Dan Mandis Hosts Early Afternoon Show at WWTN, Nashville. Talk radio pro Dan Mandis is the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality at Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7.” Mandis, who spent years as executive producer of the Dr. Laura Program, has most recently been programming such talk radio outlets as Clear Channel’s KHOW and KKZN in Denver and Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne. He also hosted the Saturday morning show on KOA, Denver. With Mandis’ arrival at “SuperTalk 99.7,” the station is now live and local from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. He’ll follow morning host Ralph Bristol and late morning personality Michael DelGiorno while leading into PM drive host Phil Valentine. WWTN program director Brian Wilson states, “We think Dan’s view of the world is just familiar enough to be comfortable for our audience and at the same time just different enough that he’ll make a lot of people stop and think twice about the disease behind the symptoms. As the fourth leg to the table, we think all our core shows will complement each other. The effect is that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.” Mandis comments, “There are so many reasons to be excited about this opportunity. Being part of an amazing talk radio station on FM is one, and living in a great city like Nashville is another. I honestly can’t wait to get started.”
‘PowerTalk 96.7’ Fresno Host Bill Manders Receives Kidney from Teen Suicide Victim. Afternoon drive personality Bill Manders returned to his show on Clear Channel’s news/talk duo KALZ and KRZR in Fresno after kidney transplant surgery three weeks ago. According to local TV station KFSN, Manders received a kidney from a local teen who had just committed suicide. It turns out 17-year-old Lexi Morris’ father Jason is a regular listener to Manders’ program and made the unusual request that Manders receive his daughter’s kidney. As the story notes, this is not the usual procedure but the kidney was a perfect match. Manders tells the TV station, “I was in tears when I heard her story, but I would rather concentrate on the plusses in her life. She was smart, athletic, she has a great family, and I know she’s there looking down on me, so I’ve got to honor her.” Read the whole story here.
Marc Hochman Officially Signs with Beasley to Host PM Drive on WQAM, Miami. Nothing is ever official until the contract is signed but Marc Hochman’s departure from Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WAXY last fall with the intent on sitting out his non-compete and landing in PM drive at WQAM was one of radio’s worst-kept secrets. As soon as it was legal (at 12:01 am on 4/1), Hochman (second from left) inked a pact with WQAM to begin his run as the station’s afternoon personality. The new Marc Hochman show will also feature Zach Krantz (right), former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Sha Tabb (second from right), and longtime WQAM producer Victor Bermudez (left). WQAM program director Andy King says, “Marc is an incredible talent and one of the most creative minds in radio. His ability to blend sports, pop culture and humor into an entertaining show has led him to tremendous success throughout his career and I’m excited for him to continue that success here at 560 WQAM.” Hochman adds, “I am the quintessential ‘radio nerd,’ so the opportunity for me to host an afternoon drive show on the most legendary sports talk station in Miami was one that I couldn’t pass up. When I first moved to Miami in 1987, I listened to WQAM all the time. Now, a little over 25 years later, I’ll be sitting behind that microphone, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!” The station also announces that one of the most legendary voices in South Florida sports history, Howard Schnellenberger, has signed on as the imaging voice of the Marc Hochman show. All the show intros and production will be voiced by Schnellenberger.
Melanie Morgan Returns to Radio in Santa Rosa. Long time Bay Area news radio and talk radio pro Melanie Morgan (formerly with Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco and, for a time, with TRN’s “America’s Morning News”) joined Sonoma Media Group-owned KSRO, Santa Rosa, California as news director and morning anchor. She began her news director duties yesterday (3/31) and starts on-air next Monday (4/7). Melanie replaces a heritage morning news anchor, David Wesley Page, who retired from radio about a month ago after nearly 30 years on the KSRO morning news. Morgan is married to former longtime KGO program director Jack Swanson.
Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson Re-Up with WTEM, Washington. Two of Doc Walker’s co-hosts on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN980” are in the fold for another three years. The company announces that Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson have extended their contracts with the station, keeping them on the “Inside the Locker Room” with Walker through 2017. The mid-afternoon show teams former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with veteran talk show host Scott Jackson. Mitchell has been a part of the “ESPN980” family for five years. Brian also is a contributing member of the Washington Redskins Radio Network, offering analysis pre-game, post-game and during halftime. Jackson has worked at WTEM for nine years and will serve in many additional roles, including hosting “Redskins Recap,” Mondays after Washington Redskins games and as the station’s lead NBA analyst. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “’Inside the Locker Room’ has been a ratings success. To have all three guys under contract for the next few years makes our station stronger. Doc, B-Mitch and Jack have so much fun on the air, you can’t help but laugh along with them while listening.”
Business Rockstars Radio Affiliates with CRN Digital Talk Radio. This week “Business Rockstars Radio,” hosted by Ken Rutkowski began an affiliation relationship with CRN Digital Talk Radio. The program that features “Rockstar” CEOs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups targeting the 30 million “Wantrepreneurs” in the U.S., joins CRN’s integrated audio platform combining television, radio and social media. CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO Mike Horn says, “We’re thrilled about our new partnership with ‘Business Rockstars Radio,’ a show with such compelling content, we’ve decided to air it three different times across our platform. ‘Business Rockstars Radio’ is the only national entrepreneurial radio show that brings in ‘Rockstar’ CEOs and entrepreneurs combined with the magic of Ken Rutkowki’s talent and continuing with each guest on the show. We are also excited to partner with the legendary Steve Lehman, a name synonymous with cutting-edge talk radio.” Lehman adds, “We’re excited to expand the Business Rockstars Radio footprint by joining Mike Horn’s renowned CRN Digital Talk Radio Network. This new alliance will add an additional 11 million television households across the U.S. to the Business Rockstars Radio Network, allowing us to reach more ‘Wantrepreneurs’ with fun, fast-paced, and compelling content about growing, starting, and funding businesses.” Business Rockstars Radio guests include some of the biggest CEOs and entrepreneurs daily, including: Nolan Bushnell (Atari and Chuck E. Cheese Founder), Akon (musician and entrepreneur), Daymond John (Host of ABC’s “Shark Tank”), Cheryl Tiegs (model, actress and entrepreneur), Thom Beers (CEO of Freemantle Media), Scott Painter (Founder and CEO of TruCar) and many others.
Sports Talk Post-Super Bowl. The American sports (and money!) juggernaut that is the National Football League plays a huge role in the success of sports talk radio in America. Not to disparage the MLB, NBA, NHL and NCAA, but it’s clearly the most successful and popular league in professional sports in America. So, what effect does the end of the NFL’s season the first weekend in February have on sports talk stations? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at sports talk radio’s performance in PPM markets leading up to the Super Bowl and in the month that follows. Check out his report here.
McHale Named VP/CTO for Journal Broadcast Group. The Milwaukee-based company announces Brian McHale is its new vice president and chief technology officer, overseeing “the leadership, management, implementation and long-term planning of the company’s technical and physical infrastructure across its 13 television stations and 35 radio stations in 11 states.” Journal Broadcast Group also says McHale will “ensure the efficient and on-schedule delivery of media content, identify emerging technologies and how to profitably deploy them, and work closely with Journal’s leadership team to develop the company’s operational and strategic direction.” McHale comes to Journal from Seattle’s Fisher Communications where he was vice president of technology.
How to Help Your Remote Guests Shine. Radio is a busy business and sometimes hosts must process guests with a level of assembly-line speed that doesn’t always allow for the kind of attention to detail that can make the difference between a quality broadcast and a tune-out. Many interviews on radio sound like there was no forethought to audio quality. And many guests sound like they were thrown into an unfamiliar situation with no preparation. In a very helpful, extensive advice piece posted today (4/1) Genesis Communications Network (GCN) talk show host Michael W. Dean (“The Freedom Feens” and “Michael Dean After Dark”) offers advice on how to maximize the quality of your remote guests covering everything from programming content to technical delivery in today’s frenzied radio environment. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
ObamaCare Criticism, Russian Aggression, North and South Korean Tensions, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Discrepancies, Global Warming, and “Noah” Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the international implications of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Eastern Europe and President Obama’s dealings with Vladimir Putin; heating tensions between North and South Korea; conflicting information from the Malaysian government about the disappearance of Flight 370; renewed debate about global climate change; and criticism of the new film “Noah” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo New AM Host at ‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego. Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who’s been working at stations in Florida for the past several years – joins Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’s the new morning drive host beginning today (2/3). Sileo most recently was hosting a show at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach but was fired from that station in early November of 2013 after shooting off a controversial tweet. Sileo has also worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa. He takes over the morning show at “The Mighty 1090” from market pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who will remain with the station in another capacity. Program director Mike Shepard says, “I am thrilled to welcome Dan to ‘San Diego’s Sports Leader, The Mighty 1090.’ Dan is a passionate, outspoken, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable sports radio personality. His track record of major market success is remarkable and Dan is a perfect addition to the Mighty 1090’s top-rated, all-star lineup.”
New Talk Station to Air in DC Market. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed WILC flips from Spanish music to a hybrid of talk and oldies. The ZGS-owned signal is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA and the new format debuts today (2/3). In a statement, the company says the program schedule is not complete but the station will be “libertarian and conservative talk radio.” Chief operating officer and general manager Bryan Berner says, “All of us at WILC and Wallis Communications look forward to serving the people of the region and bringing a common sense, fresh perspective to talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Programming will include Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Wallis Communications’ “The Dr. K Show,” “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” and WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller. Overnights will showcase vintage radio as the digitally remastered Wolfman Jack will air.
Mike Gallagher Causes Stir with Hoffman Death Observations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher’s observations in the aftermath of the untimely death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman caused such reaction that his post to his MikeOnline.com site logged more than 50,000 views and drew threats to him, his family and even his dog. Speaking about the suspected heroin overdose that took Hoffman’s life, Gallagher stated, “Another senseless death. This time, one of the greatest actors of our time. I wonder if he started with marijuana…If you want to get pot lovers mad, dare to even ask the question if an Oscar-winning movie star who is found dead in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his arm started with marijuana.” Gallagher has stood firm in his stance against the legalization of marijuana as some states move to legalize and decriminalize the drug.
To Get Listeners to Your Website, Don’t Threaten to Bore Them! Digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller wonders why we tend to turn the marketing part of our brains off when we go “online.” We can write good, tempting ad copy for radio but all we’ve learned goes out the window when it comes to our websites. Miller says that one of the worst ways to get someone to your website is to offer them “all of the details” when they get there. Not very tempting is it? More details. Instead, put your marketing skills to work in the same way you would with a spot. “A good commercial will do a better job getting business through a client’s front door than a bad commercial will. It’s the exact same thing getting people to go from your broadcast to one of your digital platforms…or move from one digital platform to another. Opportunity is knocking.” Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Clear Channel Tweaks Lineup at WVOC, Columbia. The South Carolina news/talk station drops the early evening “Sports Talk” show syndicated by Learfield Sports that aired in afternoon drive and adds Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. The “Sports Talk” program is hosted by Phil Kornblut, Kevin McCrarey and Tom Hayes. According to The State, Learfield’s “Sports Talk First Edition” – which aired on CC’s sister sports talk station WXBT “560 The Team” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – is also being replaced. A local sports talk show featuring former South Carolina footballer Rick Sanford will air in the time slot instead. Learfield tells the paper it is working to place the shows on new affiliates in the market.
Mike Francesa Fans (and a Few Critics) Gather for FrancesaCon in NYC. Sports talk pioneer Mike Francesa – afternoon drive host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York – said after learning of the weekend event that the participants would probably be half fans, half critics. How the numbers came down is unclear but the fact that an estimated 400 gathered at an Upper East Side bar on Saturday (2/1) to celebrate, imitate and even mock Francesa, shows how big he is in New York. A piece by Jim Baumbach in Newsday tells the story but the short version is as follows: 23-year-old friends Michael Leboff and Ron Haraka came up with the idea of FrancesaCon as a gathering of Mike Francesa fans. Little did they know that not only would people show up in droves, but they came dressed as Francesa, carried the appropriate props (Diet Coke cans), and did some very good imitations of the man himself. Some even came dressed as Francesa’s longtime former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and classic Francesa-Russo back-and-forths took place in the bar. Check out Baumbach’s story in Newsday here.
FCC Grants Tribune Cross-Ownership Waivers. The license renewals for several Tribune-owned television stations were being challenged by the United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance and the Teamsters. The commission handed down rulings on Friday that granted renewals for the licenses though it also granted the petition for reconsideration to the UCC and Media Alliance. The FCC also reaffirmed the permanent waiver for Tribune in the Chicago market where it owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, WGN-TV, and WGN-AM. In making the decision, the commission ruled that “Given the ‘uniquely long-term symbiotic relationship between [Tribune’s] broadcast stations’ and the Chicago Tribune that provides a special benefit of continued cross-ownership, coupled with the slight cost to diversity in Chicago’s massive media market of continued cross-ownership, Tribune has in fact shown sufficiently ‘unique or special circumstances’ to justify the granting of a permanent waiver of the NBCO (newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership) Rule to its Chicago licensees.”
L&L Closes on Border Media Trust Stations. Seven Texas radio stations that were in the Border Media Trust are now owned by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting. The stations include San Antonio-licensed outlets news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC, adult hits KJXK “Jack 102.7 FM,” regional Mexican KLEY-FM, Jourdanton, regional Mexican KJAH-AM/FM, Pearsall, and CHR KTSM, Floresville. The station group cost L&L $31 million and puts the company into market #28.
Still More Positive News/Talk Radio Stories. For the past several days, TALKERS magazine has been writing about some of the individual success stories of news/talk stations that are performing well or even enjoying a ratings bounce during a time when the mainstream media (and some of the trades) are presenting the idea that news/talk radio is dead, dying or, at the very least, suffering from some malady. TALKERS editors believe this too-broad approach to describing the state of a whole radio format that’s heard across an entire continent is detrimental to the industry. And apparently many of the industry’s practitioners agree as we are being besieged with accounts of success from PDs, talent and anonymous station staffers (who want to keep a low profile). Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque has long been a ratings-getter in the market and program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS things are going particularly well for new PM drive host Scott Stiegler. “He is #1 Persons 25-54 in afternoon drive. It took Stig just six months to take the afternoon show from 8th to 1st in Persons 25-54. They are also listening to the Stig show an hour longer a week than they were six months ago in the key demo.” Frisch also commends Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh for his recent success. “The rock of the station, Rush, is #1 Persons 25-54 and they are listening an hour longer per week to Rush in the key demo, as well. Conservative talk still works and works well if you are a true conservative and stick to your principals.” At NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, talk radio pro Tom Becka says his story – exiting crosstown KFAB, doing a year in Fargo, and returning to the market on KOIL – is indicative of how success can be achieved without headline-grabbing stats. “We hit our sales quota for the year two months ago and I am beating or competitive with KFAB in my time slot in the demo. Advertisers that are looking ahead to 2014 are putting us in their mix when we were a non-issue at this time last year. I don’t have to beat (Clear Channel’s) KFAB to win. But it is good to know that good local programming that responds to the needs of the listeners still wins.” Reports from KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno (a Peak station soon to be owned by Cumulus Media) indicate the station’s efforts to rebuild its programming after losing Premiere shows to Clear Channel’s new crosstown news/talker have worked in “retaining format leadership in the Fresno market.” Finally, TALKERS is getting reports that the Cox Media Group-WestwoodOne effort syndicating Herman Cain is getting good traction and results. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Cain is #5 in that market with Men 25-54 (6.1 share); #1 at WHIO, Dayton with Men 25-54 (10 share); and #3 with Men 18-49 at KRMG, Tulsa (8.1 share). Thanks to all the folks who’ve reported positive news/talk stories over the past few days. We look forward to hearing – and reporting – more of them in the future! For those attending the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood next Thursday, this will be one of the focal points of the event.
WQAM, Miami Names Andy King PD; Channing Crowder and Brandon Guzio to PM Drive. Beasley Broadcast Group’s Miami sports talker WQAM fills the afternoon drive slot and program director position that had been open since Jorge Sedano left to join ESPN. The station ups APD Andy King to PD. King started at WQAM in 2005 as producer of the Dan Le Batard show, eventually became executive producer of the Jorge Sedano show and took the position of assistant program director in May 2012. WQAM reports that in King’s first year there, he helped the station grow nearly a full share point in the coveted Men 25-54 target audience. The new permanent PM drive program is the Channing Crowder show featuring the former University of Florida and Miami Dolphins star along with co-host Brandon Guzio. Crowder began his radio career with WQAM while still playing professional football and joined the station full time in October 2012 as co-host of the “Kup & Crowder” show. Guzio joined the station’s Jorge Sedano show in 2013 and is also currently the host of “The Post Game Show” following every Miami Dolphins game. With Crowder moving to afternoons, longtime WQAM personality Captain Curtis Stevenson joins Adam Kuperstein for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm “Kup & Curtis” show.
Prime Opportunity for Conservative Talker in Seattle. As Bonneville’s conservative talk outlet KTTH, Seattle celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, program director Jason Antebi tells TALKERS he is preparing to add another local talk show to the station’s lineup. Antebi says, “The station has been sharpening its vision – who do we want to talk to, what do we talk about and what unique value can we provide to our listeners? We are passionate about our beliefs, yet we also want to move the community conversation forward in a meaningful way and make a difference where we live and work. I’m lucky to work at a company like Bonneville where we’re able to truly provide a place to passionately advocate for traditional American values (like freedom, community, and personal responsibility) without having to be a bomb-thrower.” Antebi says he’ll be looking for “talk show hosts who feel they have what it takes to stay on top of breaking news with insightful, civil and forward-thinking analysis and constructive conversation.” Those interested in learning more about the position should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Progressive Talk Radio to Return to Portland on New FM. KXRY, Portland (HERP of 8 watts at 91.1 MHz) is currently dark but owned by not-for-profit Common Frequency, Inc. and is expected to go on the air as a non-commercial station in the near future with a progressive talk and music hybrid format. Writing on BlueOregon.com, Carla Axtman says the goal of “XRAY.FM” is to fill the gap left by the demise of former progressive talker KPOJ. It plans to air former KPOJ AM drive host Carl Wolfson (who is running his own internet station) as well as WYD Media’s Thom Hartman, who made Portland his home base for a number of years. Axtman also writes, “Why the sudden audio activism? October 2013 marks the only opening for new independent radio licenses granted by the FCC – a one-week window after a 15-year battle. Congress has allowed commercial radio stations to snatch up nearly all available frequencies (and the ears of billions of listeners) for a long time. This is XRAY.FM’s chance to bring Thom Hartmann, Carl Wolfson and the music of independent artists back to your local dial. XRAY.FM is partnering with community organizations around Oregon to make sure that the whole state can enjoy the sweet sounds of progressive radio once again.”
Odds & Sods. The Los Angeles Lakers and ESPN agree to extend the club’s relationship with KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” for another seven years with the station airing Lakers play-by-play through the 2019-2020 season. John Ireland and Mychal Thompson will continue to call the games…..WBBM-AM and WCFS, Chicago part-time anchor and reporter Brandis Friedman leaves CBS Radio to join public television station WTTW-TV, Chicago as a full-time correspondent for the “Chicago Tonight Program,” according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Dave Rutherford begins contributing daily commentaries to Rogers’ CFFR, Calgary. Rutherford exited Corus’ crosstown CHQR where he hosted a talk show prior to the expiration of his contract after he criticized that station’s coverage of the flooding in Alberta in June.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin show becomes part of the programming at WEZO, Augusta, Gerogia; KVML, Sonora, California; and WLVA, Roanoke, Virginia…..Cumulus’ Mike Huckabee is added at WGDJ, Albany; KVRC, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; and WBKK, Wilton, Minnesota…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” is added to the lineup at KOKC, Oklahoma City and KJCE, Austin. Additionally, KFAQ, Tulsa expands its carriage of the show to 4:00 am to 6:00 am…..GCN’s “The Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WSZL, Barstow, Californnia…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters joins the programming at WGTK, Louisville, Kentucky.
