WEEI Goes FM in Beantown; FM Sports Talk War Begins. Two years ago CBS Radio made major changes to its FM properties in Boston and created WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” to challenge Entercom’s WEEI, even hiring away some of the younger staff that had been working at WEEI. A strong, quick climb in the ratings by WBZ-FM – especially in younger demos – showed that station to be a worthy competitor to WEEI. Now, Entercom fires back by dumping the classic hits format on WMKK-FM “Mike FM” and simulcasting WEEI on FM, beginning Monday, September 12. Entercom will make the announcement official today (9/8) at 8:00 am ET on the Dennis & Callahan morning show. WMKK-FM is licensed to Lawrence – north of Boston – and that will certainly help with coverage. WEEI, although a 50k directional station at 850 AM, has a notoriously sketchy signal. In fact, one of the amazing things about WEEI’s success over the past 20 years has been its ability to thrive with the poor signal. Now, though, Entercom hopes to gain younger demos by being on FM along with its new, improved FM home in the sports-crazy Boston market.
From the Broadcast Booth to the Campaign Trail: Martha Zoller to Run for Congress. What was reported by TALKERS earlier comes to pass as Gainesville, Georgia-based talk show host Martha Zoller announces she will run as a Republican for the newly created congressional seat in North Georgia next year. Zoller’s camp states she has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission . Zoller is based out of Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville and the company’s legal counsel advises her that she may remain on the air until she becomes a “qualified candidate” with Georgia officials next spring, according to an Associated Press report. Zoller states, “I have been involved in radio for 15 years now, not just giving my opinion, but helping my listeners analyze the critical issues of the day. Most importantly, I have given people a chance to be heard.” Zoller is a popular conservative talk host, not only in the North Georgia region, but nationally due to her work on cable news/talk TV and other high-profile appearances. However, she is not the only Republican to be interested in running for the seat representing the new district. Georgia Republican State Representative Doug Collins – a former U.S. Air Force chaplain and floor leader for Georgian Governor Nathan Deal – is also seeking the seat.
CBS Radio Names Rona Danziger WXYT, Detroit PD. CBS Radio is splitting off WXYT-AM from the current AM/FM simulcast of sports talk “The Ticket” and debuts Talk Radio 1270 AM WXYT on September 12. The company announces it is bringing Detroit programming pro Rona Danziger aboard to manage the station’s shows. Danziger – who most recently programmed Clear Channel’s crosstown sports WDFN – begins her duties immediately. She says, “I’m thrilled to be part of the launch of Talk Radio 1270. I can’t wait to work with Charlie Langton and the terrific staff at CBS Radio. I’m excited to program a radio station that will bring edgy, opinionated and highly entertaining conservative talk radio to Detroit.” The station also features Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck and “Coast to Coast” with George Noory; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham and Rusty Humphries; Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis; and Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt.
Tom Leykis on TALKERS TV. In what can be described as the “Dance of the Lifestyle Hosts” or talk radio’s version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the legendary Tom Leykis is caught on video in a rare conversation recorded at the recent New Media Seminar 2011 in which he shows his charming (yet provocative) side. He is interviewed by New Jersey 101.5 evening relationships show star Michelle Jerson and the two quickly become engaged in a good-spirited, but somewhat sparky, verbal battle of the sexes. This is not to be missed. Check it out on TALKERS TV on this page.
“America’s Morning News” Now Heard on More Than 135 Affiliate Stations. The Talk Radio Network Entertainment and Washington Times collaborative morning news radio program “America’s Morning News” has added some 45 new affiliate stations this year alone to surpass the 135-affiliate mark. The program, based at The Washington Times’ DC studios and anchored by John McCaslin and Dana Mills, is touted by its developers as “the leading source for breaking news coverage on radio, features an innovative long-form news format aimed at showcasing investigative reporting, and accountability journalism directly from the nation’s capital.” The program is heard in 23 of the top 50 metros, according to TRNE CEO Mark Masters who says, “‘America’s Morning News’ is the direct result of a close relationship with Talk Radio Network Entertainment, The Washington Times and all of our valued syndication partners. Working together, we’ve developed the next generation news radio programming that is rapidly gaining national audience share with over 135 affiliates secured to date.”
