Presidential Election Tops List of Most-Discussed Stories on News/Talk Radio in 2012. Obama is Most Talked-About Person. According to TALKERS magazine’s tabulations, the Presidential Election ranks as the most-talked-about story of 2012 on the nation’s news/talk radio stations and programs. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It isn’t even close. The election stood out far and away as a topic in its own right, as well as a catalyst for so many of the other subjects that comprise the meat and potatoes of news/talk conversation ranging from economics to foreign policy to personality gossip. It is difficult to track and calculate a list of this nature because stories and subjects overlap and play into and off of each other. The presidential race is both an ongoing process and then a climactic event that brings so many different issues into play; it permeates the very fiber of what this format is all about.” Casey adds, “Interestingly, there is so much overlap and interplay between stories that even with the effort to sort them out individually certain stories are so connected that we list them as ties in the Top 10 – such as the connection between the so called Fiscal Cliff and Euro Zone Troubles, or the Benghazi Attack and the Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal.”
The following are the 10 most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio in 2012:
1) 2012 Presidential Election
2) ‘Fiscal Cliff’/Euro Zone Troubles
3) SCOTUS ObamaCare Decision
4) Benghazi Attack/Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal
5) Newtown Massacre/Aurora Theater Slayings
6) Syria Revolt/Egypt Instability
7) Rush Limbaugh “Slut” Controversy
8) Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Ambitions
9) Trayvon Martin Case
10) Hurricane Sandy
Other major news/talk radio topics worthy of mention include the Wisconsin Recall Election, the “Fast and Furious” Investigation, the Sandusky Trial and the Facebook IPO.
President Barack Obama tops the TALKERS list of the most-talked-about people on news/talk radio in 2012 which according to Kevin Casey is no surprise: “The President of the United States has topped this survey in all of the 22 years that TALKERS magazine has been conducting it – election year or not. This includes George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.” It is interesting to note that Rush Limbaugh is on this year’s list – not the first time it has happened – indicating what a huge newsmaker the format’s most-listened-to-player is in addition to being someone who talks about key figures. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The colorful people who perform on this great stage love to talk about the medium itself. Limbaugh, of course, is constantly in the news and has long been an ongoing topic as well as talker. Others who fit this bill over many years include Howard Stern, Michael Savage, Don Imus and Dr. Laura Schlessinger to name the standouts. They sure do bring a lot to the table.”
The following are the 10 most-talked-about people on news/talk radio in 2012. Note, in cases in which two people are intrinsically connected in terms of the story in which they were co-players, they are listed as tied for their position:
1) Barack Obama
2) Mitt Romney
3) John Boehner
4) Hillary Clinton
5) John Roberts
6) David Petraeus/Paula Broadwell
7) Christopher Stevens/Susan Rice
8) Adam Lanza/James Holmes
9) Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman
10) Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke
TRN Entertainment Debuts the Andrea Tantaros Show in January. National talk programming syndicator Talk Radio Network Entertainment announces it is bringing political commentator, syndicated columnist and Fox News Channel personality Andrea Tantaros to the radio for a three-hour program to air live in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET slot formerly held by Laura Ingraham. Tantaros is a co-host of the popular FNC program, “The Five.” TRNE describes the program saying it “will engage listeners who want to be informed and entertained with smart, edgy, and funny but responsible commentary on politics, pop culture, Wall Street and entertainment. The show is designed to attract the broadcast spectrum of listeners profitably for its station affiliates.” Tantaros will be joined by Jason Mattera, a two-time New York Times best-selling author, the youngest editor of a national periodical, Human Events, and the host of “The Jason Mattera Show” on weekends at WABC in New York. TRNE CEO Mark Masters says, “In a post 2008–2009 economy, we have been seeking shows that are highly entertaining, yet responsible and profitable for our station affiliates and advertisers. Andrea has the ability to do both. She’s a fresh voice who will inject new energy to the airwaves.” Tantaros says she’s delighted to partner with TRN on this project. “They’re the best in the business at making sure affiliates and audiences get hard-hitting and informative commentary that keeps them coming back for more. I promise you this: it’s going to be fun.”
Launchpad Digital Media and Dial Global Partner for Podcast Programming. This deal gives Dial Global an avenue for podcasting from its talent pool — Dennis Miller, “Loveline,” Billy Bush, Charles Osgood, country programming, DG Sports and NBC Sports Radio – via the Courtside Entertainment digital division Launchpad Digital Media. Dial Global co-CEO Spencer Brown states, “Defining great media means delivering the highest quality content to the largest audience. This new partnership with Launchpad Digital Media significantly augments Dial Global’s capability to do both by opening new creative avenues for top talent and new doors for advertisers to access the widening on-demand podcast audience.” Courtside Entertainment founder and Launchpad chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Since we announced our move into podcasting the response has been off the charts. The partnership between Kit Gray and Courtside establishes Launchpad with a proven track record of revenue generating success. We have now added new programming which is currently delivering over 90 million downloads per month, including our deal with Dial Global. We are excited to partner with Dial Global to bring some of the most well-known and trusted brands in sports, news and entertainment to the growing roster of Launchpad podcast offerings.”
