Cumulus Media Reports 2016 Q4 and Full-Year Financials. The company had not been hiding the fact that the news of its revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 or the whole year would not be positive, and the results were not surprising. Cumulus Media reports its Q4 net revenue was $299.5 million – down 3% from the same period in 2015, and the full-year net revenue was $1.14 billion – a dip of 2.3% compared to all of 2015. Separating the company’s two reportable segments – the radio station group and Westwood One – for the fourth quarter of 2016 the radio station group was up 1.3% on net revenue of $209.7 million. However, Westwood One was down 12.3% on net revenue of $89.1 million. For the whole of 2016, the radio station group’s net revenue was $802.3 million, an increase of 0.8%. Westwood One’s net revenue was $336.6 million, a decrease of 8.8% from 2015. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “We entered 2016 with a singular objective: to fix the core business problems – poor culture, poor ratings and poor operational execution – which was essential to establishing a foundation on which to build improved financial results. Throughout the year we made significant progress addressing each of these areas, most visibly in ratings growth where we’ve outperformed the industry for 15 straight months. In fact, with two back-to-back quarters of revenue share increases on the station side, a trend which continued through January, we have early evidence that, despite a tough industry environment, our foundational work is beginning to translate into improved financial performance.”
Legendary WSB-AM, Atlanta Celebrates 95 Years On Air. It was on the Ides of March in 1922 that WSB-AM began broadcasting to the citizens of North Georgia. On Wednesday, Cox Media Group celebrated the anniversary. WSB manager of program operations and community affairs Condace Pressley states, “In 1922, WSB was licensed to deliver weather reports. Today, delivery of accurate and dependable news, weather and traffic remains our calling card, but this station and its people are so much more. Service to the Atlanta community is in WSB’s DNA.” Station director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs adds, “The WSB brand of local news, weather and traffic has grown from being on AM only to now serving north Georgia on FM, mobile, and digital. It all boils down to our slogan – Depend On It!” See a cool presentation of WSB’s 95-year history here.
WVON, Chicago Adds Maze Jackson to the Matt McGill Morning Show. Local political commentator and strategist Maze Jackson is joining Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s morning program, the “Matt McGill Morning Show,” on WVON, Chicago, effective April 3. The station says this move is being made to secure WVON’s position as a contributing voice in the upcoming gubernatorial and mayoral elections, in addition to increasing the station’s overall rankings. McGill has been solo host of the morning show on WVON for the past six years – a role in which he’ll continue. Jackson joins the show after contributing for the past two years as a weekly commentator and guest host. WVON says, “Jackson has a diverse array of experience in the worlds of business, politics, and community engagement. Jackson spent over 20 years lobbying for high profile clients, creating community-based solutions and driving the discussions that shape impactful policies as former executive director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.”
TALKERS Magazine Publisher Michael Harrison Joins WPHT, Philly’s Rich Zeoli for His New Podcast. At CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is launching a new podcast that features content not heard on the WPHT airwaves. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison joined Zeoli for his inaugural show. In addition to addressing such topics as the Trump Administration’s impact on news/talk radio and the influence of politics on talk radio, the two delved into “inside” radio subjects including the evolution of the talk radio format, changing media technology, and the public’s evolving media habits. Listen to it here.
Desert Broadcasters Brings Palm Springs AMs Back to Life; KGX Branded ‘Real Talk.’ The two Palm Springs signals – KPSI-AM 920 and KWXY-AM 1340 – went dark last August after longtime owners Rozene and Ric Supple decided to exit the radio business. Enter Garry Wing and Desert Broadcasters who acquired the stations and just put KPSI – now KGX “Real Talk” – and KWXY back on the air. KWXY is a soft AC. The Desert Sun reports that Wing wants to create a talk station with less political vitriol (and less “fake outrage”). Radio America personality Chad Benson’s show is featured on the station. Wing says the station will air a combination of local and national talk shows. Both stations occupy the early 1960s-era broadcast facility pictured in the photo here, taken from the Desert Sun’s video report.
iHeartMedia Unveils ‘SmartAudio’ Advertising Product at ‘SoundFront.’ At Wednesday’s client-focused “SoundFront” up front event, iHeartMedia introduced its SmartAudio digital data advertising product, now a part of the programmatic solution SoundPoint. iHeartMedia says SmartAudio goes farther in leveraging the power of SoundPoint to help advertisers evaluate, plan and buy broadcast radio, enabling them to build innovative campaigns that target key audience segments. iHeartMedia president of national sales, marketing and partnerships Tim Castelli says, “We’ve been testing SmartAudio with some of the top brands and we’re already seeing additional impact for those using it. They’re able to leverage the product’s flexibility to decide which specific ad to run based on something as simple as whether the local sports team won or lost last night’s game…Industry response to our SoundPoint platform has been so well received that we’re now unveiling SmartAudio which allows audience segmenting and dynamic creative capabilities all in one planning and buying tool.”
TALKERS News Notes. Public radio outlet WBEZ, Chicago is debuting a new podcast series called, “Written Inside: Stories About Prison Cells.” The series consists of essays by inmates at Illinois’ Stateville Correctional Center about their prison cells – shedding light on the everyday experience of incarceration. The series was the idea of award-winning, Chicago-based author and journalist Alex Kotlowitz. He began working with the inmates through Northwestern University colleague Jennifer Lackey, who invited him to speak to a class she taught at the correctional center. Kotlowitz asked the 15 male inmates facing long sentences to complete a writing exercise describing their cells. He recognized the potential each story possessed to reveal the realities of life in prison…..“Motley Fool Money” host Chris Hill (left) is pictured here with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin (right) recording a segment for Hill’s program at SXSW in Austin, Texas earlier this week. Hill says, “We talked about the scene in Austin, what the major entertainment companies are doing to lure audience, Apple’s foray into original programming, VR in movies and a lot more.”
Trump Travel Ban Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 13-17. The second travel ban order by President Donald Trump and its block issued by a Hawaii judge was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Trump Administration budget cuts. Coming in at #3 was the interest rate hike by the Fed, followed by the GOP health care plan at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2017. The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announces its class of inductees for 2017. They include: Johnny Dowd/Jaybeau Jones from “JB 105,” Providence; French-language broadcaster and current WNRI partner Roger Laliberte; WHJJ and WPRO personality Myrna Lamb; current WPRO-AM program director Tony Mascaro; former RAB SVP and Rhode Island radio manager Dick Rakovan; and former WICE personality Frank Kingston Smith. Also the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio in the Ocean State by John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores, and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – will go to Mowry Lowe –a pioneering New England newscaster, gifted announcer and premier radio executive. The Station of the Year Award will be presented to iHeartMedia Providence to commemorate a successful multi-station food drive to feed the hungry in Rhode Island. The Legacy Station of the Year award recognizes top 40 WICE-AM. A reunion with some of the station’s legendary Hall of Fame DJs, staff and listeners is planned.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Appears on WJR, Detroit’s Paul W. Smith Show. This morning’s WJR, Detroit live broadcast of the Paul W. Smith St. Patrick’s Day show was not the first appearance on the station by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. He’s been a guest on the show before. Pai (left) is pictured here with Smith (right) on stage at The Cube Theatre inside the Max M. Fisher Music Center.
PodcastOne Executive Chairman Norm Pattiz Guests on Harrison Podcast. The executive chairman of PodcastOne and noted industry pioneer, Norm Pattiz joins TALKERS founder Michael Harrison for an in-depth conversation about the general state of radio, podcasting and audio media on this week’s installment of the award-winning series, “Up Close and Far Out.” The compelling dialogue was recorded this past Friday, inspired by the Thursday release (3/9) of the annual Edison Research/Triton Digital 2017 Infinite Dial Study. Pattiz sums up his impression of the study as follows, “I was very encouraged relative to the audio medium as a whole by the information that came from the study. There’s good news in it for almost everybody that’s in the audio space.” Pattiz and Harrison cover a lot of ground touching upon advertising trends, the evolution of audience measurement metrics, in-car listening habits and much more in this conversation that is a must-listen for radio and audio media professionals. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Imaging, voiceover and production firm Benztown announces it has brought Katrina Woolverton, J.D., LL.M, aboard to serve in the newly created position of general counsel…..On Monday (3/20), WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” is hosting Warner Bros. Records recording artist Bebe Rexha as its guest to host a cooking demonstration at the brand new CBS RADIO Chicago Culinary Kitchen. Rexha will show off her culinary skills while being interviewed by “B96” morning show hosts J Niice, Showbiz Shelly and Producer Gabe. The segment will take place in front of a live studio audience made up of about 20 station contest winners who also get tickets to Rexha’s concert that evening at the Metro theater.
WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta Announces New Program Schedule; Mark Arum and Eric Von Haessler Move to New Dayparts. The new program schedule at Cox Media Group’s news/talk simulcast WSB-AM/WSBB-FM in Atlanta takes effect on January 9. Previously, TALKERS magazine reported that WSB-based talk
personality Herman Cain would exit the syndication business and focus on his Atlanta show. Under the new program scenario, an hour is trimmed off his late morning show, so he’ll be on the air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. CMG is bringing “The Von Haessler Doctrine” with host Eric Von Haessler to weekdays for a one-hour show from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon. Von Haessler has been hosting his program Sundays at 12:00 noon. Also, the late night Mark Arum show moves up to the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot from its current 10:00 pm start. Cox Media Atlanta VP/general manager Donna Hall states, “We are pleased to add even more local content to our weekday lineup by adding Eric, and it has been exciting to watch Mark’s success in the late evenings. By moving Mark to 7:00 pm, we’re giving even more Atlanta listeners an opportunity to get to know him through his show. Mark and Eric are both true radio professionals, and we are fortunate to have them as part of our team.”
Jonathon Brandmeier Show Ends Runs with Cumulus/Westwood One. The Chicago talk radio personality announced back in October that his deal with Westwood One to syndicate his WLS-AM-based show was not going to continue after the contract expires in February. But yesterday (12/12), Jonathon Brandmeier was told that was his last live show, he announced via Facebook. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, it seems WLS-AM was surprised by the move. The first two hours of Brandmeier’s show aired from 9:00 am to 11:00 am on WLS-AM. It’s not clear what will replace his show on WLS-AM but it appears reruns of the show will air for now. Read Feder’s story here.
Attorney Helene M. Freeman Guests on This Week’s Michael Harrison Podcast Discussing Changes in Music Copyright, Trademark and Royalty Law. One of the nation’s leading attorneys specializing in copyrights, trademarks and royalties in the entertainment industry with a specific focus on music joins Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.” Helene M. Freeman is a partner in the litigation department at Phillips Nizer LLP based in New York City. Her practice and worldwide reputation focus on all facets of entertainment, publishing, the arts and fashion. She has counseled multinational record distributors, leading musical performing groups, film and television producers and distributors, international music publishing companies, theatrical producers, authors and advertising agencies. As a litigator with more than 30 years’ experience, she has been trial and appellate counsel in precedent setting cases under both copyright and trademark law throughout the United States. Her most recent in a string of high-profile cases was her successful defense of Led Zeppelin in the Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et. al. trial – the copyright infringement case involving the claim that “Stairway to Heaven” copied an instrumental composition originally appearing in a song by the group Spirit. Harrison engages in a phone chat with this brilliant attorney recently honored by the Times of London with their “Lawyer of the Week” award covering a wide array of aspects of the law rapidly evolving with changes in technology and sociology that mark life in the digital age. They specifically explore the implications of a recent ruling in a UK court involving members of the popular 80s group Duran Duran trying to reclaim publishing rights to their songs arguably due them after the passage of a certain amount of time. To listen to this podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Trump Cabinet Nominees, ‘Fake News’/Russian Election Meddling, Syrian Civil War, State of Iran Nukes Deal, Soaring Dow, Susan Olsen Fired from LA Talk Radio, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12). The cabinet nominations by President-Elect Donald Trump, including ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State; the “fake news” controversies and the related allegations of Russia’s meddling in the recent U.S. election; the Syrian civil war and the re-taking of Aleppo by Syrian forces; concerns about Iran violating the terms of the nuclear accord; the record-setting Dow Jones industrial average; former “Brady Bunch” actress Susan Olsen exits LA Talk Radio after social media fight with gay actor; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Grunin Transitions at WOBM, Toms River. At the Townsquare Media news/talk WOBM, Toms River, New Jersey, morning personality Jeremy Grunin is moving from his gig as host of ‘Wake Up With Jeremy Grunin’ to co-host of the weekend public affairs show ‘Topic A’ with current host Bob Levy. Grunin joined the station earlier this year to host the 5:30 am to 8:00 am show. There’s no announcement from Townsquare about what will air in morning drive after Grunin’s last weekday show on Friday (12/16).
SCBA Publishes Q1 2017 Market Guidance Report. Among items contained are a study of market conditions; listenership trends; advertising category trends; regional economic trends; competitive analysis; industry trends; research highlights; and Southern California Broadcasters Association recommendations for radio advertising strategies. SCBA president Thom Callahan explains that this particular quarterly market guidance report is “our most extensive report to date on the dynamic Southern California region. It is researched and written as an informative guide for advertisers wanting factual information that will be useful in building their brands and their business. The report highlights impressive consumer demand for AM/FM radio content with weekly cume and average time exposed growing for Southern California radio. With our leading ad categories projected to increase, a surging regional economy, solid job growth, and our enhanced competitive position with other media, Southern California radio is well positioned for a solid [first quarter].” Published prior to each quarter, SCBA market guidance reports are used as a planning resource for radio advertisers interested in “the country’s largest region” as well as the “largest radio revenue market in the United States.” Documented in the report are specific regional market and business trends for Southern California, as well as specific industry information from a wide variety of sources.
Odds & Sods. WGN, Chicago has a new station voice in legendary Windy City broadcaster and journalist Bill Kurtis. Tribune’s WGN Radio has signed Kurtis to become part of the station’s branding beginning in January. WGN creative service manager Chris Duffy comments, “Bill is perfect for WGN Radio. His body of work represents thoughtful honesty, yet he has never been afraid to do lighthearted and fun projects. That combination plus his impeccable Chicago credibility make him a natural fit as a signature voice for WGN. Bill Kurtis IS…kind of a big deal.”…..For the 25th straight year, CBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia will present Wing Bowl – the competitive chicken wing eating contest that’s become a Philly tradition during Super Bowl weekend. Again this year Wing Bowl will take place at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, February 3, 2017 at 6:00 am. This year it will feature an appearance by special guests, professional wrestler Ric Flair and Grammy Award winning artist Coolio. Partial proceeds from WIP’s Wing Bowl 25 will benefit the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Survivor’s Fund…..CBS RADIO budget cuts hit the Atlanta cluster and gone from the company’s sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” is sports anchor and reporter Jon Jeffries…..WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based talk personality Clark Howard – via his annual Clark’s Christmas Kids charity drive – was able to work with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services and The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia to provide holiday gifts for 8,360 foster kids all across Georgia. This is the 26th year of the Clark’s Christmas Kids project…..Doug Stephan’s “American Family Farmer” program passes the 150-affiliate mark. The show – a weekly program dedicated to advocacy of and ideas helping to sustain the family farm – launched in 2015 as an experimental show on Talkers Radio. Doug Stephan says, “I have been around cows all my life. I spent all my free time around the animals as a young boy. But today, the family farm is in jeopardy as the mega-farms and government intervention have run many of them out of business.”
MLB Legend Curt Schilling Launches Talk Show on Breitbart.com. Former Major League Baseball star – and avowed Donald Trump supporter – Curt Schilling is beginning a daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am ET talk show on Breitbart.com today. Schilling made the announcement to Breitbart News Radio’s Matthew Boyle and said the first two weeks of the program will focus on the election and “getting information out to listeners.” Schilling added, “I am joining the Breitbart team for one reason. At the end of the day, when you look at what Breitbart does on a day-in-day-out basis — you can hate all the stories all you want — but, they are backed by sources. They are backed by data. They are backed by facts.” As has been widely reported, Massachusetts resident Schilling has expressed interest in challenging Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren for her seat. Read the Breitbart account here.
