Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Provide News for ‘Me-TV FM’ as Part of Partnership. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story on this interesting partnership between Tribune news/talker WGN and the Weigel Broadcasting-operated soft AC-oldies format airing on low-power analog VHF TV signal at 87.7 FM (WRME-LP). Under the terms of the deal, WGN news staffers will provide two one-minute news/weather/sports updates per hour during morning drive for “Me-TV FM.” Additionally, the two companies will enter into a joint sales agreement with WGN selling time on “Me-TV FM.” The unique music format – programmed by Rick O’Dell – is surprising some industry watchers as it recently pulled a 2.0 share in the August Nielsen PPM survey with a cume of 684,000. Read Feder’s piece here.
Cumulus Media Providence Promotes Paras to VP/MM. Ten-year Cumulus Media Providence director of sales Holly Paras is elevated to vice president and market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in that Rhode Island metro. Cumulus Media senior vice president Jeff Brown comments, “Holly’s fingerprints are on many of the successes that our cluster in Providence has enjoyed over the years. She is the first to tell you that those wins are due to our very talented, market-leading team. She is the leader and the team is fired up to follow her.” Paras states, “I am excited and humbled to be asked to lead such a talented team of people and the tremendous radio brands at Cumulus Providence.” Before her director of sales tenure, Paras was national sales manager for three Cumulus Media Providence outlets, and was a Katz Radio Group New York City account executive. Fourteen (14) stations are listed in Nielsen Audio‘s August 2016 PPM report for Providence. With their August 2016 6+- market rank and 6+-share in parentheses, Cumulus Media Providence’s five station cluster consists of adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” (#1, 9.7); CHR WPRO-FM “Today’s Hit Music” (#2, 8.5); talk WPRO-AM (#7, 4.6); rhythmic CHR WWKX “Hot 106” (#8, third successive 2.6); and talk WPRV (#13, .5).
PodcastOne to Launch Virtual Reality Programming. Stating that it will be the first company to “enter the virtual reality space,” PodcastOne announces a partnership with Mandt VR to launch its new PodcastOne 360 platform. Mandt VR was founded by multi-Emmy Award winning producer Neil Mandt. The firms report they plan to produce more than 200 original 360-video experiences and expect to become the largest producers of high-quality, serialized virtual reality content in the world. They also intend to develop a proprietary camera system, specifically for PodcastOne’s high-volume production. PodcastOne says the potential of providing the virtual reality experience to its listeners, who deliver more than 400 million monthly impressions, and Mandt VR’s unique ability to activate large quantities of captivating content, will create a robust catalogue of compelling, serialized content. “The Adam Carolla Show” will be the first podcast available to listeners on PodcastOne 360. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz states, “Virtual reality is the future of entertainment and Mandt VR’s leading technology delivers quality video, and in large quantities. This is key when you churn out about 350 podcast episodes weekly. This provides the next dimension in consuming our on-demand audio programming. It’s especially germane to an audience that wants to consume PodcastOne’s content on an ever-more connected basis. This is exactly the kind of partnership and cutting-edge direction that floats our collective boats.” Pictured above are (from l-r): PodcastOne CEO Jim Berk, Mandt, Pattiz, and Mandt VR chief strategy officer Chadwick Turner.
Zac Davis Appointed SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Richmond. This move keeps programming pro Zac Davis in the iHeartMedia family. He’s been serving as program director for the company’s CHR outlets WKSS, Hartford “Kiss 95-7” and WKCI, New Haven “KC101.” Now, he moves south to Richmond, Virginia to take on the SVP of programming position for the eight-station cluster that includes: CHR WRVQ “Q94,” CHR W241AP “96.1 The Planet,” adult contemporary WTVR “Mix 98.1,” AC W253BI “BIG 98.5,” alternative WRXL “XL 102,” hip hop WBTJ “106.5 The Beat,” sport talk WRNL “FOX Sports 910” and news/talk WRVA “News Radio 1140.” Market president Rick Green comments, “I’m thrilled that Zac is joining our great programming team. Zac is a proven leader with great success in a diversity of formats which makes him a great fit for our eight-station cluster in Richmond.”