Jennifer Hudson on ABC News Radio. Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson (right) sits down with ABC News Radio’s Joi-Marie McKenzie (left) to discuss her latest movie “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” which hits theaters on October 11.
Government Shutdown Tops Talkers TenTM. The shutdown of the federal government and the political battle to re-open was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of September 30 – October 4. Coming in at #2 this week was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was U.S.-Iran relations and at #4 was the IPCC’s climate change report. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Big Changes Coming to WGN, Chicago; Cochran to AM Drive and an FM Signal in Tribune’s Future. The Chicago Tribune lays out some of the changes that will take place at Tribune Company’s legendary radio property on September 3. With the hiring of radio executive and former WLUP-FM chief Jimmy de Castro in the spring of this year, industry watchers knew changes were afoot. De Castro wasn’t hired to run things as they were. And now we know some of the ideas de Castro has been considering over the summer. Former midday host Mike McConnell – a WLW, Cincinnati alum brought in by former bosses Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny – has already moved to the company’s online effort WGN-2. Now, Tribune reveals that air personality Steve Cochran – ousted from the station in 2010 – will return to host AM drive. Current AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier will move to a digital property dubbed wgnfm.com until the company can acquire an FM signal on which to build a new station. The paper reports that husband-and-wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano will likely host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and overnight host Bill Leff will be partnered with a player-to-be-named-later for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Garry Meier remains in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot but is expected to take on a name partner soon. Another return of talent from the pre-Randy Michaels days are Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (former midday “Girlfriends”) who will do a weekend program on WGN. The AM radio property will also build using blocks from its WGN-TV sibling, starting with the branding slogan “Chicago’s Very Own.” De Castro says the station will use WGN-TV personalities more often, including Dean Richards and Tom Skilling. As for the future FM property that will start as a digital station, de Castro says, “We’re going to create it as a radio laboratory. We’re going to build it up until we get an FM and then we’re going to put them all on a talk FM.” The story notes that any purchase of an FM will come after the company sheds its newspaper division. That may happen in 2014 if a buyer (or buyers) can be found.
Jim Watkins Returns to Talk Radio Network. Radio pro Jim Watkins served with Talk Radio Network for 13 years as director of affiliate relations and executive producer for the syndication company. Now, TRN Syndications, Ltd. announces it is engaging Watkins “to spearhead several new projects within TRN and to assist in the growth of the existing affiliate base of the multiple TRN networks and many radio stars that TRN syndicates.” The company states Watkins will oversee new business development and growth-strategy projects for the TRN Networks that distributes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, Erich “Mancow” Muller, Monica Crowley, “America’s Morning News,” Michio Kaku, Louie Anderson, Roy Masters and America’s Radio News Network, and a complete weekend lineup of a variety of talk programming. CEO Mark Masters says he’s thrilled to have Watkins leading his affiliate department at this most crucial time. “Jim is deeply entrenched in talk radio and has developed alliances with key programmers across the country. As the country ramps up into the mid-term elections, talk radio has never been more vital to facilitating the national debate. Jim really understands the vitality of talk radio better than most people in the industry today.” Watkins previously programmed news/talk stations for Clear Channel, as well as South-Florida based Meridian Broadcasting, and also served as producer for some of the top air talent in the country, including Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Barry Farber, and others. He adds, “Talk radio reaches the most affluent and loyal audience of any format, and it does so by allowing for a free exchange of ideas which can and does influence public policy in a big way. To have one of the best rosters of talent to be found anywhere gives me a great sense of pride.”
Nationally Syndicated Host Thom Hartmann Debuts Daily Caller Column. Liberal talk media star Thom Hartmann begins writing a weekly column for the conservative digital publication Daily Caller in which he addresses an issue from his own perspective followed by a conservative or libertarian rebuttal. In his first column – dubbed “Liberally Yours” – Hartmann asks the question: Should the Post Office be in charge of your e-mails? You can read the piece here. Hartmann – whose radio program is syndicated by WYD Media Management – was recently honored by TALKERS magazine ranked at #7 on the Frontier Fifty 2013 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters (see that entire feature here). In addition to his AM/FM radio program, Hartmann’s digital efforts have earned him recognition by TALKERS for his forward-thinking business model that pushes his content into exciting new areas.
Scott Webb Joins Beasley South Florida as Production Director. Beasley Broadcast Miami announces the appointment of Scott Webb as production director for its three-station cluster that includes hip hop WPOW “Power 96,” country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country” and sports talk WQAM “560 Sports Radio.” In this new post, Webb will be responsible for overseeing the voicing and production of commercials for the stations. Webb owns Scott Webb Radio Imaging based previously in Washington/Baltimore that he founded in 2001. Prior to launching his own firm, he was creative services director and morning co-host at WJMO, Washington, D.C. He has also served as creative services director at WHUR, Washington, WMMJ, Washington and KRBV, Dallas. WKIS operations manager Ken Boesen states, “Scott brings exceedingly strong production skills, top-quality voiceover abilities and a fun work ethic to Beasley Miami. He’ll be a great addition to the team and will help make our production department the strongest in South Florida.”
Boston Celtics and WEEI/WRKO Part Company; Will CBS Radio Swoop In? The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom and the NBA’s Boston Celtics have ended negotiations to continue airing games on sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO this season after being unable to come to terms. Now the question is will CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” be able to secure the play-by-play rights? In the ongoing and bloody battle between the two sports talk stations, a snare of Celtics hoops would give WBZ-FM three of the four major sports in town: Patriots football, Bruins hockey and Celtics basketball – leaving WEEI-FM with Red Sox baseball (no small potatoes, obviously). As Finn notes in his piece, CBS Radio owns enough stations in the market to cover any conflicts between the several teams’ games. Finn writes that Entercom and the Celtics had a revenue-sharing agreement under the old deal but it’s unknown if there was also a rights fee. Historically, CBS Radio has been willing to pay big dollars for play-by-play rights if it believes it can justify the expense down the road.
Good Karma Lets Three Go at WKNR, Cleveland. In a report on Cleveland.com, Good Karma trims its staff by three as sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” says goodbye to sports talk host Kenny Roda, Browns beat reporter Will Burge and Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe. Burge tells the news outlet that although he was a little surprised by the changes, he says, “I guess you can never be too surprised in this business when they say they want to meet with you about some big-picture changes.” Roda Tweeted to fans, “Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey. I enjoyed sharing it with you all.”
Art Versnick Named GM at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Resort Broadcasting news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” announces Art Versnick joins the station to serve as general manager. In making the announcement, company president David Schoumacher states, “Art is a seasoned broadcast professional who brings great knowledge to our very important heritage radio station. It was imperative to secure the future of this franchise with a pro, and we’ve done that by bringing his talent to work with our staff.” Versnick comments, “I’m thrilled to be joining this heritage station – with its local air staff – almost unheard of today in news/talk radio. The dedication of this staff and ownership to provide Sussex County with quality and local programming will continue and move to the next level in providing listeners and advertisers a local forum.”
Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Begins Sponsored Live Broadcast Series. Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee announces the debut of the “We Love Wisconsin Tour” that will see the morning show broadcast live from sites across the state. Sponsored by All American Window & Door, the first live broadcast event will be Friday, August 23, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend where “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller” will broadcast from 5:00 am to 8:30 am. The tour will continue in Wauwatosa in September, Madison in October and Green Bay in November. Journal Broadcast Group vice president of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer says, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ is excited to celebrate individual communities that make our region so special as a whole. Gene Mueller and his team will explore the history of each town, introduce listeners to special people and discover fun things to do along the way. We’re pleased to partner with All American Window & Door on this adventure.” During the live broadcast event, Terri Lodwick, owner of All American Window & Door, will present a $1,000 donation to a local charity.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio Washington D.C. properties WTOP and Federal News Radio are honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility for the use of flexibility and other aspects of workplace effectiveness as a workplace strategy to increase business and employee success…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” agrees to a deal through Learfield Sports to carry University of Illinois football play-by-play for this season…..NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath guests on Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan” this week. Morgan’s program is heard on some 80 affiliates across the country. Namath’s podcast, produced by Sports USA, debuts next week…..Indiana Radio Watch tips TALKERS that Zach Bonahoom exits Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne where he hosted a Saturday talk show.
NSA Surveillance Program/UK Threatens Guardian, Egypt Violence, ObamaCare Implementation, OK Ballplayer Slaying, and Clinton Foundation Expenses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The scope of the NSA surveillance program and the UK’s threats against the Guardian paper; continuing violence in Egypt and the U.S.’s relationship with its government; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the killing of an Australian baseball player by teens in Oklahoma; and the report of the Clinton Foundation’s travel expenses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Posts 2% Revenue Increase in Q2. That’s for the Media and Entertainment division – the radio stations, Premiere Networks and Total Traffic Network – on revenue of $805.6 million for the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s investors’ conference call, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman spoke positively about the growth of iHeartRadio and SVP of investor relations Gregory Lundberg noted that it has 34 million registered users and that represents growth of 162% year-over-year. Regarding the makeup of the company’s revenue, he stated, “National sales for the stations grew 5%, with local up 1%. Excluding the impact of political advertising, in both quarters, national sales rose 7% and local was up 2%. Our strongest performing ad categories remained financial services, retail and telecom. Digital sales continue to grow in the double digits as we monetize our station’s online presence and keep growing iHeartRadio, where total listening hours were up to 36% in the second quarter. We also saw good year-over-year growth at Premiere Networks. Partially offsetting this growth rate were revenue declines in the traffic business from lost contracts and from lower sales resulting from integration activities. Operating expenses increased $42 million or 9%, reflecting a $21 million expense credit from one of our performance rights organizations, which we received in the second quarter of last year.” He stated pacing for the third quarter for the stations was up 3% and up 1% for the division as a whole. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read it all here.
Clear Channel Sells Its SiriusXM Interests for $135.5 Million. Way back in 1999 when XM Radio was gearing up its operations, Clear Channel was an initial investor putting in $83.1 million and getting the right to program some of the satcaster’s music and talk channels. Now, CC sells its interest in the company for $135.5 million – the value of the stock – and that means most of the CC-programmed content will disappear from the XM Radio platform. That’ll include some of the company’s music FMs such as hip hop WGCI, Chicago; country signal WSIX, Nashville and hot AC WLIT, Chicago. But two of the CC-radio channels are expected to stay on the XM platform – WHTZ, New York and KIIS, Los Angeles. It also means the talk radio channel on the XM platform will see talent like Glenn Beck, Bob & Tom, Todd Schnitt as well as Fox Sports Radio programming go away.
Arbitron Reports Q2 Revenue Rises 2.9%. As it prepares to be acquired by ratings giant Nielsen, Arbitron issues its 2013 second quarter financial reports and states that on revenue of $107.4 million dollars it is reporting net revenue of $7.1 million or $0.26 per share. The cost of the potential Nielsen deal ate into the company’s earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) as it shelled out $6.1 million during the quarter in preparation for the acquisition. President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the second quarter, we maintained focus on our long-term priorities: investing in and growing our core radio services, evaluating and implementing quality initiatives to enhance the value and utility of our offerings, and exploring emerging opportunities with an emphasis on those that allow us to highlight the power and advantages of radio. As the media and advertising marketplaces continue to evolve and new technologies permit consumers to consume content virtually anytime and anywhere, it is important we keep pace with these changes to ensure radio gets full credit for its audience – regardless of the delivery platform. Radio is growing and vibrant – and we are committed to helping the radio industry tell and validate its complete and compelling story.”
The Job of the Program Director in Five Years. According to noted consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo, if you want to know which way the job of PD is heading in radio, just take a look at what has happened to the same titled position at television stations. In a new column posted today (8/2) Sabo writes “As more on-air content decisions are made at the corporate level and delivered from a central source, the program director job will morph to meet the demands of the tasks that must be completed. Smart companies will evolve the position to one that has been desperately needed: ‘Program and Public Relations Director.’” Sabo goes on to list other combinations of tasks and responsibilities that will be added to the title “Program Director” on the radio station level. To read his entire column, please click here.
KBME, Houston Ousts Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson from AM Drive; Adds Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr to Middays. In a realignment of programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s sports talk KBME, Houston, Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson have been let go from the station and their morning drive gig and Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton take over the AM show. Zierlein co-hosted the afternoon show with Charlie Pallilo but, as the Houston Chronicle notes, had also worked on the morning drive show alongside Wexler and Jackson in the past. Adam Clanton has hosted sports talk radio in the market at CBS Radio’s crosstown KILT as well as having worked at KPRC-TV. The addition of Fox Sports Radio’s nationally syndicated Jay Mohr to the lineup from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm forces some other changes. Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu now air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Charlie Pallilo hosts solo from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and Matt Thomas is on the air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Michael Harrison to Speak at NAB Radio Show. In what promises to be a riveting and inspirational hour, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show in Orlando (September 18-20) on “Radio’s Evolving Role in Popular Culture.” Harrison, fresh off a rousing keynote speech at the Conclave, will further elaborate on the theme of the challenges facing radio in its quest to remain societally iconic in the digital age of the 21st century at a specially scheduled Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS. Harrison says that for radio to remain competitive with all the emerging “exotic” competition of this “wildly new era,” it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition. He says radio should maintain a foreground, active position that protects it from being marginalized as a passive delivery system and discusses options and opportunities to carry out the mission. (To see a brief clip of Michael Harrison’s Conclave keynote speech addressing these subjects please click here. The full speech will be posted to both RadioInfoTV and TalkersTV shortly, stay tuned.) Consultant Holland Cooke introduces this popular annual NAB Radio Show session featuring the venerable programmer, air personality, entrepreneur and trade magazine publisher who has been accurately describing radio and popular media’s road ahead for the past 45 years. The Info-Session is scheduled on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm and is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show.
Clear Channel Makes Morning Changes at KTCN, Minneapolis. Morning drive talk show host Bob Davis and Clear Channel Minneapolis part company and the station fills the morning drive slot with former evening hosts Jack Tomczak and Ben Kruse, at least for now. Bob Davis had been paired up with Tom Emmer for mornings but Emmer exited the station in June to make a run for the congressional seat being vacated by Michele Bachmann. Davis made national news when, during a discussion about gun control, he said on the air he would tell the Newtown families to “go to hell” for their role in shaping the gun debate. He later apologized for the tenor of his comments.
Radiate Media Promotes Ivan Shulman to President. Seven months after joining Radiate Media as executive vice president of sales and chief revenue officer, the company promotes Ivan Shulman to president. CEO Chris Rothey states, “Ivan has a deep background in sales, marketing and media, and his leadership experience makes him a great fit for us. Since joining us in November of 2012, we have experienced quarter-over-quarter revenue growth, including the launch of Radiate360 – our integrated marketing platform to drive hyper-local business. Ivan will continue to lead that initiative as well as overseeing the day-to -day activities of our broadcast radio, TV and digital lines of business.” The company is bullish on its new product Radiate360 which it describes as “an easy-to-use, online platform that empowers businesses to expand their reach and connect with their customers. With Radiate360’s revolutionary suite of tools, businesses can establish an online presence, engage customers through social and mobile media, and promote to the local audience that matters most.” Shulman says of his promotion, “I joined Radiate because I was excited about future opportunities. Our growth on both the broadcast and digital side has been phenomenal and I look forward to working with broadcasters to help bridge the gap between digital and traditional media.”
Dan Sileo Takes Over Midday Program at WMEN, West Palm Beach. Florida sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently midday host at WQAM, Miami – moves into the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot at JCE Licenses’ WMEN, West Palm Beach “640 Sports” effective Tuesday, August 6. Sileo – who worked for years at WDAE, Tampa prior to his stint with WQAM – is filling in for Travis Rodgers on KLAA, Los Angeles today and on August 5. Sileo is, by his own admission, an edgy personality whose willingness to push the envelope has gotten him fired from his last two radio gigs. He maintains he achieved excellent ratings while with Clear Channel at WDAE and that the station pulled in a lot of revenue from his program.
Eric Deggans to Leave the Tampa Bay Times for Gig at NPR. Journalist Eric Deggans has covered first music, then media for the Tampa Bay Times for the past 18 years. Now, he exits the Times to become a TV critic and correspondent for NPR News. Deggans has been a contributor to NPR in the past but joins the organization full time. He states in a press release, “For many years, I have been a fan of NPR’s super-smart journalism and I often fantasized of what it might be like to join their ranks as a contributor. A position like this one is beyond my wildest dreams; I’m honored and excited by the opportunity to help shape NPR’s coverage of television and pop culture.” Deggans has been an excellent reporter covering the Tampa Bay media scene over the years but also could be viewed as a polarizing writer. He’s been a critic of talk radio on a number of levels as indicated in his recent book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). Photo by Carrie Pratt.
Odds & Sods. Dial Global announces it has signed an exclusive terrestrial, three-season deal with London-based talkSPORT to broadcast live coverage of Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup. The partnership includes play-by-play commentary of nearly 400 soccer matches per year, in both English and Spanish….. “The Black Sphere” talk show host Kevin Jackson joins the advisory board of the Steamboat Institute, an institution that “defends freedom and advocates for liberty.” Jackson says, “Witnessing the progress of the organization first hand, I am overjoyed to be part of the advisory board and play a role in the future direction of the Steamboat Institute, an organization that will undoubtedly mold political discussions and policy in the future.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. Statewide syndicated sports talk host Bill Michaels is added to the lineup at WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin…..Kevin Jackson’s “Black Sphere Radio” show is now airing on WEZO, Augusta, Georgia…..Talk Media Network announces affiliate additions for three of its programs: “Fat Guys At The Movies with Kevin Carr & Kristin Dreyer Kramer” joins WKVL, Knoxville; “The Financial Fitness Show with Chip Cummings & Tony Rubleski” is added to WRSB, Rochester, New York; and “Frontlines of Freedom with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem” joins the lineup at WZFG, Fargo.
ObamaCare Implementation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 29 – August 2. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost of the program was the top news/talk topic during the week. Following at #2 was the Anthony Weiner sexting case and the political fallout. At #3 was the 2016 presidential race followed by the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity contracts flap at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Set for Friday, June 7. After a one-year hiatus, TALKERS magazine announces the revival of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.” Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. Approximately 25 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world. “This is one of our most prideful annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “and I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to bring it back after a year off in 2012.” Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media. Some of these stories have enormous implications on war, peace, life and death.” Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.” Talk Radio Day at the United Nations conveniently takes place the day after Talkers New York 2013 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City. Hosts on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” show; Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore; Dr. Joy Browne of Radio America; Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA; Ethan Bearman of GCN and KSCO, Santa Cruz; Timothy Spangler of KRLA, Los Angeles; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester; Dr. Evelyn Higgins of CRN Digital Talk Radio and GCN; Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead, NY; Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more. Talk Radio News Service will broadcast the entire day to its hundreds of affiliates across the nation with more to be announced. All equipment and broadcast set ups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but placement is limited and this will fill up rapidly, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.
RAB: Radio Flat at $3.5 Billion in Q1. The Radio Advertising Bureau releases data indicating that the first quarter of 2013 remained flat “aided by an uptick in Spot in March after a sluggish start to the year. Both Digital and Off-Air performed well throughout the quarter and were up 9% and 5% respectively.” The report breaks out data on advertising categories. A synopsis shows “spot spending by communication/cellular advertisers soared by over 1/3 (36%) for this quarter, propelling the category to #1 for the period. Also up – in rank order based on spending – were financial services (+13%), department/discount stores & shopping centers (+58%), and home furnishings/floor coverings (+6%). While dollar volume was virtually flat for television/networks/cable providers (-3%) and restaurants (-2%), these were solid contributors to radio’s bottom line in the #2 and #4 spots; automotive declined 20% and slipped to the #3 rank.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Major increases in radio advertising by communications/cellular and financial services went a long way to offset a drop in automotive spending. Additionally, spending is up in the department/discount stores category – reflecting increased confidence among retailers who have experienced radio’s ability to drive traffic and sales. Radio’s digital sector revenue continues to grow as radio stations invest in and promote their digital offerings to listeners, driving increased attention by the ad buying community.” The report features data from Miller Kaplan Arase LLP and the Q1 revenue figure does not include network radio data. Read the entire report here.