CBS RADIO Names Brian McHale SVP, Information Technology. The senior vice president, information technology is a newly created position for CBS RADIO. In this role, Brian McHale will be responsible for building and overseeing the company’s first dedicated information technology team, along with effective technological strategies and infrastructure to support CBS RADIO’s 117 radio stations, digital assets, and the security solutions to protect the company’s multi-platform products. He’ll also build a structure to support the IT needs of the company’s employees at both the enterprise and local market levels. CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez says, “In today’s hyper-digital world, the flow, security and enhancement of information technology is the backbone of any company. Brian has vast experience with developing and implementing world-class IT infrastructures and will lead CBS RADIO to create a superior system that supports every function of our business.” McHale was most recently SVP and chief information officer for American Apparel Inc. He’s also worked with Journal Broadcast Group and Fisher Communications during his career.
Former Philly TV Newscaster Settles with CBS in Email Hacking Case. This matter is apparently finally settled after some eight years of litigation. According to a report at Philly.com, television newscaster Alycia Lane has agreed to a settlement in her suit against CBS just as it was set to go to trial. Lane worked at KYW-TV, Philadelphia with newscaster Larry Mendte, whom she accused of hacking her work email account and then sharing personal details and photos with gossip columnists. Mendte pleaded guilty to the charges and served house arrest and probation, but lost his gig at KYW-TV. He later worked briefly for the Randy Michaels-run Merlin Media talk station WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia and most recently had been hosting mornings at iHeartMedia’s WILM, Wilmington and WDOV, Dover in Delaware. Read the Philly.com account here.
The Presidential Race, U.S. House-Senate Races, Friday’s DNS Cyberattack, AT&T/Time Warner Merger, Cubs to Face Indians in World Series, NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the races for U.S. House and U.S. Senate seats; the DNS cyberattack that affected Internet access in many parts of the country; the announced acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T and the regulatory hurdles the deal faces; the Chicago Cubs’ victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and the team’s first World Series appearance since 1948; and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the top news/talk stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Sonnenklar Appointed COO of Connoisseur Integrated Solutions. Former McGavren-Guild CEO Lisa Sonnenklar joins Connoisseur Media as chief operating officer of the company’s integrated solutions division. In this role, Sonnenklar will oversee the company’s multi-platform efforts in the New York/Connecticut/ New Jersey region. Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw states, “Using our potent mix of radio, digital and event marketing assets, we have been able to get tremendous ROI and visibility for many of our clients. We are now putting even more firepower into these efforts. We are delighted to welcome Lisa into the Connoisseur family.”
Herman Cain Show Goes on the Road to McDonough, Georgia. WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, syndicated talk personality Herman Cain is on the road on Thursday (10/27) recording his show from the historic McDonough Square in McDonough, Georgia from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm ET. Cox Media Group says the event is free to attend, rain or shine, and will include Cain’s popular “Rapid Fire” segment where he takes questions and comments from the audience and says, “You get a minute…I get a minute.” Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase Trump Cards and an autographed copy of the special edition of Cain’s latest book, The Right Solutions: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On.
Odds & Sods. The sports talk format on Flinn Broadcasting’s WHBQ, Memphis is now heard in the Tupelo-Marietta, Mississippi market on Flinn-owned WXWX-FM. WXWX had been leased to Tele-South Communications but that lease expired on August 1…..AdLarge Media signs a deal to serve as the exclusive network radio sales agent for The Weather Channel radio network. The Weather Channel has more than 100 radio station affiliates across the country, including in most of the top 10 markets…..ABC Radio’s podcast division announces a new show called “Popcorn with Peter Travers” – hosted by the well-known Rolling Stone movie critic. Recent episodes include interviews with Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro, Margo Martindale and John Krasinski…..ESPN Radio is providing exclusive national radio coverage of the 112th Major League Baseball World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, beginning with game 1 from Progressive Field in Cleveland tomorrow night (10/25).
Dave Ramsey Welcomed by Houston Fans. Pictured above is nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey taking the stage in Houston at Grace Community Church on Saturday (10/22) before a packed house. During this stop on the Smart Money 2016 tour, Ramsey presented a day-long Smart Conference that included appearances from Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker, Inky Johnson, Chris Brown and Anthony O’Neal in which they presented attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate KSEV to promote the event. KSEV general manager Bonny English comments, “Thanks to our partnership with the Dave Ramsey show, the KSEV audience gets to experience one-of-a-kind events right here in Houston. Every time we host a Ramsey live event, our clients and listeners get the unique opportunity to spend quality time with Dave!”
San Antonio Radio Legend Ricci Ware Passes at 79. Legendary San Antonio DJ and radio personality Ricci Ware died on Friday (10/21) at age 79. Ware – the father of KTSA morning personality Trey Ware – started his radio career as a disc jockey spinning the hits and transitioned to a talk show host during his 50-plus year career. Ware began in radio in Baytown, Texas and then moved to Austin where he worked for KTBC. From there he moved to KTSA in San Antonio and gained a reputation as one of the market’s most popular DJs during the 1960s. After leaving KTSA and working at KBUC where he was co-host of the popular “Ricci and Jud” show, he returned to KTSA to launch his talk radio career. Son Trey Ware says in a statement, “My hero returned home to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this morning. My dad, Ricci Ware was my hero in every sense of the word. He was the greatest father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who ever lived. He never met a stranger, and always had a kind word and a smile for others. God put him here to bring joy to this life, and he did it so very well.”
Alpha Media Adds Translator to Sports WOIC, Columbia. Adding translator W235CH, St. Matthews, South Carolina at 94.9 FM to Alpha Media’s “ESPN Columbia” gives the station a solid FM presence southeast of the Columbia market center. Alpha says this simulcast of Class C WOIC-AM, Columbia “will significantly increase the coverage of the station throughout Richland and Lexington counties. At the same time, the station adds ESPN’s SEC expert Paul Finebaum to its daily lineup.
Titans TE Delanie Walker to Appear on Live, Weekly Show on WGFX, Nashville. Unlike a lot of weekly shows that carry the name of a pro athlete, the Delanie Walker show on Cumulus Media’s sports talker WGFX, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” will involve Walker joining the regular midday crew in person, before a studio audience at the 104.5 The Zone Music Performance Studio. Program director Brad Willis says the Tennessee Titans’ Walker will sit down with the “Midday 180 Team” – Chad Withrow, Jonathan Hutton and Paul Kuharsky – every Tuesday from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm during the football season.
WTMM, Albany Shucks Half of Afternoon Show. Sports talker WTMM, Albany “ESPN 104.5 FM” has parted company with Bob “Wolf” Wohlfeld after about seven months as co-host of the “Levack and Wolf” show with Jeff Levack. Wohlfeld joined the station not long after former WTMM programmer and personality Armen Williams exited to take the PD post at KKFN, Denver. There’s no word from Townsquare Media if it plans to replace Wohlfeld or continue with Levack hosting solo.
The Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 5-9. The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, including their performances at Wednesday’s candidate’s forum, were the top news/talk story of the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Coming in at #3 was the Iran cash payment controversy and the naval skirmish involving Iran and U.S. ships, followed by the Syria conflict and the related U.S.-Russian relations at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Hangin’ Out with Beantown’s Best. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and his wife Bernadette Duncan attended a star-studded affiliate and sponsor appreciation party last evening at the Boston home of Howie and Kathy Carr celebrating the signing of Boston Red Sox pitching legend Curt Schilling to the Howie Carr Radio Network. Schilling will host a Saturday morning show (9:00 am ET to 12:00 noon ET) beginning tomorrow (9/10). Below, Harrison (r) is pictured with TownSquare Media’s Southeastern Massachusetts news/talk powerhouse WBSM, New Bedford’s GM Mark Stachowski (l) and legendary morning host Phil Paleologos (c). The Harrisons (above) are also pictured with Schilling (r) who told the crowd, “I will be over-prepared, I will not be shy about the things I believe in, but I also won’t go off the rails. I do not have a racist bone in my body and I am not homophobic [referring to recent controversies]. I am coachable and I am not doing this to just be another radio talk show voice – I am doing it to become the best in the world at it.”