November Was Very Good to All-News Radio. Arbitron’s November PPM data was, in general, very good to the nation’s all-news outlets. Recently, TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian detailed his analysis of news/talk’s November PPM data, concluding it was generally a very good month for that format. Here, Kinosian runs the numbers for major all-news outlets and gives four-month trends for those stations. See his analysis of the nation’s all-news stations here.
KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names John Broeske and Jennifer Lipp Midday Partners. Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno announces a new local talk program that will air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on both KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM, beginning January 2. The John and Jen show will feature current KMJ-FM morning drive host Jennifer Lipp (who will continue to host the 6:00 am to 8:00 am program) and longtime Fresno market radio pro John Broeske. A release from KMJ says Broeske has been a talk host, programmer, manager and consultant. He led the station from 1987 to 2007, “directing it to the leadership position that continues to this day.” KMJ and Peak Broadcasting SVP Patty Hixson says, “There is simply no better choice for this important time slot than the merger of two of the biggest names in Central California radio…they will bring their extensive experience and name recognition to a broad-based, advertiser-friendly show that will be a big success on KMJ for years to come.” Operations manager Skip Essick adds, “The John and Jen show will be a fast-paced, topical, entertaining view of life in Central California as lived by two people who know the area very well. From politics to pop culture, local or national, if it matters to the Central Valley, it will be covered by John and Jen on KMJ every day.”
WCKG, Chicago Adds Geoff Pinkus for Middays. Suburban talk outlet WCKG, Elmhurst, Illinois announces local personality Geoff Pinkus will host the midday show on “The Voice of DuPage County” beginning January 7. In a press release, Pinkus states, “For years I was told I’d get a daily show ‘when hell freezes over!’ The Twinkie is gone. The Mayan calendar is ending…and now WCKG finally decides to hire me? Coincidence? Maybe. All I know is I’ve got some storable food, water stockpiles, good cigars, and a microphone ready. Starting January 7, 11:00 am, we’re rockin’ the suburbs. We’re going to have fun on the radio again with real people.” WCKG airs “Mancow in the Morning,” and Dan Patrick among other syndicated programs.
CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” Tabs Adam Jones for Evening Show. With the departure of Damon Amendolara to CBS Radio Sports Network to host his “D.A. Show” in the overnight slot on the network, CBS Boston woos Adam Jones away from ESPN to take over the 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm program on “98.5 The Sports Hub.” Jones had been working for ESPN Radio handling a fill-in role and hosting the online Adam Jones show. Before that he had been working with WBZ-FM as a fill-in host and co-hosting a weekend show with Boston sports writer Dan Shaughnessy. CBS Radio Boston vice president of programming Mike Thomas says, “It’ll be great to have Adam back at ‘The Sports Hub.’ We had a lot of very good candidates apply for this job, but with his previous work here and the experience he gained after leaving ‘The Sports Hub,’ Adam was the clear choice. Damon did a fantastic job coming into this market and hosting the evening show. I’m confident Adam can pick up where D.A. left off and continue to grow the audience.”
Non-Subscriber Station Exec Speaks His Mind on Arbitron/Nielsen Merger. Fred Lundgren, CEO of talker KCAA, Yoma Linda, California, hopes that Nielsen will change what he describes as the “exclusionary methodology” of Arbitron. In an opinion piece posted today (12/20) in TALKERS, Lundgren writes, “Moreover, let’s hope Nielsen’s acquisition will lead to comprehensive listener surveys across all platforms, which will add value to our industry, rather than further draining resources from traditional media already stagnated by the economy and over-consolidation.” In a biting commentary, Lundgren asks, “According to Arbitron, nobody listens to KCAA. Are we to believe that KCAA has no listeners to any of 50-plus locally produced, weekly programs on subjects ranging from a vegan lifestyle to marijuana legalization? According to Arbitron, no one listens to any broadcaster on KCAA, not even Roseanne Barr, Joyce Riley, Don Imus, Dave Ramsey, Alex Jones or Ed Schultz. Read Fred Lundgren’s article here.