Beasley Broadcasting Names David Wolfman WQAM, Miami LSM. Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM, Miami announces David Wolfman is the new local sales manager at the station. Wolfman reports to director of sales Keriann Worley. He comes to Beasley from his most recent position as general sales manager for Clear Channel Miami. Prior to that, he spent several years with Interep National Radio Sales. Worley states, “David Wolfman is a proven sales leader and he will be directly responsible for revenue growth on 560 WQAM. His passion for sports, innovative thinking, and his knowledge of the Miami market make him a perfect fit for this dynamic position. We are thrilled to have him join our team.”
Dave Ramsey Visits The Queen City. Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is in Cincinnati this week. Earlier he presented to a packed house his new, intimate “Building Your Legacy Live Event” in which he talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey joined with local affiliate WKRC to promote the event. WKRC general sales manager Bill Mountel says, “Cincy has been starved for a taste of Dave and now they can get a ‘double dose’ of Dave Ramsey. Cincinnati fans and 55KRC listeners are excited to have Dave in town and are already looking forward to his next visit to the Queen City!” Today, Ramsey is hosting his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” at Vineyard Church. Ramsey, along with speakers Jon Acuff and Chris Hogan, will speak about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees. Pictured here with Ramsey are: (front row) WKRC GSM Bill Mountel, Ramsey, WKRC personality Brian Thomas, (back row) WKRC PD Scott Reinhart and CC Cincinnati market president Chuck Fredrick.
Hubbard’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” Stands Alone. With the recent moves of KFNS and KSLG to guy talk and female-targeted programming, respectively, Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis stands as the only full-time sports talk station in the market. In a piece by Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch chronicling the station’s four-year history as a sports outlet, general manager John Kijowski discusses where the station is now and what the state of the market is for sports talk radio. Among the tidbits from Kijowski in the article is his belief in FM for sports talk: “In the sports genre, having a big FM signal in today’s world is vital for success. Then the format can’t be done on the cheap, you have to invest in it. From that respect, I feel good about what we do and I still think we have a ways to go.” It should be noted that though WXOS is the last sports station standing, its place among the stations seeking men 25-54 is not what it was a year ago, having dropped to sixth place in the most recent Arbitron PPM data. However, one of the most interesting points in the piece is Kijowski’s admission that it took four years in the format for the station to make a profit. So much for the notion that sports talk radio is an automatic money press! Read the entire piece here.
Food Nation Radio Network Signs On with Business TalkRadio Network. In a move that will take effect June 1, the weekly food talk radio show “The Food Nation Radio Network with Elizabeth Dougherty” joins the roster of Business TalkRadio Network. BTRN consulting operations officer Jeff Weber says, “We are all really excited that hosts Elizabeth Dougherty and Michael Serio are bringing this compelling program to a national audience. We’re proud to be a part of this show which is informative and fun. It’s truly a one of a kind program.” The program is based out of Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa and is described by the producers as “an adventure of good food, food-related stories and compelling interviews.” Host Elizabeth Dougherty has an extensive background in food writing and culinary arts training. She has written hundreds of articles on food that have appeared in many major publications. She says of the new relationship, “We are pleased to partner with the Business TalkRadio Network as ‘Food Nation Radio’ continues to grow so that we can continue to concentrate on the cutting-edge and entertaining content we provide to our listeners each week.”
Odds & Sods. Fred Lucas’ book about talk radio, The Right Frequency (History Publishing 2012) is soaring high on two of Amazon’s Kindle best-seller lists. The book is #1 in the Public Affairs category as well as #1 on the digital texts chart…..XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” morning drive co-host J.D. Hayworth is sitting in for Cumulus Media Networks personality Mike Huckabee all next week and on Memorial Day as well…..Fox Sports Radio continues its UFC coverage as the network simulcasts “UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold” on Saturday, May 18. The event will take place at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua, Santa Catarina, at 9:00 pm ET. After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..CBS Radio News presents a Memorial Day Weekend special program titled “Combat Stress: Finding the Way Home” that focuses on the impact post-traumatic stress has on the lives of our military veterans. “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft anchors and speaks with veterans and top experts. The program features personal stories from veterans and their families, an in-depth exploration of treatment options, and stories of encouragement for those suffering with combat stress.
Second Amendment Petition Delivered to Congress. Salem Radio Network vice president, news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) delivers more than 125,000 signatures in support of the Second Amendment. Accepting the signatures is Republican U.S. Representative from Texas Louie Gohmert (center) and flanked by United States Concealed Carry Association CEO Tim Schmidt (left). The network began the petition drive in response to calls for new gun legislation in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
Talkers Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Freedom Feens” – syndicated by Genesis Communications Network – picks up new affiliates KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota and WZFG, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom,” a syndicated military news and talk radio show hosted by two-time purple heart recipient Colonel Denny Gillem, is added to the program schedule at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle. Additionally, Colonel Gillem will also analyze military news and issues for sister station, KIRO-FM.…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters is added to the program schedule on WIBQ, Terre Haute, Indiana.
IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 13-17. The IRS’ scrutinizing of conservative organizations for taxes was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 13-17, putting it atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation. At #3 was the AP phone records search by the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee. Following at #4 was Syria-Israel tensions. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Dan Sileo
Sports Talk Personality
THE BEACH — I write this article from the infamous “Beach of Radio” at this time. The reason? My own stupidity and how I acted on the air at WQAM in Miami. As many of you know, I am a VERY emotional radio host – almost to a point where many people think I could actually use a doctor that has a pen and note pad. I was fired from WQAM for the things I said on the air. Yes, things I said on the air. You see, I am one of the VERY few sports talk radio host in America that actually gets ratings and revenue. As my old program director at WDAE — Steve Versnick — would say, “You do 90% of what’s great in radio, the other 10%, maybe the worst.”
If a station has a sports team on their airwaves, they are a broadcast partner and should be treated as any other radio host on a station’s airwaves. In this form, I failed and I was rightfully fired. Exiting a station after such a crazy thing will define your next gig. If you take to Twitter and stupidly say stuff like, “I’ll never change,” well…
Premiere Networks Partners with Dave Kolin for Comedy Content. Premiere Networks announces a partnership with comedy production pro David “Dr. Dave” Kolin that will involve a variety of content including services for radio talent, stations, digital outlets, video projects and more. Additional details will be announced in the near future. Premiere EVP of music programming Jennifer Leimgruber states, “Dr. Dave is a fantastically creative person with a demonstrated record of success in a variety of media. We were delighted when the opportunity to work with him presented itself.” Dr. Dave states, “It is a dream come true and the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to apply my talents and skills with people who share the same vision for entertaining consumers in this multimedia world. I look forward to revealing Dr. Dave 2.0.” Kolin’s resume states that he was founder, director and president of DB Communications, Inc., a radio syndication company. That company served as the nucleus for USRN, which he co-founded in 1994. During his time with USRN, he wrote and performed much of the comedy product distributed by the network and served as the executive producer of the comedy department. In addition, he served on the company’s board of directors and executive produced Pulse Comedy Prep. He also has two decades of extensive television credits, including FOX, ABC, HBO and MTV.
John Renshaw Takes Midday Slot at WQAM, Miami. Beasley Broadcasting promotes weekend sports talk host John Renshaw to the daily 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show left open by the departure of Dan Sileo back in early March. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Renshaw will be joined on the air by Miami Hurricanes broadcaster Alex Donno. WQAM program director Jorge Sedano tells the paper the move “made a lot of sense. I know how smart, funny, entertaining and self-deprecating he is. He’s everything you want in a sports talk radio show host.”
Odds & Sods. Fox Sports Radio Network will simulcast the television program, “UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez,” on Saturday, April 20. The fight originates from the HP Pavilion in San Jose and features four fights plus the main event, Benson Henderson versus Strikeforce Champion Gilbert Melendez. Following the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call ins from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..ESPN Radio will be live from New York next Thursday for the NFL Draft. Coverage begins Thursday, April 25 at 7:00 pm and will feature Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth (pictured here), co-hosts of the network’s Hill & Schlereth evening show. They’ll anchor from Radio City Music Hall and will be joined by ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton and ESPN Draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. providing analysis of each first-round pick…..The New York Post reports that it is slow going for Al Jazeera’s new American cable news/talk network – the former Current TV it purchased from founder Al Gore. The paper says the Qatari government-owned network’s goal of launching in June is not doable and sources tell the Post it’s looking more like August or September. So far the network has hired former CNN business analyst Ali Veshi and investigative reporter Ed Pound but has not been able to ink a news chief. The piece noted one exec said he felt squeamish about the source of the network’s funding.
KOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Channels the Rat Pack. Omaha talk radio personality Tom Becka is pictured here at the Omaha Press Club Show giving attendees at taste of 1960s Las Vegas lounge singing as he does a take-off on Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” with the chorus changed to “there’s better things up ahead.” Becka tells TALKERS magazine, “The show is an annual event that raises thousands of dollars for journalism scholarships. Over the years the show has featured such dignitaries as Chuck Hagel, Warren Buffett, Herman Cain, Bill Gates and others. They asked me to write and sing a song chronicling the year I had, starting with getting fired from Clear Channel, and ending with landing on my feet at NRG Media’s Mighty 1290 KOIL.”
IP in Our Broadcast World: Don’t Fear the Internet. Noted consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray points out that the subjects of IP and IP codecs are increasingly becoming a major concern among broadcasters – a conversation that quickly escalated when Verizon quietly started telling customers in the northeast that ISDN was soon to be history. In the latest in his enlightening series on the subject (must-reading for programmers and management charged with taking a more hands-on approach to the tech end of things in this new economic environment), Ray responds to a question he heard raised at the recent NAB Show in Las Vegas: “Would you trust your high dollar sports remote to an IP connection over the public internet?” Apparently, CBS television has answered that question in the company’s recent coverage of college basketball’s Final Four. Ray explains how and takes us deeper into understanding the growing importance of IP and IP codecs in the radio broadcasting world. Basically it comes down to embracing the internet, not fearing it – and learning everything you can about IP and IP codecs. To read Tom Ray’s column, click here.
Dial Global and NBC Radio Sports Reps Visit KFWB, Los Angeles. Following last week’s announcement of KFWB, Los Angeles’ new sports talk programming, representatives from Dial Global and NBC Radio Sports stopped by KFWB’s studios in Los Angeles yesterday (4/18) to meet the staff. Pictured (l-r): Diane Sutter, president of the KFWB Asset Trust, co-host Eytan Shander of The Amani & Eytan Show weeknights 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on KFWB, Dial Global EVP/GM Chris Corcoran, NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver and KFWB general manager Valerie K. Blackburn.
WPGG (“WPG Talk Radio 1450″), Atlantic City Wins Benztown Contest to Receive a Year’s Worth of Free Voiceover and Imaging Service. Burbank, California-based syndication and imaging company, Benztown tells TALKERS that Townsquare Media-owned Atlantic City radio station, WPG Talk Radio 1450, is the winner of its “Love Your Station, Elevate Your Sound” contest. The news/talk station will receive a full year of free voice-over services from voice-over icon, Joe Cipriano. WPGG will also receive a full year of free professional imaging services from the company. WPGG PD/brand manager Chris Coleman, explains “I was a huge fan of Benztown before winning the contest. WPGG went on the air this past October (six days before Hurricane Sandy passed over Atlantic City) and when I was building the station, I wanted and needed a big, news/talk voice. However, with a tiny budget, I was really concerned that how I wanted the station to sound wasn’t going to be possible… then I found Benztown. Through Benztown, I was able to hook up with Greg O’Neill, who is nothing short of excellent to work with. Being able to launch a news/talk station with the voice of Fox News made us sound HUGE on day one.” Coleman continues, “Fast forward a few months and I found Benztown’s “Love Your Station, Elevate Your Sound” contest and entered it. Much to my surprise, Masa Patterson called me and told me I won! Being the PD/brand manager of a six-month-old news/talk station that has access to two of the biggest voice-over guys in the country, on top of the world-class imaging and production that Benztown has to offer, is truly amazing.” In addition to being the PD/brand manager of WPGG, Coleman also handles afternoon drive on Townsquare’s country station and is the production director for their five-station cluster. No doubt, his prize will come in handy!
Blanquita Cullum Continues to ask The Hard Question. Controversy continues to surround the future of the Keystone Pipeline. Is the pipeline a symbol of an environmental movement? Or is the country about to capitalize on the greatest economic opportunity from our neighbor to the North – Canada. The second in the series of “The Hard Question” debates hosted by talk radio veteran and former U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors member Blanquita Cullum recently (4/10) tackled the critical discussion over the Keystone Pipeline at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Participants included U.S. Senator Don Nickles (retired, R-OK); U.S. Senator Bryon Dorgan (retired, D-ND); Anthony Swift, Natural Resource Defense Council; Chris Faulkner, Breitling Oil & Gas; Doug Cain, Lake Truck Lines; Brian Ambrose, Vencedor Energy Partners and Lane Sloan, Greater Houston Partnership. To view highlights of the debate click here. “The Hard Question” is a weekly TV news program and quarterly debate series hosted by Blanquita Cullum to get to the root of critical energy issues that impact the US and the world. The pilot TV programs were aired on June 24th and July 15th in 2012 on KTRK-TV (ABC) in Houston and won the top spots in their time periods. The program will go national in 2013 on MHz Networks national channel and plans are in place to launch a radio/audio version of the program.
CBS Radio Philadelphia Gets a Jump on Earth Day. Tomorrow (4/20) CBS Radio Philadelphia will be involved in its Fourth Annual Earthfest Celebration in partnership with the Clean Air Council. The 5K Run for Clean Air is Philadelphia’s leading green run. For 2013, the Run’s Earth Day Celebration has moved to the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. CBS Radio participation will include the KYW Newsradio Kidcast Mobile Studio, presented by United Healthcare, on-site. This opportunity gives kids a chance to be a KYW news anchor. Kids can download and listen to their very own news report, and share it with family and friends. Sports talk WIP’s “Tailgate Team” will offer participants the opportunity to play games to win prizes and get involved in a sports conversation about all the Philadelphia sports teams. 98.1 WOGL’s Ross Brittain will be providing “music and fun for everyone.” Talk Radio 1210 WPHT “Big Money” host Steve Cordasco, will present his weekly radio program live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Steve will discuss the growing popularity of green or socially conscious investing. Over the past 32 years, the 5K Run for Clean Air has grown into Philadelphia’s largest Earth Day Celebration. Earth Day is Monday April 22.
Boston Marathon Bombing the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of April 15-19. The bombing at Monday’s Boston Marathon and the subsequent deaths and injuries were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week. Following at #2 was gun legislation activity in Washington. At #3 was the immigration bill debate followed by the DC ricin incidents at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a 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 chart here.
America’s Radio News Network Delivers Inauguration Coverage. Anchored by ARNN’s Rachel Sutherland, the network will provide coverage of the Inauguration Day activities. In addition to live reports throughout the morning, ARNN will cover: The oath of office for President Barack Obama, administered by Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, Jr.; The oath of office for Vice President Joseph Biden, administered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor; musical artists James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, and Beyoncé. James Taylor will sing “America the Beautiful,” Kelly Clarkson will perform “My Country Tis of Thee,” and Beyoncé will sing the National Anthem; the presidential inaugural parade, which includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States.
WRKO, Boston Broadcasts from Inauguration Day in Washington, DC. You’d expect to see a lot more conservative stations broadcasting from Washington, DC today if Mitt Romney had beaten Barack Obama but still, some are covering it as the news event that it is and WRKO, Boston AM drive host Jeff Kuhner is originating his show from the Nation’s Capital this morning. Special guest commentary will include Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky at 7:15 am and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan at 8:30 am. In addition to Kuhner’s morning program, the station will broadcast coverage of the Inauguration from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Herman Cain’s Nationally Syndicated Program Begins Today. The succession of Herman Cain into the daily syndication slot held by Neal Boortz for so many years happens today with the Dial Global program debuting on some 80 affiliate stations. It airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Cain, who hosted a nightly program in Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta before taking a leave from radio in order to run for president, says of his new show, “Buckle your seat belts, because we are in full-blast mode. I’m excited and inspired to be a voice against ignorance and stupidity. This is a year when Americans are confused and worried about how government will impact them personally — with taxes, with health care changes, with their jobs, and the economy. I want to use my life experience to inform them, and to prepare them.” Dial Global SVP and general manager of news and talk Amy Bolton says of Cain, “A true American success story, Herman Cain came from humble beginnings, had a vision, worked hard and became a successful businessman, presidential candidate and now talk radio phenomenon. Known for his no-nonsense style and ability to connect with everyday Americans, Herman Cain promises to deliver great radio. Dial Global is thrilled to partner with Cox Media Group and Herman as we launch the next talk radio star.”
Beasley’s WQAM, Miami Suspends Dan Sileo for Twitter Comments. Sports talk host Dan Sileo’s attack on Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews has earned him a two-day suspension from his midday sports talk show today and tomorrow. The incident started when Sileo criticized the sports media for not covering the Manti Te’o story the way he felt it should have been covered and singled out Erin Andrews. After Andrews Tweeted back she’d never covered a Notre Dame game, Sileo again Tweeted, “Love Erin Andrews either naked or in a porn. Not at a sports desk.” He apologized for that remark. Management at WQAM is not commenting other than to confirm that Sileo will be out for two days.
Based on How People Consume Audio Content, Radio Sorts into Two Categories: Live and Archived. According to radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke, it is important for programmers to be cognizant of the two basic “piles” that radio falls into when it comes to how it is utilized by listeners. They are basically determined by the content’s time-sensitivity. In an exclusive article, Cooke outlines the major programming elements that fall into each of these categories and offers tips on how to best position them. To read Cooke’s piece click here.
Schnitt vs Bubba: Day Three. On the third day of testimony in the defamation suit talk show host Todd Schnitt has filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem), much of the testimony revolved around that of Florida State Attorney Mark Ober. He’s the state’s attorney who prosecuted Bubba the Love Sponge after his ill-fated wild boar slaying back in 2001. The Tampa Bay Times reports Bubba had contended that Todd Schnitt’s wife Michelle, an assistant state’s attorney had conspired with Ober to bring the charges against him. Ober denied there was any conspiracy between him and the Schnitts to prosecute in that case and said that Michelle Schnitt was fresh out of law school and not working on felony prosecutions at that time.
WGN, Chicago’s Parent Tribune Company Has New CEO. Former Discovery Communications COO Peter Ligouri has been named the CEO of Tribune Company by the board of directors. Ligouri takes over the media company that has suffered through a long and tumultuous bankruptcy. But for those at news/talk WGN, Chicago – the company’s only radio property – the fear of being sold can be put on the back burner…for now. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ligouri says he’s not “going into this job with a fire-sale sign.” There has been speculation that there is interest in selling off the newspaper business and just focusing on television. But Ligouri tells the Times that, though he can’t rule out that the new owners would want to sell the newspapers, the company has “unparalleled media assets, iconic brands in major markets and very talented, creative employees.” As for the company’s Chicago properties including WGN radio, Ligouri states, “When you look at Chicago, a great radio asset in WGN radio, a great local TV station in WGN and an iconic newspaper … you know that you have great penetration in that city. I think the opportunity is being outward focused and saying if so many of these people are coming to Tribune properties over the course of their daily lives, what can we do for them that will keep them informed and keep them with us? Servicing the user will create a natural flow from platform to platform.”