Odds & Sods. On Tuesday (9/13), Herman Cain takes his WSB-AM, Atlanta-based syndicated talk show on the road to Smyrna, Georgia where he’ll record his show live from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Cain is a guest of the Smyrna Business Association which is bringing him in as its featured speaker for September. At the event, fans will have the opportunity to get their picture taken with Cain and purchase an autographed copy of the special edition of his latest book, The Right Problems: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On (Post Hill Press 2016)…..At Entercom Buffalo, the broadcaster and Pegula Sports and Entertainment have agreed to extend the long-standing broadcast partnership between sports talk WGR “Sportsradio 550” and the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres through the 2020-21 seasons. The WGR Bills and Sabres radio networks are collectively heard on more than 20 radio stations across New York, Northwestern Pennsylvania, and Southern Ontario. John Murphy, Mark Kelso, and Sal Cappacio will continue as the Bills broadcast team. Rick Jeanneret, Dan Dunleavy, and Rob Ray remain as the Sabres radio team. The deal also means WGR will continue to air “Sabres Hockey Hotline” on weekdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, with hosts Andrew Peters and Craig Rivet. The Bills-themed John Murphy show, with Murphy and former Buffalo Bill Donald Jones is heard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Both shows will also be simulcast on MSG…..Philadelphia Eagles great (and Villanova standout) Brian Westbrook is now part of the broadcast team for the unofficial Eagles pre-game show that airs on Greater Media’s WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic.” Westbrook will join Devon Givens and Michael Bradley for the three-hour show.
Milwaukee Radio Personality Eric Von Dies at 58. For 30 years, Eric Von was a voice in Milwaukee’s urban community. He spent most of his radio career hosting a show on WMCS and only exited when the station changed its format. Eric Von died on Thursday (9/8) at age 58. Friends and family tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Von had been dealing with health issues of late and suffered a heart attack about a month ago. He’d been hosting a two-hour morning show on Courier Communications’ WNOV. He was also instrumental in the recent media project titled “Precious Lives” that explored the causes and consequences of gun violence on children in the city.
Analysis: NAB Show – Day 1. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is reporting from the 2016 NAB Show for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo. From day one of the broadcasting mega-confab in Las Vegas, Cooke reports on the radio-centric panels he attended. NAB CEO Gordon Smith declared in his opening keynote, “No other media industry is as dedicated to supporting our local communities – not Google, not Apple, not Pandora, not cable or satellite.” That sentiment ran through a number of panels during which operators told attendees that in radio’s current era, stations have to be marketing experts for their clients and information and entertainment experts for their local communities. For more about how operators are encouraging creativity in sales and programming, read Holland Cooke’s report here.
Cumulus Re-Ups ‘Murph and Mac.’ Sports talk duo Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey will continue to host the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco after signing a contract renewal. Beginning April 25, the program will move up an hour and be heard from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. KNBR operations manager Lee Hammer states, “I’m thrilled to be able to announce that ‘Murph and Mac’ will continue their morning show on KNBR 680. Their show, which blends sports talk and the perfect balance of pop culture and musical references, is the ‘go-to’ destination every morning for sports fans in the Bay Area.” The two have been partners on KNBR for the past 10 years.
The Presidential Race/ New York Primary, SCOTUS Hears Obama Illegal Aliens Executive Order Case, $20 Bill Controversy, Afghanistan Taliban Activity, and Biden Netanyahu Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/19). The activities of the candidates for president and today’s New York primary election; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging President Obama’s executive order protecting some illegal aliens from deportation; the flap over removing Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill and replacing him with a female historical figure; concern over increased violence by the Taliban in Afghanistan; and Joe Biden’s criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WSB-AM, Atlanta’s Erick Erickson Takes Time Off After Pulmonary Issues. The host of “Atlanta’s Evening News” on WSB-AM, Atlanta – and RedState.com editor-in-chief Erick Erickson – is taking time off from his afternoon drive program to recover from a serious illness. Erickson posted on TheResurgent.com that over the past few weeks his lungs have been filling up with blood clots. Breathing difficulties sent him to see doctors on several occasions before his was diagnosed. Though still in the hospital, Erickson says he is healing and hopes to return to work soon.
John Ziegler Discusses the State of His Syndicated Show (‘John & Leah’) and the Radio Industry in Candid TALKERS Audio Interview. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian recently spoke with Envision Networks-syndicated talk personality John Ziegler about the progress his Sunday evening show is making a year into its national distribution effort that resulted in a major personality profile posted in TALKERS on March 8. The three-hour show that features co-host Leah Brandon (who also serves as WERC, Birmingham morning news anchor) is currently heard on 22 affiliate stations – 15 of which are in the top 28 markets. Ziegler has an impressive set of talk radio credentials that include stints at WHAS, Louisville and KFI, Los Angeles among others. He also has a colorful history in the business that includes its share of controversial, high-profile episodes. In a brand new audio conversation with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducted yesterday (4/18), Ziegler says having a wife, child and a female co-host serve to keep him more cautious and mature when it comes to recklessness and stepping over the line – but that hasn’t dampened his edginess and reputation for delivering strong opinions. Ziegler and Brandon are included in the 2016 edition of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” and Ziegler will be a participant in the “Talk Rumble” at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. To listen to the entire conversation between Ziegler and Harrison, please click here. To read the March 8 feature story by Mike Kinosian please click here.
Odds & Sods. Entering the business of podcast distribution is the America Out Loud News Portal which debuts six new shows including, “This is Real Life Radio with Host Malcolm Out Loud.” Malcolm Out Loud is the founder of the platform and he says programming pro Gabe Hobbs will consult with the network and provide talent resources for hosts…..iHeartMedia Denver and the Colorado Rockies agree to a five-year extension of their radio broadcast agreement that’ll keep Rockies baseball on KOA, Denver “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” through the 2021 season. Jack Corrigan and Jerry Schemmel will continue as the voices of Colorado Rockies play-by-play…..WCNN, Atlanta “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” account executive Carolina Margarella (pictured at right) took yesterday off from her duties at the Dickey-owned station to run in the 120th Boston Marathon. This year’s race also marked the 50th anniversary of women being allowed to run. Margarella finished the race in 3:25:57, which averages out to a very impressive 7:51 per mile.
In Memoriam: Brent Seltzer. Just over four weeks from now (5/20), the annual TALKERS convention will take place on the campus of Hofstra University. There will be one sadly missing element there, however, following the passing yesterday afternoon (4/18) of our colleague Brent Seltzer (right). The 68-year-old golden-voiced on-air talent/writer/voice over artist died in his sleep at a Los Angeles-area long-term care facility. Always debonair and engaging, Seltzer is survived by his wife, Meg McDonald (left). For the last several years, Seltzer and McDonald served as “official greeters” at the TALKERS New York City and Los Angeles confabs and last year they served as emcees of the NY event. Seltzer succumbed to complications following major surgery. TALKERS founder/publisher Michael Harrison states, “We all mourn the loss of a great broadcaster, wonderful friend, and outstanding human being.” McDonald encourages a celebration of her late husband’s life, stating, “We hope you will raise a glass and toast Brent Seltzer.” Instead of a formal funeral service, Seltzer will be cremated and buried at sea. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those so inclined make a donation to their favorite animal shelter or animal charity. Seltzer had a legendary career in radio dating back to the late 1960s that included pioneering work in the field of FM rock radio news at such outlets as KGB, San Diego and KMET, Los Angeles among others. His long-running podcast, “Still at Large with Brent Seltzer” had a significant national following early in the podcasting movement and, in recent years, he co-hosted a daily GCN nationally-syndicated husband/wife “chat” program, “The Brent & Meg Show” with McDonald. Those interested in contacting Meg McDonald can do so via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Approximately two years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled both Brent and Meg. Please click here to read that June 2014 special feature piece in its entirety.