O’Connell and Moran Promoted at WSJRN. Susan O’Connell is promoted to senior director of affiliate sales and Susan Moran is upped to director of affiliate marketing at The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. WSJRN executive director Nancy Abramson says in a release, “Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran are both my mentors in the radio network business and it is a privilege to have them on my team. Their accomplished careers and knowledge of the industry will help ensure our continued success.” O’Connell is responsible for affiliate relations and marketing for the company’s “Wall Street Journal Report,” “Dow Jones Money Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning, “The Wall Street Journal This Weekend,” and “The Daily Wrap with Michael Castner.” Moran continues to be responsible for affiliating radio stations and overseeing the marketing and advertising for WSJRN and its affiliates.
Beth Sugrue Joins Merlin Media as Director of Integrated Programs. Sugrue comes from CBS Radio Chicago where she was director of new business development for the past nine years. In her new position with Merlin Media she’ll be responsible for managing the non-traditional revenue of the company’s three stations as well as the digital, non-spot and interactive sales operations. Sugrue will report from EVP of revenue Greg Janoff who states, “Beth is a true talent who recognizes the essence of the integrated approach in the radio industry. She has the keen ability to really understand the needs of a company and create a specialized program to solve those needs.”
Rick Buckley Memorial Service to Be Held Today. A memorial service for Buckley Broadcasting president Rick Buckley will be held today (9/8) at 11:00 am at Christ Church Greenwich in Greenwich, Connecticut. Buckley died unexpectedly on July 31 after suffering a brain embolism. He had served as the president of the family broadcasting business since 1972.
GOP Debate, 9/11 Anniversary and Obama Jobs Speech Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/7). The GOP presidential debate in held in Simi Valley, California last night, the approaching anniversary of 9/11 and President Obama’s scheduled address before a joint session of Congress and the nation on his jobs creations plan were three of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Media Brings Sam Rogers Aboard as VP of Political and Platform Sales. Cumulus EVP and chief operating officer Jon Pinch says, “With the anticipated close of Citadel in September and the 2012 political revenue expected to break all records, this is an important new position at Cumulus. Sam is a true broadcast professional with over 20 years’ experience in Washington, DC radio and is uniquely qualified for this role.” On his new role with Cumulus, Rogers says, “To say I’m excited to join Cumulus is an understatement. Cumulus is the sort of apolitical company that others aspire to mimic. It’s a platform that will offer political advertisers ease of purchase through their proprietary software systems and access to well over 100 markets coast to coast.” Rogers most recently served as market manager for CBS Radio in Washington, DC. (August 24, 2011)
Talk Host James T. Harris Begins Daily Show at KQTH-FM, Tucson. Harris has been hosting a Sunday talk show at Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee that’s been airing on KQTH-FM as well. Now Harris moves to Tucson to begin a 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program on KQTH-FM. Harris follows the Jon Justice show giving the station six hours of continuous local talk. Program director Ryan McCredden says, “By adding James T. to our weekday lineup, we’re continuing our commitment to providing the best local talk programming in Tucson. His energy, passion and dedication is the right fit for the top rated news/talk station in Southern Arizona.” Harris will exit WTMJ after September 11 and begins his program at KQTH-FM on October 3. Harris, a former high school history teacher, states, “’The Beautiful Man’ is super excited to be joining The Truth family. I hope everyone in the desert ain’t afraid to be who you is ’cause I’m coming! We’ve spent Sunday nights together for over a year; now, it’s time to take this thing to a whole new level! Tucson, you ready?” (August 24, 2011)