Premiere Networks’ George Noory Hosts “End of the World” Show Friday. With the ancient Mayan calendar possibly predicting the end of the world on Friday the 21st, “Coast to Coast AM” personality George Noory is hosting a special “End of the World” edition of his program. The show will feature a number of special guests and experts, including author/prophecy expert John Hogue and author/lecturer/aerospace engineer Mike Bara, who will share their predictions, in addition to conversations with listeners. Noory shared his own doomsday prediction in a December 19 Huffington Post story in which he states, “Any calamity that might occur doesn’t affect one, it affects all of us, and we’ll get through it together as a team, one way or another.”
Talk Host J.D. Hayworth Keeps Busy This Holiday Season. Former Arizona Congressman and talk radio pro J.D. Hayworth is all over the radio this holiday season on a series of fill-in gigs. Hayworth tells TALKERS magazine he’s sitting in on the morning show at Clear Channel’s “Rush Radio” in North Carolina – WPTI, Greensboro and WRDU, Raleigh – December 26 – 31. He’ll be in afternoon drive on Cumulus’ KABC, Los Angeles December 24 – 28 (with a break on Christmas Day). Plus, he’ll sit in for Mike Huckabee on his national program December 26 – 28 and January 2 – 4. Additional appearances include guest stints at KSFO, San Francisco; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL, Washington…as well as continuing fill-in work in Philly on WPHT.
TuneIn Adds 18 Broadcasters to the Service. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has signed deals with 18 more broadcasters to distribute their programming via TuneIn’s global digital application. New broadcasters include Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” program, Motley Fool Radio, Progressive Voices and others. The company states, “This news comes at a period of continued growth and momentum for TuneIn, which has 40 million monthly active listeners, 70,000 AM, FM, HD and Internet radio stations and more than two million on-demand programs streaming from every continent. As part of these alliances, TuneIn will provide each broadcaster with access to free, industry-leading tools, such as analytics through TuneIn Amplifier, and access to the audio service’s ad platform.”
Gun Law Changes, Mental Health Care System, ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate, Benghazi-State Department Report, and Mayan ‘Doomsday’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/19). The debate over changes to America’s gun laws; discussion about mental health care and screenings in the U.S.; the debate in Washington over avoiding the “fiscal cliff”; the report on the State Department’s handling of the Libya situation; and the Mayan calendar’s “end of the world” prediction were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
All-News and Talk Radio Stations Keep Public Informed During Hurricane Irene. The hurricane/tropical storm that swept up the East Coast over the weekend pushed radio stations, especially news and talk radio stations, into their familiar and historical roles as providers of timely and emergency information as Irene bore down upon their markets. While radio of all formats can deliver this kind of information, news and talk radio does so without breaking format – they just alter the type of news, information and talk they provide. Their P1s expect to be kept informed during these times and the many news and talk stations up and down the East Coast did an exemplary job of being there for their listeners. (There were simply too many examples of stations serving their listeners this weekend to name them all!) According to TALKERS monitoring of radio during the Irene event, the approach to coverage went through three basic phases: First, tracking and speculating on the direction, timing and tips for preparing for the storm. Second, being in the storm itself when the power goes out and all hell is breaking loose (a crucial phase for radio). Third, the aftermath — the details and politics of recovery. The past 10 months have provided ample opportunity for coverage of natural disasters with a higher-than-usual occurrence of these, from intense snowstorms to floods to tornadoes and recent earthquakes. News and talk radio remains the best link to accurate and timely information when the power goes out. The bigger questions now include: Should emergency preparedness and local, on-the-ground coverage become a more institutional component of the competitive terrestrial radio infrastructure? Also, should talk radio of all genres focus primarily on super-serving its most loyal fans (who are still in the habit of using radio) or break out of that role and aggressively try to bring new listeners to the format (or in the case of those who have left, back to the format)? (Photo courtesy of NOAA.)
WJOX-FM, Birmingham Sports Host Finebuam’s Suit Against Citadel Revealed. Thanks to a judge for unsealing the suits filed by Paul Finebaum against Citadel’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham, we know more about the claims. The Birmingham News reports Finebaum – who has a deal with Citadel to host a show on WJOX-FM that is regionally syndicated – accuses WJOX-FM of breach of contract when Citadel declared bankruptcy in December 2009. Finebaum further alleges he was subsequently forced to agree to contract changes under duress that have caused him “great financial impact.” Finebaum alleges WJOX-FM, GM Bill Thomas threatened to remove his show from its affiliates and Sirius XM if he didn’t agree to a reduction in revenue from the show. Citadel says Finebaum was fully aware it filed for bankruptcy when he signed the contract addendum in January 2010. The company also states any talk of removing the show from affiliates was due to poor financial performance that the company did not want to continue. Finally, Citadel questions why Finebaum is filing the suits now since Citadel exited bankruptcy protection more than a year ago and calls the suits a “pretense by which Mr. Finebaum hopes to avoid fulfilling his obligations under the employment agreement.” Finebaum is under contract to Citadel through January 2013.
