Sarasota Talk Station Owner Says, “AM Radio Is the Future of Radio!” Time and time again, the question is asked, “What does the future hold for AM radio?” Articles are written with predictions of AM’s demise due to the lack of interest of the “Millennials,” or how internet and satellite radio will make it almost impossible for AM to compete in such a fickle industry. While these predictions seem to make sense to the untrained ear, WSRQ, Sarasota owner/GM Susan Nilon writes, “It reminds me of a time several decades earlier when experts attributed the demise of movie theaters due to the advent of the video cassette recorder. Or the slow death of vinyl records, due to the portability and popularity of the compact disc. Well, here we are 30 years later, and the US and Canada box office revenue in 2013 was $10.9 billion with 68% of the population in attendance and ‘vinyl sales hit their highest level since at least 1991, with six million units sold’ according to industry data. While it’s fun and sometimes smart to try to predict the future, if these ‘predictions’ impact the decision makers of this industry by encouraging them to enter into a self-fulfilling prophecy of AM radio, then they are not only short-sighted, but are foolish as well.” Nilon goes on to provide a solution to avoid the danger of this negative syndrome in a new article posted today (8/28) in TALKERS. To read it, please click here.
New Challenge for Dan Snyder’s “Redskins” Problem. As you know, the critics of the NFL’s Washington Redskins team name are getting more persistent but now a George Washington University professor is vowing to challenge the FCC-granted licenses of radio outlets that carry Redskins football play-by-play. In a piece in Broadcasting & Cable by John Eggerton, professor John Banzhaf lays out a laundry list of tactics – starting with challenging the licenses of stations owned by Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra Broadcasting that carry Washington football – to force the name change. Banzhaf tells B&C/Multichannel News, “One could argue by analogy to obscenities (including even fleeting ones), to hate speech, to profanity (‘including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance’), to the Drug Lyrics Policy, or more generally that using racist derogatory words on the air when it isn’t necessary isn’t consistent with the legal requirement to operate in the ‘public interest, convenience, and necessity.’” It’s not difficult to imagine the arguments that could be made in court surrounding many of Banzhaf’s potential tactics and most raise the issue of the FCC getting involved in regulating content beyond obscenity. Read the entire piece here.
WSCR, Chicago Fills Dan McNeil’s Shoes with Former Bear Patrick Mannelly. The CBS RADIO sports talk station didn’t take long to find a partner for midday personality Matt Spiegel after contract talks finally ended with longtime WSCR personality Dan McNeil. Recently retired Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly will join Spiegel for “The Spiegel and Mannelly Show, effective September 2. In a press release, “The Score” program director Mitch Rosen says, “For Mannelly to join our team just a couple months removed from playing for the Bears and the NFL is what makes this work so well. His insight, opinions and energy will make this a terrific Chicago sports radio show. Spiegel and Mannelly bring a great mix of intelligent sports content and insider knowledge to our team.”
Jeff Zito Named Afternoon Personality at Fort Myers Sports Talker. Market pro Jeff Zito – who is well known for his work with former partner Bob Garrett on the “Zito and Garrett” show that aired on crosstown talk WXRK and rock WJBX – is joining Sun Broadcasting’s sports talk duo WFWN, Fort Myers/WNOG, Naples “1240/1270 The Fan” to host the afternoon drive show. Other changes at the station include the addition of DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick in late mornings and CBS Sports Radio Network programming in the evenings. Program director Joseph Lopez says, “I am very excited for the new additions to ‘The Fan!’ I honestly feel with [morning host] Thom Abraham and Jeff giving the community their local takes plus national voices as well respected as Dan Patrick and Jim Rome, this makes for the best sports lineup Southwest Florida has ever seen.”
Lineup Changes at Hubbard’s WFED, Washington. A new role is created for current morning drive co-host Emily Kopp at Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio.” Kopp will leave her role alongside morning host Tom Temin to begin serving as a full-time reporter for the station’s digital and radio operations, effective September 2. As such she will contribute to the morning program and will be featured on the Francis Rose-hosted “In-Depth” program. At the same time, current morning digital writer/editor Shefali Kapadia becomes producer of the morning show and the station will hire a new digital writer to fill her current position. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe states, “Emily has quite a bit of expertise that we can now take full advantage of. She will become our special correspondent at the intersection of radio and digital news. Her reporting, writing and video skills will help enhance the efforts of the entire organization.”
Klonk Chosen as Connoisseur Connecticut Promotions Chief. Former classic rock WCCC, Hartford promotion director and on-air talent Klonk is appointed promotion director for Connoisseur Media Connecticut. Regional operations manager Keith Dakin observes that, “Klonk not only has strong name recognition in the market, but has the experience and knowledge of this area that these stations truly need. She will be an immediate asset as we continue to redefine our stations.” Klonk states, “I am very excited to start the next chapter of my radio career at such a great station and company. I’m very grateful for this great opportunity that Connoisseur Connecticut has given me; it is an honor to be a part of this fantastic team.” Klonk – who begins her new assignment next Tuesday (9/2) – spent over 10 years at WCCC. When Educational Media Foundation acquired WCCC from Marlin Broadcasting the first of this month (8/1), it transitioned the station to its contemporary Christian K-LOVE format. Connoisseur Media Connecticut consists of WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut,” Hartford; classic hits WDRC-FM, Hartford; talk WMMW, Meriden; talk WSNG, Torrington; and talk WWCO, Waterbury.
Portland Media Deal to Give Thom Hartmann and Carl Wolfson Better Market Coverage. After the demise two years ago of progressive talker KPOJ, Portland, fans of personalities such as local host Carl Wolfson and national figure Thom Hartmann were relegated to hearing them online via XRAY.fm or on 7-watt low power FM KXRY. Now, Willamette Week reports a deal with MetroEast Community Media will give the two personalities more coverage as they will also be heard on translator K296FT at 107.1 which covers more of the metro – especially the southwestern suburbs. The deal will be fully consummated this fall and will create a non-commercial trifecta that will include talk, news and music.
Odds & Sods. A new channel is debuting on SiriusXM as the satcaster and the Turner Broadcasting-owned Bleacher Report agree to program a new sports destination. In a statement, SiriusXM says Bleacher Report is “the leading digital destination for team-specific sports content and real-time event coverage and is one of the fastest-growing digital properties in the U.S.” SiriusXM began airing a daily Bleacher Report-branded show in 2013 and now expands to give it a full channel of its own…..Fans of Western Michigan University sports will still be able to hear play-by-play on Midwest Communications stations as the school and the company have extended their deal in the Kalamazoo market that will have alternative WZOX serve as the flagship for football, men’s basketball and hockey…..The Philadelphia Eagles and CBS RADIO‘s “SportsRadio 94WIP” are announcing the annual Eagles Radiothon hits the airwaves at 6:00 am on Tuesday, September 2 and closes on Thursday, September 4 at 6:00 pm. Fans will be able to bid on exclusive sports and entertainment prizes with many involving their favorite Eagles players and “SportsRadio 94WIP” personalities. All proceeds benefit Eagles Youth Partnership’s vital health and education programs that serve over 50,000 low-income children in the area.
The Conclave Announces Dates, Tuition for November Conference. The 39th annual Conclave Learning Conference will be held November 14-15, 2014 at the Crown Plaza Hotel Airport in Minneapolis, and is presented in partnership with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association (MBA). The Conclave announces that the deadline to save $50 on early bird registration for the event is August 31. After that, registration jumps from $249 to $299. To register, visit theconclave.com.
Obama Climate Change Ploy, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, ISIS Campaigns/U.S. Military Policy in Iraq and Syria, Michael Brown Death Aftermath, Burger King Leaving America Controversy, Ebola Threat, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, and ESPN’s Michael Sam Shower Story Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). Reports that President Obama plans to skirt the Senate for a global climate change treaty; new indications Russia is backing Ukrainian rebels with military force; the ISIS campaigns and U.S. military policy in Iraq and Syria; talk about race relations in America and police brutality against minorities in the wake of the Michael Brown death in Ferguson, Missouri; controversy over Burger King’s plans to merge with Tim Horton’s and avoid the U.S. corporate tax rate; the ongoing threat of an Ebola pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and chatter about the frontrunners in the 2016 presidential race; and ESPN’s apology for its story about openly gay NFL player Michael Sam’s showering habits were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jason Lewis Quits Radio On Air. The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host abruptly quit his radio program some 24 minutes into his Thursday evening show Tweeting, “Today I left the radio biz for something better.” The Pioneer Press reports Jason Lewis told Clear Channel Minneapolis president and market manager Mike Crusham he intended to retire on August 1 (Lewis’ show was based out of KTLK, Minneapolis). “He told me two months ago he intended to retire August 1. He decided not to go public with it until today. I think he is serious about it. I hope he is not. He is one of the best talk show hosts I have ever worked with or listened to.” Lewis posted a video at Galt.io – his new venture – that explains his Ayn Randian views on government and society. You can view that here.
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil on the Ropes? As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WSCR, Chicago sports talk personality Dan McNeil – off of his midday show now for the past eight weeks while in what’s assumed are contract negotiations – and his superiors at the CBS RADIO station are preparing for his permanent departure. CBS Chicago SVP and market manager Rod Zimmerman tells Feder the two sides have been communicating but talks appear to be all but exhausted and the sense is that the two are not finding mutual ground. McNeil reportedly wants a pay increase from about $300,000 per year to $500,000 and he wants to move to afternoon drive and Feder reports Zimmerman is not amenable to either. Read Feder’s column here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: “Howard B. Price: Being Prepared for Emergencies.” Today (8/1) marks the 14th and concluding business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last June’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a very special presentation by Howard B. Price, director/business continuity, ABC Radio News, titled “It’s Not IF, But WHEN: Preparing Your Station or Network for Emergent Events, Large or Small.” Price cites a set of real life examples of what can happen to broadcasting facilities in terms of invasions by demented listeners or local disasters – natural and otherwise — that impair their ability to broadcast and threaten the lives and well-being of the local population. He goes on to offer a detailed explanation of key steps that should be taken in advance of such events. Price is introduced by national syndicated talk star Doug Stephan who says that he would expect and hope to be pre-empted by his affiliates if they were faced with a local life-threatening calamity. He would even be “embarrassed” to be on the air during such an event and coming across as being oblivious to it. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “Howard B. Price is, indeed, an industry hero. His presentation, that concluded our conference on a compelling note, is chock-full of truths and valuable information that address the very heart and soul of our roles as broadcasters. We didn’t catch some of the images of his accompanying power point presentation in our one-camera shoot – but with a speaker the caliber of Price at the helm, absolutely none of the vital information was lost.” To view Howard B. Price’s address, please click here. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo. They will remain posted through the remainder of 2014.
Odds & Sods. Southern California sports media personality Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton exits Broadcast Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’d been co-hosting the Padres pre-game show. Hamilton had been in morning drive at the station until this past January. He’s now operating his own eponymous website and seeking his next opportunity…..Former Minnesota Governor (and radio talk show host) Jesse Ventura debuts his “We the People with Jesse Ventura” podcast on Adam Carolla’s Carolla Digital platform. The weekly podcast will also be available via iTunes…..The on-air lineup for coverage of Houston Texans football on sports talk KILT-AM (and on sister country KILT-FM) is set as Marc Vandermeer and Andre Ware will handle the play-by-play. KILT-AM personality Rich Lord will host the pre-game show with John Lopez and former Texan Seth Payne. KILT-AM personality Sean Pendergast, Mike Meltser and Ted Johnson host the post-game show and crosstown KGOW host John Harris joins the radio network for sideline reporter work…..Westwood One brings Jason Benetti aboard as a college football play-by-play announcer. His first game will be the network’s coverage of the Wisconsin vs LSU game on August 30. Benetti most recently was media director and play-by-play announcer for the Syracuse Chiefs minor league franchise.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New affiliate stations for the WYM Media-produced Leslie Marshall program include KTNF, Minneapolis; KTOX, Needles, California; WKBZ and WTKG, Grand Rapids; KNFO, Denver; KVOT, Taos, New Mexico; KTRC, Santa Fe, New Mexico; WNYY, Syracuse; and WHMP, Northampton, Massachusetts…..Nationally syndicated home improvement show “The Money Pit” with Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete is added to the program schedule at WOBM, Lakewood Township and WADB, Asbury Park, New Jersey; KARN-FM, Little Rock; and KRCN, Denver-Longmont…..The “Racing to Success Minute” feature with host Nadine Lajoie is added to the “Mind Your Own Business Radio Show” WLOB, Portland, Maine.