DGital Media Partners with Cox to Distribute Herman Cain Show. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show will be syndicated and marketed by DGital Media beginning January 4, 2016. Cox Media Group and DGital Media are agreeing to have DGital Media serve as the exclusive advertising sales representative and its affiliated company WYM Media be the exclusive distributor, handling affiliate marketing. CMG director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs comments, “It is great to be working again with [DGital Media president] John Murphy and the rest of the DGital Media team. My particular experience with them is they are the most original thinkers of any audio company I’ve had the privilege of working with.” Cain’s program is currently heard on some 120 affiliate stations.
‘For Our Daughters’ Re-Ignites Campaign Against WPRO’s John DePetro. According to a piece at GoLocalProv.com, the organization For Our Daughters is renewing its efforts to get late morning talk host John DePetro off the air at Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence. This battle is an old one and the organization, which according to GoLocalProv.com is led by a number of prominent union leaders, is one with whom DePetro’s clashed on issues in the past. Organization chairwoman Maureen Martin issued the following statement, “Since we started, we estimate we have cost the station close to $150,000 in lost advertising revenue. However, we are disgusted that John DePetro is still allowed to spew his hate speech on the air at WPRO-AM. The lack of action by station management on this issue shows their willingness to empower a unrepentant misogynist. Their continued employment of Mr. DePetro implies their tacit assent to DePetro’s statements. Since our campaign started two years ago, DePetro has continued to berate women and minorities on a daily basis. This can no longer be tolerated. To that end, we have decided to ramp up our campaign to once and for all remove Mr. DePetro from the air.” For his part, DePetro says, “I host a very popular, successful, daily talk show where I allow the public to speak out on current events in the news. The content of my show is family friendly, and I speak with people of all ages and backgrounds. Once again, a group of union supporters and other ultra-liberal individuals, have targeted me and in an attempt to silence me.” Read the GoLocalProv.com piece here.
Chicago Talker Garry Meier to Begin Digital Venture. Chicago radio legend Garry Meier – 13 months removed from his most recent gig at Tribune’s wgn.fm digital platform – is entering the world of digital audio on his own with an online radio show and podcast beginning in 2016. He recently posted his plans on his website. He writes, in part: “As I examined the media landscape, I decided to do something that a great friend and mentor told me to do 10 years ago…onto the Internet…and while I wasn’t ready to make the leap a decade ago, I thought the time is right now to go digital, since everything in the media world is migrating there. It is migration that just about every state will accept. At this point in my career, I want to try something completely new that offers me more control and freedom and also is the wave of the future. While gas prices remain low, my excitement heading into this new chapter is very high. Another familiar voice will be part of the broadcast, as Leslie Keiling returns to do news. I’m happy to have her join me. It might not be the way you listened on traditional radio but breaking away from all of that, I think, is a good thing…so hello from the 50 trillion-watt WIFI.”
PodcastOne Shows Honored with iTunes Awards. This year, seven programs from PodcastOne are being honored in the iTunes Best of 2015 selections. The competitive list, compiled from a collection of more than 250,000 worldwide podcasts, features “The BIG Podcast with Shaq,” named one of the Best Recent Debuts, and “Steve Austin Unleashed” and WNYC-produced “Here’s the Thing,” named with the Best Classics. Celebrating the Most Downloads are “The Adam Carolla Show,” which recently re-upped with PodcastOne for five additional years, as well as “The Dan Patrick Show” and WNYC-produced “Freakonomics” and “Radiolab.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “We are very proud of the network roster we have built in the last few years. From production, to distribution and advertising partnerships, all of our programs deliver compelling content that keeps all eyes (and ears) on our collective 200 podcasts.”
Odds & Sods. News/talk KLZ, Denver is adding David Leach’s “The Strident Conservative” commentaries to its programming. The Crawford Broadcasting-owned station is also featuring Leach as a regular contributor to its daily afternoon drive program…..A new podcast featuring Yahoo! Sports personality Adrian Wojnarowski is being produced, distributed and repped by DGital Media. Titled, “The Vertical Podcast with Woj,” the weekly program will focus on the NBA. DGital Media chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As a fan of the NBA, and as a fan of audio, I’m always searching for incredible storytellers who will provide a credible and intimate take without all the noise. We are incredibly honored to partner with a game-changing talent like Woj and a top brand like Yahoo! Sports.”…..The web series “Brown Bag Wine Tasting with William Shatner” takes three honors at the recent 7th Annual TASTE Awards. Shatner, CRN Digital Talk Radio, and producer Scott Sternberg partnered to create the show and sold it to Ora TV. CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO and president Michael J. Horn – who is also a sommelier – assists in the selecting and procuring of the wines…..SiriusXM is broadcasting 38 live college bowl games beginning with this Saturday’s Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. The satcaster is also airing the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship.
AdLarge and Touchdown Radio at the Heisman Dinner. Pictured here at last weekend’s 2015 Heisman Dinner are executives from AdLarge Media and 1992 Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta. The former University of Miami star and AdLarge are partners in Torretta’s Touchdown Radio for which AdLarge serves as exclusive ad rep. From left to right are: chief revenue officer Don Wachsmith; Torretta; co-founder and co-CEO Gary Schonfeld; and VP of business development Frank DeSantis.
2016 Presidential Race/GOP Debate, Freddie Gray Mistrial, Obama Gun Control Plans, Battle Against Islamic State, School District Terror Threats, Fed Ups Interest Rates, and Federal Student Drug Use Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Tuesday evening’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas; the mistrial in the first of six police officers to be tried in Baltimore in the death of Freddie Gray; President Obama’s meeting with former New York Governor Michael Bloomberg in formulating new gun control orders; the military campaign against Islamic State and concerns about radical Islamists among Syrian refugees; the terror threats being received by school districts in the U.S.; the hiking of interest rates by the Fed for the first time in nine years; and the just-released federal report on high school student drug use indicating marijuana use tops cigarette smoking for the first time were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Baltimore Talk Radio Figure Brian MacDonald Dead at 67. Heart failure is the reported cause of death for former WBAL and WCBM, Baltimore programmer and personality Brian MacDonald. MacDonald got his start in radio programming Baltimore Community College-owned public station WBJC-FM. He served as PD and afternoon host at WBAL from 1975 to 1985, then worked at crosstown WCBM on air for three years before leaving the radio industry.
Cooke: NAB Radio Show Wrap Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke wraps his coverage of the 2015 NAB Radio Show in Atlanta with this report. In it find HC’s takeaways from sessions that addressed radio commercial creative, selling radio in the multi-media world, consumers’ views of the state of the automobile dashboard, plus AM revitalization and the FCC. Republican FCC commissioner Michael O’Reilly was the only commish to attend and, regarding the contentious issue of an open window for FM translator applications by current AM station owners, he said, “The AM translator solution is the #1 solution. How could it be left out of any package of reforms?” Read Cooke’s report here.
News and News/Talk Well Represented in NAB’s 2015 Marconi Awards. All-news KYW, Philadelphia picked up the 2015 Marconi Award for Legendary Station, announced last night (10/1) at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held at this year’s Radio Show in Atlanta. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington grabbed the Marconi for Major Market Station of the Year and Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM, Tulsa was honored with the Medium Market Station of the Year award. On the talent side, KRMG morning personality Dan Potter picked up the Medium Market Personality of the Year and WSOY, Decatur, Illinois morning host Brian Byers won the Small Market Personality of the Year honor. In the spoken-word format categories, Cox’s WSB-AM, Atlanta won News/Talk Station of the Year and CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York was honored with Sports Station of the Year. See all the winners here.
September PPM Data and RadioInfo‘s ‘Twelve Takeaways.’ Rather than distributing ratings information for 12-PPM markets apiece over a four-day period as it generally does, Nielsen Audio doubled up its September 2015 schedule. It released data from 23 markets Tuesday (Tampa was delayed) and 24 markets the following day (Wednesday, 9/30). You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations in those 47 markets here. Simultaneous with that, TALKERS magazine’s sister radio trade pub RadioInfo enthusiastically unveils an augmented modification of our already powerful ratings coverage as managing editor Mike Kinosian expands his “Top Ten Takeaways” to encompass all markets every month. In this “Twelve Takeaways” overview, we focus on noteworthy happenings in Riverside, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, Columbus, San Jose, and Austin. The September 2015 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. Check ’em out here.
