Bubba the Love Sponge Returns to Tampa on WHFS-FM. Via an official press statement issued today (1/5), Beasley Broadcasting confirms the news a local advertiser spilled on Friday about the return of Bubba the Love Sponge to the market on the company’s newly-acquired Tampa signal WHFS-FM. The former FM sports talk outlet will make public its new format at some point in the future but after signing on this morning at 6:00 am, Bubba the Love Sponge announced the station would air his program continuously for the next few weeks or so before debuting WHFS-FM’s new format. Bubba aired in the market on Cox Media’s crosstown WHPT “102.5 FM The Bone” before being ousted from the station in August and replaced by then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta. The move pits former station-mates Calta and Bubba against each other in mornings. Last week, Ker’s WingHouse debuted Bubba Style Wings and announced Bubba’s return to the market on WHFS-FM. Beasley says listeners are still voting for their format choice at the station’s website — thenew98.7.com — and the new format is expected to be announced within weeks.
Howie Carr’s New England Regional Juggernaut Keeps Gaining Steam – New Stations Signed and GSM Brought Aboard. The independent talk radio network recently launched by Boston-based, multi-media icon Howie Carr continues to gather major affiliates throughout the six New England states and sets a shiningly optimistic model for what can be created and accomplished in the often-tenuous arena of regional spoken-word syndication. The latest stations joining the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) include WCAP, Lowell, MA (which started last week); WBEC, Pittsfield, MA (which starts tomorrow 1/6); and WFEA, Manchester, NH (which begins on 1/19), bringing the total number of affiliates to 19. Also, HCRN VP of sales & marketing, Kathy Carr announces the hiring of sales heavyweight Ross Holt as the company’s new general sales manager. Holt, who is moving back to his home in New England, was most recently part of the sales team at CBS O&O WINS, New York and has sold Carr in the past while at WGAN, Portland. The sheer power of the loyal-listener-generating Carr program in market after market across the Northeast segment of the US has proven to be a strong advertising lure for such regional blue chip sponsors as Subaru of New England and a long list of others. Commenting on the growth and impact of the Howie Carr show in its independent regional incarnation (since the host left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston this fall and replaced it as his flagship with Beantown’s reconstituted WMEX) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is not easy doing what Howie and Kathy Carr are accomplishing with this network – and that is creating a pertinent local flavor that resonates with listeners across a very large and diverse expanse of markets and works in terms of both ratings and revenue. There are lessons for the industry to learn from this extremely interesting endeavor. Of course, you must have the right host to pull this off and this guy is a true rarity. If New England were to suddenly declare itself a single state, Howie Carr would be elected its first governor.”
Boston Herald Radio and WMEX, Boston Share New Morning Show. The morning drive show on the Boston Herald’s digital platform – Boston Herald Radio – is now hosted by Adriana Cohen and Tom Shattuck (pictured here). The program airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and is also being heard on Blackstrap Broadcasting-owned and Wallis Communications-operated WMEX. Shattuck, who also serves as executive producer of Boston Herald Radio, says in the compay’s paper, “We’ve always been straight with our audience. This is the city of Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and David Brudnoy. We are lucky enough now to have an opportunity to be custodians of those same airwaves and we will do it humbly, tirelessly and with the utmost respect for the listener.” WMEX grabbed longtime Boston afternoon personality Howie Carr after his contract with Entercom’s crosstown WRKO expired in November.
WLS-AM, Chicago Breaks Up Proft and Wolf Morning Show. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago will be hosted by Bruce Wolf solo after the company parted ways with Dan Proft. Wolf and Proft had worked together at the station, first in middays, before moving to mornings after longtime duo Don Wade and Roma exited due to Don Wade’s health issues. (Wade later died from complications from a brain tumor.)
Former WSJRN Programming Evolves and Continues as Compass Media Networks Content. As TALKERS reported last month, Compass Media Networks is advancing the business news radio programming abandoned by the Wall Street Journal after the latter chose to get out of the radio business at the end of 2014. Today, Compass debuts breaking business and money news under the “Your Money Now” brand. The one-minute reports are fed to affiliate stations twice per hour at :20 and :50 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday. Anchors for the reports are former WSJRN morning drive anchor Jennifer Kushinka, former CEO Radio, WSJRN and BusinessWeek Radio anchor Ray Hoffman in middays, and former WSJRN evening anchor Bruce Vale in afternoon drive. Also, Compass is continuing the morning drive program hosted by Gordon Deal for the WSJRN as the show is renamed “This Morning, America’s First News with Gordon Deal.” Compass says the show continues to air on some 250 affiliate stations as well as on numerous digital platforms.