Salem Communications Re-Brands WIND, Chicago as “AM 560 The Answer.” The Chicago news/talk outlet WIND is being re-branded by owner Salem Communications as “AM 560 The Answer” a branding that the company’s stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Columbus also carry. Salem vice president and director of spoken word formats Phil Boyce created the brand for WNYM, New York and is installing it in markets where it seems to fit. He says WIND will still continue to reflect its Chicago personality. “There is a unique attitude and spirit in Chicago, and we will capture it with the promos, liners, and on-air imaging.”
Southern California Public Radio Employees Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA. The almost 70 staffers at Southern California Public Radio – reporters, anchors, producers, and program hosts – have voted to join SAG-AFTRA, according to the Los Angeles Times. SCPR is a nonprofit organization that is part of American Public Media and operates KPCC, Los Angeles; KUOR, Redlands; and KVLA, Coachella. SAG-AFTRA issued the following statement: “We’re pleased and excited with the results of the union election at KPCC. We are looking forward to working with the new SAG-AFTRA bargaining unit in partnership with KPCC management to negotiate a first contract.”
Stephanie Miller and the Veep. WYD Media nationally syndicated progressive talk host Stephanie Miller (second from left) is pictured here with Vice President Joe Biden at the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball honoring President Barack Obama held yesterday evening at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Here with Miller and Biden are “West Wing” actress Melissa Fitzgerald (left) and the Green Ball’s Shelley Cohen (r).
WGN, Chicago Revamps Program Schedule; Milt Rosenberg Out After 39 Years. The 87-year-old host of “Extension 720” will do his last program for Tribune’s WGN, Chicago on Thursday evening. In announcing its new programming schedule set to take effect on January 2, the station is eliminating Milt Rosenberg’s “Extension 720” program that began in 1973. New to the schedule will be a late evening show featuring former WLS-AM night host Turi Ryder who’ll broadcast from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Other changes include a later start for Jonathon Brandmeier’s morning show – 6:00 am to 10:00 am – and a split shift for midday personality Mike McConnell who’ll host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. In between, the station adds “The Noon Show” hosted by author Carol Roth. Roth is a business strategist and former investment banker who frequently contributes to the topics of business and entrepreneurship on Fox News, MSNBC, Fox Business, and WGN TV. As for Rosenberg, he tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder he has no hard feelings toward the people at WGN, “It’s certainly amicable as far as my relations with the people I deal with. There’s been no particular bad feeling, no insults, no shouting.” And Rosenberg indicates he’ll seek other opportunities to continue his radio career, perhaps with other spoken-word stations in the market.
Consolidation Hits the Ratings Industry; Nielsen to Acquire Arbitron. Consolidation is not for radio stations only. Today, Nielsen Holdings N.V. announces it will begin the process of buying Arbitron Inc. through the acquisition of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 26% to Arbitron’s closing price on December 17, 2012. Nielsen has a financing commitment for the total transaction amount. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review. Nielsen had tried to compete with Arbitron in the radio ratings business in the United States in the past but shut down that effort after minimal success gaining enough subscribers to make the project profitable. Clearly, Nielsen sees value in the radio ratings business as Nielsen chief executive officer David Calhoun states, “U.S. consumers spend almost two hours a day with radio. It is and will continue to be a vibrant and important advertising medium. Arbitron will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home. The high level of engagement with radio and TV among rapidly growing multicultural audiences makes this central to Nielsen’s priorities.” With cross-platform marketing becoming so important Nielsen sees this acquisition as completing a part of that puzzle for marketers in the U.S. In a statement, Nielsen says – with Arbitron assets – it intends to further expand its “Watch” segment’s audience measurement across screens and forms of listening. “These integrated, innovative capabilities will enable broader measurement of consumer media behavior in more markets around the world,” says Steve Hasker, Nielsen president of Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions. “We will also bring local clients greater visibility to empower more precise advertising placement and campaign effectiveness.”
KKLA, Los Angeles Host Frank Pastore Dies After Motorcycle Accident. The 55-year-old former MLB pitcher and talk host on Salem Communications’ Christian talk outlet KKLA, Los Angeles died after going into cardiac arrest on Monday, December 17. He had been in a coma for several weeks after being involved in a motorcycle accident on the 210 freeway near Los Angeles. Salem Communications president David Santrella issued the following statement: “Frank has been an integral part of KKLA for nine years as our afternoon talk host and, in many ways, as a Salem ambassador to the Christian community in Southern California. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gina Pastore, their family and the KKLA family at this time.”
Beasley’s WQAM, Miami Inks Joe Rose to Contract Extension. Morning drive sports talk host Joe Rose – The Big Dog – signs a contract extension with Beasley Broadcasting to remain in the AM drive seat on WQAM for the next three years. The former Miami Dolphins tight end joined WQAM’s morning show in 1992. He also serves as color commentator for the Dolphins radio broadcasts as well as sports anchor for WTVJ-TV, Miami “NBC 6.” Beasley Miami VP/GM Joe Bell states, “Joe Rose is the gold standard for athletes who become broadcasters. He had a seven-year NFL career, but as good as he was, his broadcast career has eclipsed what he accomplished in the NFL. Joe is an easy listen…he’s the guy next door that you can talk sports with over the backyard fence. He has become the face of WQAM and we’re proud and excited to have him on board through 2015.”
TALKERS Presents Massive Four Month News/Talk Radio PPM Overview. As a follow up to yesterday’s (12/17) analysis by Mike Kinosian about how the non-stop, dramatic events of the past six weeks have presented radio, in general, and news/talk radio, specifically, with the challenge and opportunity to process an enormous amount of compelling material, TALKERS presents a PPM overview of some 140 stations leading up to and including this period. Reflecting on the format’s extremely dramatic November (2012) survey, where more than seven of 10 stations in our large sample were either up or steady (6+), compared to their October stats. Stations qualified to appear in this multi-faceted recap by ranking within the top 20 (6+) in any of Arbitron’s 48 PPM-measured markets (November 2012). Talk has the distinction of being the lone format to have at least one station in the top 20 of all 48 PPM markets. To see the survey please click here.
Rick Ucchino Named Sports Anchor at Blue Chip’s Soon-to-Be Sports WCFN, Cincinnati. When Blue Chip Broadcasting’s WCFN, Cincinnati flips to sports on January 2, local sports talk personality Rick Ucchino will serve as the station’s full-time sports anchor. WCFN will air the CBS Sports Radio Network programming when the new radio network debuts. Whether the station will carry all of the network programming is unknown at this time. Ucchino currently serves at Christian Broadcasting System’s crosstown WQRT “Real Talk 1160” hosting the afternoon drive program. In a Facebook announcement, Ucchino says, “As some of you might know, MOJO 100.3 is flipping to an all new CBS Sports station starting January 2nd. And I am happy to announce that I have officially accepted an offer to become their full-time morning sports anchor! I am grateful for the opportunities ‘Real Talk 1160’ has given me over the years but I am excited for the next chapter of my career!”
Doug Meehan Exits WTKK, Boston for TV Gig. It’s tempting to read into WTKK, Boston afternoon drive host Doug Meehan’s departure from the station as being related to rumors Greater Media plans to flip the station from talk to a music format in the near future, but there’s no indication that’s the case. Meehan, who took over the PM drive slot in 2011 and served as a TV traffic reporter and general assignment reporter at Fox 25 in Boston prior to that, is leaving the station to pursue a “major-market television opportunity” that he’ll announce soon. While Greater Media has been registering domain names that could indicate a flip to any number of music – or even sports – formats, the company has simply stated it is always considering programming options for its stations.
NBC/Dial Global Lays Out Weekend Schedule. The new NBC Sports Radio network announces its weekend programming schedule that affiliate stations will air beginning Saturday, January 5. The Dial Global-NBC Sports Group initiative is already offering “The Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison” and now announces the rest of the weekend lineup. It includes the following talent: Brian Webber of NFL Network’s “NFL AM” morning show, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports, and Clay Travis, NBC Sports contributor and owner/contributor of OutKicktheCoverage.com. Also suiting up for the NBC Sports Radio weekends team is Newy Scruggs, sports director and on-air personality at NBC-5 Dallas/Ft. Worth and formerly of 105.3 The Fan, Dallas; Jason Page, recently withESPN Radio New York, among other stops, and Anita Marks, part ofthe New York Giants TV/Radio broadcast team and formerly of SportsRadio 105.7 The Fan, Baltimore. Plus, NBC Sports Radio update anchor Jon Stashower, formerly of ESPN Radio, adds a Sunday morning show and NBC Sports’ Rob Simmelkjaer will also host a weekend show. Other contributors to the programming will include: Hines Ward, Stan Van Gundy, Michelle Beadle, Amani Toomer, and Doug Flutie. The network has already launched late night and overnight shows and says it will launch the rest of its weekday 6:00 am to 7:00 pm lineup on Monday, April 1, 2013.
Gow-Yahoo! to Offer Bob Costas Programs. The Gow Broadcasting-operated Yahoo! Sports Radio network is offering affiliate stations two programs featuring Bob Costas. The first is a weekly “Costas Coast to Coast” program culled from the archives of the syndicated radio show that aired from 1986 to 1996. Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “Bob is universally regarded as one of the top sports journalists. The ‘Costas Coast-to-Coast’ shows offer timeless content delivered in Bob’s inimitable style. We are thrilled to offer these very special programs to our growing number of affiliate radio stations.” The second program is a vignette titled “Stars and Stories” and is best-of content from his interviews over the years. Gow has secured the licensing of this programming via Olympia Networks.
Odds & Sods. Content aggregator TuneIn offers the 24 college bowl games being played this season and being broadcast by ESPN Radio…..WFED, Washington, DC morning drive host Francis Rose sits in for WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish on his program on December 24 and 31.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Raises $500,000-Plus for Local Foster Kids. During its 24th Annual Holiday Magic Radiothon, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM helped raise more than $500,000 to assist foster children in the Treehouse program. The money raised will help provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support for programs and services throughout the year. Treehouse serves 6,000 foster kids each year through programs that help them succeed in school, fulfill key material needs, and provide important childhood experiences every child deserves. Bonneville Seattle VP/market manager Carl Gardner says, “The KIRO Radio community has stepped up once again We’re so grateful to have listeners and partners who care and stand ready to help wherever there’s a need.” Pictured here are PM drive hosts Ron and Don manning the radiothon mics on Wednesday, December 12.
Newtown Massacre, U.S. Gun Laws, ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria/Egypt Instability, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The aftermath of the Newtown school massacre; debate over gun laws in the United States; the political fight in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” problem; continued violence and instability in Syria and Egypt; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across the country, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phil Boyce Takes on Operations Role at Salem Communications’ New York Cluster. Talk radio programming pro Phil Boyce already serves as VP/director of spoken word format for Salem Communications but he’s adding the operational vice president for the New York cluster title to his business card. That means he’s directly in charge of operations for WNYM “970 The Answer” and Christian talk outlet WMCA. Salem Communications president David Santrella says, “Phil’s innate understanding of the New York market, particularly as it relates to news/talk, as well as his day-to-day proximity to the operation, has led us to the decision to ask Phil to take on the additional role of operational VP for the New York cluster. Phil will continue to work with all of our stations as VP director, spoken word format.” Program director Peter Thiele remains in his position as Boyce’s charge is to oversee the station’s revenue and assist all departments in that effort. Other changes from Salem Communications include Salem regional VP Linnae Young, who has overseen the New York cluster, taking on the oversight of the Tampa cluster that includes news/talk WGUL, Christian talk WTBN, and news/talk WLSS, Sarasota. In Louisville, Salem regional VP Mike Moran will assume oversight of news/talk WGTK, and Christian talk WFIA-AM/FM.
Mike Gastineau to Exit KJR, Seattle. Longtime sports talker Mike “Gasman” Gastineau announces he’ll leave Clear Channel’s sports KJR, Seattle where he currently hosts the PM drive show with co-host Elise. Gastineau has been with KJR since 1991 and was originally partnered with Rick DuPree in middays. He’s been in the midday slot for the past 19 years. In a statement explaining his departure, Gastineau says, “Since 1991 I have hosted more than 5,000 shows on KJR and I’ve reached a point where I’d like to explore other creative options. KJR’s management has been incredibly understanding and supportive of my decision. I’m proud to have been able to give Seattle fans a voice in these incredibly important debates. I always strived to do three things on the show – be funny, entertaining and give people a place for reasonable debate on sports issues of the day.” His last show is tomorrow (12/6) and KJR has not announced plans for the PM drive slot as of yet.
Robin Bertolucci Honored at PIRATES Event. KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci was honored at the holiday fundraiser of the Print Interactive Radio and Television Educational Society (PIRATES) at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California. The PIRATES’ “Golden Buccaneer” award is given annually and was awarded to Bertolucci in recognition “of her remarkable ongoing commitment to public affairs, the community and education as one of the media’s most outstanding role models for students.” This annual holiday fundraiser benefits the Ruth Collander Endowment Fund which enables PIRATES to provide scholarships to college students majoring in communications, journalism, radio or television. Pictured above (from l-r) are: Brent Seltzer (Still at Large) who emceed the event, KOST 103.5 program director Stella Prado, Bertolucci and KFI director of marketing/brand manager Neil Saavedra.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Partners with Production Companies for Competition Reality Show. The name of the series is “Pursuit of the Truth” and the goal of the show is to bring together 20 selected filmmakers from across the country to prove to a panel of expert judges that their project is worthy of the grand prize – financing and worldwide distribution for their feature documentary film idea. Go Go Luckey Entertainment and Wild West Productions are working with TheBlaze on the project. The 20 contestants will be asked to perform a series of tasks during the 10-week production period for the panel of expert judges. Contestants will be asked to not only prove the validity of their idea for a documentary but also their filmmaking abilities. They will either survive or be eliminated based on that criteria. For example, contestants might be asked to produce a sizzle reel, procure and execute a key interview, or pitch scenes to the panel of judges. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood says, “We are excited to continue to expand our programming with producers like Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Gary Auerbach. The documentary film, particularly those that seek the truth with no agenda, is an important art form that is struggling to survive in this media environment. We will be looking for stories that simply need to be told.” The nine-episode series debuts on TheBlaze in late spring 2013.
WMMS, Cleveland Dismisses PM Drive Co-Host Chad Zumock. The rock station’s Alan Cox afternoon drive talk program is without air talent Chad Zumock after the 38-year-old comedian and radio co-host was arrested following a recent incident in which he crashed his car into a tree while returning home from a gig at a local comedy club. Zumock refused a breath test but authorities are charging him with DUI. According to Cleveland.com, the incident violates a clause in Zumock’s contract with Clear Channel and host Alan Cox addressed Zumock’s dismissal on the program on Tuesday, December 4.
WTAG, Worcester Morning Host Jim Polito Exits for Boston TV Gig. Jim Polito returns to his television roots beginning December 10 as he’ll handle commentary for Fox TV O&O WFXT, Boston’s evening newscasts. Polito left WGGB-TV, Springfield, Massachusetts in 2008 to join Clear Channel’s WTAG, Worcester for the morning drive program. No word from Clear Channel what its plans for the morning show are.
Branson, Missouri Gets FM Talk Station as Earls Family Broadcasting Makes Changes. In making programming changes to its cluster of stations in Branson, Missouri, Earls Family Broadcasting consolidates its two country outlets on one signal, freeing up KRZK at 106.3 to become a news/talk station. The new format is branded as “Your News. Straight Talk. 106.3.” In a statement, the company says news/talk is “a perfect fit for our traditional, informed and community-minded citizens of the Branson area. Since KRZK has always been popular for local news, talk, and community service, an all-news/talk format is the perfect evolution of this beloved station.” The station is carrying Fox News Radio for top-of-the-hour news. The program schedule includes: Steve & Janet in the Morning for 6:00 am to 9:00 am; “At Your Service” with Scott McCaulley from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; Dave Ramsey from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and “The Ozark’s News Hour with Greg Pyron” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The Expert Radio Network Launches. A new San Diego-based terrestrial radio network is getting off the ground. The Expert Radio Network, “a multi-media radio platform for experts to deliver their content, expand their audience and explode their product sales” is opening for business. Vice president of business development Susan Ram explains the network’s approach. “Experts will have the opportunity to host a weekly radio show in major markets across the country, complete with marketing guidance from co-founder Scotty Saks. Experts will also work directly with award-winning talent coaching specialist and ERN co-founder Cliff Dumas and his business partner Randy Lane of The Randy Lane Company. Cliff and Randy will teach the same communication secrets Randy has personally taught Ryan Seacrest, Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly and hundreds of other entertainment, sports and business clients. Finally, Experts will be able to leverage the power of a fully produced, online marketing sales funnel custom designed to monetize their product and brand.” Identifying “experts” as those who’ve committed three years or 10,000 hours to knowledge of their subject of expertise, ERN says it has identified several “key verticals,” including: finance and business, health and wellness, and personal development. “The timing could not be better, as ‘real,’ terrestrial talk radio is experiencing explosive growth, and attracting millions of listeners who seek critical investment, business, and personal development advice from experts across the country. The power of ERN will massively expand an individual or corporate brand’s audience and deliver valuable advice and information to consumers.” ERN will utilize SpotMedia’s new Synchronicity platform for its program distribution, eliminating satellite distribution expenses while automatically customizing shows and commercial insertions on an affiliate by affiliate basis for both over the air and digital audiences.
Good Karma’s WEFL, West Palm Beach Renews Local TV Partnership. West Palm Beach sports talk ESPN 760 extends its content-producing partnership with local television stations WPTV-TV and WFLX-TV. The stations had been working together for the past three years and have agreed to terms on a new multi-year contract. WPTV-TV vice president and general manager Steve Wasserman says, “Since teaming up with ESPN 760 in 2010, the profile of local sports has risen to an unprecedented level. With the powerful combination of the region’s top-rated television station and the area’s unrivaled leader in sports radio, we will continue to set the standard for sports coverage in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.” The stations say that over the years they have produced quality content with unique local coverage and programming that includes: “Football Night in South Florida,” “5 Sports Live” on WPTV and “Wayne Akers Sports Zone” on WFLX. ESPN 760’s anchor team of Joe Girvan and Emerson Lotzia will continue to be seen nightly on WPTV NewsChannel 5’s 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts as well as WFLX Fox 29’s 10:00 pm newscast. WEFL vice president and general manager Steve Politziner states, “We are thrilled to continue to share stories about sports in our local community with the passionate fans of WPTV and WFLX. ‘Football Night in South Florida’ has become a franchise unto itself and the way in which schools, players, coaches, administrators, parents and fans have embraced our coverage, it’s more than exceeded our expectations.”
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington raised more than $290,000 during its radiothon on Friday and Saturday to benefit the Fisher House Foundation. It was the 9th annual such radiothon and program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS the total was up $50,000 from last year’s total and that, to date, WMAL listeners have raised more than $4 million for Fisher House over the past nine years…..Herman Cain subs for Neal Boortz on the Cox Media-syndicated national talk program December 10 – 19. Cain, who hosted a program at flagship WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta prior to his run for president, will take over hosting the Neal Boortz show on January 21, 2013…..WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo subs on the morning show at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston December 26 – 28.
Talk Producer Colin Brady Dies at 43. Florida-based radio producer Colin Brady passed away at age 43 after a struggle with cardiovascular disease. Brady worked as a talk producer and host in both Tampa and Orlando. He worked with Shannon Burke at WTKS, Orlando and on his internet show at RadioIO.com. Burke tells the Orlando Sentinel that although Brady was the butt of jokes (as producers often are) his listeners were shocked. “They all loved him very much. Last week, they were calling the show crying. He was beloved, no doubt about it.”
