More Q2 News from Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey. Yesterday TALKERS reported Cumulus Media’s second quarter revenue figures and the fact that Lew Dickey largely avoided the Rush Limbaugh–Sean Hannity flap by saying he wouldn’t discuss it because they are still in contract negotiations. He addressed other topics TALKERS readers may be interested in: those 10 “code red” stations (big news/talkers bringing down the rest of the company); the health of the CBS Sports Radio Network project for which Cumulus is handling affiliate and ad sales; and the state of network talk programming. First, Dickey told investors the number of “code red” stations is down from 10 to 1 but didn’t specify which station still lags. Second, he states the CBS Sports Radio format is on 300 affiliate stations and is exceeding its revenue plans. “We’re highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver for our company in 2014 and beyond.” And third, addressing the state of the Cumulus Media Networks (which includes syndicated talk – Huckabee, Savage, “Red Eye Radio” – as well as a lot of music programming) Dickey reports it’s been a bit “choppy” but he sees it settling down. “It grew for us in the second quarter and we look for it to be positive in the back half of the year. It’s a pretty fragmented space that ultimately begs for more consolidations… it did turn in a positive performance for us in second quarter.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can see the entire conference call here.
Wall Street Journal Radio Network Executive Director Nancy Abramson to Exit Post. Radio management pro Nancy Abramson tells TALKERS the company is reorganizing its management structure and she is moving on. She says she’ll remain with the company through mid-September to assist with the transition. As for the rest of the staff with which the industry is familiar, Abramson says the affiliate team of Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran will continue to service the affiliates of “The Wall Street Journal Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” “The Dow Jones Money Report” and “MarketWatch.com Reports.” John Wordock and Patrice Sikora will continue to oversee the news product for The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch.com Radio Networks. Abramson says she is excited about new opportunities and looking forward to the next adventure. Abramson has served with WSJRN since 1996.
Greater Media Promotes Jake McCann to Director of Sales for Detroit Stations. Jake McCann moves from Greater Media’s Philadelphia stations where he was general sales manager at sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” and classic rock WMGK. In Detroit he’ll be in charge of sales for rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX and currently-AC-but-rumored-to-soon-be sports talk WMGC. The fact that McCann has experience selling sports talk could be part of the reason McCann is making this move if, as expected, WMGC flips to sports in August. In a statement, Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Jake is the right person to lead our three station sales operation in the Motor City. His passion, dedication and leadership are exactly what we need to take our three outstanding radio properties to the next level.”
Radio One Gives Up on FM Sports in Cincinnati. After seven months, WCFN, Cincinnati “FM 100.3 The Fan” has let go most of its staff, cut ties with CBS Sports Radio Network and flips back to an urban oldies format as “Old School 100.3.” The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports that production manager Rob Williams was the only staffer to survive the change. Tom Gamble, Richard Skinner, Will Chambers, Chad Brendel, Rick Ucchino, Rick Broering, Jeremy Lance, former Reds pitcher Joe Price, and Steve Harris all exited the station on Tuesday morning. Richard Skinner, who hosted “Two Angry Guys” along with Tom Gamble, tells Kiesewetter he’s not angry about the change, “Radio is so cyclical, that you know your time is coming (to get fired). They (Radio One) didn’t seem to have a plan of attack, and they’re pulling the format at a time of the year when all the people are listening for football and baseball.” Clear Channel operates two sports talk stations in the market – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio affiliate and WCKY, which uses ESPN Radio programming – both of which air largely national shows.
Holland Cooke: Radio from the Newspaper. Radio consultant Holland Cooke adds to the discussion about newspapers entering into the digital talk radio streaming business that’s been a major part of industry chatter in the wake of the Boston Herald’s announcement about the creation of Boston Herald Radio coming Monday, August 5. Cooke has experience in this arena and he offers advice to publications considering the move. Among some dos and don’ts: don’t separate the studio from the newsroom (the sound of busy reporters is crucial!); don’t assume good reporters make good talk hosts; do promote you’re emanating from a storied newsroom; and do make content available for download and later playback. Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
‘News 92 FM’ and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ in Houston Agree to Content Sharing Deal. Radio One’s all-news KROI and Gow Media’s sports talk KGOW in Houston agree to a content sharing deal that will have KROI producing newscasts for KGOW and the latter producing sports updates and actualities for KROI. Here’s how it will work: Beginning in early August, “News 92 FM” reporters will provide hourly, short-form news updates to “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560,” initially for use on nights and weekends, and ramping up to a full broadcast schedule shortly thereafter. In like manner, “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560” reporters will provide sports updates and actualities twice per hour for integration into the “News 92 FM” broadcast clock between 7:00 pm and midnight daily, and from 6:00 am to noon on weekends. Radio One RVP Doug Abernethy and Gow Media CEO David Gow began discussing the possibility earlier this year. Abernethy states, “Research suggests that news and sports stations have shared listener bases. So this makes sense for both stations. We have the best newsgathering and reporting resources in the city, and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ enjoys an equivalent reputation in the world of sports. We’re leveraging our respective strengths so that the ‘News 92 FM’ listener can get a quick sports update from ‘Yahoo Radio 1560,’ and their listeners can get top-flight news from ‘News 92 FM.’”