Odds & Sods. A new podcast series from PodcastOne launches titled, “How I Got Here.” It’s the work of recently graduated college roommates Tim Barnicle and Harry Hill who started wondering how to “make it” in the world, then decided to ask those who have “made it” to share their inspiring stories. The series kicks off September 20 with Emmy Award winner Tom Brokaw. This will be followed by Peabody Award winner and legendary interviewer Larry King in week two. New episodes will be available every Tuesday…..DGital Media and Learfield Sports are working together on a podcast project that will create original, non-event audio content for fans by the familiar, hometown radio voices associated with some of the nation’s most recognizable collegiate athletic programs, including the Alabama Crimson Tide, North Carolina Tar Heels, Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys, with additional programs to be added soon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Show” is added to the program schedule at WTNW, Jasper, Tennessee…..NBC Sports Radio announces sports media personality Mike Tirico is joining the network as an NFL commentator this football season. Tirico is host of NBC’s “Football Night in America” and will be a featured contributor across NBC Sports Radio programming. He’ll also do interviews with affiliated stations……Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher (left) is pictured here with Eric Trump (right) during a meeting at the World Bar of the Trump World Tower in Manhattan. Gallagher, along with SRN hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager (plus actor Jon Voight) stopped in NYC on the network’s “Decision 2016” tour that stops today (9/14) in Washington, Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio.
Client Story. The photo above shows WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3 FM” personality Brian Joyce (left), Peachtree Auto Painting & Collision owner Bobby Socol, and Joyce’s beloved 1964 Chevy Impala. Joyce tells TALKERS that when he decided his car needed a new paint job, the station contacted Peachtree in Chattanooga and came up with an endorsement deal he casually referred to as “Pimp Brian’s Ride!” “They put a beautiful new two-tone paint job on the car, I talked it up on the air and social media (Facebook and Instagram, primarily), and the results were fantastic. Peachtree says their phones have been ringing off the hook since we started the campaign, and they’ve generated a ton of phone calls and inquiries, not to mention, new business!” Joyce says Peachtree has continued to advertise with the station.
Carolyn Fox Candidate for WPRO-AM, Providence PM Drive Gig. That is according to a report from WJAR-TV, Providence. The station published a feature story about the Providence-born radio pro who’s been – among other things – working lately in the real estate business. Carolyn Fox, known in the Providence market for her time at rock WHJY, told the television station that she is under consideration for the drive time show at the Cumulus Media news/talker. It’s part of a “where are they now” story that presents Fox’s colorful radio history in the Northeast. The afternoon drive show opened up after longtime political figure and radio host Buddy Cianci died in January.
Presidential Race, Run-Up to Academy Awards, Apple vs FBI Case, Syrian Ceasefire, and Britain’s Looming EU Exit Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the controversy over the slate of nominees for Academy Awards; the battle between Apple and the FBI over the company’s refusal to hack an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists; the civil conflict in Syria and the brokered cease fire; and Britain’s June referendum on exiting the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cooke: Engage in Unconventional Convention Coverage. For news/talk stations planning to cover the Democratic and/or Republican conventions this summer, radio consultant Holland Cooke has some advice: don’t duplicate the national coverage. In other words, make your coverage unique and interesting to your listeners and don’t sound like the network news your station is probably also carrying. Cooke also cautions against airing live reports, instead using your technology to air produced reports with interesting elements. Read more here.