Obama Impeachment Chatter Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 28-August 1. The talk about GOP leaders pushing for impeachment of President Obama and the Democrats’ use of the matter as a fundraising tool was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the U.S. House’s vote to authorize a lawsuit against President Obama for unconstitutional action. Following at #3 was the ongoing Gaza Strip violence and at #4 was the U.S. immigration policy and the border crisis in the Southwest. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: David Bernstein Moderates “The State of Local Talk Radio” Panel. Today (7/21) marks the fifth business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful “The State of Local Talk Radio” panel moderated by TALKERS general manager/broadcast operations David Bernstein. The panel – introduced by rising talk star Ethan Bearman of KSFO, San Francisco — features an array of leading local radio figures including Michael “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM Salem Communications-New York; Lee Harris, morning anchor, 1010WINS, New York; McGraw Milhaven, morning host, KTRS, St. Louis; and Larry Young, morning host, WOLB, Baltimore. The panel, described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “excellent and inspiring,” covers an array of topics including the most effective use of social media by local radio, the power of community news and human interest stories, how to cover large, diverse metropolitan areas and their suburbs, the emerging powerful relationship between local radio and newspapers, the revenue benefits of local broadcasting and the true meaning of “local” as opposed to superficial lip-service, among others. The theme of the session is summed up by Larry Young, the 18-year morning host of African American community talk station WOLB, Baltimore, who states, “The most important aspect in local radio is making sure that the constituency you serve feels that you are doing your job to keep them informed. Information is power and the more information you give them, the more apt they are to listen to you.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Anyone who is championing the cause of local radio should not only view this amazing video, but show it to anyone willing to watch who has influence over the course radio is taking during these delicate, transitional times.” To view “The State of Local Talk Radio” please click here. Coming tomorrow: “The Talkers Awards Ceremony – Part 1 – Presentation of the Humanitarian of the Year Award” emceed by Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Broadcaster by Talk Media, Inc. CEO Carole Marks to WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
KMJ-AM/FM Promotes Blake Taylor to PD. After the recent departure of Skip Essick from the program director post at Cumulus Media’s news/talk combo KMJ-FM and KMJ-AM in Fresno, APD/news director/morning news anchor Blake Taylor is promoted to the position. Taylor joined the stations in 2007 after spending five years serving as program director at KERN, Bakersfield. Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey comments, “Blake Taylor’s news experience, digital savvy and competitive energy make him the perfect PD to bring a new generation of listeners to the legendary KMJ-AM and FM. We’re pleased that Blake continues to grow with Cumulus Media.” Taylor adds, “I’ve served as news director at KMJ for almost seven years now, and we’ve experienced some amazing growth during that time. But there are many more opportunities ahead as we continue to grow our audience while maintaining our position as the go-to breaking news station in California’s Central Valley. I look forward to taking on the challenge!”
Talent Moves at CBS RADIO’s ’92.9 The Game’ in Atlanta. After a year in morning drive at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game,” Jason Bailey (a.k.a. Buckethead) exits the station and Marc James moves from afternoon drive to the wake-up show alongside Randy Cross. Moving in to co-host afternoons with Carl Dukes is former crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” personality Mike Bell. Meanwhile, Bailey tells TALKERS he’s available for his next challenge. He’s repped by Paul Anderson, who can be reached at email@example.com. You can check out his website at: www.jasonbailey.com
Clear Channel Re-Brands Sports Talker KLSD, San Diego. Sports talk outlet KLSD, San Diego gets a makeover as the station is now “XTRA 1360 Fox Sports San Diego.” This marks a change from the station’s previous affiliation with NBC Sports Radio. As part of the changes, the station will become the local radio partner of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers airing play-by-play and broadcasting the “Chargers Power Hour Show” weekdays from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Steve Hartman returns to San Diego to host the “Loose Cannons” PM drive show with Mike Costa. For morning drive, Fox Sports Network’s Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth team up. In between, the station is airing FSRN’s Jay Mohr followed by Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick. Evenings will include “XTRA at Night” from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and “Fox Sports Tonight with Jason Smith” from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The changes take place today (7/21).
KABC, Los Angeles to Carry NHL’s Kings. The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will have a new radio home next season as Cumulus Media agrees to have news/talk KABC, Los Angeles serve as the team’s radio flagship for the next five years. The Los Angeles Times reports that the news will be made official today. The move from Clear Channel’s KEIB to KABC may fuel speculation that KABC could flip to sports in order to allow Cumulus to air the CBS Sports Radio Network on the signal. CBS Radio and Cumulus are partners in the syndication of the CBS Sports Radio Network. But it may be just that – speculation. For years rumors about a flip to sports by underperforming AM outlets have bounced around LA. Crosstown KFWB has long been part of that chatter although there’s probably little reason to believe the market needs another AM sports talker with three (KSPN, KLAC, KLAA) all hovering near a 1.0 share (Persons 6+, June 2014 PPM) or less.
Odds & Sods. Hard-working WHO, Des Moines-based talk personality Simon Conway (PM driver there) is doing double duty this week and next as he’s filling in on the morning show at Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “NewsRadio 102.5” today through Wednesday and then again next Monday – all in addition to his WHO duties…..Recently retired Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly joins CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR, Chicago for football-related broadcasts, including co-host of the Sunday Bears pre-game show and making appearances during the week on WSCR programs…..Broadway Media is exercising an option to buy sports talk KOVO, Provo, Utah from Simmons Media. The station is chock-full of regional programming with David James and Patrick Kinahan in mornings, Jake Scott and Tony Parks from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Hans Olsen and Scott Garrard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, and Spence Checketts and Gordon Monson in afternoon drive. These shows are simulcast from Simmon’s KZNS-AM, Salt Lake City and KZNS-FM, Coalville. KOVO is an NBC Sports Radio affiliate.
Covering the Downing of Flight 17. Pictured here in Maidan Square in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev is ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky who continues to report from Ukraine following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17.
J.D. Hayworth to Host Late Morning Show on Newsmax TV. One of the new programs on the Newsmax TV channel that is launching on both DirecTV and DISH Network is called “America’s Forum” with former U.S. Congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth. The show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and begins during the network’s soft launch this summer before the hard launch this fall. Hayworth, who has hosted a regular show in his home market on news/talk KFYI, Phoenix during his talk radio career, says he’s excited about engaging and serving the expanding audience on Newsmax TV. Newsmax Media founder and CEO Chris Ruddy says, “J.D. Hayworth is a smart, informed, and passionate host who is not afraid to speak his mind, and as a result we expect him to be one of our most watched and discussed personalities. With his experience in Washington, DC, we believe he can give our viewers unique insight into how Washington works.”
Legislation Inspired by Casey Kasem Ordeal Passes Legislative Hurdle. A bill making its way through the California legislative process that would give adult children reasonable access to an ailing parent cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee hurdle on a 6-0 vote. The bill was inspired by the Casey Kasem family’s well-documented situation. The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and it would protect children from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child. Since introducing the legislation in January, Assemblyman Gatto has been contacted by hundreds of people who have been denied access to their ailing parents, and has been working closely with several of them, including radio and television personality Kerri Kasem (pictured here during testimony earlier this week). Recently, Kasem spoke publicly for the first time since her father’s passing last week. She shared her struggle to obtain even basic visitation rights during Casey’s final hours. She also emphasized that her story is not unique to celebrities, a point underscored when she presented a stack of letters representing a small sample of the thousands of letters she has received from folks across the country with similar stories of heartache. View that video here. Kasem said, “I saw my father every single week, talked to him every day, until he lost his voice, every day on the phone, and we were cut off for no reason last July. If this bill had been in place, my dad would still be alive today.” Former radio industry pro, attorney, and district chief of staff for Assemblyman Gatto, Jason Insalaco, played an important role in crafting this bill. Insalaco has worked at numerous Southern California radio outlets – including former hot talk KLSX and news/talk KFI – during his career.
Status of WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Uncertain. From Chicago media writer Robert Feder, sports talk personality Dan McNeil has been off the air at CBS RADIO’s WSCR as he’s in contract negotiations and guest hosts have been filling in with 9:00 am to 1:00 pm co-host Matt Spiegel. Feder reports that McNeil, who’s had his share of personal issues – dealing with substance abuse and depression – makes about $300,000 and is seeking in the neighborhood of $500,000 in his new contract. Feder also reports McNeil has made no secret of the fact he’d like to be in afternoon drive, not middays. Read Feder’s entire story here.
CBS Radio Philly in Done-Deal with Didinger. Among facets of the just-signed pact with CBS Radio-owned Philadelphia sports outlet WIP-FM, Saturday’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm “Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow Show” will be expanded to include a Sunday version. WIP operations manager Andy Bloom declares, “Ray is one of the most respected and revered authorities in Philly sports. Our simple goal was to ensure Ray spends his entire radio career playing for one team, CBS Radio Philadelphia. We think with this agreement we have accomplished that goal.” Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Didinger is “very happy” to continue his relationship with WIP. “I am delighted that I will now be able to partner with my good friend Glen Macnow on Sundays, as well as Saturday. With the level of interest in the Eagles this season, we will have plenty to talk about.” Didinger will do commentary on all-news sibling KYW, and each Friday during the football season, he will appear with (CBS Radio Philadelphia talk outlet) WPHT morning driver Chris Stigall.
British Broadcaster Graham Mack Produces Outstanding Audio Podcast Depicting His Experience at Talkers New York 2014. Internationally known, award-winning broadcaster Graham Mack attended the recent Talkers New York 2014 conference (6/20) and compiled an array of on-the-scene audio interviews with its participants into a Radio Academy podcast (28:42) that has already drawn positive attention around the world. In addition to his highly decorated special programs which have been heard on some of the most prestigious networks in the world including the BBC, Mack is the program director and morning show host on BOB-FM in Hertfordshire. He hails from Liverpool and spent his early adulthood and career in Australia. The podcast includes conversations with Michael Harrison, Sean Hannity, Brent & Meg, Tom Leykis, Joe Piscopo, and Phil Boyce. To hear it in its entirety, please click here. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more coverage of Talkers New York 2014. Videos covering most of the conference will be posted after the July 4th weekend.
Fifty and Done For Salem’s Gratner. After spending 50 years in radio – the last 23 as general manager of Salem Communications Pittsburgh – Chuck Gratner will retire next Tuesday (7/1). Twelve-year Salem Pittsburgh general sales manager Tom Lemmon will succeed Gratner. According to Salem radio division president David Santrella, “Salem is blessed to have so many outstanding general managers taking care of business in our markets around the country – Chuck has been one of our strongest for all these years. Chuck has earned his reward for a job well done. We wish him many more years of success, only this time with a fishing rod instead of a radio tower.” Regional operations vice president Linnae Young – who oversees Pittsburgh – comments, “We have been so fortunate to have had Chuck’s wisdom and expertise all these years managing our stations in Pittsburgh. While Chuck will be sorely missed, we are pleased to have Tom ready to take on this new responsibility.” Gratner began his radio career as an on-air talent in greater Los Angeles at KNJO, Thousand Oaks. He was part owner of KCNO, Grass Valley, California; worked in Dallas at KRLD, KCBI, and KLTY; and spent time in Sacramento at KCRA and KROY.
Odds & Sods. With the departure of Tony Bruno from Greater Media’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia (reported yesterday at TALKERS), Harry Mayes goes solo in the late morning shift with evening host Nick Kayal sitting it at least temporarily…..The man known as “Radio’s Best Friend,” Art Vuolo, will appear on news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh this weekend as a guest on Stony Richards’ Saturday evening program beginning at 6:00 pm. In addition to being responsible for chronicling much of radio’s modern history on video, Vuolo also has served as the official videographer for the Talkers New York conference for the past several years…..Bradley George is the new senior anchor/correspondent and local host for “Morning Edition” on Georgia Public Radio. He comes to GPR from Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN where he was news anchor and “Morning Edition” local host…..ABC TV’s “The View” will look very different next season as at least two of the show’s hosts – Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd – are leaving. According to TMZ, executive producer Bill Geddie is also exiting. One report indicates all but Whoopi Goldberg are out as the network is “cleaning house.”
Magnum Finds Bliss in Milwaukee-Area Quartet. In a recently announced deal, Magnum Communications is acquiring four greater Milwaukee properties from Bliss Communications, the parent company of Racine Broadcasting and West Bend Broadcasting. Stations involved are two AM talk outlets WRJN and WBKV; adult contemporary WEZY “Lite Rock 92.1″; and country WBWI. Magnum Communications president Dave Magnum points out that as a result of this acquisition, “My co-workers and I will program radio signals connecting from Milwaukee to La Crosse. When my late wife, Lynn, and I started from scratch 23 years ago, we wanted to grow across Wisconsin. I’m blessed to work with so many talented and loyal individuals, many of whom have been on board since the early-1990s.” Bliss president Sidney “Skip” Bliss remarks, “These stations have been an important part of Bliss Communications for 17 years in Racine, and 43 years in West Bend. We have enjoyed our relationship with the communities and all of our terrific employees. This sale, however, represented an opportunity for me to pass the ownership of these great radio stations on to another Wisconsin broadcasting family. The staffs of the Racine and West Bend stations have served a large number of listeners and advertisers for many years. We sincerely appreciate the dedication and commitment of this outstanding group of associates.” Bliss – which publishes The Janesville Gazette - will continue operating the stations until the FCC approves the transaction, exclusively brokered by Media Services Group Chicago office director Bob Heymann.
GOP Primary Controversies/State of the GOP Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of June 23-27. The recent controversial GOP primary races – including Thad Cochran’s victory this week – along with talk about the state of the GOP heading into mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential election tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the shrinking U.S. GDP. Coming in at #3 was the IRS scandal and the missing Lois Lerner emails followed by the SCOTUS scuttling President Obama’s recess appointments followed 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Journal’s WTMJ and ‘The Lake’ Name J. Pat Miller to Marketing Post. At the Milwaukee properties news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK “94.5 The Lake,” Journal Broadcast Group ups J. Pat Miller to the new position director of marketing & innovation. The company says that in his new role, he’ll be responsible for the overall marketing activities of WTMJ and WLWK as well as designing and implementing new brand programs. VP and GM Tom Langmyer comments, “J. Pat has demonstrated his ability to create and develop new revenue streams. He will focus more of his attention on additional initiatives to grow our business.” Miller adds, “This new role is vital to our growth and the industry as a whole. The incredible team here at Journal’s Milwaukee Radio Operations can effortlessly pull off most anything we create.” Miller is overseeing the promotions department and the company announces that Alison Helf is named promotions manager.