West Virginia-Based Host Caiden Cowger Becomes ‘Youngest’ Syndicated Talk Personality. Via his own Cowger Nation Media Network, 17-year-old Caiden Cowger embarks on a venture syndicating his eponymous talk show. The program airs on WBUC, Buckhannon, West Virginia; WFSB, Quitman, Georgia; and newest affiliate WXMB, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and others. Cowger says his interest in becoming a talk radio host began at an early age. “When I was around seven or eight, I recall going with my grandpa into a bookstore and picked up a book titled, It’s My America Too, by Ben Ferguson (generally recognized as the youngest talk host – at age 20 – to be nationally syndicated ). I remember thinking, ‘Wow, it would really be neat if I could do something like that.’ About five years later, I began my radio career.” Cowger names Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin as his influences and also recognizes American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer and Fisher’s producer Jeff Reed as being supportive mentors for his talk radio career. See Cowger’s website here.
Odds & Sods. New York City sports pro Jared Max joins the FOX News organization. FOX News Headlines 24/7 brings the radio pro aboard to serve as a sports reporter and provide up-to-the-minute sports coverage for the new SiriusXM satellite radio channel that launches on October 5. Max’s resume includes time working for CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York; ESPN O&O WEPN, New York; WFAN, New York, and Bloomberg Radio…..The newly partnered Ryen Russillo and Danny Kanell are getting a video simulcast for their ESPN Radio sports talk show. Effective Monday, October 5, the Russillo & Kanell show will be simulcast from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the sports giant’s ESPNEWS channel…..A note from E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee – the station announces it has re-signed with the NBA’s Bucks to continue to serve as the flagship station for the Bucks Radio Network. Station vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer comments, “The Milwaukee Bucks organization is in a tremendous building and growing phase, and is a vital part of our community. WTMJ has been a proud partner with the Bucks for many years and we’re excited to continue to serve as the Bucks radio home for years to come.”…..In observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Entercom’s news/talk WORD, Greenville, South Carolina is presenting a two-hour special program on Tuesday, October 6. The program is being hosted by the station’s Jenna Kochenauer – herself a victim of domestic abuse – with special guest panelists Sharon Totherow, director of local non-profit Domestic Violence Assistance; Judy Munson, assistant solicitor, domestic violence division, 13th Circuit Court; and Carl Smith, a local counselor with experience working with batterers through an intensive treatment and counseling program.
U.S.-Russia Syria Tensions Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of Sept 28 – Oct 2. The military action begin taken in Syria by Russia and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin over the matter was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was a tie between Donald Trump’s tax plan and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016. Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., including his reported meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, followed by the House hearing with Planned Parenthood exec Cecile Richards at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Ken Charles to Program All-News KNX, Los Angeles. Longtime iHeartMedia news and talk programmer Ken Charles joins CBS RADIO as the new program director of the company’s KNX, Los Angeles “1070 Newsradio.” Charles, who exited his post as iHeartMedia Sacramento’s vice president of programming and national brand manager for news, talk and sports earlier this year, says of his new post, “I can’t wait to begin working for CBS RADIO, a company committed to local news, and the team of award-winning professionals at KNX, L.A.’s heritage home for local news and traffic. I’m thankful to Chris Oliviero, Scott Herman, [CBS RADIO Los Angeles SVP/market manager] Dan Kearney, and Kevin Weatherly for giving me this incredible opportunity.” Kearney adds, “You’d be hard-pressed to find a programmer with as much experience and success in the news format as Ken. He is one of the most respected managers of news operations in the country and during this seminal, fast-changing period of how people get their news, he is uniquely qualified to build upon KNX’s reputation as Southern California’s news, traffic and information authority.”
Steele Surfaces in Salisbury-Ocean City as Senior VP/Programming. One week from Monday (6/15) is Jimmy Steele‘s start date as iHeartMedia Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland’s senior vice president of programming. Regional market president Chris Walus states, “Jimmy has an extraordinary record of success in leading operations, developing formats, and coaching top-tier personalities. This – coupled with his remarkable skill for driving breakthrough revenue growth – set Jimmy apart from the pack. Our team is excited and eager for him to start.” Steele remarks that he is “truly grateful and excited for the opportunity to reunite with iHeartMedia” and is looking forward “to working with Chris Walus, along with senior vice president of programming Jon Zellner and regional programming manager Dave Symonds, in advancing our strong and diverse brands in the Salisbury-Ocean City market.” Not to be confused with Emmis vice president of programming/rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106,” Los Angeles program director Jimmy Steal, Jimmy Steele previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia San Diego, and Columbus’ regional vice president of programming. The company’s Salisbury-Ocean City operation consists of urban AC WSBY “Magic 98.9”; WJDY “Newsradio 1470”; CHR WKZP “Kiss 95.9”; adult contemporary WQHQ “Q-105”; WTGM “Fox Sports 960”; and country WWFG “Froggy 99.9.”
Columbus’ Wolfe Family to Sell Print Assets, Retain Broadcast Properties. The publishers of the Columbus Dispatch (part of the Dispatch Printing Company) are selling the Columbus, Ohio daily along with 24 suburban weeklies and seven magazines to New York-based New Media Investment Group. The Wolfe family will remain in the broadcasting business with its two television stations – WBNS-TV, Columbus and WTHR-TV, Indianapolis – as well as its RadiOhio subsidiary that operates sports talk radio simulcast WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus. As reported in The Dispatch, chairman and publisher John Wolfe states, “We are proud of our 110-year legacy of family ownership of The Dispatch, and the newspaper’s heritage of quality journalism and community involvement. However, the past two decades of accelerating and challenging change in the newspaper industry made it clear to us that maintaining a single-city, family-owned paper in this environment was untenable long-term.”
NPR’s Lesher Succumbs to Stomach Cancer. Staffers received word yesterday (Wednesday, 6/3) that NPR associate editor for news operations Jim Lesher lost his battle against stomach cancer; he was just 46 years old. NPR managing editor Chuck Holmes explains, “Jim’s value to this newsroom was so apparent that I once joked with him that I was going to make up a wanted poster with his photo: ‘Jim Lesher: Most Wanted Man at NPR.'” Executive producer for newscasts Robert Garcia states, “There is an entire news organization full of heavy and broken hearts. If the measure of a man is how much he is loved and appreciated by others, Jim was successful beyond his wildest dreams.” Washington, D.C.-area native Lesher joined NPR as an intern soon after graduating from Catholic University in 1990. His parents; a sister; and two nephews are among his survivors.
Odds & Sods. San Antonio-based talk show host Adam McManus is sitting in for Iowa talk personality Simon Conway on WMT, Cedar Rapids Monday, June 8 through Wednesday, June 17 from 9:00am to 11:00 am…..Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will make weekly appearances on CBS RADIO’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” this season. Roethlisberger will appear Tuesdays at 11:00 am on the “Cook & Poni Show.”…..KOIL, Omaha held its “Bob Bruce Experience 4 Blue” rally in support of the police in honor of officer Kerrie Orozco, who died in the line of duty on May 20, a day before she was to take maternity leave. The “Bob Bruce Experience 4 Blue” was a two-week appreciation campaign during which KOIL broadcast free commercials for merchants providing complimentary services to Omaha law enforcement officers on June 3.
Patriotic Rock Band Madison Rising forms Non-Profit ‘Shows for Heroes.’ Industry pros attending the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12 will see the new video from the patriotic rock band Madison Rising (pictured here). The band just announced that is has formed a 501(c)3 chartered organization that will assist in covering the costs associated with having the group perform at military bases, veteran organizations and first responder events. Madison Rising has an especially strong following among military personnel, veterans and first responders, and is often asked to do performances around the country by organizations that simply cannot afford to cover the costs associated with travel and production. With the creation of Madison Rising Shows For Heroes, tax-deductible contributions from individual and corporate donors will allow Madison Rising to provide more live performances for the men and women who have given so much of themselves.