ZWERLING: The Smartest Programming Move I Ever Made for My Radio Stations. You might be surprised to learn which syndicated host turned out to be so spectacularly successful for outspoken, independent radio station owner Michael L. Zwerling at his widely admired AM combo of KSCO and KOMY, Santa Cruz, California that he felt compelled to share it with the entire industry. Then again, you might not. Find out the answer and more in a new exclusive TALKERS opinion piece posted today (7/31) by clicking here.
‘Broadway Joe’ Joins Sports USA for Weekly Podcast. Sports USA announces NFL great Joe Namath will join the company to produce a weekly podcast for the company during the 2013 football season. Sports USA president Bob Moore says Namath’s podcast will begin in the middle of August and run through this year’s Super Bowl. Moore states, “It doesn’t get bigger than Joe Namath! Joe is extremely passionate about football and his insights are amazing. This podcast will give him the platform to reach all of his fans across the country and beyond.” Namath comments, “I’m thrilled to join the Sports USA team with my new weekly podcast. I look forward to expressing my opinions on both the NFL and college football each week from the beginning of the season all the way through the Super Bowl.”
WTKS, Orlando’s Russ Rollins to Face Bubba the Love Sponge in Wrestling Match. Yes, you read that right. As you see in the poster here, it’ll take place at the Arena Bowl in Orlando on August 17 and feature “The Monsters” vs “Bubba’s Army” as Russ Rollins & The Demon take on Bubba the Love Sponge & Kevin Nash with Marc Mero as a special guest referee. Rollins tells TALKERS it’s the “Battle of the #1 morning shows!” and pits Clear Channel against Cox Media in front of 15,000 to 16,000 screaming fans!
2016 Presidential Race, Weiner Sexting Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, ObamaCare Implementation, and Bradley Manning Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the ongoing backlash from the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal; new developments in the NSA surveillance program case; the costs of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the verdict against Bradley Manning in the Wikileaks case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Steve Dahl and Garry Meier to Be Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that the Chicago-located National Radio Hall of Fame is announcing the class of 2013 feature Chicago radio personalities and former partners Steve Dahl and Garry Meier in addition to other inductees Blair Garner, John Lanigan, Paul W. Smith, Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, Charley Steiner, and (posthumously) radio manufacturer Powel Crosley, Jr. Dahl, currently busy with his own podcast venture, and Meier, hosting afternoon drive at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, were superstars in morning drive at WLUP-FM for 14 years before an acrimonious breakup in 1993. Dahl continued to work with other cast members while Meier eventually partnered with Roe Conn at WLS before joining WGN. The Radio Hall of Fame states, “They became the most-talked-about radio team in the city’s history, representing a generation and ushering in an era of content envelope-pushing that was imitated nationwide.” Blair Garner is hosting “America’s Morning Show” at Cumulus Media’s country WNSH, New York. Paul W. Smith hosts the morning program on news/talk WJR, Detroit.
Staff Additions at CBS Radio’s ’98.7 The Fan’ in Tampa. WHFS, Tampa “98.7 The Fan” program director John O’Connell announces additions to the staff at CBS Radio’s Tampa Bay sports talk station. First, veteran sports announcer Jim Lighthall joins Justin Pawlowski on “Fan Interference with Justin Pawlowski and Jim Lighthall” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and that show is now being produced by Jeff “Pants” Pantridge who moves up from his position producing the “Kirk and Dinger Morning Show.” Lighthall is a 1990 graduate of the University of South Florida and has been a sports announcer for over 21 years. He is the play-by-play voice of USF men’s basketball, a member of the USF Football broadcast team and has been the station’s 20/20 sports update reporter since the station’s launch. Taking Pantridge’s place producing the AM show is Ed “Special Ed” Grube who joins the station from CBS Radio’s sister hip hop outlet WLLD “WiLD 94.1.” to be head producer for the program featuring Kirk McEwen, Chris “Dinger” Dingman and Roxanne Wilder. O’Connell states, “We are very excited about these additions and what Ed brings to the table. His quick wit, creativity and great sense of humor will bring a new dimension to the ‘Kirk and Dinger Morning Show.’ Ed has the ability to help take the show to the top of the ratings, and like Jim, he’s a big basketball fan who offers a unique perspective.” Also producer Bryan Drake shifts from production duties in middays to the evening “Fabulous Sports Babe Show” airing from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Midday Changes at WTKS, Orlando. Shawn Wasson “The News Junkie” takes over the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm show at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” after Jason “Buckethead” Bailey exits the station. Bailey commented on his departure via Facebook saying he has nothing bad to say about the people or the station. “Can I explain the whole thing and how it panned out? Nope…not right now. It’s not as easy as some people seem to think it is. Will I miss ‘Real Radio?’ More than anyone will ever know. The ‘Real Radio’ gig was a dream come true for me…”
Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Named Station of the Year by NCAB. Greater Media Charlotte announces WBT-AM/FM was named the 2013 Station of the Year award (large market category) this past week during the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB) Annual Convention in Greensboro. The winners of this year’s top station awards were determined by a distinguished panel of out of state media executives. The Station of the Year Award was given to radio stations with achievements during 2012 that highlight innovative programming, with an emphasis on audience involvement and promotion, and a commitment to their local community. Greater Media Charlotte vice president and station manager Trip Savery states, “It is fitting that North Carolina’s first and most legendary radio station, WBT would win the inaugural NCAB station of the year award. We are very proud to receive this honor from NCAB.”