Tribune’s WGWG-LP, Chicago Brings McKnight Aboard. The fledgling sports talk station Tribune’s WGN is building and airing on LMA’d WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7” adds another local sports talk personality to its staff. Connor McKnight – who’s served with CBS RADIO’s WSCR “The Score” for the past four years – joins “The Game 87.7” for an on-air role. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, McKnight will “make his first appearance Thursday (2/27) on Mark Carman’s show, which airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.” Feder reports he’ll become part of the daily lineup. At WSCR, McKnight hosted the “Hit and Run” baseball show as well as having been an anchor and reporter at the station. Read Feder’s story here.
Chris Dimino Set to Join ‘680 The Fan’ for ‘Rude Awakening’ Show. As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, former WQXI sports talk personality Chris Dimino will become part of WCNN “680 The Fan” in an on-air capacity as his non-compete clause from WQXI expires on March 17. Dimino has been working for the station in an off-air capacity since last September but Ho reports he’ll join Christopher Rude and Perry Laurentino on the morning show soon. Dimino was part of the WQXI morning program – including fellow hosts Steak Shapiro and Nick Cellini – that was fired in the wake of the poorly thought out bit poking fun at former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason who is suffering from ALS. Read Ho’s entire piece here.
NAB Rejects Elimination of Advertising Tax Deduction. As part of a comprehensive tax code overhaul proposal being spearheaded by House Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-MI), the deduction that businesses can claim for advertising expenses would be eliminated and this oft-considered-but-never-enacted change has the NAB letting legislators know how it feels about it. NAB EVP of communications Dennis Wharton states, “NAB strongly opposes any job-killing proposal that would limit the ability of thousands of large and small businesses from fully deducting their annual advertising expenses. Advertising on local radio and television stations is a key driver of the American economy – indeed, a recent study found local broadcast advertising generates $1.05 trillion in GDP and supports 1.48 million jobs. NAB will work with lawmakers and other stakeholders to ensure the advertising tax deduction continues to create economic prosperity and well-paying jobs.” Since ad deduction elimination is just one part of a comprehensive tax overhaul proposal, it’s difficult to say how it would affect a company’s bottom line in the long run. Camp has stated his goal is to simplify the tax code – not to increase anyone’s tax burden – and there are other proposed changes that promise to help the bottom line of corporate and individual taxpayers. This is an election year so it’s unlikely there will be any action on this front any time soon.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Defends CIN; Implies It’s Misunderstood. During a speech at Washington, DC’s Media Institute on Wednesday (2/26), FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn defended the controversial Critical Information Needs (CIN) study that would have researchers quizzing journalists and managers about how they choose news stories and information for dissemination to the public. Her speech came the day after Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) promised legislation to put the FCC’s study to rest for good, citing its potential intrusion into First Amendment areas and its scope being beyond the purview of the Commission. Clyburn explained that the Commission needs to understand the markets it regulates. She said that she would never be a part of anything that seeks to chill free speech or shape news gathering and that the goal was to “gather data and other information about whether there are any market entry barriers, preventing local communities from receiving important information…I am about facilitating ownership and opportunities and making sound decisions about our most critical industries based on solid research and not rhetoric.” Still, critics of the study argue that neither Clyburn nor FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler have adequately explained the connection between interviewing news people about story selection policy and barriers to station ownership for minorities.
Valerie Blackburn to Step Down at CBS RADIO Los Angeles. The word from Los Angeles is Valerie Blackburn – currently serving as controller for the CBS RADIO Los Angeles cluster and general manager of news/talk KFWB (residing in the KFWB license trust) – is resigning from her positions and is planning to take some time away from radio and work to travel and be with family and friends. Her exit will not be immediate and it’s assumed CBS is already working on finding her replacement.
Schultz Honored by Arizona Progressives. Nationally syndicated talk show host and MSNBC personality Ed Schultz is pictured here speaking at the annual Arizona Advocacy Network dinner on Saturday, February 22. Schultz was honored by the group for his work on key progressive issues and he addressed the attendees. He was clearly in the right state at the right time with the controversy over the Arizona religious freedom bill such a hot-button issue. (Photo: Josselyn Berry)
RAB: Radio’s Digital Revenue Expected to Rise 22%. That’s from the just-released Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues report from Borrell Associates and the Radio Advertising Bureau. The report states that digital revenues went up 15% in 2013 and the total figure for 2014 could be as high as $520 million. Some figures from this year’s report: the average radio station brought in $166,490 in digital advertising – about 3% of its total revenue; some large-market stations report making millions; the average revenue for four-station clusters is approaching $750,000. The data for the study is culled from three sources: ad revenue reported by the stations, local business ad spending, and a survey of radio managers. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “We’re experiencing year-over-year, double-digit growth in radio; and to truly maximize this revenue stream this survey continues to provide us with areas to improve upon and ultimately grow our overall revenue share. Most notably, sales managers are looking for continued training for their sales staffs and a better understanding of the digital buying community. The RAB is poised to help in this area through our professional development programs and outreach.”
Odds & Sods. Talk show host Stephanie Miller‘s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” hits Fort Lauderdale, Florida Saturday, March 1. The progressive talker, whose show has played in theaters to sold-out crowds across the country, is appearing at the Parker Playhouse along with John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, special panel guest Judy Tenuta and more surprises…..“SportsRadio 94” WIP-FM, Philadelphia is presenting the “Great Birds Debate” remote broadcast today at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The station says it is one of the few times all year that the WIP airstaff is on the same stage together. Personalities Angelo Cataldi, Rhea Hughes, Michael Barkann, Ike Reese, Anthony Gargano, four-time champion Rob Ellis (also a member of the CBS 3 Sports Team), Josh Innes, Howard Eskin, CBS 3 Sports Director Beasley Reece, and Philadelphia Eagles insider Dave Spadaro will all be present to discuss and debate questions about the Eagles present and future. The event is free and open to the public…..At Detroit urban talker WCHB, John Mason leaves that Radio One outlet to take over the morning slot at sister urban AC WDMK where Reach Media’s Tom Joyner has been airing. Joyner moves to mornings at WCHB and that bumps talk host Mildred Gaddis from AMs to afternoon drive in Mason’s old slot…..A couple of notes from SiriusXM: U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will appear on the next installment of the “SiriusXM Leading Ladies” series, “candid conversations with influential and inspiring women who have forged their own paths to leadership and success.” SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. host and veteran White House correspondent Julie Mason will host the program on March 4 before a live audience at The Newseum in Washington, D.C. In addition to the one-on-one conversation between Leader Pelosi and Mason, the one-hour town hall style event will have an interactive element featuring questions from an audience of SiriusXM listeners, female students from D.C. universities and Newseum members. Also from SiriusXM, sports talk host Casey Stern re-ups with the satcaster for his daily hosting spot on the MLB Network Radio channel, as well as for expanded duties on additional SiriusXM sports channels. Stern will continue to host “Inside Pitch” alongside his co-host, former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, every weekday afternoon…..Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York is bringing the world of fashion to its airwaves as it takes a look back at NY Fashion Week with an exclusive interview with Kenneth Cole. Hosted by Cristina Cuomo, editor of Manhattan magazine, from the Modern Luxury arm of Cumulus Media, the interview digs into Cole’s ambitions and inspirations. He also shares details of his groundbreaking advertising campaigns, views of fashion, social media, and much more. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “It was a real honor to work with our sister publication Manhattan and Cristina Cuomo to bring the iconic designer to WABC Radio. We are already making plans for this fall’s Fashion Week.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises More Than $200,000 at ‘Golden Mike’ Event. At Monday evening’s black tie 2014 Golden Mike Award Dinner honoring BMI president Del Bryant, the Broadcasters Foundation of America raised more than $200,000 for its mission of helping broadcasters in need. More than 200 television, radio, and music industry executives and celebrities were in attendance. The evening was hosted by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer. Presenters for the evening were longtime personal and professional friends of Bryant’s: Michael Bolton, performer and BMI songwriter; Jack Sander, former chairman of the BMI board of directors; and Sandra Lee, internationally acclaimed culinary and home style expert and host of four highly rated programs on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, plus HGTV. Legendary singer, songwriter, musician, and actor Kris Kristofferson performed, as did songwriter Brenda Russell, who sang her top 10 hit “Piano In The Dark,” and “Get Here.” Dolly Parton opened a very moving video that provided a glimpse into Bryant’s amazing life — from his early years growing up as the son of songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant through his incredible 42-year career at BMI where he championed the works of some of the biggest songwriters in entertainment. Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Thompson (president of the Broadcasters Foundation), Michael Bolton, Sandra Lee, Del Bryant, Bryant’s son Thaddeus, Kris Kristofferson, Brenda Russell, Bob Schieffer, and Phil Lombardo (chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation).
Brewer Vetoes ‘Religious Rights’ Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, U.S.-Russia Tensions Over Crimea-Ukraine, Immigration Legislation, Bitcoin Controversy, and Hillary Clinton in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes legislation that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to some based on religious beliefs; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the political tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the strife in Ukraine and Crimea; new immigration legislation that includes an amnesty component; the bitcoin movement and recent events questioning its value; and speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CC Goal: ‘#1 Multi-Platform Media Company in Revenue and Earnings.’ Radio giant Clear Channel reiterates its corporate goal at yesterday’s Q4 conference call through president and CFO Rich Bressler who says the deals and partnerships it has entered into over the past 12 months are all geared toward that goal of being the “#1 multi-platform media company.” Much of the focus on the Media + Enterainment sector was about iHeartRadio and Bressler spoke glowingly about it, saying, “iHeartRadio reached 43 million registered users by the end of 2013, climbing 84% year-over-year. To put that growth in perspective, iHeartRadio surpassed its 20 million registered user milestone faster than any other digital service and reached 40 million faster than Facebook, Twitter or Pandora, second only to Instagram. Importantly, iHeartRadio’s total listening hours went up 29% over the year, with mobile representing 54% of iHeartRadio’s total listening hours during the fourth quarter of 2013. Our brand awareness climbed nearly 70%, slightly behind Pandora but above Spotify. We also continue to lead with Facebook engagement, having over 6.7 million likes for our iHeartRadio page, surpassing Pandora, Spotify and even Netflix.” The large number of promotional events the company has produced has affected the expense side of the ledger. Bressler reported, “Operating expenses increased $80 million year-over-year, driven mainly by continued investment on national sales and programming capabilities, special events, promotional costs, compensation and higher streaming and performance royalty expenses during 2013 due to increased listenership on iHeartRadio platform…Expenses were up $36 million due mainly to increased costs associated with our special events and higher streaming and performance royalty expenses.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole call here.
More Moves in Chicago Sports Talk World. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Chicago White Sox television broadcaster Steve Stone is signed by CBS RADIO to be WSCR’s go-to baseball expert this season. Feder writes that Stone – who worked for “The Score” before joining Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM for baseball correspondent duties last year – was also being wooed by Tribune’s sports start-up WGWG “The Game 87.7″ but since WSCR is the flagship for White Sox games, CBS was able to prevent Stone from working for a direct competitor. Speaking of Tribune’s WGWG, the station is preparing to announce that former Cub Todd Hollandsworth – who’s worked for the MLB Network and Comcast Sports Net Chicago – will join “The Game 87.7” as its baseball expert. Read Feder’s column here.
Kerri Kasem Helps Introduce Bill to Provide Access to Sick Parents. Yesterday, RadioInfo reported that radio personality Kerri Kasem – daughter of legend Casey Kasem – would appear with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto at a press conference on Thursday to introduce legislation that would give judges the ability to allow adult children to see sick to dying parents in cases where they’ve been kept away in the past. Industry watchers are aware of the public battle Kasem’s children have been waging with his second wife, Jean Kasem, over visitation with Kasem who is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease. Kasem appeared at Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday to bring attention to the introduction of the bill. She commented, “It’s not just me – the daughter of a famous person. There are so many families, so many sons and daughters going through what I’m going through right now.” Kasem said she used the power of her radio show to talk about it and received a lot of feedback from people in similar situations and that’s part of her motivation for working with Gatto on this legislation. “No child deserves to go through what I’m going through and no loving parent deserves to be left alone to die with nobody by his side.” You can view video from the press conference here. Working as district chief of staff for Assemblyman Gatto is radio business veteran Jason Insalaco who’s been involved in the programming and agent ends of the industry during his career.
“The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum” Launches on TalkersRadio This Weekend. TalkersRadio – the experimental talk radio platform operated by TALKERS magazine at www.talkers.com/talkersradio — announces the launch this weekend (2/22) of “The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum.” Hosted by veteran talk show host, Washington-insider, and former member of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, Blanquita Cullum, the one-hour-per-week show will cover the hottest and most-pressing economic, environmental and political issues facing the country from a non-partisan, non-ideological perspective. Cullum tells TALKERS, “I’ve been in this business too long to mess around playing the old right-versus-left game that is quickly getting us nowhere. It is time to get serious – especially having this marvelous platform upon which to perform – and dust off the old journalism skills. Just as the name implies, I will be asking big shots and policy makers from the worlds of energy, finance and government the hard questions. None of that easy, puff-piece stuff. This show is going to get down, dirty and real!” The new program will air each Saturday morning at 10:00 am ET with repeats scheduled throughout the week.
KRG Appoints Chenault-Qawwee to VP of Health Care Strategies. Radio rep firm Katz Radio Group (a Clear Channel subsidiary) announces the creation of a new department to “take full advantage of radio’s massive reach and scale in order to deliver compelling health care media solutions for advertisers.” The new Health Care Strategies group, headed by vice president LaTonya Chenault-Qawwee, will “provide a higher level of focus and expertise in the health care category.” The company says that in her new role, Chenault-Qawwee will “oversee all sales operations, developing strategic plans for advertisers by leveraging KRG’s unmatched reach, research and expertise in developing innovative media solutions. She will work closely with the nation’s leading health care companies, as well as federal and state exchanges, to incorporate the latest health care reform needs into high-impact advertising packages. This new position underlines KRG’s continued commitment to be the leading advocate for radio, and to further expand its business by providing advertisers hyper-focused expertise in specific categories.”