Townsquare Media’s Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 5.4% for 2015. The acquisition of North American Midway Entertainment and the robust performance of Townsquare Media’s live events division contributed to a net revenue increase of 20.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015. However, for the fourth quarter local advertising net revenue was basically flat (down 0.4%). Chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We believe our diversified strategy remains sound, demonstrated by the stability of our local advertising business and the outsized growth in our other businesses. In addition, we further diversified our business, with approximately half of revenue now derived from sources other than the sale of terrestrial radio advertising.” For all of 2015, local advertising net revenue (excluding political) increased 1.9% compared to 2014.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk personality Dino Costa will serve as host of the morning drive show on Randy Markel-owned KFNS, St. Louis “590 The Fan,” although a start date for the show has not been announced. Costa is currently broadcasting a live, three-hour nightly show via the internet…..Promoted from vice president of sales for the Cumulus Pensacola, Florida cluster to vice president/market manager is Davey Willhoit…..Nationally syndicated talk media personality Leslie Marshall is now part of the Worldwide Speakers Group, which describes itself as “a leading global professional services firm providing distinctive performance and innovative solutions in the global lecture industry to corporate, trade, education, and commercial customers worldwide.”
WPRO-AM, Providence Talk Host Buddy Cianci Dead at 74. The colorful former Providence mayor who turned his political experience into a talk radio career in the city has died, according to WPRI-TV, Providence. Buddy Cianci – diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014 – died at Providence’s Miriam Hospital early today (1/28). Cianci hosted the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM. He was with the station for most of the past 10 years, taking a required break from his radio gig to again run for mayor in 2014 and returning after his defeat in the election. His first foray into talk radio took place between his two stints as mayor at iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talker WHJJ. WRKO, Boston-based, independently syndicated talk radio star Howie Carr issued the following statement regarding Cianci’s death: “Buddy Cianci was the antithesis of political correctness, which is why his passing is such a great loss for Providence, the state of Rhode Island, and talk radio. They’re not making them like Buddy anymore. He was one of a kind, sui generis.”
Talk Programmer Jack Landreth Exits KMBZ, Kansas City PD Post. Talk radio pro Jack Landreth leaves the program director position at Entercom’s Kansas City talk duo KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM “Talk980.” Landreth arrived in KC in January of 2012 after programming such news/talk outlets as KXNT, Las Vegas and KTSA, San Antonio. He writes in a memo to his staff, “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished over the last four years as a team. Record ratings in our target demos have shattered all we thought we could do.” He can be emailed at: Jack.Landreth@me.com.
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York adds “The Frommer Travel Show” to its Saturday programming schedule. The show, featuring Frommer Media co-president and editorial director Pauline Frommer and Frommers.com editor-in-chief Jason Cochran, will be locally produced and air from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The weekly “Motley Fool Money” radio program with host Chris Hill adds new affiliate KVBR, Brainerd, Minnesota “Brainerd Business Radio” beginning this weekend…..CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh station group is presenting its eat.drink.WESTMORELAND event this Saturday (1/30). Attendees get to enjoy samples from more than a dozen of Westmoreland County’s finest restaurants plus new products, wines, beers and more. News/talk KDKA-AM afternoon drive co-host Robert Mangino is serving as emcee.
Presidential Race/Trump to Skip GOP Debate, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Volatility, European Immigrant Issues, Joseph Fiennes-Michael Jackson Flap, Oregon Militia Standoff, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The activities of the candidates for president, highlighted by Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in tonight’s Fox News Channel debate; low oil prices and the tumultuous world financial markets; the immigrant problems facing some European nations; the controversy over white actor Joseph Fiennes being cast in a film about Michael Jackson; the deadly turn of events in the Oregon Wildlife Preserve militia standoff; and the run-up to Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WGN, Chicago Extends Blackhawks Broadcast Deal for Five More Years. Chicago news/talker WGN and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks announce the signing of a five-year contract extension to keep Blackhawks play-by-play on the Tribune station through the 2023-24 season. The Blackhawks have been heard on WGN since the 2008-09 campaign. WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “Many, myself included, believe that WGN Radio and the Chicago Blackhawks have the best partnership in sports. This renewal is testament to that. It’s an honor to formally extend this relationship and we look forward to celebrating many more Blackhawks wins with our WGN Radio listeners.” Pictured here are (from l-r): sports director Dave Eanet, producer Ross Cochran, news anchor Andrea Darlas, director of sales Jeff Hill, director of marketing Jackie Paulus, programming director Todd Manley, morning show host Steve Cochran, and de Castro.