TRN Files New Suit Against Courtside Entertainment and Dial Global. In the original suit TRN filed against numerous radio syndication and ads sales organizations alleging antitrust violations Courtside Entertainment was a defendant but a California judge removed Courtside from that complaint ruling it was not connected to the antitrust allegation. Now, TRN files a complaint in United States District Court District of Oregon Portland Division against Courtside and Dial Global alleging tortious interference with both TRN’s contract with Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham. The suit seeks unspecified damages plus legal fees other and further relief.
Arbitron Releases NHL Radio Play-By-Play Stats. Outside of Canada, NHL hockey on the radio has never been considered a radio goldmine in broad terms. But a strike-shortened season may have been a factor in increased interest where the mindset is that every game counts, according to analysis from Arbitron. The ratings company released average game cume (6+) and average game share (Men 25-54) data and draws some conclusions about the sport’s effect on radio audience. Probably most notable is that the teams that performed best for their flagship stations are largely East Coast and Midwest teams that have a long tradition in the league and their fan bases go generations deep in the markets. For example, the top seven teams in terms of average game share (Men 25-54) were (in order): Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, and the Philadelphia Flyers. Pittsburgh, whose flagship is Clear Channel’s alternative rock WXDX-FM, was far and away in first with a 33.3 average game share in that demo. Arbitron notes that the young male-skewing alternative flagship station helped achieve this. Also keep in mind that the top two teams, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, have no NBA franchise in their markets with which to compete for audience during the winter months. Arbitron also wonders where the help for radio flagships is from the NHL. “Try finding any radio information on the teams web pages and it’s almost nonexistent. Download a schedule for Outlook, or an Apple product and TV information is everywhere…radio is likely nowhere to be found.”
Drew Lane Begins Podcast Venture. One half of the former WRIF, Detroit Drew & Mike morning drive show – Drew Lane – has partnered up with producers Mike Wolters and Marc Fellhauer to begin producing a podcast called DM&M podcast. Lane’s and Mike Clark’s contracts were not renewed at the Greater Media rock station and former alternative CIMX, Windsor, Canada duo Dave and Chuck the Freak were brought in to take over mornings last month. So far, Mike Clark is not part of the podcast venture.
Odds & Sods. Rob Archer is the new midday news anchor at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles after the exit of Chris Lane…..At Advanced Media Partners’ Peoria, Illinois stations that includes sports talk WZPN, Stephanie Blue is the new production director…..SiriusXM Radio and Rural Radio LLC announce the debut of Rural Radio, a 24/7 channel devoted to providing a wide variety of programming for and about rural American life, the western lifestyle and agribusiness interests.
Calgary Talk Host Fired After Criticizing Station Flood Coverage. CHQR, Calgary talk show host Dave Rutherford, about whom TALKERS wrote yesterday regarding the looming end of his long-running radio program, was taken off the air on June 25 after criticizing the Corus-owned station for its coverage of the local floods. Rutherford tells the Calgary Sun he’s still not sure of his status but says he was told his program will not return after he lashed out at management for not broadcasting locally on CHQR when the station was evacuated due to flooding and instead piped in programming from CHED, Edmonton.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, Obama Climate Change Policy, George Zimmerman Trial, Aaron Hernandez Case, NSA Surveillance/Snowden Asylum, and Obama Africa Trip Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). The striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 by the Supreme Court; the emissions limits to be set by the EPA under the president’s direction; the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin; the case against former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez; the NSA surveillance program and the case of Edward Snowden; and President Obama’s African trip were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.