Washington ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria Chemical Weapons Threat, Egypt Unrest, Obama Cabinet Nominees, and Jovan Belcher Case-Costas Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/4). The fight between GOP leaders and the Obama administration over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; charges Syria is planning to use its chemical weapons on rebels; the unrest in Egypt as citizens protest Mohamed Morsi’s policies; speculation over the shape of the new Obama Cabinet; and the murder-suicide case of Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun commentary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Stations Across the Northeast Totally Focused on Hurricane Sandy. Or at least radio stations with a shred of competitiveness, pride, community concern and a modicum of resources are focused on the storm and its impact on their listeners. Considering how much the consciousness of the radio broadcasting industry has been raised this past couple of years regarding the medium’s role in providing community support during natural disasters coupled with the amount of time the industry has had to prepare for this slow-developing storm, we can expect the next couple of days to be among modern radio’s finest hours. (Image courtesy NOAA)
New Jersey Broadcasters Association to Sandy: Bring it On! NJBA president Paul S. Rotella tells TALKERS that New Jersey broadcasters are prepared for the storm stating, “Are we ready? Of course; that’s because we usually stand ready, often prepared for anything—that’s what local radio is all about: being prepared, being nimble, and being informative, with real information our listeners need. It’s amazing how dedicated local broadcasters are, especially in New Jersey where local radio means so much to our state! We’ve been preparing since Friday. As you know, our great NJ broadcasters have responded to extreme and hazardous weather events magnificently in the past and we expect them to continue this fine tradition of selfless service in the face or Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.” Read the entire text of Rotella’s statement here.
New Jersey Likely Ground Zero as Sandy Moves Inland; Broadcasters Foundation Steps Up to the Plate. Slow-moving Hurricane Sandy has already taken more than 60 lives in the Caribbean and it is moving north and is expected to turn west and move inland hitting the coast of New Jersey first as it sweeps up the Eastern Seaboard. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has been in communication with stations in the state helping them prepare for coverage of the storm. NJBA president Paul Rotella relates that the FCC is available “24-7…during the storm to answer calls about service outages, to assist where possible in restoring any lost service, and to issue emergency authorizations for temporary facilities. As we have written before, the FCC has been helpful in past disasters — seemingly able to bridge bureaucratic barriers that might otherwise delay the restoration of communications services.” Rotella also alerts broadcasters in the region that the Broadcasters Foundation of America may be of assistance to broadcasters in need. “Broadcasters Foundation of America president Jim Thompson asked that I reach out to those state associations in the path of Sandy to remind them that the BFoA is there for broadcasters in times of unexpected need, especially broadcasters caught in the crosshairs of the approaching storm, or in its aftermath…As you may recall, the BFoA responded rapidly to the deadly tornadoes across the Midwest last year with $41,000 in emergency grants dispatched almost immediately after the tornadoes hit. Emergency grants can be used to buy food, clothing and even emergency shelter, especially for broadcasters suffering substantial and even catastrophic loss in the wake of the storm. Broadcasters (and even association execs) may apply for an emergency one-time $1,000 grant by contacting Jim or his staff. As you know, Jim’s dedicated team reviews and responds to emergency grant applications quickly and with unmatched compassion. You and your members can reach Jim at 212-373-8250 or via email: email@example.com.”
Orlando Radio Institution Jim Turner to Retire from WDBO. Jim Turner has been with Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando since it was a music outlet joining the station as afternoon jock in 1972. He made the transition to morning drive host 12 years later and was chosen by then program director David Bernstein to lead the station as it changed from a music station to a news and information outlet. Now, 40 years later, Turner will retire from the radio business and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa morning host Joe Kelly will take over the morning role at WDBO. Kelly will join WDBO on November 19 and will transition into the morning role. A final broadcast for Turner has not been announced. WDBO program director Drew Anderssen states, “Jim is a broadcast icon. He has been revered as one of the premier morning hosts in America for many years, a true professional, and a great man. We stand by Jim in celebration of his 40 years of community service and dedication to Central Florida as he begins to write a new page in his life. He will truly be missed as the daily voice of morning news in Orlando radio.” In Tulsa, program director Levi May begins the search for the replacement of Joe Kelly. May states, “We are very excited about the opportunity to bring new, outstanding talent to KRMG and further grow our listening audience. KRMG is dedicated to being Tulsa’s number one station for news, weather, and traffic and we will always remain committed to that pledge.”
Martha Zoller to Return to Radio in 2013. Gainesville, Georgia-based talk show host Martha Zoller left her radio show on WXKT, Gainesville this year to run for Congress in the 9th Georgia District. She lost a close race in the Republican primary and now says she will return to the radio in January of 2013 though she’s not saying where just yet. In the meantime, Zoller will appear on Talk Radio Network-produced morning program “America’s Morning News” tomorrow morning to discuss the Campaign to Fix the Debt. Zoller sits on the steering committee for the campaign.
Premiere to Handle Ad Sales for 24/7 Comedy. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s 24/7 Comedy format will have ad sales and national syndicated handled by the company’s Premiere Networks. 24/7 Comedy debuted in 2010 and currently had about 30 affiliates and boasts a library of more than 15,000 comedy bits. Clear Channel president of content and affiliate services for national media groups Julie Talbott says, “24/7 Comedy provides stations with the unique opportunity to own comedy in their market with an audience engaging format. Comedy has universal consumer appeal across all forms of media, so we’re excited to deliver this ratings-winning format to more radio stations across the U.S.”
Salem Preparing for LMA of Columbus FM; Conservative Talk Lineup Appears Likely. The domain 989TheAnswer.com registered to Salem Communications seems to indicate that the company will flip Radio One’s WJKR, Columbus “JackFM” to its conservative news/talk format positioned with its “The Answer” slogan. Salem, which is purchasing the station from Radio One, will assume operation of the station on Thursday, November 1 under an LMA and it’s expected the slate of Salem Radio Network programs – Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, and Dennis Prager – will occupy the program schedule.
Start Doing This Right Now on Facebook! It’s a common belief that Facebook has drastically cut back on how many people see radio’s branded posts, so that broadcasters using the platform have to buy more advertising. That may well be the case! However, the Facebook folks are not only concerned about money, they’re also concerned about their version of time spent listening. They want users to visit more often; and they want them to scroll further down their news feeds than they do now. They may be limiting how much stuff people see from commercial enterprises, so that it doesn’t crowd out what they see from their friends and family. In any event, according to radio digital consultant Chris Miller, radio can overcome these obstacles. So, Miller presents TALKERS readers with the state-of-the-art techniques that will help you get seen more, and engaged with more often. If you’re doing it right, that will then lead to more on-air and online usage of your radio station, which is the ultimate goal. To read Chris Miller’s exclusive article, click here.
Comedian Adam Carolla Joins Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Channel Program. Comedian, radio host and producer of the one of the most popular podcasts Adam Carolla is becoming part of Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” as a contributor. Bill O’Reilly – who still maintains a talk radio presence with his Courtside Entertainment-distributed “Talking Points” daily features – already uses comedian and Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller as a contributor. Miller usually appears on Wednesdays while the Hollywood Reporter states Carolla will likely be a regular part of Monday’s programs.
WQAM’s Dan Sileo Gets TV Shot. WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo appears on the little screen this weekend when he joins the ACC Network when he appears on the pregame show from Charlotte with hosts Jeff Fischel and Dorsey Levens. The program hits the air at 11:00 am ET on Saturday.
Gone to the Dogs. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller is living in a cage at the Canyon County Animal Shelter to promote the shelter’s Mission Pawsible Challenge that involves getting the most pets adopted out to families. It’s part of the 3rd annual ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. By saving the most lives in the challenge, the shelter could win up to $100,000 that would go to helping feed, home, and keep all of the animals at the shelter healthy! Miller is spending the 25th through the 31st of October in the cage you see here while broadcasting his program each morning. Miller tells the Idaho Press he “would be lost” without his dogs Alabama and Carolina, so doing whatever he could for the shelter seemed right. “We’ll be here to the final hour, the final minute, the final second, to get as many of these four-legged family members a forever home.”
Radio Coverage of Campaign 2012 Shifts to Charlotte. The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Charlotte, North Carolina today and runs through Thursday. Talk show hosts and news staffers from stations of all formats are ensconced in their radio row remote studios preparing to report to their markets over the next three days. The non-partisan Talk Radio News Service will operate a booth on radio row and more than 100 talk show hosts will broadcast from the city – either in the convention center itself or from “alternative” sites – as they work to bring the Democratic message to their listeners or attempt to counter the message of the Obama campaign. Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett – host of “Morning in America” – will broadcast from the city. Bennett is seen here (r) enjoying a pre-convention meal at a Charlotte eatery with “Morning in America” regular guest and Fox News Channel contributor Byron York (l). Joining them for the shot at center is former Tennessee Democratic congressman and MSNBC contributor Harold Ford, Jr. who stopped by to say “hello.” While eating there Bennett was surrounded by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Soledad O’Brien of CNN and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack among other Democrats He tells TALKERS, “I enjoyed unnerving my Democratic friends.”
Jorge Sedano Joins WQAM as PD and PM Drive Host. The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports that South Florida sports media personality Jorge Sedano is taking the program director role at Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM that was left vacant when Lee Feldman exited for interests outside of the media field. Sedano, who left Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami in April to pursue TV work, will also become the afternoon drive host while current PM drive guy Dan Sileo will move to the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot left vacant by Michael Irvin’s recent departure. South Florida media chatter indicates Sileo was originally being considered for the midday slot but was hired for PM drive when he became available after exiting WDAE, Tampa and Sid Rosenberg was suddenly let go from the PM drive slot. Sedano recently was hired to host the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts. He also is a part-time sportscaster for WFOR-TV, Miami – CBS4. Sedano tells the Herald, “From a lifestyle perspective, this makes the most sense. When I left 790, I needed to harness my skills and work on the craft and it’s led me to this position on the TV side, so it obviously paid off. I felt if I wanted to get back in radio, and it was a perfect situation, I would get back. This is perfect situation. I can put my imprint on the radio station.”
A Huge Day for the Expansion of Sports Talk Radio. It has been 25 years since WFAN, New York signed on as the first all sports talk radio station – an experiment that was considered bold and certainly risky on the part of then-owner Jeff Smulyan’s Emmis Broadcasting. But it certainly did prove to be a risk worth taking as sports talk radio has gone on to be one of the hottest and dynamic genres of radio in the industry – second only to political news/talk in the spoken word realm. Today the sports juggernaut picks up even more steam with the launch of two more major networks joining the ranks of four other biggies in what is becoming a crowded super-competitive marketplace. NBC Sports Radio, in partnership with Dial Global, takes to the airwaves today and CBS Sports Radio is also going nationwide with the first phase of its rollout.
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Re-Images as “NewsTalk 96.9.” The FM talk outlet has re-branded itself as “NewsTalk 96.9” The station’s website is still 969bostontalks.com but the station seems to be promoting its news coverage more – with emphasis on the “24-hour news center.” There are no programming changes to the station and, as you can see in the image here, the station is promoting its coverage of all things election 2012.
Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction in Emmis Case; Shareholder Meeting Scheduled for Today. Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan was pleased with Friday’s ruling in which U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker denied the injunction request of five preferred shareholders who wanted to stop the company’s shareholder meeting today at which they will vote on a plan to take some of the rights away from preferred shareholders and not pay some $10 million in past-due dividends. Judge Barker ruled that the shareholders group “failed to meet any of the threshold requirements for injunctive relief.” She also noted that had she granted the injunction, “both Emmis’ stock price as well as its efforts to refinance before the November 2012 deadline could be seriously and adversely affected.” The minority shareholders group claims today’s vote is a “blatant attempt to grab wealth” from them but Emmis denies that and counters the move is designed to cut expenses and to improve the company’s fiscal health. Jeff Smulyan controls the common stock’s voting power and therefore today’s vote is expected to go his way. It should be noted that the judge’s decision last week does not stop the minority shareholder group from suing for damages after today’s vote takes place. The group has not indicated one way or the other if it intends to take such action.
WPRO, Providence Provides Live Political Debates. Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosts congressional debates this week. Today at 6:00 pm, Democrats Anthony Gemma and David Cicilline ( who’ll face off in the primary next week) will appear on the air. The debate will be moderated by WPRO news director Bill Haberman. Tomorrow at 6:00 pm, Republican candidates for Congress in the Second Congressional District — Michael Gardiner, Michael Riley, Don Robbio and Kara Russo will debate before moderator Bill Haberman and guest panelists Tara Granahan and Andrew Gobeil from the “WPRO Morning News.” The station is also making the debates available via video on WPRO.com with an accompanying, live Tweet Chat.
J.D. Hayworth Sits in on New KVI, Seattle in PM Drive. Talk show host and former Arizona U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth will warm the PM drive chair for Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin until he can become part of the Fisher Communications news/talk station’s newly revamped lineup on September 24. Hayworth, who hosted his own successful talk show on KFYI, Phoenix for years, will also sub as co-host on the morning drive show at Cumulus’ KSFO, San Francisco this week – Wednesday through Friday as well as next Monday.
Radio Pro Jay Andrews Returns to Alma Mater to Manage Student Station and Host AM Drive Show. North Georgia media pro, former station owner and radio personality Jay Andrews is doing his first morning drive program on Brenau University’s WBCX, Gainesville, Georgia today as he returns to the college to do the radio show and manage the student radio station. Andrews tells AccessNorthGa.com, “The choice to go back to 89.1 WBCX was an easy one. Brenau University is my alma mater, and having the opportunity to manage this remarkable student station, return to the air, and most importantly help students learn the radio, TV and internet media businesses is quite an honor.” During his career, Andrews has worked as a radio personality on numerous North Georgia stations. He owned WDGR, Dahlonega, Georgia, and he managed Jacobs Media Corporation’s WDUN, WMJE and WGGA in Gainesville. On the new morning show Andrews says, “It’s a whole different animal from a format and production standpoint. Since it is technically a morning show it will move faster. We will also attempt to open the format up to more listeners by taking phone calls, interviewing Brenau newsmakers, and also become more involved in the community. We will work toward having regular contributors covering news, and current and historical events. As always we will try do this with style, great hit music, and humor.”
“Poorman” Finds On-Air Home at Small California Station. Jim Trenton, the original “Poorman” of California radio and creator of the mega-successful syndicated program “Loveline” will turn 60 next year. The fame he enjoyed while co-hosting the show has become a distant memory. The successful radio and TV series is primarily (and rightfully) associated with Dr. Drew Pinsky. Trenton’s stardom quickly faded after he was fired from “Loveline” for encouraging thousands of listeners to join him for a midnight surprise birthday party on the front lawn of a co-worker…and listeners showed up, by the thousands…but that was almost 20 years ago. The Poorman continues to feel bitter about losing the show he feels he created. Since then, he has either been fired or stormed away from a dozen stations. His career has never recovered. Ah, but now his career has been given a spark of new hope. Courageous station owner Fred Lundgren, CEO and president of news/talker KCAA, San Bernadino/Riverside, California has taken a chance and hired Trenton to host a daily one-hour show at 12:00 noon on the “station that leaves no listener behind.” Read Lundgren’s humorous account of why he put one of radio’s notorious bad boys back on the air and how it’s going by clicking here.
WABB-AM, Mobile Sold by Dittman Broadcasting to Omni Broadcasting. Fort Walton Beach, Florida-based Omni Broadcasting filed on Friday (8/31) with the FCC to transfer the license of news/talk outlet WABB (1480 AM), Mobile for a reported purchase price of $106,000. Omni also closed the same day to purchase time for the Ticket Sports Network until the close of the sale. Earlier this year the companion WABB-FM (97.6) was sold to the Educational Media Foundation for $3.1 million, which in turn sold the assets of that station to Cumulus Media in return for WRQQ-FM, Belle Meade, Tennessee and WDLT-FM, Chickasaw, Alabama, giving Cumulus upgraded coverage of the Mobile market with the 97.6 FM signal.
TAB President and Radio Advocate Ann Arnold Dies. The widely popular Ann Arnold, longtime president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters, died Saturday (9/1) at her office at the age of 67 after battling leukemia for many years. Arnold headed the organization since 1987. She had been a strong defender of Texas’ open government laws and during her tenure doubled the membership of the TAB. “Ann Arnold was an extraordinary and inspiring woman,” says TAB chairman Mary Mike Hatcher of Bryan Broadcasting. “She was fearless in her advocacy for local radio and television broadcasters, for the public’s right to know how elected officials run our government, and in her long fight with cancer.” TAB VP Oscar Rodriguez adds, “Ann was passionate about Texas and optimistic about the future. She cherished the opportunity to help local broadcasters strengthen their communities and had yet to find the challenge that would daunt her.” (Photo: Mike Wenglar)
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Isaac Aftermath, Rising Gas Prices and Iran-Israel Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3). The presidential campaign and the approaching Democratic National Convention; the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac; the rising price at the pump for gasoline; and Iran’s threats to strike American bases if Israel takes military action against it were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Radio Wraps Up Major Week of High-Profile Broadcasting and News Gathering. The Republican National Convention week was a busy one for the country’s news/talk stations as well as more than 100 outlets that chose to broadcast live from radio row in Tampa and many more than that sent hosts, staffers and news people to the city to cover the convention and report back to their markets. According to a report issued to TALKERS by the Republican National Committee, this year’s radio row generated some 1,551 radio interviews smashing 2008′s record of 1,263. The convention radio row is not only fertile ground upon which to produce a live broadcast with a huge pool of political experts, candidates and surrogates available as guests in one compact location, but it is also an opportunity to get some national attention as Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt did on Fox News Channel (upper left photo). Talk hosts in major markets and nationally syndicated stars certainly have the ability to book big-name guests via phone but the chance to actually rub elbows with big political stars, speak with them face-to-face and chat in a “live” situation is unique to this political season. It also provides members of the talk radio community with a place and reason to meet and network in a working situation conducive to enhancing existing relationships and forging new ones. The Ernest Istook program, hosted by the former congressman and produced by WYD Media, also emanated from the convention site this week and gave Istook the opportunity to chat with U.S. Rep. and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (here at right).
Yankees Baseball Stays on WCBS, New York for at Least One More Season. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick reported it earlier yesterday and CBS Radio confirms it in a release. Apparently the Yankees have rejected overtures from ESPN to join the company’s new FM-enhanced sports talk outlet WEPN for they will stay with WCBS for the 2013 season. Numerous industry watchers had expected to see a big bidding war for Yankees baseball and perhaps we’ll see that next season but if this report is correct, it’ll be another year before CBS Radio and Disney/ESPN battle it out for Yankees rights.
Bill Rehkopf Returns to KDKA, Pittsburgh. The former morning news man at CBS Radio’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh returns to the Steel City after being involved in the start-up of the company’s Washington, DC all-newser WNEW-FM. Rehkopf was the featured morning drive anchor at the station. Now, he’ll anchor KDKA-AM’s “KDKA Afternoon News” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Current anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas remains with the station to work on the PM drive show. In a statement, Rehkopf says, “Working in the nation’s capital was extremely exciting and rewarding. However, my family and I have deep roots in Pittsburgh and this is a terrific opportunity at KDKA. It’s a perfect professional fit for me and works well for my family. I look forward to providing Pittsburgh with a quality program of essential news, information and entertainment to wrap up their work day.”
Reports of Mel Selling Sirius XM Shares Raises Eyebrows. In a release issued after yesterday’s closing bell, news from Sirius XM Satellite Radio that CEO Mel Karmazin will be selling an additional 30 million shares of the publicly traded company (Sirius XM SIRI) this fall has both Wall Street and radio industry observers speculating as to what it means. Considering the timing involved – Mel’s contract is up this year and major investor Liberty Media (LMCA) is closing in seeking control – there is evidence to support the educated guess that the company’s chief is heading for the door. Other possibilities include that Mel is simply cashing in his chips for a job clearly well done or that it is a maneuver to throw an obstacle in the way of Liberty taking control. The price to exercise the 30 million options shares is $0.43. This means the shares will cost Karmazin $12,900,000. If he were to sell them all at $2.50 the price would be a cool $75,000,000, delivering a profit of $62,100,000. Analyst Spencer Osbourne writes in the Seeking Alpha newsletter, “I can imagine that the news relating to an insider at Sirius XM selling 30,000,000 shares will not be well received by the market. Be prepared, because this news is going to cause some wild speculation and debate. I would not be surprised to see the stock price move down on this news. Between the Liberty cloud and now the Karmazin cloud, the uncertainty is building for Sirius XM.”