DGital Media Partners with Cox to Distribute Herman Cain Show. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show will be syndicated and marketed by DGital Media beginning January 4, 2016. Cox Media Group and DGital Media are agreeing to have DGital Media serve as the exclusive advertising sales representative and its affiliated company WYM Media be the exclusive distributor, handling affiliate marketing. CMG director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs comments, “It is great to be working again with [DGital Media president] John Murphy and the rest of the DGital Media team. My particular experience with them is they are the most original thinkers of any audio company I’ve had the privilege of working with.” Cain’s program is currently heard on some 120 affiliate stations.
‘For Our Daughters’ Re-Ignites Campaign Against WPRO’s John DePetro. According to a piece at GoLocalProv.com, the organization For Our Daughters is renewing its efforts to get late morning talk host John DePetro off the air at Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence. This battle is an old one and the organization, which according to GoLocalProv.com is led by a number of prominent union leaders, is one with whom DePetro’s clashed on issues in the past. Organization chairwoman Maureen Martin issued the following statement, “Since we started, we estimate we have cost the station close to $150,000 in lost advertising revenue. However, we are disgusted that John DePetro is still allowed to spew his hate speech on the air at WPRO-AM. The lack of action by station management on this issue shows their willingness to empower a unrepentant misogynist. Their continued employment of Mr. DePetro implies their tacit assent to DePetro’s statements. Since our campaign started two years ago, DePetro has continued to berate women and minorities on a daily basis. This can no longer be tolerated. To that end, we have decided to ramp up our campaign to once and for all remove Mr. DePetro from the air.” For his part, DePetro says, “I host a very popular, successful, daily talk show where I allow the public to speak out on current events in the news. The content of my show is family friendly, and I speak with people of all ages and backgrounds. Once again, a group of union supporters and other ultra-liberal individuals, have targeted me and in an attempt to silence me.” Read the GoLocalProv.com piece here.
Chicago Talker Garry Meier to Begin Digital Venture. Chicago radio legend Garry Meier – 13 months removed from his most recent gig at Tribune’s wgn.fm digital platform – is entering the world of digital audio on his own with an online radio show and podcast beginning in 2016. He recently posted his plans on his website. He writes, in part: “As I examined the media landscape, I decided to do something that a great friend and mentor told me to do 10 years ago…onto the Internet…and while I wasn’t ready to make the leap a decade ago, I thought the time is right now to go digital, since everything in the media world is migrating there. It is migration that just about every state will accept. At this point in my career, I want to try something completely new that offers me more control and freedom and also is the wave of the future. While gas prices remain low, my excitement heading into this new chapter is very high. Another familiar voice will be part of the broadcast, as Leslie Keiling returns to do news. I’m happy to have her join me. It might not be the way you listened on traditional radio but breaking away from all of that, I think, is a good thing…so hello from the 50 trillion-watt WIFI.”
PodcastOne Shows Honored with iTunes Awards. This year, seven programs from PodcastOne are being honored in the iTunes Best of 2015 selections. The competitive list, compiled from a collection of more than 250,000 worldwide podcasts, features “The BIG Podcast with Shaq,” named one of the Best Recent Debuts, and “Steve Austin Unleashed” and WNYC-produced “Here’s the Thing,” named with the Best Classics. Celebrating the Most Downloads are “The Adam Carolla Show,” which recently re-upped with PodcastOne for five additional years, as well as “The Dan Patrick Show” and WNYC-produced “Freakonomics” and “Radiolab.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “We are very proud of the network roster we have built in the last few years. From production, to distribution and advertising partnerships, all of our programs deliver compelling content that keeps all eyes (and ears) on our collective 200 podcasts.”