WSJRN’s “The Daily Wrap” Gets Major Market Clear. “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” takes over the evening slot on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston that opened up after Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish moved to middays. WTKK-FM PD Grace Blazer says, “96.9 FM-WTKK is pleased to welcome ‘The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal’ to our evening lineup. Michael Castner is a clever and independent thinker; his enthusiasm and energy fit perfectly with WTKK’s recently updated program schedule.” (August 24, 2011)
Pat LaMarche Named AM Drive Co-Host at Stephen King’s WZON-AM/FM, Bangor, Maine. The famous author doesn’t do many press conferences but he organized this one to announce the hiring of radio veteran and aspiring politician Pat LaMarche as co-host of the AM drive show on his station WZON. LaMarche was the 2004 vice presidential candidate for the Green Party and also ran unsuccessfully for governor in Maine. She’ll work alongside former WABI-TV, Bangor reporter Don Cookson on the show that debuts September 12. LaMarche hosted the morning show at WGAN, Portland for a time during the mid-1990s. (August 24, 2011)
WTMY, Sarasota, Florida Flips to Sports. The Polnet Communications-owned talk station flips to sports as “The Sports Fanatic” and will use syndicated programs including Dan Patrick and Tony Bruno as well as local sports talk including Rich Spedaliere’s “Spitz on Sports” in AM drive and “The Sports Ministry” in PM drive. General manger Phil Russell tells the Herald-Tribune the station will be an alternative to Tampa’s WDAE. Russell tells the paper the format will be good for revenue. “We can pay our bills, and then some, for the first time in the history of the station.” (August 24, 2011)
WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Monsters in the Morning Help Get 2,200 Guns Off the Streets. The Russ Rollins-led morning show at WTKS-FM, Orlando – Real Radio 104 – was instrumental in helping promote the “Kicks 4 Guns” program held August 19 that exchanged a pair of brand new sneakers or gift cards in exchange for illegal weapons. Rollins tells TALKERS Central Florida authorities nabbed 2,230 guns, many illegal and some stolen, during the daylong program. (August 24, 2011)
Actress and Talk Host Janine Turner to Emcee “Constitution Day” Event. Turner – best known for her role on television’s “Northern Exposure” – is also an author and hosts a weekly two-hour Saturday talk show on KLIF, Dallas. She’s also the co-founder of Constituting America and will to host its “Constitution Day” event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on September 17. The program will feature the presentation of prizes to winners of Constituting America’s annual “We the People 9*17 Contest,” which awards prizes and scholarships to students from kindergarten through college for creating original songs, short films, public service announcements, speeches, poems, drawings and essays inspired by the U.S. Constitution. Contest winners – whose names will be announced September 1 – will attend the ceremony to present their award-winning entries. Turner says, “Constituting America’s mission is to positively affect the youth culture of kids in kindergarten through college, promoting an appreciation and understanding of America’s founding principles, and the contest is a fun and educational way of doing that.” (August 24, 2011)
Journal Broadcasting Tucson Names Charlie Mandala Director of Sales. Mandala comes from KGTV-TV, San Diego where he was in sales management. As director of sales for Journal’s Tucson properties, he’ll oversee sales for its television and radio stations that includes news/talk KQTH-FM and sports talk KFFN-AM/FM. (August 24, 2011)
East Coast Earthquake, 2012 Presidential Race, Libya Unrest and Obama Vacation Some of Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/23). The 5.8 earthquake that struck the East Coast, the 2012 GOP presidential candidates, continued unrest in Libya as Gadhafi hides and President Obama’s Vineyard vacation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS. (August 24, 2011)
Play it Again, Sam. The five couples you see pictured here were chosen from e-mailed entries in the KSEV, Houston marriage renewal promotion organized by talk host Sam Malone. The morning show veteran hosted an on-air marriage renewal ceremony and the couples gathered at the Spindletop restaurant on the 36th floor of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston. The “newlyweds” received a hotel room and dinner for their second honeymoon! (August 24, 2011)