NBC Sports Radio Announces Affiliates for Next Week’s Launch. As NBC Sports Radio and partner Dial Global prepare to debut their late night and overnight sports talk radio shows and hourly sports news reports on Tuesday, September 4, the list of affiliates for the programming is being made public. The build-up to a national affiliate base with a big rollout is always a challenge and NBC is gearing up with a lot of medium and small market stations for its sports talk shows and has some major market clears on small or outlying signals. For example, The Amani & Eytan 10:00 pm to 1:00 am show will air in markets including Huntsville, Santa Barbara, Evansville and Roanoke. But it will also clear secondary signals in the Washington, DC, Denver and Charlotte markets. Both Amani & Eytan and the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm Erik Kusilias show will be heard on WPOP, Hartford. To see where the shows will debut, click here.
Emmis Delivers Good News to Staff in the Form of Bonuses. Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan issued an e-mail memo to staffers informing them that they would be receiving cash bonuses to reward their loyalty and dedication to the company during these tough economic times. Full-time employees will be getting a $1,000 bonus while part-time staffers will each get $250.
Salem Communications to Pay Q3 Dividend. The board of directors of Salem Communications declares a dividend for the third quarter of 2012 that will pay shareholders of Class A and Class B common stock 3 and ½ cents per share. The dividend will be paid to all shareholders of record as of September 14 and will be paid on September 28.
Katie Couric’s TV Talk Show to Debut on September 10. The show, titled simply, “Katie,” will be broadcast in syndication beginning on Monday, September 10 and all media eyes will be on the television legend as she begins a new chapter in her career. She was once the most popular personality in morning talk television but Katie Couric left to take the helm of the “CBS Evening News,” a job that even her harshest critics would admit is probably beyond anyone’s ability to succeed in this day and age. But as Howard Kurtz examines in his excellent piece in the Daily Beast, the question is whether Couric’s newsy approach to issues and distant personality will grab daytime TV viewers. Couric clearly appears to be bucking the trend in what makes successful daytime talk TV but she appears determined. Read Kurtz’s piece here.
Attention Radio Sales Staffers! Your Job Was Born 90 Years Ago This Week. This week marks the 90th anniversary of the first sale of radio time. It was back in 1922 when New York radio station WEAF – owned by Bell Telephone Company – sold a 10-minute commercial to the Hawthorne Court Apartments in Jackson Heights, New York for $50. At about 5:00 pm on August 28, 1922 a pitch for the apartment complex was made to anyone who happened to be listening and the business of commercial radio was born. It didn’t take off like a rocket, as radio historians will tell you, but it certainly was the beginning of an industry. NPR produced a fantastic segment commemorating this event. Listen to the segment or read the transcript at NPR’s site here. (Photo: MTM Enterprises)
The Economy, Health Care and Foreign Policy Issues Topped the Talkers TenTM for the Week of August 27 – 31. These issues, as related to the presidential campaign and set against the backdrop of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the RNC speeches. At #3 was the mainstream media’s coverage of the RNC and the firing of Yahoo! News bureau chief David Chalain and at #4 was Tropical Storm Isaac. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top talk topics as discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon and “Jill on Money” join the program lineup at WZKT, Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland…..Benztown Radio Network morning show “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire” hosted by Mike Tyler and Todd Brandt replaces the syndicated version of Mark & Brian at KXFM, Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo…..“Malcolm Out Loud” is added to the programming at KKYT, Ridgecrest, California.
Salem Communications Joins iHeartRadio. The latest broadcast group to join the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment digital media platform is Salem Communications. The company’s 97 stations in 37 markets will become available on iHeartRadio beginning in September. Salem radio division president David Santrella states, “It’s important that our content be available to our listeners no matter where or how they want to receive it. Clearly iHeartRadio is a dominant player in the space and we are excited to be able to offer our content on the platform.” In contract to the secular broadcast companies that have signed on with Clear Channel’s platform, Salem brings Christian-formatted radio stations into the mix. Salem director of digital media Rodney Whitaker says, “We are looking forward to the launch of our partnership with iHeartRadio and the increased audience it will bring us, both online and through the mobile app. It’s clear they are dedicated to innovation and providing listeners with an ever-improving experience.”
No FM Signal for Clear Channel’s Boston News/Talker. At the time it was announced the company was purchasing Phoenix Media Group’s WFNX, Boston, some industry watchers suspected Clear Channel would take the 101.7 frequency of the former alternative rocker and give it to news/talk WXKS – Talk 1200. The recent revelation the company acquired call letters WHBA seemed to indicate that would not be the case and it turns out it is not. Yesterday, Clear Channel unveiled variety hits “The Harbor” with the airing of the Standells’ ode to Boston, “Dirty Water.”
Augusta, Georgia Talk Host Austin Rhodes Celebrates 20 Years in PM Drive at WGAC-AM/FM. The station tells TALKERS magazine talk host Austin Rhodes’ 20-year stint as host of the PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting’s WGAC-AM/FM, Augusta is the longest-running drive time radio presence on one station in the history of the Augusta media market. Rhodes’ media career began 29 years ago assisting the late Matt Stovall in his radio broadcasts of local high school football games with WMTZ in Augusta. He began a full-time career in radio broadcasting in 1987, as a radio news reporter and anchor for WGAC. In 1989, Austin moved to television news, where he stayed until 1992. On July 16, 1992, Rhodes rejoined WGAC, assuming afternoon hosting duties for what was then, “Voice of the People.” The station also notes that Rhodes has been regularly named Augusta’s favorite radio host in such publications as Augusta Magazine, The Metro Spirit and Columbia County Magazine. He’s also been recognized by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.
Prime Program Director Job Open at Cox Media Group’s KRMG, Tulsa. With longtime KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa programmer Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando, CMG is looking for a program director for the legendary news/talk outlet. The station says, “This position demands a candidate with the ability and experience to lead a dynamic, veteran news department and programming staff. Because of this station’s profile locally and nationally, only candidates with the highest level of execution, creativity and leadership will be considered.” The deadline for application is August 12 and interested applicants should apply to: Janet Bergquist, Cox Media Group – Tulsa, 7136 S. Yale Avenue, Suite 500, Tulsa, OK 74136. Or e-mail cover letter, resume and audio to: firstname.lastname@example.org. CMG requests no phone calls.
WQAM, Miami PM Drive Host Dan Sileo Joins Hurricanes Post-Game Show. Sports talk host Dan Sileo – who hosts the PM drive show on Beasley’s sports talk WQAM, Miami and played football at the University of Miami during the mid-1980s – becomes part of the broadcasts for Hurricanes football this season. Sileo will be on the team that handles the post-game show. He tells TALKERS, “It is an awesome honor for me to be part of a program that I helped build and I have incredible love for the University of Miami. My daughter will be going to games with her dad this year…a dream come true.”
Raising the Demo. Talk radio hosts and programmers should avoid the temptation to narrow their “target demo” to a number, says consultant Holland Cooke. “Recently published Nielsen data affirms what you may have suspected all along: The vaunted 25-54 demo is malarkey. Although only 5% of ad dollars are aimed at ‘em, 35-64 accounts for half of product purchases.” Cooke writes that the key to making the sales department happy is cutting through the clutter and being “remarkable” to people who have children, of any age, still living at home. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Adds Slate of New Weekend Shows. CBS Radio’s news/talk outlet KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas announces a number of new weekend programs to be heard on the station. The lineup is as follows: Saturday, 9:00 am, “The 19th Hole Weekend Edition” with Dennis Silvers and TPC Summerlin general manager Lee Smith; 11:00 am, “Pet Talk with Dr. B”; 2:00 pm, “Pawn Talk Live with Michael Mack”; 3:00 pm, “Asked and Answered” with Las Vegas personal injury and criminal defense attorney Marc Saggese; 4:00 pm, “Debt Free LV with Chris Parker”; 5:00 pm, “Over and Under with Chad Forster” covering local and national sports; Sunday, 3:00 pm, “Real Estate Live with Kevin Mikrut”; 5:00 pm, “Get Fired Up with Bob Irwin” – all things guns, politics and self defense.
ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Extends His Deal with the Sports Media Giant. The new contract means ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt will add several on-site “College GameDay Built by the Home Depot” appearances throughout the football season. He will travel to some of the “GameDay” locations in support of his features, interviews and reports related to the game, teams and players involved. He will also be part of ESPN’s BCS Championship Game coverage. This is in addition to Van Pelt’s duties as “SportsCenter” anchor and his ESPN Radio talk show. He is also lead reporter and host of the network’s major golf coverage, including the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.
KFKA, Greeley, Colorado Adds Local Sports Talk Show. Broadcast Media’s News Talk 1310 KFKA in Greeley, Colorado announces the addition of “SportsDay” with Troy Coverdale and Brady Hull to the daily lineup, airing from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm beginning August 6. Coverdale is the voice of the University of Northern Colorado Bears play-by-play and Hull is the station’s sales manager who has been a steady presence on the station’s air since 2008 with prep sports coverage. In a release, the station says, “With a heavy focus on local sports teams, including expanded preps, UNC and Colorado State coverage, ‘SportsDay’ is expected to fill a hole in the marketplace, as Northern Colorado has seen sports talk programs come and go over the past 10 years.”
Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Presidential Campaign, Tax Cut Issue, European Debt Crisis, and Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24). The aftermath of the Aurora; Colorado movie theater massacre; the presidential campaign; Congressional moves regarding the Bush-era tax cuts; the debt crisis in Euro Zone nations and global financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Journal Broadcast Group Promotes Beverlee Brannigan to VP of Programming. Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group promotes KFDI, Wichita operations manager and program director Beverlee Brannigan to vice president of programming for the entire broadcast group. In making the announcement, Journal EVP Steve Wexler states, “While Beverlee is best known for her country radio programming expertise, she has demonstrated her ability to apply sound strategic thinking across multiple formats and markets. I am thrilled to welcome her to our corporate team and look forward to her contributions. Many very talented programmers expressed interest in this position, so it is gratifying to be able to promote from within Journal. This is a well-deserved promotion for one of our brightest people.” Journal operates a number of news/talk and sports talk outlets including flagship news/talker WTMJ, Milwaukee.
Registrations Booking Fast for Talkers New Media Seminar/LA 2012. Registrations for the West Coast installment of this year’s innovative two-part Talkers New Media Seminar are now being booked. Based upon initial demand it will be an early sellout – just as the standing room-only New York installment this past June and last year’s experimental Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum. The gathering is following the new format consisting of one solid, power-packed day, a drastically-reduced recession-friendly registration fee of $99 (including breakfast, lunch, refreshments and all sessions) and a limited seating capacity in an intimate setting. Set for Thursday, October 11 between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, the conference will take place at the historic Steve Allen Theater and again be presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club which is based out of that colorful venue. According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Last year’s experimental Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum was a smashing success that set the stage for this year’s two-part bi-coastal national event. The first part of this new version of the convention that was held in New York this past June was one of the most productive and well-received conferences in TALKERS magazine’s history. LA will be equally if not more exciting a happening! Attendees will enjoy a memorable day of dynamic networking and exposure to the most sought-after views and information about the industry’s hottest challenges, opportunities and issues.” Full agenda details and hotel information will be posted here at Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks – but to assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Because it is open only to working media, there will be no online registration — only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Click here. for more details.
TuneIn Adds NPR Programming to Its Service. Online audio aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with NPR to expand the reach of the public radio broadcaster’s programming across the internet. Users of TuneIn will be able to hear NPR programming – including “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and “Fresh Air” – live as they are broadcast on member stations as well as archived via TuneIn’s array of more than 2 million podcasts. NPR VP of digital media Zach Brand states, “The collaboration with TuneIn allows us and our member stations to attract more diverse audiences as audio streaming explodes across mobile devices. Through TuneIn, loyal and new listeners will be able to seamlessly enjoy their favorite programs and stations, and discover new NPR shows wherever they are and whenever they want.”
WTKK, Boston Hosts “Cocktails & Conversation with Jonah Goldberg.” That’s WTKK, Boston talk host Michael Graham on the left side of the dais speaking with author Jonah Goldberg on the right at a sold-out appearance by the author at the Café Escadrille in suburban Boston. Attendees of the three-hour event got to hear an “unedited and unplugged” conversation about Goldberg’s new book, Tyranny of Ideas: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas (Sentinel HC 2012). After the presentation, Goldberg autographed copies of his book for those in attendance.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. ESPN Radio is providing coverage of the British Open golf tournament beginning next Thursday, July 19 with a six-hour broadcast live from Royal Lytham & St. Annes beginning at 7:00 am ET…..New York talk host Steve Malzberg is busy this summer on the fill-in circuit. He recently sat in for Chris Krok at WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas. He’s in for Jack Riccardi at KTSA, San Antonio this week and he’ll be subbing for Chris Plante at WMAL-AM/FM, Washington next week…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh talk host Marty Griffin hosted a live broadcast in the borough of Bellevue combined with a “grillabration” at which more than 600 hot dogs and sausages were served to listeners protesting the borough’s new restrictions on outdoor grilling. In the picture here, Griffin is behind the grill with Ernie Ricci from Ricci’s Italian Sausage…..Twin Cities radio personality Tom Barnard announces he’s signed a new four-year deal to remain with Cumulus Media’s classic rock KRQS, Minneapolis…..WVON, Chicago’s morning drive personality Matt McGill had Tia Norfleet as his guest co-host on the program today (7/13). Norfleet is the only African-American female driver licensed to drive for NASCAR. Norfleet brought her race car to the studios of WVON for the public to come by and check out. After the program, she did a meet and greet with WVON listeners.
KTRH, Houston’s Michael Berry Hosts Premiere of Conservative Movie. Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry (l) is pictured here with the producers of the new movie “2016: Obama’s America” at a theater in the Houston area. Dinesh D’Souza (c) and Gerald Molen (r) appeared in town for the premiere at which more than 500 of Berry’s listeners attended. The three held a Q&A session for the crowd as well. Berry tells TALKERS this was the first showing of the movie to a public crowd and he says he believes the audience was encouraged and left the theater filled with the knowledge of where President Obama came from and where his vision for America was going to lead us. “2016: Obama’s America” opens in theaters across the country over the next few weeks and Berry will be hosting the Nashville premiere at the end of July for his affiliate station WLAC.
Why I Love The Fan. In light of the recent 25th anniversary of WFAN, New York, sports talk host Dan Sileo – afternoon drive host on Beasley’s WQAM, Miami – writes about why The Fan is such a special station and continues to be after all these years. Read Dan’s piece here.
2012 Presidential Race Returns to #1 on the Talkers TenTM. The 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 9 – 13, landing it atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s top stories. Coming in at #2 was the Obama tax cut extension proposal. At #3 was weak job numbers tied with financial markets activity and at #4 was the Euro Zone debt crisis. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from Talkers, and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Talk personality Leslie Marshall is added to the program schedule at WRVC, Huntington, West Virginia…..Fox Sports Radio Network is the affiliate network for WCCW-AM, Traverse City, Michigan as Fox Sports Radio 1310 will launch on August 30. The station will air the network’s entire lineup including: Fox Sports Daybreak, Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, Loose Cannons and Petros & Money.
Jim Horn to Retire from WSBA, York. One of the most well-liked and admired broadcasters in news/talk radio, Jim Horn, is announcing he will be retiring from his dual position as program director and morning co-host at Cumulus Media‘s WSBA, York, Pennsylvania effective August 1, after serving nearly 34 years at the station. For the past four years, he and co-host Gary Sutton have presided over mornings at the station and have earned a spot in the Talkers 250 during each of them. Sutton will remain with the station as Cumulus searches for a new PD and morning co-host. Horn tells TALKERS, “After being with WSBA for almost three and a half decades, I want to take a very long vacation – something I do not remember ever doing – and then take the time to explore new opportunities both inside and outside radio and see if something interesting comes along. I am very excited about entering this new chapter of my life.”
Speculation About FM Sports Signal in New York Heats Up. There’s almost always chatter in the Big Apple about when CBS Radio’s WFAN will finally get an FM signal, but a recent story at FishbowlNY is fueling even more. Jerry Barmash’s piece cites a former CBS Radio employee who indicates the upcoming rights battle for New York Yankees baseball may be the catalyst for CBS Radio to drop “Fresh 102.7” and give The Fan an FM signal. Another factor cited is the coming CBS Sports Radio Network. The company will certainly want to have a New York outlet for its national programming and the source tells Barmash, “I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS uses 660 as a clearinghouse for the CBS Sports Network while 102.7 maintains a local angle.” Getting back to the Yankees, it’s believed this will be the last year for Yankees baseball on WCBS and if CBS wants to try to keep both the Yankees and the Mets (currently on The Fan), it’ll need two sports signals. FishbowlNY’s source says the Yankees are likely to want to buy the time from their next radio outlet and take production and sales in-house.
Programmer Lee Feldman Exiting Beasley’s WQAM, Miami. A plum sports program director position is opening up as WQAM, Miami PD Lee Feldman is preparing to exit the station in two weeks. Assistant PD and Dan Sileo show executive producer Andy King will be serving as the interim program director but the word is the station is seeking a permanent replacement for Feldman.
St. Louis’ Grand Slam Sports Changes Calls, Image of KSLG. The station formerly known as SportsRadio 1380 KSLG in St. Louis becomes KXFN, St. Louis with the handle “The Fan 2” – indicating its position as sister station to “The Fan,” KFNS at 590. The change takes place today and general manager Katy Pavelonis states, “We will now have 590 The Fan and 1380 The Fan 2. This will allow us to cross promote our programming as we continue to be ‘The Voice of the St. Louis Sports Fan.’ Sports fans have become accustomed to the coverage and entertainment we offer as the heritage sports station with 590 The Fan. 1380 The Fan 2 is simply an extension of our brand.” Pavelonis says Grand Slam Sports conducted a study, led by a Saint Louis University MBA class, that revealed most sports fans associate “The Fan” with 1380 sister station KFNS.
Eliot Spitzer Joins NY1’s Political Roundtable Show. Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who replaced Keith Olbermann on the Al Gore-founded cable channel Current TV, will become a regular panelist on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.” NY1 is Time Warner’s local cable news channel for people living in the Tri-State area. Regular panelists on the program include former New York Mayor Ed Koch and former U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato.
Chris Vernon Takes Over Middays at WMFS-AM/FM, Memphis. Sports talk host Chris Vernon moves from KQPN, Memphis to crosstown WMFS-AM/FM to host the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm show on the Entercom sports talker beginning today. Entercom vice president and market manager Dan Barron says, “92.9 FM ESPN is the number one sports and spoken-word station in the market. Adding Chris Vernon enhances that already strong position. Chris is a top talent who brings a high-energy approach and national experience. He’s a perfect fit for Entercom/Memphis and our advertisers.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon will be the announcer for CBS Television’s “Face the Nation” on July 22…..Country singer Hank Williams, Jr. has a new album out with free song downloads for radio stations coming this week. PR maven Janet Fallon says there are a couple of political songs on the disc and the country legend is none too pleased with President Obama…..Illinois talk host Michael Koolidge hosts his annual “Michael Koolidge Show Summer Party” at Perry Rock Restaurant in Rockford, Illinois on Thursday, July 26. Koolidge, whose show is syndicated to numerous markets in Northern Illinois, is throwing the party that’s free and open to the public to thank his listeners for their support for the growing program…..Local Focus Radio president Kay Olin is named chair of the board of directors for the Alliance for Women in Media. Olin will lead the AWM board in its mission to “harness the promise, passion and power of women in all forms of media to empower career development, engage in thought leadership, and drive positive change for our industry and societal progress.”…..Bloomquist Media receives a 2012 Finalist Award from the New York Radio Festival for the Christmas radio program “The Gift, A Holiday Tribute to Military Families.” The program won in the Social Issues/Current Events category and helped raise awareness and funds for the Fisher House Foundation.