Odds & Sods. News/talk KLZ, Denver is adding David Leach’s “The Strident Conservative” commentaries to its programming. The Crawford Broadcasting-owned station is also featuring Leach as a regular contributor to its daily afternoon drive program…..A new podcast featuring Yahoo! Sports personality Adrian Wojnarowski is being produced, distributed and repped by DGital Media. Titled, “The Vertical Podcast with Woj,” the weekly program will focus on the NBA. DGital Media chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As a fan of the NBA, and as a fan of audio, I’m always searching for incredible storytellers who will provide a credible and intimate take without all the noise. We are incredibly honored to partner with a game-changing talent like Woj and a top brand like Yahoo! Sports.”…..The web series “Brown Bag Wine Tasting with William Shatner” takes three honors at the recent 7th Annual TASTE Awards. Shatner, CRN Digital Talk Radio, and producer Scott Sternberg partnered to create the show and sold it to Ora TV. CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO and president Michael J. Horn – who is also a sommelier – assists in the selecting and procuring of the wines…..SiriusXM is broadcasting 38 live college bowl games beginning with this Saturday’s Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. The satcaster is also airing the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship.
AdLarge and Touchdown Radio at the Heisman Dinner. Pictured here at last weekend’s 2015 Heisman Dinner are executives from AdLarge Media and 1992 Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta. The former University of Miami star and AdLarge are partners in Torretta’s Touchdown Radio for which AdLarge serves as exclusive ad rep. From left to right are: chief revenue officer Don Wachsmith; Torretta; co-founder and co-CEO Gary Schonfeld; and VP of business development Frank DeSantis.
2016 Presidential Race/GOP Debate, Freddie Gray Mistrial, Obama Gun Control Plans, Battle Against Islamic State, School District Terror Threats, Fed Ups Interest Rates, and Federal Student Drug Use Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Tuesday evening’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas; the mistrial in the first of six police officers to be tried in Baltimore in the death of Freddie Gray; President Obama’s meeting with former New York Governor Michael Bloomberg in formulating new gun control orders; the military campaign against Islamic State and concerns about radical Islamists among Syrian refugees; the terror threats being received by school districts in the U.S.; the hiking of interest rates by the Fed for the first time in nine years; and the just-released federal report on high school student drug use indicating marijuana use tops cigarette smoking for the first time were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Baltimore Talk Radio Figure Brian MacDonald Dead at 67. Heart failure is the reported cause of death for former WBAL and WCBM, Baltimore programmer and personality Brian MacDonald. MacDonald got his start in radio programming Baltimore Community College-owned public station WBJC-FM. He served as PD and afternoon host at WBAL from 1975 to 1985, then worked at crosstown WCBM on air for three years before leaving the radio industry.
TALKERS Spotlight: THE WATCHDOGS
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Contrasted to national talk radio hosts who can sometimes get deeply mired in a monotonous right against left (or vice versa) onslaught, many of their local counterparts emerge as bona fide folk heroes for standing up against a coterie of injustices inflicted on their fellow residents.
Actions taken by this band of “watchdogs,” in the overwhelming number of instances, have nothing to do with political leanings or a partisan playbook.
Legendary for rooting out the “bad guys,” afternoon talk hosts “John & Ken” (John Kobylt & Ken Champiou) expose what they consider dirty dealings to their very large audience on Los Angeles’ KFI. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr is a thorn in the side of the “powers that be” in New England. Everywhere in between, intense professional satisfaction comes when they go toe-to-toe with pit bull-like tenacity against the establishment. In that same sort of imagery, “hold their feet to the fire” has actually become a talk radio slogan as on-air talents attempt to expose and defeat “the bad guys.”