ISIS Military Progress, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Sinking Obama Approval Ratings, Baltimore Murder Rate Soars, Obama Trade Deal, Duggar Family Scandal, Police Kill Boston Terror Suspect, Texas Open Carry Challenge, Caitlyn Jenner Story, FIFA Corruption Case, and NBA-NHL Finals Amoong Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/3). Concern over ISIS’ military success in Iraq and Syria and the U.S. military’s Iraq policy; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and the entrance of Republican George Pataki and Democrat Lincoln Chafee into the races; chatter about the dip in approval ratings for President Obama; the escalating murder rate in Baltimore in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death; the state of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal; the sexual scandal plaguing the Duggar family, stars of ’19 Kids and Counting’; the police shooting death of a terror suspect in Boston; the challenge of Texas’ open carry law; Bruce Jenner’s gender transition and new Caitlyn identity; the far-reaching effects of the FIFA corruption case; and the finals in both the NBA and the NHL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KFI’s Internal Shuffling “Replaces” Limbaugh. Rather than bringing in another host to cover the gaping hole left by Rush Limbaugh, it looks like Clear Channel, Los Angeles talker KFI will adjust the times of some of its existing personalities. Morning talent Bill Handel will apparently get to sleep an extra hour, as he will handle 6:00 am – 10:00 am duties (from 5:00 am – 9:00 am), while Bill Carroll will adjust to 10:00 am – 2:00 pm from 12:00 noon – 3:00pm. In place of their 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm shift, afternoon drivers John & Ken will extend one more hour to 7:00 pm. Tim Conway Jr. remains at 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, with syndicated talent George Noory following until 5:00 am. As of today, Gary Hoffmann debuts the 5:00 am – 6:00 am “Wake-up Call.” These moves are necessitated owing to Limbaugh transitioning from powerhouse KFI to co-owned, newly re-branded KEIB “The Patriot” (formerly KTLK-AM).
Gann Going to San Antonio as WOAI – KTKR PD. Brian Gann is leaving Journal Broadcast Group Tulsa to program Clear Channel San Antonio news/talk WOAI and sports KTKR “The Ticket.” According to president and market manager Marlene Trevino, “We are very fortunate to have Brian join our team in San Antonio. He brings a wealth of experience to WOAI and KTKR and we look forward to the bright future ahead under his leadership.” Gann comments, “I am excited to have the opportunity to help lead WOAI and ‘The Ticket.’ There is a terrific team in place there and I am honored to be able to join them.” While in Tulsa, Gann was operations manager of adult hits KBEZ “Bob FM,” KFAQ “Tulsa’s Talk Radio,” CHR KHTT “K-Hits,” KVOO “Today’s Country Variety,” and classic country KXBL “Big Country.” He starts his San Antonio assignment in one week (1/30).
Mark Arum Gets Nightly Show at WSB, Atlanta. Traffic reporter Mark Arum is taking over the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daily show at Cox Media Atlanta’s news/talk WSB after handling weekend and fill-in roles at the station. This new gig comes in addition to his traffic reporter roles at WSB-TV, news/talk WSB-AM and hot AC WSB-FM “B98.5.” As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, Arum replaces Adam Goldfein who exited the late show role at the end of 2013 for personal reasons. Arum tells Ho that he’s been wanting a daily show since his arrival at WSB in 1997. Cox Media did give him a chance to host a daily show at its Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut stations back in 2008 and he says it provided “invaluable experience.”
Learfield’s Worsham, Boman, Heim Elevated to Senior Positions. Missouri-based Learfield Communications promotes Aaron Worsham, Tom Boman, and Jennifer Heim. Worsham advances from vice president to senior vice president of affiliate relations and operations; broadcast manager Boman is boosted to vice president of broadcast operations; and corporate controller Heim becomes vice president/corporate controller. Worsham and Boman manage the company’s sports operations division, which oversees all aspects related to broadcast talent and station relationships for Learfield Sports’ radio networks as part of its multimedia rights partnerships with university athletic programs. Senior vice president/chief content officer Joe Ferreira comments, “Aaron and Tom have exhibited outstanding leadership and execution skills throughout their tenure at Learfield Sports and have taken our industry-leading audio business to great heights. Producing and managing thousands of broadcasts annually for our 50-plus networks, key flagship and affiliate partners and digital distribution networks is a daunting task. These well-deserved promotions reflect growth and success in all areas.” Meanwhile, chief financial officer Matt Hupfeld states, “Jennifer is a true professional who has proven to be an excellent asset to Learfield. She is well deserving of assuming the vice president role and we know she will continue to do an outstanding job.” Worsham has been with Learfield since 1999. Prior to joining the company in 2006, Boman was a producer with the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network and Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles. CPA Heim’s background includes being a financial manager for Brookstone and a senior auditor for several companies.
Michael Smerconish to Publish First Novel About Conservative Talk Show Host. The book is titled, Talk (Cider Mill Press 2014) and is due out in May. But as Michael Smerconish tells the Washington Post, “My highest purpose is to entertain…a lot of it is fake.” Still, readers of the book about a fictional conservative talk host from Florida who finds himself in the thick of a hotly contested presidential race, will probably find a lot of what transpires culled from the reality of the talk radio business in which Michael Smerconish has dwelt during his career. Now working at SiriusXM after years on AM/FM radio, Smerconish ruffled some feathers when he left for satellite radio saying, in effect, he felt the requirement talk hosts on AM/FM be easily pigeonholed was holding him, and the industry, back. Previews of the book indicate that while this is fiction, Smerconish just may be taking a few shots at the facet of the industry he left behind as he tells his story.
Opinion: Hang On A Minute, Bill. Weighing in on the Bill O’Reilly’s recent “promotion” for Pandora, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian observes: “On the positive side, Bill O’Reilly last week let known his partisanship for one particular iconic American vocal group on his Fox News Channel television program. Conversely, terrestrial music radio programmers just might remember certain comments he made should O’Reilly ever look to them to plug his next book or project on that platform. In an approximately 45-second “Tip of the Day” segment, the “O’Reilly Factor” host gave a thumbs-up to Pandora over terrestrial radio. “Do you like music,” he queried. “I do [and] there are plenty of free ways to get it. The easiest way is to turn on the radio.” So far, so good. Then O’Reilly said, “The problem with the radio is that for every good song there are three bad songs. So, you can hear [good songs] like The Beach Boys‘ ‘Help Me Rhonda,’ [and] ‘Fun, Fun, Fun.’ [Those are] good songs, but then you’ll hear ‘Hang on Sloopy’ – painful.” Off-camera laughter was audible as O’Reilly winced at the thought of The McCoys‘ song. His advice was to have his audience “check out” Pandora.com’s free website. In amazement, he remarked about the logistics of typing “the song you like and you get the song played to you. Then, you get other songs similar to it [so] you are basically creating your own radio station. Let me know what you think.” After having mentioned Pandora by name three times in under one minute, O’Reilly insisted he “had no interest in that website at all.” His motive was to tell his audience because, “I like you.” Not to nitpick the host, but his mention of “Help Me Rhonda” and “Fun, Fun, Fun” sounded like one run-on title, especially since he said, “That is a good song.” Moreover, he was only able to cite one “painful” tune, compared to two good ones. Whether or not by coincidence, the three specific titles O’Reilly mentioned were from the mid-1960s. We wonder if he has heard of YouTube yet.
Plans Underway for Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit. The event celebrating the life of Ron Ruth will take place next month (Tuesday, 2/25) at the New York Friars Club and is being organized by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) in conjunction with the Broadcasters Foundation. Actively arranging the festivities for their late broadcast colleague are The Friends of Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit Committee consisting of Erica Farber, Norm Feuer, George Hyde, Bill Moyes, Herb McCord, Jeff Smulyan, Jim Thompson, and Erle Younker. A portion of the proceeds from the $250 ticket price will be donated to the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund at the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Ruth was executive vice president of stations for the RAB for 19 years. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the Radio Advertising Bureau in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the RAB. He died of a heart attack this past November 16 in Florida.