By Dan Sileo
Talk Show Host
MIAMI – It’s funny, I have had only two radio station jobs in the past 20 years: KNBR, San Francisco and WDAE, Tampa. Of course, now I’m doing afternoon drive on WQAM in Miami, which means I’m now starting over with a new show and, the truth of it is, I have to prove myself all over again.
It’s been a humbling experience for me because I have always been used to HUGE numbers and now I’m in the position of retraining a whole new audience here in Miami to my style.
Here are a couple of things I’m learning:
10 Things You Need to Know About Live Endorsements. The live endorsement is one of the most powerful advertising vehicles talk radio has to offer. But KTRH, Houston talk show host and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Michael Berry writes that advertisers and sales personnel too often force the talent into making mistakes that undermine its effectiveness. For starters, Berry says that forcing the talent to work with a script takes away from his or her ability to put the message in unique terms. The best way is to have the talent use the good or service and like it. “We can sell what we like because then it’s not ‘selling.’ It’s simply sharing what we like, and it’s what we do. Make sure your endorser understands you, the individual who owns the business.” Read Michael Berry’s 10 points about live endorsements here.
WYD Media Management Announces Formation of Sister Firm for Affiliate Sales and Marketing. WYD Media founder Ron Hartenbaum states the formation of WYM Media Management LLC will serve the purpose of handling the affiliate marketing strategies for its planned expansion of new talk programming. “WYM is a natural expansion of the business. WYD manages and produces programming, while WYM will focus on multiple platform distribution of that product.” Industry pro Liz Laud joins the company as the first affiliate sales and marketing associate. Hartenbaum says, “Liz is an accomplished industry veteran whose track record from Westwood One, Jones Radio and Dial Global speaks for itself. We are absolutely ecstatic with Liz on the team as WYM’s first affiliate sales & marketing associate.” WYD Media Management has been a key figure in the growth of talk shows such as the “The Stephanie Miller Show,” “The Thom Hartmann Program” and “The Michael Smerconish Show.” Ron Hartenbaum has also worked with numerous highly successful talk talent including Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager, Neal Boortz, Mike Malloy, Clark Howard, Mike Gallagher, and “Ring of Fire” with Sam Seder, Mike Papantonio and Robert Kennedy Jr. WYM Media will be based in New York and Los Angeles and is expected to announce new programming shortly. Liz Laud says, “This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in new, fun, informative, and entertaining long form programming and to participate in the growth of WYD as a key player in national radio programming.” She can be contacted at Lizlaud@mac.com or 310-625-9753.
Former San Diego Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Joins U-T San Diego TV Initiative. The San Diego newspaper U-T San Diego – formerly known as the Union-Tribune – is developing TV programming for cable and the web and one of its first efforts is a roundtable program designed to discuss San Diego topics. Scott Kaplan (pictured here at left), who most recently worked hosting the AM drive sports talk show at XEPRS, San Diego, is part of the cast alongside Amber Mesker (c) and Billy Ray Smith (r). U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch is quoted in the U-T saying, “We’re going to be, every moment of the day, talking about San Diego. We realize that we have a very valuable asset and that is unique, exclusive content that is hyper-local and all about San Diego — from sports to business to the news.” U-T San Diego was purchased by hotelier Doug Manchester in November of 2011 and so far has spent $3 million constructing a professional studio and hiring about a dozen of the 50 people it will need to operate the station.
Mike Scott Named OM/PD at WCAR, Detroit. Mike Scott previously served as assistant program director and midday host at CBS Radio‘s country WYCD-FM, Detroit. He recently left the market to take the programmer’s post at KZKX-FM, Lincoln, Nebraska but exited that position after just four months. Now, he returns to the Motor City market as operations manager and program director of Birach Broadcasting‘s sports talk WCAR, Livonia, Michigan.
Comrex Corporation’s STAC VIP Gains Skype Certification; Paves Way for Hi-Fi Skype Calls on Talk Radio. The engineers at Comrex Corporation are celebrating the fact that their Comrex STAC VIP VoIP Call Management Systems has passed qualification by Skype to allow it to process Skype calls alongside all other calls for radio call-in shows. This certification means the STAC VIP meets the guidelines to be called “Plugged into Skype” and can carry the Skype logo. What it means to radio talk shows is the ability to have one unit that processes calls from numerous formats – including Legacy POTS, ISDN, VoIP, IP-based PBX systems and now Skype – into the call screener and control unit and onto the radio. Skype provides “studio quality” sound for users. Comrex technical director Tom Hartnett states, “Skype support was an important factor in development of the VIP product. Skype, by its nature, carries very high-fidelity audio when being used between Skype clients. Skype support means stations that use STAC-VIP for their call-ins can take wideband calls from anyone who has Skype installed on their PC or smartphone.”
Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Featured on TALKERS TV. Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber – currently heard in national syndication via Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk – was honored at the recent New York City edition of the TALKERS New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7 with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” During the event, Farber found time to sit down in front of the Talkers camera and speak about his craft and his career. View the video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Independently syndicated talk show host Leslie Marshall is named one of the Top 50 Fabulous Women by Pasadena, California’s THE Magazine. The publication recognizes Marshall for her charity work to build schools and provide education, especially for girls in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, through various charities such as “Shine For Humanity.” She was also recognized for using her talk show to bring people together on issues and to raise awareness of human suffering worldwide in order to change it…..KNX, Los Angeles continues its Business Breakfast series with a June 22 event dedicated to creating a winning culture in the workplace. “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Motek moderates a discussion that includes: Chester Elton, co-author of the New York Times bestseller All In; G.J. Hart, the chief executive officer and president of California Pizza Kitchen; Jodi Walker, president of Success Alliances; and Yvonne Trupiano, director of talent acquisitions at Avis Budget Group…..Michigan-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels broadcasts his morning drive radio and TV show (heard on WDTW, Detroit; WTKG, Grand Rapids; and seen on Fox 47 TV in Lansing) from Kennebunkport, Maine today, the day after former President George H.W. Bush‘s 88th birthday party. Shiels will interview Bush family and friends at the Cape Arundel Golf Club where the former president’s charity is holding a golf outing…..Tampa-based talk host Bubba the Love Sponge‘s charitable foundation is assisting local mother Christine Dean in paying for her trip to Los Angeles this summer to take part in a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Children’s Cancer Research. Gary Kompothecras – founder of the attorney and doctor referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY – heard Dean on Bubba’s program talking about her child’s leukemia diagnosis and her desire to go to L.A. for the event. He donated the $1,000 necessary to make the trip.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo Addresses Power of the NFL in Shaping its Coverage. WQAM, Miami afternoon drive talk host Dan Sileo writes about the problem sports talk hosts – and sports journalists – face covering the mighty National Football League, especially in light of controversies such as the recent Saints bounty case in which several players received suspensions. Read his column here.
Attorney General Eric Holder Under Fire, 2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Texas Beating Death and Los Angeles Kings Win Stanley Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/12). Republican scrutiny of Attorney General Eric Holder in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; the 2012 presidential campaign; testimony from alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case; the beating death of an alleged child molester in Texas; and the Los Angeles Kings’ first franchise Stanley Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Beasley Las Vegas Helps Raise $165k for Children’s Miracle Network. That’s KDWN, Las Vegas-based talk host and physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (r) appearing at the recent radiothon interviewing an unnamed guest. Dr. Wachs reports to TALKERS that Beasley Broadcast Group‘s Las Vegas stations partnered with St. Rose Dominican Hospitals for the cause and brought in $165,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network – a foundation raising money for specialized medical equipment, family needs, and more for pediatric patients.
Talk Show Host
MIAMI – Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator” who promised, “I’ll be back!” yours truly is back at my favorite magazine to give you the truth!
Allow me to address the recent media coverage of the Johnathan Vilma vs. Roger Goodell lawsuit and how one-sided the coverage has been against NFL players in the “Bountygate” case. I believe the NFL has decided to leak information out to the media instead of actually giving the players the due process this situation needs. Don’t get me wrong, the NFL is smart to try and get the court of public opinion on its side. The potential backlash against the league if it’s determined it had knowledge of the bounty program prior to players – like Brett Favre and Kurt Warner to name two – getting hurt as the result of such a program could be serious. That could mean more lawsuits against the league.
The other part of this is that media people today are so worried about the access that they have to sports teams that they alter their coverage as a result. Can you imagine if a writer or sports radio host takes the players‘ side of this and starts slamming the NFL about not taking care of the players? The NFL will start denying access to certain media people making it very hard for them to cover teams fairly. Biased media coverage is what you get!
Pick any column or listen to any radio talk host today and read it and you will be able to decide which media member has more access to the team. The local team will always be nice to the station or host who gives them more positive coverage. The homer station gets paid for loyalty in access to players and coaches!
Radio hosts who want the respect of their audiences should do themselves the favor of stating their honest opinions. Don’t hide it! If you do, the fans will be able to hear which station is biased and not giving you the truth.
Oh yeah, one quick note…totally enjoying my awesome new family at WQAM in Miami!
Dan Sileo hosts PM drive at WQAM, Miami. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
Mark Davis Back to Talk Host Duties in Big D on Salem’s KSKY. Longtime Dallas media personality Mark Davis returns to the radio in the market on Salem Communications’ KSKY in the 7:00 am to 10:00 am time slot. Davis, a Dallas Morning News columnist and television political commentator, exited Cumulus Media’s crosstown WBAP after 18 years in April when the two sides could not agree to a contract extension. Now, Davis will follow Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett who airs on KSKY from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. Salem Communications vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce is also re-branding KSKY “The Answer” as he’s done with KRLA, Los Angeles; KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino; and WNYM, New York. Boyce states, “Adding an industry icon like Mark Davis, and re-branding the station as ‘The Answer’ will help take KSKY to the next level. This station will truly be an answer for so many things going on in the metroplex and the world, with smart hosts who know how to help you understand all of those things, not to mention great news, traffic, weather and information.” Davis begins his new position on Monday, June 4 and he says, “There’s been a lot of attention paid to talk radio lately, about whether companies and stations are losing the commitment to local shows where a bond can build over the years with listeners. I love seeing the evidence that there is a company and a station looking to grow, rather than shrink that concept, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Sid Rosenberg to Return to the Air in South Florida. Mercurial sports talk host Sid Rosenberg appears headed for a new gig at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach (licensed to Royal Palm Beach) according to a recent report in the Miami Herald. Rosenberg most recently hosted the afternoon drive show at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami but exited that position after a well-publicized DUI arrest. WMEN general manager Steve Lapa tells the Herald he expects WQAM to let Rosenberg out of his contract that runs through August – in exchange for financial concessions – and allow him to start with the station sooner rather than later but that WMEN would be willing to wait if necessary. Lapa says Rosenberg is “a talented guy and he wants to work” and after meeting with him has no reservations about Rosenberg’s past issues with drink, drugs and gambling. Where Rosenberg would fit into the schedule has not been announced. The station is currently live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm with Chris Perkins in AM drive, Troy Stradford in late mornings, Andy Slater in middays and Orlando Alzugaray in PM drive.
KFI, Los Angeles Engineer Tony Dinkel Exits as Position Eliminated. He was just a day shy of his 29th anniversary at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles when he was notified his position as transmitter site broadcast engineer was being eliminated, but Tony Dinkel has nothing but fond memories of his time with the station. The 57-year-old engineer tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’ll always remember all the great people he worked with at the station. Dinkel also served as the remote engineer and station staffers praised Dinkel’s ability to get remote broadcasts off without a hitch. Read more about Dinkel’s time with KFI in Lycan’s column here.
Cumulus Media’s Atlanta All-Newser Debuts Today. All News 106.7 – the new news outlet Cumulus Media is putting on the air in Altanta – debuts today with a special radio documentary about the news business in Atlanta. The program will repeat for most of the day and the actual all-news format should be live and running after that. Cumulus made the decision to remove classic hits from WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia more than a month ago and the station will be the first all-news outlet to serve Atlanta since WCNN back in the late 1990s.
Cox Media Drops Sports/Talk Hybrid “Bulldog 103.7”; Debuts Variety Hits Format. The FM sports and news/talk station that was home to talk-host-turned-Congressional-candidate Martha Zoller – WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia (licensed to Maysville) – becomes a variety hits music station dubbed “Chuck FM.” The station morphed into “Bulldog 103.7” last fall featuring a combination of sports talk and news/talk. Gainesville-based talk host Martha Zoller held down the late morning show until her recent exit from the business to run for the open seat in the newly created Georgia congressional district.
WTOP, Washington Names “Commuter Idle” Contest Winner. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington held a contest to find – and reward – the person in the DC area with the worst commute. And the winner – with a 100 mile, five-hour daily commute to and from work – is Brenda Wells from Sparrow’s Point, Maryland. WTOP states Wells’ commute “begins at 3:00 am and her commute includes a 45-minute drive (complete with two tolls), a 50-minute train ride, two metro rides, a short walk and a metro bus ride. Wells is a federal worker with the Department of State in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where she assigns special agents to the consulates and embassies around the world. She is a single mother of three and lives with her parents in Baltimore for financial and child care reasons.” Wells wins $1,000 in gas money and a future limo ride to and from work courtesy of Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “As the DC area’s #1 traffic authority, we feel our commuters’ pain. We received hundreds of incredible stories from listeners who cope with crazy commutes just to make ends meet, and crowning a ‘winner’ was a challenge. Brenda’s multi-faceted commute, the long distance, and the impact on her family are what put her over the top.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Legendary Southern California media personality Charlie Tuna – currently spinning classic hits at K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles – is named the new station voice of KDOC-TV, Los Angeles…..Sports USA announces the first part of the slate of National Football League games it will be offering to stations for the 2012 season beginning with the New England Patriots at the Tennessee Titans on September 9. Sports USA says it will announce more NFL play-by-play approximately three weeks ahead of each week’s games…..The Nick Carioti real estate, money and business weekly radio talk show prepares to celebrate its one-year anniversary on Star Over Orlando’s WEUS, Orlando in July…..Performance Racing Network’s Wendy Venturini made history this weekend as the first woman to lead a NASCAR radio broadcast at the Charlotte Speedway’s History 300 on 5/26. PRN paired her with Doug Rice in the radio booth for Saturday’s race.
Current TV Fires Back at Keith Olbermann. Fledgling network Current TV is countersuing former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann in the wake of his messy departure from the operation. Entertainment Weekly reports the Al Gore-founded network is calling Olbermann’s $70 million suit against the network “frivolous” and “riddled with falsehoods and distortions.” “Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all.” The complaint also refers to Olbermann’s April 3 appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” during which he stated the situation was “my fault” and admitted “I screwed up.” Current TV filed its complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Rumor Confirmed: Limbaugh to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia; Michael Smerconish to Air Live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Yesterday (4/9) TALKERS reported the rumor that Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh would leave longtime affiliate WPHT and be replaced by WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. CBS Radio is confirming that switch will take place with Premiere Networks saying Limbaugh will appear elsewhere in the market, though neither source is giving specifics on when the changes will take place. Absent another major signal talk outlet in Philly, speculation is that Merlin Media will take new acquisition WKDN-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) news/talk in the near future and put Limbaugh on the station. Meanwhile, Michael Smerconish returns to a live broadcast (he’s currently being delayed to PM drive) on WPHT, the station where he hosted a very successful AM drive program for many years.
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Clears Air with Listeners About Absence. Chicago sports talk host Dan McNeil told his listeners his absence from CBS Radio’s WSCR for the past six weeks was due to what he could best describe as a nervous breakdown that resulted from his ceasing to take the mood stabilizer Lamictal. McNeil says after he stopped taking the drug he became depressed and sought treatment for depression and substance abuse. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports McNeil was open and honest with his listeners saying, “I know with you listeners I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust, as I’m doing with the most important people in my family. And I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a chance to re-earn that trust.” McNeil co-hosts the midday show at WSCR alongside Matt Spiegel.
Sid Rosenberg to Be Off WQAM, Miami This Week. After an arrest on Thursday of last week on DUI and driving with a suspended license charges, WQAM, Miami talk host Sid Rosenberg was on the air last Friday. But he was not hosting his show yesterday and the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating he’ll be off the air all week. It’s unclear what Rosenberg’s status with the station is – whether he’s been suspended or is out for medical reasons – but he is not expected to return to the station this week.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Expands into the Hawkeye State. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it has struck a deal with Iowa Network Services to bring its six audio HD channels to cable subscribers in the state. CRN chief executive officer and founder Michael Horn states, “We are pleased to join with Iowa Network Services and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining talk radio programming.” Iowa Network Services is based in Des Moines and serves 57 independent telecommunications firms providing internet, data, telephone and cable television service throughout Iowa. INS video content manager Sarah Roeder says, “INS is excited to bring CRN Digital Talk Radio to Iowa. The diverse programming will add value to our existing content.” CRN Digital Talk Radio states it offers more than 100 original shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Lou Dobbs, Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Cindy Laverty, Laura Ingraham, Mancow, Michael Savage and Doug Stephan among others. “Iowa Network Services subscribers will also enjoy the popular Robert Conrad show, featuring the TV legend, as well as the Larry Manetti show, starring the former ‘Magnum P.I.’ star.”
KNST, Tucson Hosts Arizona Congressional Race Debate. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KNST, Tucson is hosting a debate among the four Republican candidates vying for the Congressional seat vacated by former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords earlier this year. KNST morning host Garret Lewis will moderate the debate along with National Republican Committee member Bruce Ash. Candidates Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton will face off in the April 17 primary to determine who will battle Democrat Ron Barber and Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis in the June 12 special election. The debate will take place Thursday evening at the Quail Creek Country Club and will be broadcast live on KNST and 97.1 FM.
Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington Wins “Headliner Award” for Website. Hubbard Broadcasting’s Federal News Radio announces it has been honored with a 2012 National Headliner award for a second place win in the category of Radio-Affiliated Website. Federal News Radio web manager Julia Ziegler states, “What makes FederalNewsRadio.com so successful is the fact that everyone on our staff contributes to the web product – from our reporters and web staff, to our producers and anchors. Our most innovative web projects always come from staff members bringing their individual skills, knowledge and ideas together.” WFED, Washington program director Lisa Wolfe says, “We offer a lot of interactivity with our surveys, multi-media features, radio interviews on demand, photo slide-shows and videos. We have improved the graphic experience with some excellent data visualization. The goal is to push our capabilities to be in the vanguard of digital journalism.”
KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Hospitalized for Heart Surgery. Jon Justice hosts the morning drive show at Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson. He suffered a heart attack in 2009 and explains via the station’s video blog (pictured here) from the ICU that doctors will operate on him to fix a prior valve replacement that needs repair. Justice says doctors expect him to recover quickly and he hopes to be home from the hospital by the weekend.
Jerry Doyle Live on the Strip. That’s Talk Radio Network star Jerry Doyle broadcasting live from the Suncoast Hotel and Casino on April 6. Doyle and flagship station KDWN, Las Vegas co-produced the appearance which will become a monthly live broadcast at which Doyle’s fans can take part in what he calls “radio magic.” After Doyle’s three-hour broadcast, he took questions from fans and talked about “the things they won’t let me talk about on the radio.”
