Re-Aligns; Separates Radio and TV. The move means that Journal Broadcast Group EVP and GM for the Milwaukee TV and radio stations Steve Wexler takes on the new role of EVP of radio for the company. Debbie Turner is named EVP of television. Journal Communications president and CFO Andre Fernandez explains, “As we have invested in our broadcast businesses and expanded our geographic footprint over the last decade, we believe that repositioning our broadcast segment around television and radio recognizes the unique expertise we’ve always had in Journal Broadcast Group around each medium. These changes also ensure the appropriate strategic focus and resourcing for each business, and should help us further improve our operational performance.”
Cox Media Group Announces Openings in Tampa Cluster. With the promotion of Tim Clarke to director of digital audience and the departure of program director Michael Sharkey, Cox Media Group Tampa has three new programming positions as a result of organizational changes following these events. Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “CMG has invested the last four years in creating some of the biggest and most successful brands in Tampa Bay. This is a very unique opportunity that CMG Tampa has not seen in decades. The entire CMG family is eager to welcome the next programming leaders to help take these big brands to the next level.” Positions include:
- CMG Tampa Operations Manager (OM): This new position will oversee all programming and content for CMG Tampa’s six top rated FM brands. Those stations include WWRM “Magic 94.9,” WSUN “97X,” WPOI “HOT 101.5,” WHPT “102.5 The Bone,” WDUV “105.5 The Dove,” and WXGL “107.3 The Eagle.” This individual will oversee all program directors and will report to the Tampa VP/market manager. The OM will also have PD responsibilities for one or more stations.
- WPOI/WSUN Program Director: This individual will be responsible for the branding and growth of Tampa Bay’s most innovative 18-49 brands, “HOT 101.5” and “97X.” In its third year in format, “HOT 101.5” is a top ranked CHR while “97X” delivers one of the deepest relationships with its listeners as America’s premiere Listener Driven Radio station. This individual must have a track record of successfully developing brands as well as a deep understanding of emerging digital and social platforms. This position will report to the OM.
- WHPT 102.5 The Bone Program Director: This person will be responsible for the overall operation of America’s hottest talk radio station. “The Bone” has one of radio’s largest personalities with the highest ratings, all on Florida’s hottest signal. The successful candidate will have a track record of successfully operating talk-based formats, working with high-profile talent, and creatively marketing and growing brands like “The Bone.”
Interested candidates should send their resumes and cover letter to Keith Lawless: 1015.Lawless@coxinc.com.
Twitter Tip: Think Twice. Broadcasters using Twitter to connect with their audience are offered some tips from media consultant Holland Cooke who writes the following. Observation: You won’t lose followers by not Tweeting. Twitter is a powerful tool. I myself was a late-adopter, and I’m real impressed. AND IT’S FREE…and that’s a double-edged sword. Tip: Pretend that each Tweet costs you a dollar. Why? Watch your followers numbers. They tend to go down right after you’ve Tweeted something, which, apparently, one or more followers didn’t find relevant. Don’t take it personally! Whoever just left (and I wish there was a way to know who) might’ve followed you in the first place because an earlier Tweet was as enticing as the one that turned ‘em off wasn’t. You yourself will un-follow after perhaps even a Tweet doesn’t grab you. Spam is spam, whatever the platform. I was recently exposed to some research that demonstrated something you might find unsurprising: Tweets about one’s self get re-Tweeted less than Tweets which link to third party internet content. In Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster), Wharton prof Jonah Berger writes, “People like to pass along practical useful information. News others can use.” Social media is sharing. Facebook seems to be degenerating into pictures of what the waiter just delivered.
Odds & Sods. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive talk host Chris Stigall got the chance to do an in-studio segment with WestwoodOne syndicated talk host, SNL alum and comic Dennis Miller as the latter was on the East Coast for a stand-up gig at a nearby Delaware casino. The two talked about Jimmy Fallon succeeding Jay Leno, his take on the job President Obama is doing and a look ahead to a possible Chris Christie–Hillary Clinton race in 2016…..Nationally syndicated Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine will appear on Fox Business Channel this evening (1/23) to discuss the issue of global warming on John Stossel’s program. Valentine recently produced the film “An Inconsistent Truth” challenging current global warming conclusions. Also appearing on tonight’s show are Bill Nye the Science Guy and Marc Morano who runs the website ClimateDepot.com…..Fox Sports Radio Network is announcing it will be broadcasting live from New York next week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII as it has for the past 13 years. Beginning Monday, Fox Sports Radio will bring listeners programming and updates from several locations throughout New York City as the Dan Patrick show, “Jay Mohr Sports,” J.T. The Brick and “Steve Gorman SPORTS!” broadcast live from the center of the action…..Once again ESPN Deportes Radio is presenting play-by-play of the Super Bowl in Spanish. Coverage will begin with a three-hour special Super Bowl preview from the stadium with analysis by Kenneth Garay, Sebastian Christensen, Eduardo Martell, Carlos Arratia and Marcelo Sandrin. Game coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. with Garay (play-by-play) alongside Christensen (analysis) in the booth, and Sandrin reporting from the field…..The San Franciso 49ers name former NFL player Tim Ryan color analyst for 49ers radio broadcasts. He replaces Eric Davis and will work with Ted Robinson. Cumulus Media‘s sports KNBR and rock KSAN serve as flagships for San Franciso football games.
Global Warming/Eastern Freeze-Western Drought, Roe v. Wade Anniversary, ObamaCare Rollout, Bob McDonnell Investigation, ‘Real’ U.S. Unemployment Figures, and Iran Nuclear Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The freezing winter weather affecting the East and the Western drought plus talk of their possible relationship to global warming; the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the investigation of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on corruption charges; the report that the real unemployment figure in the United States is over 30%; and the deal being struck with Iran over its nuclear program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Farewell: Legendary Larry Lujack. Notwithstanding words such as “legendary” and “iconic” are grossly overused, Larry Lujack was nonetheless an unquestionable legendary, iconic Chicago personality. The radio world lost a quintessential on-air talent Wednesday night when the 73-year-old “Super Jock” passed away at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Especially in the Midwest, countless air personalities hoping to advance to the biggest of the big time when AM radio was king would talk up vocals on audition tapes, liberally using signature slogans like “The Big 89,” “The Rock of Chicago,” and “Music Radio, W-L-S.” Radio pro Mike Kinosian, who serves as managing editor and West Coast bureau chief for TALKERS and its sister publication RadioInfo, wrote a beautiful tribute to the life and career of Lujack. Kinosian interviewed Lujack in 2003 and Kinosian shares some of Lujack’s thoughts about top 40 radio, the state of the industry at the time and, of course, his own career. Read Kinosian’s story on RadioInfo here.