Odds & Sods. The Washington Times announces it has partnered with California-based BT Software’s Kaliki Audio Newsstand to provide content for the app that allows users to stream news and talk content. The newspaper’s editor John Solomon says the radio lineup will launch in early March with five daily shows and several weekly shows, anchored by the midday program “Live from The Washington Times” starring Andy Parks…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles announces the next stop on its “KNX in Your Neighborhood” remote series will be South Orange County on Friday, March 14. The station says its “award-winning news team will explore O.C.’s southernmost communities, including Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Hills and Dana Point. Civic and business leaders from these areas will be featured throughout the day live from the Mission Grill in San Juan Capistrano…..CRN Digital Talk Radio debuts a new show called “Wall to Wald Sports,” a hybrid of sports and politics. The show is hosted by Ronnie Wald and Fred Wallin and airs Fridays at 1:00 pm ET. The company says, “Wald and Wallin discuss sports in what they term their own ‘novel’ way before shifting to politics – an area in which they differ significantly. The duo says that ‘to Wald, Ronald Reagan is a hero – but to Wallin, he was a bad actor.’”
Final Round of January PPM Data Released. PPM data from the fourth and final group of 12 markets for the January 2014 period (January 2-29) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains at Top of Talkers TenTM. The scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of February 17-21. Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the executive power controversy surrounding President Obama. At #3 was a tie between a possible Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016 and the infighting taking place in the Republican Party followed by the winter weather and the global warming issue at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Syndicated Host Doug Stephan Suffers Devastating Loss in Dairy Farm Disaster. Early yesterday morning (2/19) Eastleigh Farm – located in the suburban Boston community of Framingham, Massachusetts – suffered a winter-related natural disaster in which one of the barn roofs collapsed under the weight of snow trapping, killing and injuring some of the dairy cows at the historic facility. The farm is owned by nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan, whose long-running morning program “Good Day” is heard on hundreds of stations across the country and is consistently ranked one of the most-listened-to talk shows in the business. According to reports from the scene (pictured here where a cow is seen being hoisted to safety), at least three cows have died and many others are injured. The trauma to the cows is immeasurable. Dairy cows are very sensitive and this has potentially long-term consequences for the health of the farm and the remaining herd. Stephan is somewhat of a local folk hero in the “Metrowest” region of Massachusetts where the Eastleigh Farm – already beleaguered by economic issues challenging small family farmers across America – has been engaged in a high-profile struggle to exist and continue to bring healthy, raw locally raised dairy products to the community. Eastleigh Farm is the last historical dairy land in Framingham. A fund-raiser has been launched to help with the formidable veterinarian bills, the care of the cows and the rebuilding of the barn. For information about the fundraiser, please click here. To see local video news coverage of the story, please click here. Ironically, Doug Stephan recently launched a new, weekly one-hour show on TALKERS magazine’s experimental talk radio platform, TalkersRadio titled, “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan,” designed to bring information, inspiration and a political voice to the hard-pressed, small farmers battling the powerful interests of the mega-corporate-government-supported farm industrial complex that has been systematically squeezing them out of existence. The show airs with a new installment on TalkersRadio every Saturday morning at 8:00 am ET with repeats throughout the week at 11:00 am ET. Clearly, this disaster and its aftermath will provide Stephan with a tremendous amount of compelling material and content for the show. (Image: WCVB-TV, Boston)
Radio’s Kerri Kasem to Appear with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto to Introduce Parental Access Legislation. Industry pros and the radio-loving public have been following the tragic story of radio legend Casey Kasem and his second wife’s refusal to allow Kasem’s adult children to visit him as his health deteriorates due to advanced Parkinson’s disease. Now a California legislator is introducing a bill that would “provide reasonable accommodations for adult children who want to visit their parents, and provide children the right to know when an ailing parent’s health becomes worse or if the parent dies. The proposed legislation seeks to protect children from previous marriages from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child.” State Assemblyman Mike Gatto will introduce the bill and “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” co-host Kerri Kasem, daughter of Casey from his first marriage, will appear alongside Gatto when that happens today at 2:30 pm PT at the Los Angeles Superior Court. In explaining the reason for the bill, Gatto’s office states, “Currently, adult children are not afforded the legal right to visit an ailing parent. With divorce and remarriage becoming more prevalent, there is a greater possibility of conflict between a subsequent spouse and an ailing parent’s children from a previous marriage. These conflicts can become exacerbated when a parent becomes incapacitated or dies. In some cases, elderly parents are not even informed that their children wish to see them. Such conflicts are very painful for those involved and can mean that certain adult children do not get to see their parent(s) before the parent(s) pass away.”
Clear Channel Issues Q4 and 2013 Revenue Numbers; CCM+E Up 3%. The parent company of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment – Clear Channel Media Holdings LLC – is reporting figures for the fourth quarter of 2013 and for the whole of 2013. It reports revenue for the CCM+E division was up 3% — 8% excluding political advertising – and it notes that the reason was “due primarily to stronger national and digital advertising, as well as promotional and event sponsorship with the expansion of the Jingle Ball tour, iHeartRadio Music Festival and album release events.” For all of 2013 CCM+E was up 2%. The company states that “increases across multiple advertising categories were led by the telecommunications, retail and entertainment advertising markets. Digital revenue benefited from higher total listening hours, which were up 29%, and from investments in a digital sales organization. Promotional and event sponsorships also moved higher, driven by special events, such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, Jingle Ball tour, iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party and album release events.”
Tribune’s WGWG, Chicago Grabs Finfer for Daily Role. The Tribune sports talk format airing on WGWG-LP at 87.7 FM adds another local talent as Ben Finfer jumps aboard from CBS RADIO’s crosstown WSCR. Finfer served as producer for the late morning McNeil & Spiegel show before joining Tribune’s new “The Game 87.7” on Wednesday. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that he’ll be part of the midday shows hosted by David Kaplan and Howard Griffith and Alex Quigley. While all of the media eyes may be on the new guy in town, WSCR and ESPN O&O WMVP have a healthy head start on WGWG. Data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM indicates WSCR enjoyed a 5.0 share with Men 25-54 and WMVP racked up a 3.6 share, according to Feder.
Colleen O’Brien Joins KIRO-FM, Seattle for Mornings. At Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle, former KXLY-TV, Spokane news anchor Colleen O’Brien is named morning drive news anchor, filling the role held by Linda Thomas prior to her exit from the station to join Starbucks as managing editor for online news and content strategy. O’Brien is no stranger to Seattle or the radio side of the business. Prior to her work in Spokane, O’Brien served at crosstown KOMO-AM/FM.
The 4th Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Fundraiser ‘Opens’ Monday. For the fourth year in a row, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York teams up with “The Great White Way” to present “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. The evening’s event – a benefit for the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer – is a one-night-only production hosted by New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel and features performances from the casts of: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” “After Midnight,” “Avenue Q,” “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia,” “Motown the Musical,” “Kinky Boots,” “La Soiree,” “The Lion King,” “Pippin,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Wicked.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Ukraine Unrest, Sochi Olympics, ‘Smart Gun’ Bill, Jay Leno-‘Tonight Show’ Controversy, and Hillary in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the violence and political unrest in the Ukraine; the Winter Games in Sochi; the Democratic proposal for new guns to only fire in the hand of the owner; the accusation by a former ‘Tonight Show’ writer that Jay Leno was ousted for picking on President Obama; and the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Announces Completion of Refinancing; $2.025 Billion Loan Due in 2020. The refinancing of Cumulus Media’s senior secured credit facilities was reported last month and now Cumulus announces that goal has been complete. The company says it enters into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, consisting of a $2.025 billion term loan maturing in December 2020 and a $200 million revolving credit facility maturing in December 2018. The proceeds from the Term Loan along with cash on hand have been used to repay in full all amounts outstanding under the first and second lien term loans under Cumulus’ pre-existing credit agreements. The refinancing follows the entry into a $50 million, 5-year revolving accounts receivables securitization facility, which Cumulus entered into on December 6, 2013. CEO Lew Dickey states, “This highly successful refinancing transaction is expected to increase our free cash flow by greater than $30 million annually, extends our maturities through 2020 and simplifies our capital structure. We believe our balance sheet has now placed us at a competitive advantage that positions us well for future growth opportunities.”
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Returns to Air with Apologies and Admission of His Addictions. Midday sports talk host Dan McNeil had been off CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago for the better part of the past two months and while there was no explanation for his absence other than he had personal things to deal with, regular listeners may have suspected McNeil was dealing with substance abuse issues. It’s not the first time he’s left the air for that reason. But on Friday, McNeil – whose name had been removed from the show during that time – returned to the air and offered a frank and full mea culpa about his addiction to marijuana and pain pills that’s kept him off the air. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has posted a transcript of a good chunk of what McNeil said on the radio but what his partner – Matt Spiegel – said to him probably rings true for a lot of the people in his life. “We are glad that you are back. But I will not pretend that it is with full-on trust and full-on joy that it was perhaps the first time [you returned]. In the spirit of honesty with you, and I’m sure that some listeners feel that way as well, you and I have always been real with each other. We’ll continue to be real. That we felt betrayed. That we felt betrayed. . .We’re here with you. We want to be here with you. But I think you know you have to regain some trust.” Read Feder’s entire column here.
Stephanie Miller Show to Air on Free Speech TV. Fans of progressive talk show host Stephanie Miller rallied to raise funds to get her program back on television via the Free Speech TV network. Miller – whose radio program is losing its flagship station KTLK as the outlet drops progressive talk and changes programming – was part of a campaign to raise money to bring the show to Free Speech TV. The goal was $50,000 but fans responded enthusiastically and so far have raised $120,450 to build a studio and support the production of the program on the commercial-free network. In a statement announcing the successful effort, Miller says, “It was a clear demonstration that, no matter what anyone tries to tell you, progressive media matters. And it matters enough that regular people are willing to come together and do what the big corporate media conglomerates are afraid to do…give thoughtful, funny and creative progressive voices a way to speak to the people who want to hear them.” Miller’s show is produced by WYD Media Management and WYD president Ron Hartenbaum says the new studio on the lower level of Miller’s home will “give the listeners and viewers more of a reality-show feel to the production versus a more traditional/sterile broadcast facility.” Referring to the $120,450 raised for the expanded programming, Hartenbaum says, “We are funded and supported in part by our listeners and viewers. All advertisers should take strong note that our audience spends money.”
Maisano To Exit Curtis Media Group, Raleigh. Due to a family member’s health issues, seven-year Curtis Media Group, Raleigh senior vice president/director of sales Adam Maisano will be leaving his position at month’s end. Maisano comments that it is “with exceedingly mixed emotions” that he departs “this great job,” but he states, “Over the last 18 months I have learned a lot about what is truly important in life. Right now, family has to come first.” He wants to return to active radio management by next spring. Curtis Media Group executive vice president Trip Savery remarks, “Adam has been a great employee. I, along with everyone at Curtis Media Group, wish him Godspeed in his personal journey and much continued success in his career.” Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh cluster was the market’s top-biller. It consists of country WQDR “94.7 ‘QDR,” adult hits WBBB “Radio 96.1,” urban AC WBZJ “The New 96.9,” CHR WWPL “The Pulse,” regional Mexican WYMY “La Ley 101.1,” talk WPTF, talk WPTK, and comedy WFNL “Funny 570.” Maisano joined the company approximately 12 years ago as national sales manager. He previously worked in sales for Clear Channel’s Augusta, Georgia stations.
Entercom to Donate KWOD, Salem, Oregon to the MMTC. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council will be the recipient of radio station KWOD, Salem Oregon – a donation by Entercom Communications Corp. The station is currently airing a sports talk format. The MMTC was founded to promote diversity in broadcast station ownership and uses donated stations to train minorities and women in broadcast operations, sales, management, and ownership and enables them to purchase the stations at a discount from their market values. Since MMTC founded its media and telecom brokerage in 1997, it has helped hundreds of interested parties and new entrants with conducting business planning and due diligence and helping new entrants build their professional and financial networks. MMTC president David Honig states, “Entercom is a terrific example of a company that truly has the public interest at heart. Thanks to this generous gift to MMTC, we can train more new entrants in broadcast ownership and further our mission of promoting diversity in entrepreneurship.” Entercom president and CEO David Field adds, “We are very excited to be donating this station and providing a new radio entrepreneur with the opportunity to become a great broadcaster and radio station owner. We appreciate the leadership of David Honig and the MMTC staff and all they do to help enable these opportunities and mentor minority broadcasters.”
Odds & Sods. Bob Just a former TRN host who Sean Hannity calls “one of the good Democrats,” returns to the talk radio business, if just for a day, to guest host Hannity’s show on Friday, December 27. Along with being a grassroots leader, Bob Just is also a longtime WND columnist and Whistleblower Magazine editor-at-Large. A self-described Reagan Democrat who speaks at Tea Party rallies, Just did the research and development for Hannity’s second New York Times best seller, Deliver Us from Evil…..Houston-based talk show host Matt Patrick will sit in for Bill Cunningham on his nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Sunday night show on January 29. Patrick says this is the third year in a row he’s done the program and he’s looking forward to presenting his year-in-review program…..Television news anchor and reporter Kimberly Easton joins CBS Radio’s all-news simulcast WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago as a part-time anchor and reporter, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. She fills the slot of Brandis Friedman who moves to WTTV-TV, Chicago in October…..Katie Couric’s television talk show “Katie” will not return for a third season in the fall of 2014. The New York Daily News reports that Couric and ABC Domestic Television have agreed to end the show’s production in June of 2014 and not continue. According to the story, ratings were not the issue but the high cost of producing the program was not making it worthwhile. Couric has signed on to be a “global anchor” for Yahoo! for what is reportedly a deal worth $6 million per year.