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Tepid Jobs Report/Stock Market Activity, Status of Obama Care, Syrian Violence and Mike Wallace Passes Away Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the falling Dow on the heels of a weak jobs report; the Supreme Court’s Obama Care hearing and analysis of the law’s impact on the nation’s deficit; an increase in Syrian violence; and the death of journalist Mike Wallace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame. That’s Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Bob & Tom show at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Opening Day leading the fans in the traditional 7th inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Bob & Tom produced a live remote broadcast from the Whiskey Bar in downtown Cincinnati on Opening Day. Members of the Bob & Tom crew, including Tom Griswold and Kristi Lee, participated in the Opening Day parade in Cincinnati. Griswold and Lee rode in affiliate Fox 92.5’s car in the parade.
Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee Debuts Today. The number of affiliates set to air the Mike Huckabee show is pegged at somewhere between 175 and 200. The eager anticipation of Huckabee’s debut would not be so intense were it not for the facts that the show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – the same time period as Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh – and that the latter is recovering from the backlash and intense consumer media scrutiny that followed the Sandra Fluke controversy. Regardless, the industry will certainly be watching how Huckabee’s Cumulus Media Networks program takes off but the consumer media appears to be salivating at the notion that Limbaugh has “competition.” The fact, of course, is that every radio show has competition of one sort or another and Limbaugh has faced high-profile talent in his daypart in the past – most notably from Fox News Channel superstar Bill O’Reilly for a number of years. Mike Huckabee will succeed if he hosts a compelling program that grabs listeners. Broadcasters understand that will happen or not independent of what other talk show hosts are doing or whether they are facing a “crisis.” As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told Politico in a piece published over the weekend, “This isn’t an election, it’s an industry. There’s room for both, just like there’s room for Letterman and Leno. Yes, every competitor hurts Limbaugh. But Huckabee is basically just another competitor. If he takes a little away from Limbaugh, fine. But he also has the potential to expand the talk radio audience.”
Rumors of Major Syndication Changes in Philadelphia and New York; Smerconish to Bump Limbaugh from WPHT. And possibly more than that…but first things first. A very hot rumor out of Philadelphia has WYD Media-produced Michael Smerconish’s nationally syndicated program airing live 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT– where Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh does right now. Smerconish is currently delayed to PM drive on WPHT. Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor wrote about the other part of this rumor in his morning blast on 4/6: Merlin Media may be planning to go talk and not all-news on WKDN-FM, Philadelphia – its new property which is still airing Christian programming from prior owner Family Stations. With former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host (and Philly native) Al Gardner hired to program and possibly host mornings at WKDN-FM and Rush Limbaugh possibly soon-to-be-available (plus Premiere’s Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck available, as Tom Taylor points out), a move to talk would be much less personnel intensive and would enjoy the ability to grab three of the biggest news/talk personalities in the business. But there’s more…other chatter coming out of New York is that Merlin Media has been talking to Premiere Networks about bringing Rush Limbaugh to its all-newser FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM) if Cumulus Media decides to put new national syndication rollout Mike Huckabee on WABC in Limbaugh’s place. Then one would have to ask the question, “Would Merlin do the same with WWWN-FM, Chicago if Cumulus bumped Limbaugh in exchange for Huckabee on its news/talker WLS?” Stay tuned.
KFAQ, Tulsa Talk Host Pat Campbell Responds to Deadly Shootings. KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive talk host Pat Campbell tells TALKERS his program responded very quickly to a series of shootings in the city in which five citizens – all African American – were shot and three died. Campbell says he hosted a special Saturday noontime edition of his program to address the crimes and seek the public’s assistance in capturing suspects. He tells TALKERS, “I had the mayor in the studio urging calm but more importantly, cooperation with the police. We urged listeners that might have any information to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline and the good news is that a tip came in around 4:00 pm that led to the arrest of the suspects early Sunday morning. This is an example of talk radio at its best! Rather than becoming a wedge like we’ve seen in the Trayvon Martin case, 1170 KFAQ brought the community together and got the bad guys off the street.”
WQAM, Miami Standing By Sports Talk Host Sid Rosenberg After DUI Arrest Last Week. WQAM, Miami afternoon sports talk host Sid Rosenberg was back on the air on Friday after spending most of Thursday in jail following an early morning arrest on DUI and driving on a suspended license charges. Rosenberg, who has spoken publicly about past substance abuse issues and has talked of having twice been to rehab, is being supported by his superiors at the Beasley sports talk outlet. The Miami Herald reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating, for now, Rosenberg is not being suspended. WQAM general manager Joe Bell declined to comment to the paper.
Matt Lauer to Remain with NBC’s “Today.” The months of speculation about the future of television talk host Matt Lauer have come to an end as NBC announced Lauer has signed a multi-year contract to remain with the network’s morning news magazine program. The buzz in the industry included rumors Lauer would rejoin Katie Couric at rival ABC. Though Couric is set to begin a new chapter in her career at ABC with her own daytime talk show, ABC’s “Good Morning America” has been closing the ratings gap between it and “Today.” On Lauer’s signing, NBC News president Steve Capus tells The New York Times, “Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team.” The Times story notes that “Today” has been in first place in the morning news show ratings for the past 16 years.
Fox News Channel Brings Santita Jackson Aboard as Contributor. The daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson left Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago due to budget cuts last fall. Now, Santita Jackson is named a contributor for Fox News Channel. Santita Jackson is also producer of Jesse Jackson’s weekly Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show “Keep Hope Alive.”
Raubin Pierce Leaves On-Air Position with WIBW, Topeka for Management Post at Manhattan Broadcasting. Raubin Pierce co-hosted the “On the Other Hand” talk show with co-host Megan Mosack at Morris Communications’ WIBW, Topeka and served as the company’s director of information technology. He’s left those duties to become operations director and head of new media at Manhattan Broadcasting in Manhattan, Kansas. The company operates four stations in the Manhattan market including news/talk KMAN. Pierce tells the Topeka Capital-Journal, “This was just a fantastic opportunity. There was just no way that I couldn’t do this.”
Longtime South Florida Broadcaster Patricia Anderson Dies from Cancer at 54. Trish Anderson was well known on South Florida radio. During her career she worked as a producer, voice-over talent, sports reporter and traffic reporter at stations including WINZ and WIOD, Miami. Anderson battled breast and bone cancer. She passed away on March 31.
Johnny B at Wrigley Field. That’s WGN, Chicago morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier (center with sunglasses) surrounded by the Chicago band The Fold at the Captain Morgan club at Wrigley Field on Opening Day. The Fold won the station’s contest to write an original song celebrating the Chicago Cubs. The winning song – “Let’s Go Cubbies” – is being played at the beginning of each Cubs game broadcast on WGN this season. The band was with Brandmeier on Opening Day to perform the song live at WGN’s pre-game broadcast and live remote.
Stephanie Miller Riding High on Radio, Live Show and Comedy Record Success. WYD Media Management and Dial Global syndicated progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller rolls into 2012 surfing the wave of success she began in 2011 using her popular radio show – and social media – to help promote her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” and the recently released comedy album of the same name that’s topping the charts. With the help of comedian pals John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks – both of whom make weekly appearances on Miller’s Los Angeles-based radio show – the “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been selling out shows across the country and grossed more than $1.4 million over the last 12 months. Miller is astounded by the success of the tour and the album. “Last spring when we performed in Madison, Wisconsin to support the recall efforts of Governor Scott Walker we had no expectations that the show would be as well received as it was, let alone set upon a nationwide tour raising money for locally focused progressive causes,” Miller says. The resulting comedy album, released digitally, has been hugely successful. Miller tells TALKERS, “The ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ has become the first political comedy album to reach # 1 on the comedy charts for iTunes, Amazon and Billboard, and has remained on the Billboard Comedy Album charts for six weeks since its release in late-December, 2011. The idea of progressive comedy making such a connection to people across America must be causing some serious Republican angina…at least I hope so!” Miller, Fugelsang and Sparks continue to hit the road with the live show stopping at the Orpheum Theatre on Phoenix on February 25 and the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on March 3.
WQAM, Miami’s Sid Rosenberg Back in the News with Alleged Gambling Debt. The Miami Herald is reporting that WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Sid Rosenberg has a gambling debt of more than $44,000 he owes to an offshore gambling operation called www.1betvegas.com. Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet quotes a man named Frank Soviero who says he works for the gambling site – based in Costa Rica – and says he’s been in Miami for two months now trying to collect the debt. Soviero tells Lambiet, “We can’t sue Sid since what we do is illegal in the United States. I’ve tried everything. He comes up with 100 bucks here and there, and he gives me a big hug. It ticks me off because I talked my boss into giving Sid a few chances. And I’ve seen [my boss] do things when he gets mad.” Neither Rosenberg nor WQAM have commented to the paper. Rosenberg was off the air for six weeks prior to the holidays and there was speculation then that he was being punished by the station for trying to repay a gambling debt via plugola – something Rosenberg vehemently denied to TALKERS. Station management also did not confirm the story to local media but only said that Rosenberg was off and would return on January 2, which he did. When asked by TALKERS to specifically clarify why he was off the air during that time, Rosenberg did not reply. Read the Miami Herald story here.
WLW, Cincinnati’s Bill Cunningham Gets Big Network Pickup for TV Show. Tribune Company launched “The Bill Cunningham Show” last September on a number of its O&O TV stations. Now, Tribune announces the show is being picked up by the CW Network and will air in the 3:00 pm ET slot beginning in September. Tribune Broadcasting president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton – one of the few remaining former Clear Channel execs brought to Tribune by Randy Michaels – tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, “Since the launch of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ six months ago, the show has exceeded expectations and found a strong voice in the daytime talk landscape…The renewal and expansion of the show to a national platform are a testament to Bill’s staying power.” Kiesewetter reports that Cunnigham’s TV show is more popular in New York, Chicago, Miami and Dallas than it is in his hometown of Cincinnati. While taping the show, Cunningham does his WLW program from studios in Manhattan.
Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside Exit WOW-FM, Des Moines After Five Weeks. The duo moved over to the news/talk sister station from Cumulus Media Group’s classic rock KGGO-FM in January after 13 years as a duo in morning drive there. But after just five weeks hosting the AM drive show on 98.3 WOW (KWQW-FM), Sipolt and Burnside surprised their listeners with an 8:40 am announcement on Friday, February 10 that they were leaving local radio to pursue other interests. Sipolt does a motorsports talk show on Fox Sports Channel. Burnside isn’t saying what she’ll do next.
Fox Business Network Drops Three Prime Time Shows; Will Replay Early Evening Programs. The four- and a half-year-old Fox Business Network cancels the three prime time shows airing between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET – “Freedom Watch,” hosted by Andrew Napolitano; “Power & Money” with host David Asman; and “Follow the Money” with Eric Bolling – and will re-air its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm programming. The move puts what Fox execs consider their top personalities on in prime time: “The Willis Report” with Gerri Willis; “Cavuto” with Neil Cavuto; and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” hosted by Lou Dobbs. David Asman co-hosts the 4:00 pm “After the Bell” program and will continue in that role while Eric Bolling remains in his role on Fox News Channel co-hosting “The Five.” Fox executive vice president Kevin Magee states, “Neil Cavuto, Lou Dobbs and Gerri Willis are the most trusted names in business news, and this new lineup affords Fox Business viewers additional access to their no-nonsense take on the day’s financial events.”
Talk Show Hosts Wow 275 at American Jewish University Panel. Approximately 275 avid talk radio fans showed up for a two-hour panel discussion held Sunday (2/12) afternoon at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California. Moderated by veteran Los Angeles broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel featured Bill Handel and Bill Carroll of KFI, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Broadcasting; and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The fast-paced discussion blended a spectrum of hot topics in the news – everything from health care to Israel/Iran tensions to social media to Whitney Houston – plus behind-the-scenes radio shop talk and ended with a spirited question and answer session with the audience. This was the fifth annual installment of this panel, one of AJU’s most popular events in its outstanding speakers series.
Salem Radio Network and Radio America Reach News Service Deal. A pact between Dallas-based Salem Radio Network and Washington-based Radio America is being struck that will make SRN News the exclusive top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service distributed by Radio America. This move adds some 400 Radio America affiliates as potential carriers of SRN’s news product. SRN president Greg Anderson states, “The potential of adding up to 400 Radio America affiliates to our roster of almost 1,300 current SRN News affiliates is very exciting for us. We look forward to a great partnership with Radio America and their affiliates in the days ahead.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso comments, “SRN News is a great fit in our lineup of talk programs and will serve our 400-plus stations well in this election year. We’re excited to be partnering with SRN on this venture.”
Blue Star Media Promotes Jon Patch to VP of Affiliate Sales. Jon Patch has been with Blue Star Media Group’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network for the past 15 years serving in numerous capacities, most recently working in affiliate sales and hosting the 21 year-old talk radio show “Talkin’ Pets.” Now, Blue Star ups Patch to vice president of affiliate sales for the organization. Patch says, “I believe in working with our stations as partners and offering the best service possible since, by keeping them happy, it in turn keeps the hosts, listeners and all others involved satisfied and happy as well.”
Bonneville’s Arizona Sports Enters into Marketing Agreement with University of Phoenix. Bonneville International’s Phoenix-based sports media initiative – Arizona Sports – agrees to a broadening of its relationship with University of Phoenix that includes the naming rights to the Arizona Sports studios. Bonneville describes Arizona Sports as “a first-of-its-kind sports marketing and media super brand encompassing all of Bonneville Phoenix sports media properties including: Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM, Arizona Sports.com, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, Arizona Cardinals football, Phoenix Suns basketball, Arizona State football and men’s basketball, ESPN radio, AIA and the Fiesta Bowl.” Bonneville Phoenix VP of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Bill Pepicello (University of Phoenix president) and his entire team have been a great partner of ours for many years. We’re excited that – from “Mike and Mike in the Morning” to “Doug and Wolf” on the drive home – all of our shows will now be broadcast from the University of Phoenix Studios.”
CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Continues “On Your Corner” Series in Culver City. The CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news outlet will broadcast live from the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Friday, March 9 as part of its series that provides an “in-depth look at Southern California’s diverse communities.” The day’s broadcasts will include civic and business leaders, along with colorful personalities connected to Culver City’s rich history and revitalization who will be featured guests as the city marks its 95th anniversary. Additionally, a business mixer open to the public beginning at 5:00 pm will culminate the day’s events. A special luncheon for invited business leaders will be hosted by Frank Mottek prior to his KNX Business Hour broadcast.
KMOX, St. Louis Holds Spring Training Correspondent Contest. In conjunction with sponsor Lindenwood University, CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis is conducting a contest to give one lucky winner a spring training correspondent position alongside sports director Tom Ackerman in Jupiter, Florida. The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip and will perform on-air and online Spring Training reports. The station has been holding open auditions for the past month. Nearly 200 people auditioned and 10 finalists have been announced. Listeners to KMOX can vote on their favorite through February 21.
WQAM, Miami Host Sid Rosenberg Serving Unpaid Suspension. Sid Rosenberg’s been off the air at WQAM, Miami for several weeks now with a lot of speculation as to why. Now, according to Jose Lambiet’s Gossip Extra, the Beasley Broadcasting sports talk host is serving a six-week unpaid suspension for a plugola deal to pay off a gambling debt. Lambiet cites a source connected to the station reporting that Rosenberg had a debt of about $100,000 to a sports betting organization and he was going to pay off the debt by plugging the operation on his program. The details of the arrangement were spelled out in a fax to Rosenberg at the WQAM offices that the source says Rosenberg accidently left on the fax machine. It was discovered “before he did any damage,” according to the source. Rosenberg is scheduled to return to the air on January 2.
Phil Tower Returns to Program Director Post at WOOD-AM/FM and WTKG, Grand Rapids. Clear Channel has been looking for a new program director for its Grand Rapids, Michigan news/talk duo of WOOD-AM/FM and WTKG since Paul Cashin left in August. Now a familiar face returns to the building as Phil Tower takes over the PD post he held for so many years. Tower was most recently general manager of publications/multimedia at Stafford Media Solutions. Prior to that he was general manager of the nationally syndicated Allen Hunt show.
WBAL, Baltimore Talk Host Ron Smith Dies at 70. It’s only been two months since WBAL talk host Ron Smith announced he’d been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. He passed away on December 19 at his home in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania after several weeks in hospice care. Smith spent more than 25 years at WBAL and was an institution in the market as a talk radio host and, in later years, as a columnist with the Baltimore Sun as well.
Rumor: WMAL, Washington Talk Host Chris Plante to Be Syndicated. DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes reports rumors of a plan by Cumulus Media to syndicate Chris Plante’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk show to other stations on some sort of limited basis. It could be that Cumulus is taking a page from Clear Channel’s playbook and is planning to distribute programming to smaller regional markets emanating from large markets like DC. Hughes also reports talk of more job cuts coming to the Cumulus cluster in Washington.
Dave Ramsey to Buy Nashville Office Building. The Tennesseean is reporting that nationally syndicated talk host Dave Ramsey – through a company called Andy’s Union, LLC – is buying a four-story office building in downtown Nashville for $1.6 million. The building is known locally as the Jackson law office since it sits on the site of what is believed to have been the law office of Andrew Jackson. The current building was built in 1996. Ramsey’s plans for the building are unknown.
“The Costa Report” Clears Seattle on Fisher’s KVI, Seattle. When KVI returns to a talk format in January, it’ll air the weekly “Costa Report” program being distributed by Broadcast Affiliate Sales. The program is described as “a weekly news talk program which features a one-hour interview with a world leader or expert, followed by a second hour of call-ins from listeners.” It’s hosted by Rebecca Costa who states, “Americans are sick and tired of the rage-a-holics who have hijacked talk radio, hosts who, day after day, spew hateful, divisive rhetoric which has torn the country apart. ‘The Costa Report’ is the voice of the ‘rational center of America’ – citizens who don’t care if a solution comes from the left or the right as long as it really works.” Costa is a sociobiologist and author of The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction (Vanguard Press 2010).
Wrappin’ With Jack! This mass of people you see here are gathered at Northside Ford in San Antonio for the 13th annual Wrappin’ With Jack event in which listeners gather to wrap donated gift items for children and adults through the Family Services Association of San Antonio. KTSA’s Jack Riccardi proudly notes that some 600 people showed up to volunteer their services. “We set new records for participants, gifts donated, and for the first time in our 13 years, we managed to ‘adopt’ 100% of the families FSA was hoping to serve. I think our growth is largely due to the unique call-to-action: You don’t have to donate money or a toy to participate (although many people do) – all we ask is that you show up and help us wrap, while enjoying live Christmas music performed by local musicians and treats served by local restaurants. Although the radio station gets behind ‘WWJ’ logistically, it’s mainly a talk show host appealing to his listeners for help in a worthy cause, and people responding to the intimacy and immediacy of that.” The event took place on December 13 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Steve Gill Launches “Generous Hearts” Charitable Program. Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill recently created the Generous Hearts charitable organization in conjunction with local charities Nashville Wraps and A Generous Heart. Since November, it has raised $20,000 in cash for the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, 750 turkeys delivered to the Nashville Rescue Mission and has offered aid to six homeless Sumner County families to bring Christmas to life this season. Gill says Generous Hearts is aligning with a regional food bank’s mobile pantry to help feed Middle Tennessee’s hungry families. Gill states, “The ‘Generous Hearts’ project initiative, throughout 2012, is to raise funds as well as provide increased visibility to people and organizations in need. As an active community member, ‘friend-raising’ is as vital as fundraising.”
NRG Media’s KKAR, Omaha Raises Funds for Child Saving Institute. On Friday, December 16, news/talk KKAR, Omaha held a radiothon to raise funds for the Child Saving Institute that provides a safe haven and healing for thousands of innocent young victims of family crisis, neglect and abuse. Program director Neil Nelkin says the event raised $60,000 for the institute. “The listeners of KKAR delivered again this year. Despite the economy, the listeners opened their hearts and their wallets to make a difference for a wonderful cause that will brighten the holidays of hundreds of children in need throughout Omaha.”