Seven Salem News/Talkers Assume ‘The Answer’ Brand. Adding to the number of Salem Communications news/talk stations already using “The Answer” brand are seven more of the company’s like-programmed outlets, including: KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KLFE, Seattle; KZNT, Colorado Springs; WGKA, Atlanta; WGUL, Tampa; WGTK, Louisville; and WLSS, Sarasota. WNYM, New York began using the “Answer” brand in 2012. Salem SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce comments, “We discovered that our listeners are information seekers, always craving the answer to every possible question, from why am I stuck in traffic to who won the November election. This branding allows our stations to cut through in markets where they are competing with more established stations that only need their call letters as a brand. We needed something more, and this works.”
‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Releases New App. Pittsburgh-based radio talk show “The Union Edge,” hosted by Charles Showalter with executive producer and co-host Angela Baughman and co-host/communications director Brittany Sheets, unveils its new app created with partner Jack of Trade Apps. The new app allows listeners to stream the daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program live as well as listen to podcasts on demand and “demonstrate some serious solidarity by sending in photos showing their everyday union actions.” Listeners can also use the “speak out” voice recorder function to react to the show and expand on their thoughts and feelings about issues that impact their lives. Jack of Trade Apps president Andrew Davis says, “What this app does is allow union families to organize in a way that surrounds this already great programming that heralds issues that directly impact them. We are excited to be able to give them such a valuable tool, to help them achieve their growth and spread their message in a new way.”
Odds & Sods. Former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gives up his weekend talk program at Fox News Channel. Huckabee – still heard on the radio via his “Mike Huckabee Report” daily commentaries now distributed by WYD Media – says he’ll make an announcement about whether he intends to run for president in 2016 sometime in the first part of this year…..Salem Communications expands the “Cats Roundtable” program heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” The Sunday morning show, hosted by New York City businessman John Catsimatidis is now heard from 8:30 am to 10:00 am…..KBGG, Des Moines sports talk host Larry Cotlar exits the station as it transitions from “The Zone” to “The Champ.” Cotlar’s show is being replaced by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gotleib…..Dr. Frank Wright exits Salem Communications where the former National Religious Broadcasters chief served as president and chief operating officer. Dr. Wright will receive his salary in the form of severance for the next six months…..Beasley Broadcasting’s WHFS-AM, Tampa drops the CBS Sports Radio Network-programming on the station and flips the station to business talk using programming from the company’s WSBR, Boca Raton, Florida. Beasley acquired the station from CBS RADIO in a swap.
St. Joseph, Missouri’s KFEQ Joins “Market Rally”Affiliate Network. The daily analysis of farm commodity markets airs 4:06 pm – 5:00 pm on the Eagle Communications-owned talker. KFEQ general manager Gary Exline comments, “Ever since Farm Journal launched ‘Market Rally’ [in March 2014], we have taken a wait-and-see attitude [but] when farmers in our region started asking for it – we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. ‘Market Rally’ is the perfect programming solution as we set out to reboot our afternoon drive lineup.” According to Farm Journal Radio vice president and general manager Mark DePrez, “Market Rally” host Chip Flory “already has more than 6,500 Twitter followers, a clear signal that farmers and ranchers are highly engaged in his entertaining and educational approach to the markets.” When Illinois outlets WRHL, Rochelle and WAIK, Galesburg begin carrying the program early this year, “Market Rally” will be heard on 42 affiliates in nine states.
2015 International CES; What Next? Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the huge 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. As Cooke notes, video and pictures are paramount to viral media. “Major recent news stories demonstrate how profoundly technology impacts our lives. More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras. When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful. When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, The Interview was released on YouTube.” Read more here.
Sabo: Biggest Trends Affecting Radio. Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a piece published in TALKERS today (1/5), writes about seven trends in media that have been influential over the past year and will continue to be so through 2015. From NextRadio to sports talk on FM to online audio platforms, Sabo suggests avenues radio practitioners can explore to build new and profitable content ventures. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
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)