ABC News Radio’s Vic Ratner to Retire. Longtime ABC News Radio reporter Vic Ratner is retiring at the end of the month after a career that began at ABC with coverage of the Watergate trial in 1973. During his time with ABC News Radio, Ratner has served as Capitol Reporter, a war correspondent and covered NASA for the network. In a memo to staffers, ABC News president Ben Sherwood wrote: “Most careers can be captured in words. Vic’s career is captured in sounds. In his incredible 40 years on the air for ABC News Radio, Vic has painted vivid pictures for our listeners with a rich and imaginative vocabulary that brought stories to life and gave meaning to ‘Gemini’ and ‘Apollo’ and even ‘filibuster’ and ‘quorum.’ With every syllable, Vic defined and embodied excellence. When Vic arrived at ABC in 1973, one of his first assignments was the trial of the “Watergate Seven” in Washington. He has covered every presidential campaign, political convention, inauguration and State of the Union since then, plus almost every space shuttle launch. He has reported from 54 countries and 49 states. For the record book, only South Dakota — the Mt. Rushmore State — has escaped his attention.” Ratner comments to his colleagues, “I have been fortunate to work with and learn from exceptionally talented and innovative people at ABC. Thanks to all of you for the collaborative effort, which makes us the best.”
Hangin’ with Rudy. Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) poses for a photo with Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger (left) at a Christmas football party over the weekend. Ruettiger is a motivational speaker and former Notre Dame football player who was the subject of the movie “Rudy.”
Catholic Relevant Radio to Purchase WNTD, Chicago for $14.4 Million. Relevant Radio has been LMAing the M&S WNTD LLC station since 2007 – that’s when the $14.4 price tag was set – and now Relevant’s executive director Rev. Francis Hoffman says the organization has come up with the cash to complete the transaction for the 1,000-watt daytimer.
Raising Funds for Children’s Cancer Support. KSCO, Santa Cruz talk show host Ethan Bearman (right) chats on the air with Team G Foundation co-founder and CEO Kristin Cosnor (left) during a recent fundraising remote broadcast. Bearman tells TALKERS magazine he interviewed parents who benefitted from this group while their kids underwent cancer treatment at Stanford and UCSF – one hour to two-and-a-half hours away from their homes on the Central Coast.
Jared Hart to Program WPHT, Philadelphia. CBS Radio Philadelphia announces Jared Hart is joining the company to program news/talk WPHT “Talk Radio 1210” beginning November 11. Hart is currently assistant program director and producer of the Ronn Owens program at Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco. The move reunites Hart and WPHT morning drive host Chris Stigall who worked together at KCMO, Kansas City when Hart was Stigall’s producer. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Jared is part of a new breed of aggressive talk radio programmers. We are thrilled to welcome him to WPHT.” Operations manager Andy Bloom adds, “It’s exciting to bring in somebody with Jared’s vast range of experiences. He’s going to be a terrific addition to the WPHT programming brain trust.”
John Pirkle Expands Talk Radio in Knoxville. The talk radio programming heard on WKVL, Knoxville is now also being heard on John Pirkle-owned FM signal WNFZ at 94.3 and the simulcast is being branded “KnoxTalkRadio.” The programming features the “Rude Awakening” morning show with Mike Howard and David “Shyne” Thompson and well as the local sports talk PM drive program “The Drive” with Russell Smith and Richard Daugherty. Syndicated shows include independently syndicated Dave Ramsey, Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and “Coast to Coast AM” plus WestwoodOne’s Herman Caine and Genesis Communications Network-distributed Alex Jones. In a one-sheet targeted to local advertisers, Pirkle and sales manager Chuck Borchard tout the strength of the two signals and reference their history building strong local brands such as WOKI-AM/FM and former market talker WNOX-FM.
CBS and Nielsen Cooperate on Cross-Platform Measurement Study. The two companies announce that they are working together in Nielsen’s first-ever trial to measure cross-media campaigns on local television and radio. The trial will focus on combining CBS local TV audience data with CBS Radio audience data to “build a foundation that measures unduplicated reach and time spent across both media. In addition, the trial will measure reach and frequency for campaigns that run on both local TV and radio. The test results will expand local media planning analytics and develop more robust inputs for marketing mix modeling. As this pilot test develops, Nielsen intends to open participation across a wider group of clients for the benefit of the industry.” CBS chief research officer David Poltrack says, “In today’s multi-platform advertising environment, it is not enough to set full campaign reach and frequency targets. The advertiser must distribute the exposure to their message over time – and in a manner that assures that each potential purchaser is exposed to that message in a consistent manner before each purchase occasion. With our strong combination of television and radio stations in major markets and the extension of these local stations over online and mobile platforms, CBS is uniquely positioned to provide advertisers with the combination of market penetration and controlled frequency distribution needed to optimize the return from their media investments in these markets. Armed with this new cross-platform, local market custom analysis, each advertiser will be able to use these powerful media to their full potential and both TV and radio stations nationwide will benefit.” The test will combine data from Nielsen’s Local People Meter panel with data from the newly acquired Nielsen Audio’s PPM panel to provide the cross-platform measurement. Results will be shared in late Q1 2014. Earlier this year, Nielsen announced the successful completion of a two-week technical trial with CBS aimed at capturing and measuring viewing of television content on mobile devices using Syncbak technology.
WSCR, Chicago Sports Talk Personality Dan McNeil Taking Time Away. The situation at CBS Radio’s sports talker WSCR was first tipped to us by Chicago media writer Robert Feder who reported that midday personality Dan McNeil let the station know on Monday that he would not be reporting for work due to what colleagues are saying are personal and family problems. McNeil – who works alongside Matt Spiegel on the program – has been out since then. Lawrence Holmes has been taking his place. Feder reports that Spiegel tweeted: “For the many asking, Mac is physically fine. And this is not a repeat of a prior event. He’ll update you when he wants to. Not my place.” Spiegel is referring to McNeil’s absence from the station in 2012 during which he underwent treatment for depression and substance abuse.
Talk Host Jim Lago Battles Sudden Hearing Loss. KKXT, Corpus Christi morning drive talk host Jim Lago is working with his doctors to treat a sudden loss of hearing that happened to him on October 16. Lago’s doctors are not sure what has caused the almost complete loss of hearing accompanied by a constant ringing sound he hears but as of today (10/31), Lago is wearing hearing aids and reports on the station’s website that everything sounds different and says, “First day of wearing hearing aids. Bionic Hearing, artificial ears not sure it’s all it’s cracked up to be.” Lago is still able to do his radio program but says when having a conversation he has to concentrate very hard on listening to the other person. Obviously, Lago is not the first talk show host to deal with hearing loss. Rush Limbaugh was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that took away his hearing several years ago. He received cochlear implants and wears hearing aids to this day.
Trip Savery Returns to Curtis Media to Head Up Raleigh-Durham Market. Prior to joining Greater Media’s Charlotte cluster to serve as VP and station manager at news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK (including the Bob & Sheri Radio Network), Trip Savery was SVP and market manager of Curtis Media’s WQDR and WWMY in Raleigh. That was almost four years ago and now Savery comes back to Curtis to serve as EVP of Curtis Media Group and market manager for the Raleigh-Durham properties – including country WQDR, news/talk WPTF, rock WBBB, Spanish WYMY, and comedy WFNL – starting November 7. Savery says, “I am thrilled to return to my radio roots in Raleigh to work again with Don Curtis and my many friends at Curtis Media Group. At the same time I want to thank Peter Smyth and Rick Feinblatt for the tremendous opportunity they have provided me at Greater Media Charlotte over the past three and a half years.” Don Curtis adds, “Trip is one of North Carolina’s brightest, young broadcast executives. In addition to his recent experience of managing Charlotte’s top two stations, he has good knowledge of our company and its people.”
TuneIn Now Carries 100,000 Radio Stations. Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn announces it has surpassed the 100,000-station mark – what it calls “the most radio stations ever in one place.” In addition to the domestic stations available via TuneIn, the service has also been adding international content including live sports content from Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league as well as Korea’s MBC and France’s RFI. TuneIn boasts a reach of 40 million monthly active listeners, its app available in more than 50 vehicle models and on over 200 connected devices.
Protect Your Podcast Rights. “Freedom Feens’ co-host Michael W. Dean writes about the current legal issue facing all podcasters – the demand for money from podcasters by the holder of a patent inherent in the technology that podcasters use. Dean advises those concerned to check out and air a public service announcement designed to help support the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s fight against what it terms a “patent troll” in this case. As Dean says, podcasters including the likes of Adam Carolla have been served with demands for fees for using the patent-protected technology that allows podcasting to take place and applies to any and all current or future podcasters. Read Michael W. Dean’s entire piece here.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Linda Thomas Hosts Social Media Seminar for Local Businesses. The 90-minute luncheon is called “Zero to Social in 90 Minutes” and “The Morning News on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM” co-host Linda Thomas is hosting the lunch presentation and panel discussion taking place on November 18. The station says it will teach local businesses how to grow in today’s ever-changing world of social media. The seminar will review the current social media landscape, best practices, tips and insight on quality content that drives attention and return-on-investment through social media. Thomas states, “Businesses of all sizes want to connect with customers through social media. Many businesses tend to hesitate because they don’t know where to begin with social media. This seminar will create a game plan. Our all-star panel will reveal social media steps and strategies to help any business connect with current customers and discover new ones.” Guests include: digital marketing pro Shauna Causey, The Fearey Group president Andrew Blank and KING-TV social manager Evonne Benedict.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM personality and longtime activist Joe Madison is tackling the Washington Redskins name controversy issue with a special two-hour roundtable broadcast tomorrow from 7:00 am to 9:00 am (with encore airings to follow). The program promises to represent a multitude of perspectives both pro and con the team’s name. Some of the 20 or so panelists will be: ESPN’s Kevin Blackistone, WOLB, Baltimore’s Butch McAdams, USA Today sports reporter Christine Brennan, The Nation sports reporter Dave Zirin, WAMU, Washington’s Michael Lee Pope, USA Today columnist Jarrett Bell and Washington Post columnist Mike Wise…..AdLarge Media extends its agreement for exclusive national advertising sales representation of Sports USA’s live play-by-play coverage of NFL and NCAA football through the 2014 season. Sports USA president Bob Moore states, “The team at AdLarge understands how to create customized packages for advertisers that maximize the benefits of our live sports play-by-play coverage and sports programs. We are looking forward to continued success from our partnership.”…..After announcing his departure from Business TalkRadio Network last week, Jon Patch says he’s now distributing his “Talkin’ Pets” program via Genesis Communications Network. He’s also seeking his next gig in affiliate relations and programming. Reach him at 813-888-5043 or firstname.lastname@example.org…..The NFL’s Chicago Bears are looking into creating the team’s own content to air on an HD channel on CBS Radio’s WCFS as the current contract between the two allows. Team president Ted Phillips tells the Chicago Tribune that they understand the HD radio penetration is not that high yet due to the relatively small number of radios in the market and they would have to consider if the cost of producing programming is worth it.
John Stockton Visits ESPN’s SVP & Russillo. The studios of ESPN’s “SVP & Russillo” program were graced by former NBA All-Star John Stockton who appeared on the program to talk about hoops. Pictured here in the studio (from l-r) are: Stockton, Danny Kanell (who was subbing for host Scott Van Pelt) and Ryen Russillo. Photo: Rich Arden/ESPN Images
ObamaCare Rollout and Website Problems, NSA Spy Controversy, Benghazi Cover-up Allegations, Financial Markets Activity and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/30). The effects of the rollout of ObamaCare and the hearings on Capitol Hill about the website problems; the NSA’s spying on world leaders; the allegations of cover-up by the Obama Administration over the Benghazi incident; activity in the world’s financial markets and the Red Sox-Cardinals World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Wendy & Bill Reunited at WGN, Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the pairing of Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff is back at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago headed for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on the station. As newly installed president and general manager Jimmy de Castro makes moves to re-build the heritage Chicago news/talk outlet, this latest change puts back together a team that many Chicago radio watchers says was broken up just as it was about to reach its potential. Feder recounts that the duo first worked together doing nights at WLUP-FM in 1994 and moved to mornings at WKQX in 1996 (where they are pictured here). But just two years later management ousted them in favor of Mancow. Now, vice president of content for Tribune, Todd Manley, tells Feder, “It’s one of the best pairings to ever happen on the radio. It was just about to explode [at Q101], and here we find ourselves in a place where we can breathe new life into it and watch it grow. They’re two really special people who have great stories to tell about their life together on the radio and since then.” Leff has been doing overnights at WGN and Snyder has been doing the morning traffic reports at Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM – a position she just resigned. The new “Wendy & Bill” show debuts next Tuesday on WGN.
Former KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri’s Unlawful Termination Suit Against Cumulus and Management Wins First Round. The case is not at trial just yet and it may very well be settled before it ever gets there, but former KNBR sports talk host Ralph Barbieri won the first “round” after California Superior Court Judge Marla Miller denied certain defendants’ motion for summary judgment. She also granted in part and denied in part summary adjudication. Basically, Barbieri is claiming that he was fired from his position at KNBR for being too old – a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act – and for being too sick (Barbieri has Parkinson’s Disease but claims it didn’t prevent him from doing his job). In short, some of the 11 causes of action were granted summary adjudication but others were not. Judge Miller rules that Barbieri has enough evidence to send the case to trial. Whether that happens or not, only time will tell.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Promotes Eric Brooks to Executive Producer. Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee ups Eric Brooks to executive producer at the station. VP of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer states, “Since joining the station two years ago, Eric has worn many hats – producing Jeff Wagner‘s program, anchoring news, and handling imaging and commercial production work. In his new position, in addition to continuing as producer of ‘Wisconsin’s Afternoon News,’ he’ll lead our talk production staff, assist in the oversight of weekend programs, hire and train new producers, manage producer schedules, oversee on-air promos and more. Our internal organizational structure, communication and quality of our multi-platform brand are key to the success of WTMJ. We look forward to Eric’s continued contributions toward our goals.”