New York Festivals International Radio Competition Announces Call for Entries. Now through March 19, the New York Festivals is accepting entries for the 32nd annual “World’s Best Radio Programs” competition. This competition is unique in that entries are received from between 30 and 50 nations across the globe each year. Competition executive director Rose Anderson tells TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian that global scope is important, “One thing that is most important to us is that we make New York Festivals Radio Program Awards a destination for people all over the world who are creating radio that is interesting, innovative, and of very high quality.” Anderson adds that the grand jury members (judges) enjoy the high quality of radio they review. “They have consistently written comments that the quality of the entries is fantastic. People are entering material in drama, news, documentaries, talk, and music that continues to make new ways of telling stories. We have had entries from Radio Free Asia; from folks on the scene who described the riots in Cairo; and people from Romania who submitted amazing audio of drama.” With 130 headings, the scope of the competition is wide. To find out more about the New York Festivals Radio Program Awards, click here.
Cumulus ‘Big Game’ Party. The scene here is the Roseland Ballroom in New York City yesterday as Cumulus Media’s hot AC WPLJ; country WNSH “Nash FM 94.7,” and news/talk WABC come together to put on a ‘Big Game Party’ in honor of the NFL’s championship being decided in the nearby Met Life stadium in two weeks. Sunday’s event was hosted by Todd Pettengill of WPLJ. The venue was filled to capacity with over 3,000 guests enjoying a sports expo, playoff viewing party, station games, and food. Former New York Giants wide receiver and NBC Sports Radio Network personality Amani Toomer was on hand meeting the many loyal listeners! Pettengill states, “The first annual Cumulus Big Game Party was an absolute example of synergy. Three radio stations with different audiences, air staff’s, came together to make the perfect circle of success. I can’t wait for next January!” The evening concluded with a performance by Daughtry.
WCBS, New York Producer/Engineer Silva Dies. Radio producer and engineer Carlos Silva died at age 50 after a battle with stomach and esophageal cancer in Lutz, Florida on Sunday (1/19). Silva worked for CBS RADIO’s WCBS, New York where he produced New York Yankees broadcasts. He had also worked game broadcasts for ESPN Radio, the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia Phillies Spanish-language broadcasts, and the old New Jersey Nets.
Cool Job Opportunity. Syndication Specialist Needed – The Dave Ramsey Show, now the 3rd largest syndicated talk show in the nation with more than 530 affiliates, is in need of a Go-Getter willing to take on this growing demand. This person will work with our small- and mid-sized markets. Duties will consist of new market development as well as serving existing affiliates and building relationships. Our organization has been voted Best Place to Work in Nashville for six years in a row for a reason. If you think you have what it takes and are interested in working in an environment where you can learn and grow, we need to talk. Interested candidates apply at: http://www.daveramsey.com/company/view-all-jobs/
Eyes (and Ears!) on News/Talk Radio as Recent Ratings Trends Spur Criticism. As the September PPM data continues to roll out, industry watchers and mainstream media writers and analysts are scrutinizing talk radio’s numbers – as well as its programming. Citing a perceived slow-but-steady decline in ratings for the news/talk format in general, critics are wondering if the political “right-versus-left” programming philosophy has become tiresome to all but the staunchest news/talk radio fans and is resulting in the generally lower numbers in Nielsen Audio’s PPM and diary ratings. Some high-profile cases have been cited, including KFI, Los Angeles’ decline in 6+ PPM ratings over the past year from being one of the country’s best-performing news/talk stations in one of America’s most vibrant markets. Just today (10/2), Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the state of Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago and its declining place in the ratings race. The reasons for the states of these stations are open to analysis – including, but not limited to, the possibility that Nielsen Audio’s PPM methodology is less than perfect – and could easily vary from market to market. When talking ratings, what are usually not included in the recent criticism of news/talk as a format are: the #1 showing for Cox Media’s WSB-AM, Atlanta (which carries the oft-maligned Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity); Cumulus’ WMAL, Washington’s rise in the September PPM; CBS Radio’s high-flying KMOX, St. Louis; Bonneville’s steady-performing KIRO-FM, Seattle; Cox’s WOKV, Jacksonville; and the two Milwaukee news/talk outlets that have consistently performed as two of the top six stations over the last year – Clear Channel’s WISN and Journal’s WTMJ. Constant awareness and analysis of the sound and perception of one’s stations are the hallmarks of good operators and effective programmers should care about how the format is perceived. But discovering what’s “wrong” with a format or a station is not easy and not always possible given the limited information available. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The first people out there ready to proclaim news/talk radio as being dead are usually people who see the world primarily through a political lens who disagree with the ideology of the hosts they dislike. Political news/talk radio is cyclical and will always come back from the brink when there’s inevitably a new chapter in contemporary issues. Regardless, the good thing that hopefully will come out of this ratings down-tick will be some of the major operators giving consideration to different forms of talk and even news/talk that are just being ignored. There are so many potential ways of doing ‘talk radio’ it is crazy for so many stations to bunch up around one predominant style. Everyone should spread out and claim and develop new territory on the spectrum of possibilities.” This topic will be one of those addressed at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference taking place next Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.
Nielsen Begins Synergies; Sean Creamer and Debra Delman to Exit Ratings Giant. Nielsen responded quickly to TALKERS last week after we reported that the “$20 million in synergies” the company hopes to realize with the acquisition of the former Arbitron would cost jobs. The company stated it had “no plans to reduce headcount at this time.” Perhaps that applies to the rank and file and not the executive strata because it’s now being reported that former Arbitron CEO Sean Creamer and CFO Debra Delman will leave Nielsen at the end of the year. Though Nielsen has not released a statement about the changes, it’s expected that other executives may also be headed for the door. Both Creamer, Delman and most of the other high-level execs who might follow the two have clauses in their contracts that will give them very nice golden parachutes. Creamer could realize almost $7 million in total compensation and Delman’s take is just shy of $2 million.
ESPN Deportes Radio Extends NFL Deal. Sports giant ESPN reports that its ESPN Deportes Radio unit has reached a new multi-year agreement for media rights to the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 National Football League seasons. Under the agreement, the network will have exclusive Spanish-language rights to Monday Night Football, the 2013-2014 National Football Conference Playoffs, the 2014 Super Bowl, 2015 Pro Bowl and the 2014-2015 American Football Conference Playoffs. ESPN Deportes Radio general manager Oscar Ramos says, “We’re incredibly excited to add NFL to our diverse roster of programming. U.S. Hispanics are becoming avid NFL fans and this new deal allows us to deliver the content they want in the language they prefer.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Diane Warren and Jean Robinson – MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology). In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media brokers Diane Warren and Jean Robinson of MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology) located in San Antonio, Texas. MMTC Media Brokers specializes in locating properties and selling them to potential minority, multicultural and women buyers. In addition to telling their fascinating story, they share several outstanding opportunities that they have among their listings that would be of interest to first-time buyers. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer Featured on SiriusXM ‘Town Hall.’ CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer (left) recently took part in SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series for a Q&A with SiriusXM personality Pete Dominick (right). The program will be aired on Friday, October 4 on its Indie channel. The conversation – which took place before an audience of SiriusXM listeners – covered financial markets, fiscal trends, the economic state of the nation, and the story of Cramer’s personal road from hedge fund manager to popular CNBC host. Dominick is a stand-up comedian who has opened up for Cramer on his “Mad Money Back to School Tour.”
Two Weeks in a Kennel Reaps Rewards for KIDO’s Kevin Miller. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (right) is pictured here with ASPCA senior director Tami McReynolds (left) and Canyon County Animal Shelter director Barb Hutchinson (center) showing off the check for $35,000 the CCAS received after Miller helped get more than 300 animals adopted. To achieve that and win the $35,000 prize, Miller spent two weeks living in a makeshift kennel from which he broadcast his morning program. The contest is national in scope and – with Miller’s help – the CCAS is the only shelter to win the prize twice.
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Enrollment Begins, Scrapped Hillary Clinton Programs, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1). The battle between the GOP and the Obama Administration and the government shutdown; the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act begins; two television projects on the life of Hillary Clinton are scrapped; possible diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.S. and the former’s nuclear program; and the effects of the government shutdown on the U.S. financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.