Clear Channel Ousts Vassilaros from WPTI-FM, Greensboro; Simulcasts Raleigh AM Show. WRDU-FM, Raleigh’s “Morning Rush” program hosted by KC O’Dea and Carmen Connors is now heard on the company’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro as well. Morning drive host Dimitri Vassilaros – who left his newspaper and part time radio gigs in Pittsburgh in January to take the WPTI-FM job – is out. Vassilaros hosted a weekend show at CBS Radio’s KDKA and wrote a column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review prior to heading south.
Michael Harrison Writing a Book with Mike Kinosian about Talk Radio Set for Publication February 2012. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has announced he is writing a book about talk radio, in collaboration with TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian. Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be published by Talkers Books and will be part history, part memoir and part commentary based upon radio pioneer Harrison’s 21 years as publisher of TALKERS, 45 years as a professional broadcaster, and his lifelong love affair with popular culture and media. The primary focus will be Harrison’s observations of many leading figures of contemporary talk radio set against the backdrop of key events connected to the scene’s colorful history. Material will be drawn from his professional and personal experiences with these extraordinary individuals and supplemented by the extensive database accumulated over the decades in the TALKERS archives. He also delves back into his own roots as a kid listening to New York City Top 40 in the 1950s and 1960s to becoming an FM album rock groundbreaker on both coasts in the 1970s, an innovator in the trades and eventually one of the driving forces behind the modern talk radio era. With more than a quarter century of insight and experience at Radio & Records, Inside Radio and now TALKERS — and as one of the radio trade publication world’s most prolific interviewers — collaborator Mike Kinosian brings his formidable radio background and writing skills to the project. According to Harrison, “Between the two of us we know just about everyone who’s anyone in the talk business from a number of angles. Mike Kinosian has personally interviewed and written biographical profiles of more than 100 spoken-word radio stars in his illustrious career as an industry chronicler. His legendary “Mike Kinosian Interviews” remain the gold standard of radio trade journalism. Having a professional of his stature supporting my efforts in this undertaking is nothing short of inspirational!” Commenting on his joining forces with Harrison on this ambitious endeavor, Kinosian states, “It is a high honor and a rare privilege to serve as this book’s collaborator, not solely since the subject matter is so personally appealing, but also — and much more significantly — because it is with Michael Harrison. No one else in the talk radio industry commands Michael’s immense level of respect and credibility. His behind-the-scenes knowledge of the industry, credentials, accomplishments, detail to recount facts and especially his character are impeccable.” Among those examined beneath their professional personas are Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Glenn Beck, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Savage, Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and many more. Harrison shares never-before-published stories about his personal conversations and dealings with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush regarding their relationships with the media. He finally reveals the back story and truth about his controversial encounter with Al Franken during the future U.S. Senator’s Freedom of Speech Award acceptance at the New Media Seminar. He talks about his longtime friendship with Alan Colmes, going back to the dreams they shared as part-time MOR jocks on a small Long Island AM daytimer 43 years ago. He resurrects the colorful decade (1975-1985) he spent as one of the first FM “youth talkers” hosting a trailblazing talk show on L.A.’s legendary rocker, KMET. Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio by Michael Harrison with Mike Kinosian promises to reveal a side of talk radio never before exposed to the public. Summing it up, Kinosian states, “Unsurpassed quality is the dominant theme the two of us have stressed to each other in writing this book. Based on the early drafts, we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal.” The promotion of Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be supported with a national tour.
Scott Hennen Signs with Genesis Communications Network for National Distribution. Talk radio pro Scott Hennen’s Fargo-based talk show, “Common Sense Club,” (heard in North Dakota on KNOX, Grand Forks from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm) will be distributed for national syndication via the Genesis Communications Network. Hennen tells the Fargo Forum he expects to debut on about a dozen stations.
“The Talk” May Be Adding Two New Hosts for this Season. The CBS daytime TV talk show “The Talk” lost hosts Leah Rimini and Holly Robinson Peete – their contracts were not renewed for the show’s second season. The network is preparing to fill their slots alongside Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen and Sharon Osbourne with radio host and comedian Sheryl Underwood and Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner. Jenner is signed to fill in for Osbourne for the show’s first two weeks of the new season but may stay on as Osbourne’s regular fill in. Underwood will also be part of the first two weeks but is expected to be a regular this season.
Recognition of a Job Well Done. CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recently recognized by Los Angeles City councilman Dennis Zine for its coverage of Carmageddon – the July shutdown of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. Pictured here from left to right are: traffic reporters Jeff Baugh, Tommy Jaxson and Meghan Reyes; Councilman Dennis Zine, news director Julie Chin, and director of programming Andy Ludlum.