WLW, Cincinnati Newsman Dean Muiccio Exits for Florida Teaching Gig. Radio personality Dean Muiccio – once successfully partnered with Randi Douglas on Cumulus Media’s AC WRRM “Warm 98” in morning drive – is exiting his most recent gig as news anchor on Clear Channel’s news/talk WLW, Cincinnati to move to Florida to teach at the Miami Media School. According to a piece in the Cincinnati Enquirer by John Kiesewetter, Muiccio will do his last news anchor shift at WLW today (8/29). In addition to his radio work in the Queen City, Muiccio also created, produced and hosted a local program on WXIX-TV “Fox 19” called “Cincinnality.”
SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio Squeezes Dan Patrick into Lineup. The Chris “Mad Dog” Russo-led sports talk channel on SiriusXM makes some moves to fit the DIRECTV Entertainment/LABC Radio Group-produced and syndicated Dan Patrick show into the schedule. Beginning Tuesday, September 3, Evan & Phillips shave an hour off their morning show to end at 9:00 am ET and Russo moves his “Mad Dog Unleashed” show from a 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET start. That allows Dan Patrick to air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Adam Schein to move from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.
Leslie Sturm to AdLarge. Former three-year United Stations Radio Networks senior account executive Leslie Sturm joins the sales staff of AdLarge Media. The 1987 Rutgers graduate will be based in New York, where she will report to chief revenue officer, radio sales Don Wachsmith, who comments, “Leslie has a terrific combination of radio sales and advertising agency experience that gives her exceptional insight into advertisers’ needs and goals.” Co-founder/chief executive officer Gary Schonfeld remarks, “Leslie has exhibited an ability to pinpoint the core objective of an advertising campaign and identify the right platforms and environment for reaching and engaging a client’s target audience.” Meanwhile Sturm adds that she was “attracted to AdLarge as a growth company” and because of “its extensive array of premium sports and digital properties.” She adds, “AdLarge’s strong content and digital partnerships provide advertisers with customizable options for deep integration and multi-media campaigns.” Sturm previously was senior account manager at SiriusXM Satellite Radio; spent 10 years in ad sales for Premiere Radio Networks and MJI Broadcasting; and she was NW Ayer/MediaEdge‘s vice president, associate director of Network Radio.
Radio Show Super Session Focuses on Athletes Turned Radio Hosts. Dubbed, “Jocks on Jocks,” and moderated by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Jim Rome, the Super Session will take place on Thursday, September 19 at 11:00 am at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. As its title implies, the session will feature former athletes who’ve become radio talk show hosts. Appearing will be: Bobby Hebert of “SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia” on Entercom‘s WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans; Tom Tolbert, host, “The Mr. T Show” on Cumulus‘ KNBR, San Francisco; and Amani Toomer, co-host, “Amani and Eytan” on NBC Sports Radio.
Lincoln Financial Media Appoints Andy Juett Sales Manager for ‘Comedy 103.1’ in Denver. Stating that the comedy format on KYGO, Denver’s HD 2 channel and translator K276FK, Denver (103.1 FM) “has grown into a significant brand in the Denver market in less than a year,” Lincoln Financial Media Denver SVP and general manager Bob Call names Andy Juett sales manager for the station. “His deep experience combines years of radio sales with a passion for comedy. Andy’s production of the first-ever High Plains Comedy Festival brought sponsors and comedians together for a very successful event.” Juett’s strong radio background includes sales management positions at Max Radio, CBS Radio, Wilks Broadcasting and Clear Channel Radio in Denver. He began his career as an account executive for Liggett Broadcasting in Lansing, Michigan, and Citadel Broadcasting. In addition, Juett owns Denver’s High Plains Comedy Festival.
Nick DeGregorio Joins Sun Broadcast Group. His previous gig was with Cumulus Media Networks where he was the senior director of affiliate sales and special projects. Now, Nick DeGregorio signs on with Sun Broadcast Group for the vice president affiliate sales and programming position. The company states that “in his new role based at Sun Broadcast Group’s New York office, he’ll be heading the affiliate sales team, enhancing Sun’s product and programming and strategizing the growth of the network.” Sun EVP Steve Gallagher says, “At the core of Sun Broadcast Group is the belief to always be different and strive for a new way of thinking. We were blown away with Nick as soon as we met him. Nick is a wealth of new ideas and has a refreshing perspective on the network radio business for today and the future. Nick is a creative thinker and energizes anyone around him!”
Home Studio on a Budget. In a piece published recently by TALKERS, “The Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean wrote about giving your home studio a decent sound for absolutely zero dollars. Yes, it works but it’s not very attractive. In this second column, Dean shows talk hosts working out of their homes how to get that studio-quality sound for about $250 and in less than three hours’ time. Dean says the added benefit to his method is your studio will still maintain a homey feel for those who don’t have a dedicated studio space and helps make guests feel, well, at home! Read it here.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio‘s Tampa sports talker WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” moves The Fabulous Sports Babe (Nanci Donnellan) to weekends. There’s been no announcement about a permanent program for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. Donnellan began in the overnight slot when the station debuted and moved up to the evening show…..Former Chicago Bears defensive end Alex Brown becomes a featured analyst on the Bears pre-game show on CBS Radio’ s WSCR, Chicago…..Entercom San Francisco sports talk outlet KGMZ “95.7 The Game” adds Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice to its stable of football experts. Rice will make weekly appearances on the afternoon drive show hosted by Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend…..Tribune‘s WGN, Chicago enters into a partnership with Radiate Media for the latter to provide up-to-the-minute traffic information to its audience. The multi-year deal begins September 1…..New Hampshire Public Radio announces Rebecca Lavoie — formerly senior producer on NHPR’s midday show “Word of Mouth,” is promoted to the newly created position of digital director.
20 Complete RAB/BMI Scholarship Training Seminar. On August 20 and 21, 20 scholarship recipients were welcomed at the BMI offices in Nashville to complete the Sixth Annual Rising Through the Ranks, Women in Radio Management & Leadership Training Program, presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau in conjunction with BMI and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group. The two-day course emphasized the specific needs of women in management roles, including enhancing their overall management knowledge and skills. Some 15 executives working in the radio business presented courses to the scholarship attendees. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “The future of our industry is in good hands with this year’s class of scholarship recipients. With the help of the RAB, BMI and MIW, these women are poised to lead their teams and our business. They are energized, empowered, and ready to implement the lessons learned at this seminar.” The group of 20 plus instructors are pictured here.
Mike Gallagher Transforms into ‘Daddy Warbucks.’ As TALKERS reported on Monday, Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher – appearing in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre production of “Annie” as Daddy Warbucks – agreed to forego the skullcap and actually shave his head if listeners to home base affiliate WGTK, Greenville, South Carolina “Conservative Talk 94.5” would donate at least $5,000 to the Gallagher’s Army Fallen Officers Fund. They came through and Gallagher appeared at Frank’s Gentleman’s Salon yesterday afternoon to have his dome “chromed.” About 100 WGTK listeners showed up to watch the shearing. Gallagher commented to the crowd, “Telly Savalas and Yul Brynner have nothing on me!”
VirtualNWS Weather Reports’ ‘Big’ John Wetherbee AMS Board. VirtualNWS Weather Reports’ chief meteorologist “Big” John Wetherbee has been appointed to the American Meteorological Society’s Board of Broadcast Meteorology. During his three-year term on the AMS Board of Broadcast Meteorology, the 30-year radio and TV veteran Wetherbee will help award the coveted AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval to broadcast meteorologist candidates who maintain AMS standards of excellence, pass extensive testing in a series of exams, and can show documented community service. VirtualNWS Weather Reports are syndicated by Envision Radio Networks.
U.S. Action on Syria, Miley Cyrus VMAs Performance, ObamaCare Implementation, and March on Washington Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). The continuing talk about whether the United States and its allies should strike Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons; the aftermath of Miley Cyrus’ performance on the MTV VMAs show on Sunday; the costs of implementing the Affordable Care Act; and the anniversary of the March on Washington were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Melanie Morgan Leaves KSFO, San Francisco AM Show. This was radio and news pro Melanie Morgan’s second go-round with the Cumulus news/talker. Morgan was a longtime fixture on KSFO alongside Lee Rodgers on the morning drive show when it was owned by ABC Radio (then Citadel) until her departure from the station in 2008. She worked briefly with Talk Radio Network’s “America’s Morning News” based in Washington, DC but was forced to return to San Francisco to deal with a health issue. She joined the morning show at KSFO again – this time with Brian Sussman as co-host 18 months ago. Morgan Tweeted to followers: “Breaking – Melanie Morgan leaves KSFO morning show. No more 2:45 alarms. Amicable parting. Thanks KSFO listeners. God Bless You!”
WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey Legend Jack Ellery Retires. Greater Media announces that New Jersey radio legend Jack Ellery is retiring from WCTC, New Brunswick after a career that has spanned 50 years. Ellery, most recently morning host at the station, has spent the better part of his career at WCTC. Ellery began as a disc jockey but quickly turned his daily morning show into a forum for discussion on the latest news in Central Jersey and the state, providing insight, wit and humor, as one of the true pioneers of local talk radio. Greater Media states, “Along the way, the radio veteran was also instrumental in helping WCTC raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Central Jersey charitable organizations through on-air radiothons and different drives for local residents in dire need. Ellery capped off his career as one of Central Jersey’s iconic radio personalities with his inclusion in the New Jersey Broadcasters Association’s inaugural class of Hall of Fame inductees last year. He also received the NJBA’s Lifetime Achievement award at that time.” WCTC station manager Dan Henrickson says, “Jack has served our community, our advertisers and our audience for multiple decades. We wish him all the best in the ‘gone fishing’ portion of his life.”
Boston Globe Examines Local Sports Talk Radio Battle. Boston Globe sports columnist Chad Finn takes a deeper look at the ratings war between CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” and Entercom’s WEEI-FM after the Arbitron PPM data for the June period were released late yesterday. It turns out the NHL Stanley Cup push by the hometown Bruins – whose games are broadcast on WBZ-FM – was very good news for the station. Finn digs into the Men 25-54 numbers average from the last three ratings periods (April, May and June) and reports the following: WBZ-FM was #1 in the demo with a 10.2 share and WEEI-FM was tied for 5th place with a 5.5 share; in morning drive WBZ-FM morning show Toucher and Rich were first with a 13.4 share. WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan were fifth with a 6.0 though Finn notes that D&C were up in June with a 7.0 share. Things got a little closer in the evenings when play-by-play for the Bruins and the Red Sox were happening. Finn writes, “In the evenings (7-p.m-midnight), The Sports Hub, featuring the Baseball Reporters, the Adam Jones Show and Bruins game broadcasts, was first with a 13.4 share, including a massive 16.2 in June. WEEI’s nighttime programming, including the Planet Mikey Show and Red Sox and Celtics broadcasts, was second (9.7, including a 10.2 in June).” The next couple of surveys will be interesting as WEEI has the monopoly on play-by-play with Red Sox baseball. Read Finn’s entire column here.
Chicago Sports Talk War Featured in Tribune. The Chicago Tribune’s Ed Sherman dives into the Men 25-54 PPM data for what he terms the spring ratings – April, May and June PPM averages – for the market’s major sports talk outlets CBS Radio-owned WSCR and ESPN O&O WMVP. Sherman reports WSCR finished fourth in the market with a 4.7 share against WMVP’s 16th place finish on a 2.4 share (Men 25-54 Mon-Sun 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight). Breaking out some of the individual programs, Sherman reports in morning drive WSCR’s “’Mully & Hanley’ were third at 6.8; ‘Mike & Mike’ were 10th at 2.9 on MVP. In the afternoon, ‘Boers & Bernstein’ were second at 5.2, while ‘Waddle & Silvy’ were 16th at 2.6 in the first three months of their new time slot for WMVP.” Sherman also spoke with both program directors – WSCR’s Mitch Rosen and WMVP’s Adam Delevitt – in searching for reasons the stations, which were often very close in ratings in the past, have separated recently with WSCR pulling ahead. Rosen tells the Tribune, “We’ve stuck with the same lineup for several years. People get into habits when it comes to listening to stations. Continuity makes a big difference in radio.” Delevitt points out what his company sees as its strength in a multi-platform approach. “With ESPN, you have to focus on all of our platforms. Nobody can duplicate what we’re doing on every platform.” You can read Sherman’s entire piece here.
Michael Harrison to Deliver Keynote Address at The Conclave – Says the Future of Radio Rests Upon the Shoulders of Talent. The long-running annual industry learning conference, The Conclave, is coming up in just six days! Set for Wednesday, July 17 – Friday, July 19 at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel in Minneapolis, the 38th installment of this major, non-profit industry institution will feature a packed lineup of speakers from both music and talk radio (click here for the complete agenda). TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is set to deliver the event’s Keynote Address on Thursday, July 18 at 9:00 am. The title of his speech is “Radio in the Digital Age: Where Does Talent Fit In?” His presentation will approach today’s key issues – immense debt, generational and cultural shifts, exotic new media, audience measurement shortcomings, plus the increasing importance of intellectual property, talent becoming entrepreneurial, and the humanity that radio should offer and has the potential to still do so well. Looking ahead to his presentation, Harrison states, “The Conclave is designed as a platform for learning and I intend to use this opportunity to share the experience of my 45-year career in professional broadcasting and present-day insights accrued being the publisher of two leading trades with the young up-and-comers who are hopeful that radio can yet provide them with a rewarding career. The past, present and future of radio is primarily a story about talent. I will talk about the survival and ‘thrival’ of talent – upon whose shoulders rests the future of this industry.”
WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Baseball Talk Host Darren Daulton Diagnosed with Brain Cancer. The former MLB star and host of “Talkin’ Baseball with Dutch” took a break from his regular 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm nightly baseball show on Greater Media’s WPEN-FM “The Fanatic” to have tumors removed from his brain and the result of tests on those tumors showed they are cancerous. Darren Daulton Foundation president Tony Perri posted a message on Daulton’s official website stating, in part: “Darren has been diagnosed with a Glioblastoma (“GBM”), a form of brain cancer. He has returned to his Clearwater area home to continue recuperating amongst his immediate family and friends. He will eventually begin treatments in Florida. Darren and his family wish to thank everyone for their loving support throughout this difficult time. He is deeply touched. In typical fashion, he again said, ‘Right on; Fight on.’ Darren and his family request that everyone respect his privacy and that of his family during this period of time. At his urging, I can report that the September 9, 2013 golf tournament that benefits the Foundation will continue as planned.”
Former KPOJ, Portland Talk Host Building Online Progressive Talk Destination. Carl Wolfson was the morning drive host at Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland before the company dropped the progressive talk format and flipped it to sports talk in November of 2012. Undaunted, Wolfson created a live, daily morning program on the internet and “Carl in the Morning” has been building a listenership on Wolfson’s internet station. Now, he’s adding another program to the station as former Oregon State Representative Jefferson Smith begins hosting a program called “Thank You Democracy” two days a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 am. According to Willamette Week, Wolfson writes about the show, “Each episode of ‘Thank You Democracy’ will take a topic and cover that topic from various angles. The show will benefit from Jefferson’s network of relationships, as well as his experience as an activist, nationally recognized non-profit executive, advisor to elected officials, as well as a candidate and office-holder himself.”
KRMS, Osage Beach, Missouri Host Saves Life of Guest. It all started when “Ozarks Today” host John Rogger called author and scheduled guest June Barnhart by mistake on Monday July, 8 for an interview scheduled for a different day. But when he spoke with her he noticed she sounded confused and hung up on him. Fortunately the author’s publicist had his sister check in with the author’s sister who rushed over to her house to find her in bad shape. She was dehydrated and confused and was taken to the hospital. Rogger tells TALKERS magazine that he subsequently found out Barnhart had suffered a mild stroke but doctors say she is expected to make a full recovery.
Healthy-Schmealthy, Tell ‘em You Want a Hochman Burger! When WAXY, Miami “AM790 & FM 104.3 The Ticket” morning drive co-host Marc Hochman was asked by Miami Subs Grill to create a namesake burger to be sold at the restaurant, he was only too happy to comply. Marc is pictured here prepping to dive into a Hochman Burger that is now available at all 32 Miami Subs locations. (Miami Subs is partly owned by Miami-based rap star Pitbull.) What’s in a Hochman Burger you ask? It’s covered with cheddar and BBQ sauce and topped with Funyons! Tasty…and crunchy, too!
WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Captain Celebrity Softball Game. Morning drive sports talk duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will choose their sides for the Major League Baseball’s Taco Bell Legends & Celebrities Softball Game during their show on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York Friday morning at 8:00 am. Boomer & Carton will be broadcasting live from the All-Star FanFest at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The celebrity game is now in its 9th year as part of MLB’s All-Star Week and will be played before the All-Star Game Tuesday evening at Citi Field. It will feature celebrities including Chris Rock, Mike Piazza, Kevin James, Darryl Strawberry, George Lopez, Dwight Gooden, Ashanti, Jennie Finch, Chord Overstreet and James Denton, among others. Boomer Esiason is co-captaining the National League team alongside John Franco and Craig Carton and Bernie Williams will lead the American League team.
Immigration Reform, George Zimmerman Trial, Student Loan Bill, Asiana Airlines Crash Landing, Egypt Turmoil, and Canadian Rail Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/10). The battle in Congress over immigration reform and amnesty; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the bill that would address student loan interest rates; the investigation of the crash landing of the Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco; the civil and political turmoil in Egypt; and the deadly Canadian railroad accident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FINALLY, IT’S HERE! Talkers New York 2013 Takes Place in the Big Apple Today (6/6). The 16th annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s annual convention takes place in New York City today. Featuring a roster of more than 55 speakers, the event formerly known as “The New Media Seminar” has been sold out since May 1 – a record-breaking 37 days in advance. The entire agenda will be broadcast live and raw in real time on TalkersRadio between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm today. To access TalkersRadio, click here. To see the latest up to-the-minute agenda, click here. “We are very pleased to be able to broadcast this event on TalkersRadio,” says publisher Michael Harrison, “especially since it was such an early sellout.” Harrison adds, “This will be the first official broadcast on TalkersRadio, our new internet streaming talk radio station. It will give our readers, who could not attend, a gavel-to-gavel ear on the proceedings. We are excited to do this.” TalkersRadio is powered by Backbone Networks Corporation. Check with Talkers.com for complete coverage of the conference.
CBS Corp. Announces Joseph Ianniello Named COO. CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves announces chief financial officer Joseph Ianniello has been named chief operating office for the company. In this new role he’ll still hold financial operation responsibilities but will join the negotiating team on content deals with pay TV and streaming providers. In a statement, Moonves says, “He’s been a game-changing CFO, but he’s also so much more than that. He is a tough negotiator, a great manager, and someone who brings energy, passion and a great sense of teamwork to anything he does. He is also someone who has developed incredible trust and admiration on Wall Street, with our shareholders, our board of directors and my superb senior management team, of which he is an integral part. I am proud to promote Joe to this new position, which not only recognizes the many contributions he has already made, but sets him up for all the great work yet to be done.”
Mitch Rosen Sticks with WSCR, Chicago. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports he spoke with sports talk WSCR, Chicago program director Mitch Rosen about the rumor he was going to be the next program director at WGN, Chicago and that Rosen is not interested in the job. Feder writes that Rosen says he was approached by new WGN president Jimmy de Castro about the position but doesn’t want to leave “The Score.” Rosen states, “I was flattered by the interest at WGN. I’m grateful for the team we have here, and I continue to grow this brand that is 21-plus years old. I love what I do. I love working at The Score.” Programmer Bill White was let go from his PD post at WGN earlier this week.
WEEI, Boston Announces Summer Hoops Show. Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the debut of “Celtics Summer Cooler,” a new program hosted by Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell that will air on Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm beginning June 8 and run through September 28. WEEI says, “Grande and Max comprise one of the longest-running broadcast teams in NBA history, having called over 1,200 games between them, and have been the voices of the Celtics since 2001. This new show will provide Celtics fans with the most comprehensive news and analysis of the team, from the draft to the summer league and right up to training camp. Listeners can expect to hear from Celtics front office personnel, players, beat writers and columnists, and national media members from around the league. Entercom Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says, “This is going to be the most interesting offseason for the Celtics since 2007 when Danny pulled off the big trades for KG and Ray Allen. Celtic fans deserve a show that will be devoted to the team’s efforts this summer, and no one knows the strategy better than Grande and Max.”
Radio Mercury Winners Celebrated. The 22nd annual reception for the Radio Mercury Awards took place at the Highline Ballroom in New York City on Wednesday, June 5. This year’s Best of Show Award was given to Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC for their radio campaign, “A Long Day of Childhood” for Ragu/Unilever. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Bill Cimino, Y&R Midwest; Dave Suarez and Danny Gonzalez, Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC; Erica Farber, RAB; and Gerry Graf, Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC. This year’s event was produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau and presented by Clear Channel Media & Entertainment. Speaking about the Best of Show winner, Y&R Midwest chief creative officer Bill Cimino said, “The work from Barton F. Graf 9000 was the standout radio creative, especially the Ragu campaign, and the Integrated Little Caesars campaign.” Cimino served as chief judge for this year’s Radio Mercury Awards. RAB CEO Erica Farber stated, “All of tonight’s winners epitomize the level and standard of excellence that we always hope to award at the Radio Mercury Awards. These winning spots and campaigns are true testaments to radio’s ability to engage consumers, build brands and inspire the next generation of creative minds.”
KOZN, Omaha Welcomes Volleyball Champ. NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” recently welcomed U.S National Indoor Volleyball team member Foluke Akinradewo to the studios where she was part of the station’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program. Akinradewo won the gold medal and the MVP award at the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix. Pictured here are (from l-r): KZON producer Josh Peterson, co-host John Bishop, Akinradewo, and co-host Mike’l Severe.
NSA Phone Records Seizure, Child Lung Transplant Case, IRS Scandal, Eric Holder Under Fire, Dow Drops Below 15,000, and Susan Rice-Samantha Power Appointments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5). The court ruling mandating Verizon turn over Americans’ phone records to National Security Agency; the case of a 10-year-old lung transplant patient; the deepening IRS scandal; Attorney General Eric Holder under fire for DOJ actions; the Dow sinks below 15,000 in anticipation of jobs report; and President Obama’s appointments of Susan Rice and Samantha Power were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
New Media Seminar Draws 275 in Los Angeles. It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood yesterday. Approximately 50 speakers — including the likes of Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin Larue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012. This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into East and West coast segments. The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7.
“Those who do not adapt will be swallowed up.” That was the admonishment of Courtside Entertainment CEO Norm Pattiz in his Thursday morning keynote. Consistently sounding a no-nonsense tone, Pattiz assured attendees that this is a very serious time. Along those lines, Pattiz even mentioned that his comments that kicked off the enthusiastically well-received event would not be going for laughs. Touching on a variety of bullet points, the former Westwood One honcho commented that, despite the fact audience size is unchanged, there is dwindling support for conservative talk radio from national advertisers. “There were no 400-pound gorillas,” when Pattiz began in the radio syndication business. Missing good old-fashioned radio wars, he noted that people “banged heads in a good-natured way.” Importance of the product was heavily stressed by Pattiz, who emphasized that he “did not get in the business because of money – I’m a content guy.” The idea of giving anything away for nothing “is ridiculous,” he remarked. Despite cautioning the audience that his keynote would be straightforward, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ #1 fan could not resist lightening the mood on several occasions when, including when he stated, “You should not sleep well knowing that I am the chairman of Lawrence Livermore National Security.”
A star-studded panel looked at the big picture of spoken-word radio, with CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler stating, “We are not in the radio business – we are in the content business.” Content, however, must be memorable and compelling. Provided that personalities “do not break their promises to listeners,” it is the opinion of Sound Mind CEO Kraig Kitchin that they will “continue to sell their books.” Demos are not what Phil Boyce seeks. “I chase ears,” commented Salem Communications‘ vice president/director, spoken word formats, who added, “People on the left want to kill talk radio.” One of the key buzzwords, according to Fox Sports Radio vice president/programming Don Martin, is “bundle.” The operations manager of Los Angeles’ KLAC commented that, from a branding standpoint, it is much wiser to use handles such as “Fox Sports Radio – LA,” or “ESPN Radio 710,” rather than, “The Zone,” or “The Ticket.”
The New Normal president/host Tom Leykis was among the “Modern Day Pioneer” panelists. The popular talk host isn’t a fan of having television cameras in a radio studio. The concept of viewing a radio show on television, is – in Leykis’ estimation” very similar to “watching socks dry.” Esteemed programmer and “Mental Radio” host Shadoe Stevens added, “It takes away the theater of the mind.” Virtually everyone thought Mike Horn “was crazy” when the chief executive officer of CRN Digital Talk set forth the concept of providing audio channels to cable TV providers. Next year, his company will celebrate its 30th birthday. “You must have great programming and a way to promote it,” Horn remarked.
Look for extensive coverage of this historic radio gathering in the coming days and weeks in TALKERS and RadioInfo including video coverage and bonus interviews.
Competition in the Network Sports Talk Field Breeding War of Words. A story in the New York Post illustrates the intense competition the arrival of two new major players (CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio) in the sports talk radio network business is having. Reporting what the industry has known for some time – that the Cumulus distribution partnership with the new CBS Sports Radio Network will mean 47 new affiliates for CBS and would mean some affiliation cancellations for ESPN Radio – the two sides engaged in a little competitive posturing in the Post story. Saying it will have about 100 affiliate stations when it debuts in January and positioning itself as the “most-listened-to sports radio network in the top 50 markets,” CBS is playing up its assets – namely O&Os in major and large markets. CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason tells the Post, “ESPN affiliates are in small markets. Maybe you find that adds up to a lot of audience. Don’t forget that CBS Radio owns most of the top 10 sports stations in the US, and with Cumulus that’s formidable. ESPN has had the market much to themselves, we’re the new entry and we think we put together formidable talent.” ESPN Radio SVP of production and business Traug Keller responds, “This has no material effect on us. There’s only three or four [Cumulus] stations in the top 50.” He also tells the paper ESPN is already finding new affiliates in markets where current agreements are being terminated, including Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama.
Barclays Capital Analyst Downgrades U.S. Advertising Growth Forecast. The ad industry as a whole will not grow as much over the next year and a half as previously predicted states Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente. In a report issued yesterday, DiClemente stated he believes ad growth across all sectors will be just 4% this year compared to his original prediction of 4.6%. For 2013, DiClemente says he believes ad revenue will rise just 1.9% compared to his previous 2.3% forecast. He did not specifically report on projections for radio. He did, however, give a positive outlook for News Corp. performance.
WSCR, Chicago’s Jason Goff to Take Night Host Position at CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talker. Rounding out the lineup of CBS Radio’s WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” is Jason Goff, who will become the host of the evening show when the station debuts on October 24. The lineup for the new sports talker was announced earlier this week with the exception of the evening slot. Now, “The Score” fill-in host, writer, producer and reporter will move south for his own nightly talk show. Goff has been with WSCR for the past 12 years and program director Mitch Rosen is obviously thrilled for Goff telling Chicago Radio and Media, “What a great story Jason Goff is. From a caller in high school to an intern to a full-time producer/fill-in host, and now to a top market like Atlanta to be a full-time host! This is a Hollywood story in progress, Jason will excel and I could not be more proud.”
Looking Into the Digital Crystal Ball. Saga Communications made the news this past Wednesday when they anointed their program directors as “brand managers.” Saga’s EVP Steve Goldstein, issued a memo that you read here in TALKERS. It read, in part, “We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand. And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of program directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.” In today’s TALKERS, leading digital radio consultant Chris Miller writes about what this move actually will mean to the managers involved. Looking into his digital crystal ball he predicts that before too long, brand managers will be judged on how much time people are spending with their entire brand. Not just their broadcasts, but all the platforms that they manage. He says that we will move into the era of the “new ratings” in which every click is trackable – no estimates – and stations will own the data without having to buy it from a third party (uh, oh Arbitron). He also points out that this new era will open the door to new competition and an increased concentration on niches. Fasten your seat belts because this is one fast ride! To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Doug Hess Exits WLTP, Parkersburg, West Virginia. News director and morning drive co-host Doug Hess is leaving Clear Channel’s news/talk WLTP, Parkersburg, West Virginia after 21 years doing local news in the market. According to the News-Sentinel, Hess will take a position as communications and outreach coordinator with The ARC of the Mid-Ohio Valley. Hess tells the paper he’ll miss the news business he’s been a part of for so many years. “People depend on you to get this information out to them in a timely manner. It is an important job and it has been a privilege to do it.”
Beasley Broadcasting Adds FM Signals to Southwest Florida’s 770 ESPN Radio. WWCN, Ft. Myers gets some FM signal boost to help it cover Lee and Collier counties. Beasley Broadcasting announces the ESPN Radio affiliate can now be heard on 98.1 FM in South Ft. Myers and Estero; 101.5 FM in Bonita Springs and North Naples; and 105.1 FM in Naples and Marco Island. VP/market manager Brad Beasley states, “This is a big deal for Southwest Florida sports enthusiasts. For the past 12 years, the only way to hear sports in our community has been on the AM dial. Now our loyal listeners can also follow their favorite teams and events at multiple locations on the FM dial…and that’s awesome!”
Vice Presidential Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 8-12. The anticipation of the vice presidential candidate’s debate and the post-debate discussion was the top news/talk story of the week landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the questioning of the facts presented by the Obama administration about the attack in Banghazi. At #3 was the presidential race poll numbers followed by the aftermath of the first presidential debate at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Current TV Fires Back at Keith Olbermann. Fledgling network Current TV is countersuing former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann in the wake of his messy departure from the operation. Entertainment Weekly reports the Al Gore-founded network is calling Olbermann’s $70 million suit against the network “frivolous” and “riddled with falsehoods and distortions.” “Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all.” The complaint also refers to Olbermann’s April 3 appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” during which he stated the situation was “my fault” and admitted “I screwed up.” Current TV filed its complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Rumor Confirmed: Limbaugh to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia; Michael Smerconish to Air Live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Yesterday (4/9) TALKERS reported the rumor that Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh would leave longtime affiliate WPHT and be replaced by WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. CBS Radio is confirming that switch will take place with Premiere Networks saying Limbaugh will appear elsewhere in the market, though neither source is giving specifics on when the changes will take place. Absent another major signal talk outlet in Philly, speculation is that Merlin Media will take new acquisition WKDN-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) news/talk in the near future and put Limbaugh on the station. Meanwhile, Michael Smerconish returns to a live broadcast (he’s currently being delayed to PM drive) on WPHT, the station where he hosted a very successful AM drive program for many years.
WSCR, Chicago’s Dan McNeil Clears Air with Listeners About Absence. Chicago sports talk host Dan McNeil told his listeners his absence from CBS Radio’s WSCR for the past six weeks was due to what he could best describe as a nervous breakdown that resulted from his ceasing to take the mood stabilizer Lamictal. McNeil says after he stopped taking the drug he became depressed and sought treatment for depression and substance abuse. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports McNeil was open and honest with his listeners saying, “I know with you listeners I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust, as I’m doing with the most important people in my family. And I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a chance to re-earn that trust.” McNeil co-hosts the midday show at WSCR alongside Matt Spiegel.
Sid Rosenberg to Be Off WQAM, Miami This Week. After an arrest on Thursday of last week on DUI and driving with a suspended license charges, WQAM, Miami talk host Sid Rosenberg was on the air last Friday. But he was not hosting his show yesterday and the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating he’ll be off the air all week. It’s unclear what Rosenberg’s status with the station is – whether he’s been suspended or is out for medical reasons – but he is not expected to return to the station this week.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Expands into the Hawkeye State. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it has struck a deal with Iowa Network Services to bring its six audio HD channels to cable subscribers in the state. CRN chief executive officer and founder Michael Horn states, “We are pleased to join with Iowa Network Services and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining talk radio programming.” Iowa Network Services is based in Des Moines and serves 57 independent telecommunications firms providing internet, data, telephone and cable television service throughout Iowa. INS video content manager Sarah Roeder says, “INS is excited to bring CRN Digital Talk Radio to Iowa. The diverse programming will add value to our existing content.” CRN Digital Talk Radio states it offers more than 100 original shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Lou Dobbs, Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Cindy Laverty, Laura Ingraham, Mancow, Michael Savage and Doug Stephan among others. “Iowa Network Services subscribers will also enjoy the popular Robert Conrad show, featuring the TV legend, as well as the Larry Manetti show, starring the former ‘Magnum P.I.’ star.”
KNST, Tucson Hosts Arizona Congressional Race Debate. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KNST, Tucson is hosting a debate among the four Republican candidates vying for the Congressional seat vacated by former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords earlier this year. KNST morning host Garret Lewis will moderate the debate along with National Republican Committee member Bruce Ash. Candidates Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, Martha McSally and Dave Sitton will face off in the April 17 primary to determine who will battle Democrat Ron Barber and Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis in the June 12 special election. The debate will take place Thursday evening at the Quail Creek Country Club and will be broadcast live on KNST and 97.1 FM.
Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington Wins “Headliner Award” for Website. Hubbard Broadcasting’s Federal News Radio announces it has been honored with a 2012 National Headliner award for a second place win in the category of Radio-Affiliated Website. Federal News Radio web manager Julia Ziegler states, “What makes FederalNewsRadio.com so successful is the fact that everyone on our staff contributes to the web product – from our reporters and web staff, to our producers and anchors. Our most innovative web projects always come from staff members bringing their individual skills, knowledge and ideas together.” WFED, Washington program director Lisa Wolfe says, “We offer a lot of interactivity with our surveys, multi-media features, radio interviews on demand, photo slide-shows and videos. We have improved the graphic experience with some excellent data visualization. The goal is to push our capabilities to be in the vanguard of digital journalism.”
KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Hospitalized for Heart Surgery. Jon Justice hosts the morning drive show at Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson. He suffered a heart attack in 2009 and explains via the station’s video blog (pictured here) from the ICU that doctors will operate on him to fix a prior valve replacement that needs repair. Justice says doctors expect him to recover quickly and he hopes to be home from the hospital by the weekend.
Jerry Doyle Live on the Strip. That’s Talk Radio Network star Jerry Doyle broadcasting live from the Suncoast Hotel and Casino on April 6. Doyle and flagship station KDWN, Las Vegas co-produced the appearance which will become a monthly live broadcast at which Doyle’s fans can take part in what he calls “radio magic.” After Doyle’s three-hour broadcast, he took questions from fans and talked about “the things they won’t let me talk about on the radio.”
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Tepid Jobs Report/Stock Market Activity, Status of Obama Care, Syrian Violence and Mike Wallace Passes Away Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the falling Dow on the heels of a weak jobs report; the Supreme Court’s Obama Care hearing and analysis of the law’s impact on the nation’s deficit; an increase in Syrian violence; and the death of journalist Mike Wallace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame. That’s Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Premiere Networks Bob & Tom show at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Opening Day leading the fans in the traditional 7th inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Bob & Tom produced a live remote broadcast from the Whiskey Bar in downtown Cincinnati on Opening Day. Members of the Bob & Tom crew, including Tom Griswold and Kristi Lee, participated in the Opening Day parade in Cincinnati. Griswold and Lee rode in affiliate Fox 92.5’s car in the parade.
Atlanta Drops Two Positions in Arbitron Market Rank to #9; Philly and DC Move Up. Arbitron announced the Fall 2011 update of its market ranks based on populations changes compared to the Fall 2010 survey. Atlanta’s loss of population drops it to #9 with Philadelphia and Washington, DC moving up one position to market numbers 7 and 8 respectively. Other market moves of note include: San Antonio moves up three positions to market #28; San Jose drops three positions to market #37; and Jacksonville loses four positions to end up at market #50. Arbitron created a brand new metro called the Hudson Valley consisting of several counties just north of New York City that ranks #39. It also added additional counties to a number of metros causing big jumps. Markets benefitting from those additions (with their new rank) are: New Orleans, #47; Des Moines, #73; Portland, Maine, #90; Corpus Christi, #111; Fort Smith, Arkansas, #160; Amarillo, Texas, #169; Bryan-College Station, Texas, #198; Jonesboro, Arkansas, #229; and Albany, Georgia, #241.
More Local Sports Talk at WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Hubbard Broadcasting’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves “The Late Shift” with Cliff Saunders to an earlier 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm airing and debuts a new 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm program on October 3 featuring former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan and station Cardinal’s insider Brian Stull. According to the station, the addition of the “Stully & Duncan” show means the station offers 13 consecutive hours of live and local sports talk programming. The new program and the time change of “The Late Shift” bumps ESPN Radio’s Brian Kenny show from the program schedule. Program director Kent Sterling says, “This is a dynamic pairing of a respected sports radio host/journalist Brian Stull and the former professional athlete Chris Duncan, who until six months ago was known only as a former Cardinal. Now, Chris Duncan is a radio host who has become a valuable member of the 101 ESPN team. His analysis of all sports – not just baseball – has been a boon for us over the past Cardinals season and he has demonstrated a work ethic and sense of fun that has been a great addition to the 101 ESPN brand.”
Troy Aikman Adds Radio Appearances to His Duties. The Fox Sports NFL broadcaster and Hall of Fame player begins weekly appearances on three major market sports talk stations through Fox Sports Radio. Aikman appears on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York with Mike Francesa in the 5:00 pm hour each Friday; on CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago with Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley during the 8:00 am hour each Monday; and on Fox Sports Radio’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based Petros & Money program during the 5:00 pm hour each Tuesday. Petros & Money is part of Fox Sports Radio’s lineup and is heard on some 245 affiliate stations across the country.
Harry Hurley Takes Morning Show to WENJ, Atlantic City. Yes, WENJ is Townsquare Media’s ESPN-affiliated sports talk simulcast (WENJ-AM/FM) but Harry Hurley’s local news/talk show will air in morning drive on the AM side (1450) beginning in October after five years at crosstown WIBG. Hurley tells The Press of Atlantic City, “The reasons I’m moving are because of the people I’ll be working with and the company I’ll be working for.” Still, Hurley thanks WIBG owner Rick Brancadora for his time there and says, “I’ve learned to take nothing for granted. You always earn it. I’ve been lucky to have the most fiercely loyal listenership in radio. I’m confident they will move with me.”
Jim Walsh Returns to KFYR, Bismarck. Walsh worked at the station in 2003 and 2004 and then went on to host programs at WILM, Wilmington and WASK, Lafayette, Indiana. He takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program at the Clear Channel station full time beginning September 19. He replaces Scott Bachmeier who leaves his full-time gig at the station to focus on non-radio work but maintains his syndicated “Dakota Prairie Outdoors” program as well as the Friday afternoon “Energy Matters” program on KFYR.
Obama Jobs Bill, 9/11 Anniversary, and 2012 GOP Candidates Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12). Criticism and analysis of President Obama’s jobs creation bill, the 9/11 anniversary and the 2012 GOP candidates for president – including anticipation of last night’s debate on CNN – were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Mohawk Valley Talk Host Publishes History Book. This is not a boring treatise on the history of a region. Instead, WVTL, Amsterdam, New York morning host Bob Cudmore has taken more than 40 of the most interesting and unusual stories about people and places in the Mohawk Valley he’s culled over the years for his weekly column in the Daily Gazette and put them together in this new book, Stories from the Mohawk Valley: The Painted Rocks, the Good Benedict Arnold and More (Nero Publishing 2011). Cudmore’s book includes tales about psychedelic philosopher Benjamin Paul Blood, actor Kirk Douglas, Fonda’s Queen Libby, “The Daiquiris” bandleader Alex Torres, controversial Amsterdam mayor Theron Akin, singer Arlene Fontana, banker Pasquale DiMezza and the unofficial Polish mayor of Amsterdam Michael J. Wytrwal. Cudmore has a book signing scheduled for this Saturday. Check out his website http://www.bobcudmore.com/