John Clayton to Host Daily Show on KIRO-AM, Seattle. Seattle-based ESPN writer and commentator John Clayton expands his role with Bonneville sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” to include hosting a daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show, effective June 6. Clayton has been appearing on the station’s local shows for several years and he’ll continue to be heard weekdays at 7:15 am on “Brock and Salk,” weekdays at 4:00 pm on “Danny, Dave & Moore,” and Saturdays on his own 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Clayton says, “I’ve spent 30 years in the Pacific Northwest, and the time couldn’t have been better to expand my local presence here at 710 ESPN Seattle. I’m also excited to focus on the Seahawks, Mariners and the Seattle sports scene in an expanded role for 710sports.com.” Station VP/GM Dave Pridemore adds, “We are thrilled at the opportunity to include the most highly acclaimed local sports media personality to our local weekday lineup. With over 1.4 million Twitter followers and a Hall of Fame résumé, John Clayton will be a tremendous addition for both 710 ESPN Seattle and 710sports.com.”
The Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, the Zika Virus, UCLA Professor Shooting, Cincinnati Gorilla Case, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). The activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; concerns about the spread of the Zika virus and the Obama Administration’s plans to combat the spread of the virus; the murder of a UCLA professor allegedly by a student upset about his grades; the aftermath of the euthanizing of a rare gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo after a child entered the animal’s enclosure; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Longtime Central Arkansas Newsman Killed in Auto Crash. KARN-FM, Little Rock morning news anchor Gary Digiuseppe was driving from his home to the station early yesterday morning (6/1) when his car was struck head on by a woman driving the wrong way on I-430. Both Digiuseppe and the unidentified woman died in the accident. Digiuseppe anchored the news on KARN-FM’s “First News with Kevin Miller.” He leaves behind his wife, Mary.
Deirdre Palmer Named GSM for Beasley Las Vegas. Sin City sales pro Deirdre Palmer joins the Beasley Media Group, Inc. cluster there to serve as general sales manager. The company says that Deedy Palmer’s experience in the Las Vegas market includes two decades of radio industry experience, along with magazine and custom publishing, and most recently, vice president of sales at Las Vegas-based Kemp Broadcasting (operator of hip hop KVEG and hot AC KVGQ). Beasley Vegas director of sales Mark Sturcken says, “Deedy’s professional success and client relationships have secured millions of dollars in business over the years. I’ve had the pleasure working alongside my colleague Deedy for 10 years as senior account executives and most recently, I competed against her! Her talent, relationships and passion for our business in the Las Vegas market are second to none.”
Odds & Sods. Winston-Salem, North Carolina news/talk WSJS is moving its studios from the current location in Winston-Salem east to the town of Kernersville where the two other Crescent Media Group stations are based. Station manager Al Bunch tells the Winston-Salem Journal that the move allows them to centralize their operations. WSJS has been at its current location for almost 50 years…..Saga Communications is announcing it is paying a quarterly dividend of $0.25 per share for shareholders of record on June 15. The dividend is payable on July 8…..SiriusXM is serving as the exclusive national radio broadcaster for the 116th U.S. Open Championship. The satcaster will offer listeners extensive coverage from historic Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania throughout U.S. Open week, including all four days of Championship play – June 16 through 19…..AudioBoom and the podcast series “Undisclosed” announces they’ve expanded their partnership with an exclusive premium ad sales agreement. The podcast investigates possible wrongful convictions, and producers say the series generated more than 80 million listens in its first season last year with a deep-dive into the case of The State of Maryland v Adnan Syed. The show is hosted by attorneys Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson, and Colin Miller. The weekly podcasts are followed by an addendum featuring Emmy Award-winning actor Jon Cryer.
Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto Interviewed on ‘Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.’ One of the rising young stars of radio station group ownership, Vince Benedetto, is the guest on this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Benedetto, who just turned 40, bought his first station at 29. In slightly more than a decade, he has built Bold Gold Media Group into a chain that owns and operates nine radio stations, fifteen broadcast frequencies, and multiple digital media platforms throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and Upstate New York. Benedetto is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, a former Air Force captain and Air Force OSI special agent, where he worked on counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism and felony level investigative efforts for the Department of Defense. In 2013, Bold Gold was nominated for a Pennsylvania Governor’s ImPAct Award for Entrepreneurialism and Vince was recently named by RadioInk magazine as one of the “Top 30 Under 40 Rising Stars in the Radio Industry.” Benedetto also established and runs a non-profit foundation providing support for young people entering broadcasting and studying the U.S. Constitution. In the podcast, Harrison and Benedetto discuss the extremely positive aspects of radio ownership that still exist in 2016 and analyze broadcast radio’s transition into the digital era. They examine the differences between the Boomer and Millennial generations (as well as Generations X and Y) and Benedetto applies his experience in the US intelligence community to the principles of operating a media business as well as commenting on the nation’s present positioning in the struggle against international terrorism. To listen to the entire podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Westwood One Adds Ficke, Hurley. New to the company’s Chicago sales office as vice president of strategic partnerships is Zack Ficke, and as vice president of national partnerships and digital activation, Midwest is Kelli Hurley. The former Premiere Networks’ staffers will report to another Premiere Networks alum – Westwood One executive vice president of Midwest sales Doug Johnston – who states, “I am thrilled to be back together with these two very talented sales individuals. They will be instrumental as we build a customer-centric Midwest region.” According to Westwood One president Steve Shaw, “Doug Johnston has put together an incredible team of sellers in our Midwest region. Zack and Kelli will only enhance our efforts to be the best client partners in the business. We are moving the mark and delivering results across all of our assets.” Ficke comments, “Marketers are increasingly seeking experiential, cross-platform marketing solutions that are both innovative and engaging. Westwood One is uniquely positioned to meet this demand with national scale and local activation opportunities across an impressive array of programming. I am ecstatic to be joining such an accomplished sales organization. I look forward to working more closely with the entire sales organization.” Hurley remarks, “Westwood One’s digital platforms are incredibly dynamic and they offer highly engaging experiences to consumers and advertisers alike. I look forward to leading Westwood One’s digital efforts in the Midwest, while continuing to service clients and agencies in the network radio marketplace.” For the past seven years, Ficke was a Premiere Networks’ national account manager, and he previously had the same title at SiriusXM. Prior to that, he held various sales and account management positions at Marriott’s vacation club division and IT consulting firm Apex Systems. Most recently, Hurley was a Premiere Networks’ national account manager. She previously worked for United Stations Radio Networks and is returning to Westwood One. In addition, she is a former director of sales for TargetSpot.
Allan Handelman Exits WSJS, Winston-Salem. The afternoon drive show radio pro Allan Handelman hosted for Curtis Media Group’s WSJS, Winston-Salem, North Carolina has been cancelled. Handelman – host of the nationally syndicated weekend talk program “Rock Talk with Allan Handelman” – tells TALKERS magazine he’s thankful for the time spent entertaining the station’s listeners. “My afternoon show on ‘600 WSJS’ has come to an end. I want to thank WSJS and especially the listeners for being a part of the best audience in the world. They have been great. Watching the audience grow in the afternoon, while simultaneously witnessing the increased response to my sponsors (the Pet Pantry and C.Crane) has really meant a lot to me. When the right opportunity comes along to reach North Carolina listeners on a daily basis I’ll be there. In the meantime, my weekend syndicated show continues without interruption on FM radio stations across the country and online.” Handelman says he’ll keep fans up to speed on his next move via his website: www.ifitrocks.com. There’s no immediate word from WSJS what will air in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart.
BIA/Kelsey Reports 2014 Top-Billing Radio Stations; KIIS, Los Angeles Takes Honors. Each year, media consulting firm BIA/Kelsey publishes its list of the top revenue-producing radio stations in America. This year, iHeartMedia-owned CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles ousts Hubbard Radio LLC’s all-news WTOP, Washington – the leader for the past four years – by billing $65.9 million during 2014. Simultaneously, the firm reports that the industry billed $14.9 billion last year. The source is BIA/Kelsey’s 2015 Investing In Radio® Market Report. BIA/Kelsey notes that 2014 over-the-air radio revenues were $14.3 billion, with online generating $636 million. The firm forecasts both sources of radio income to continue growing at a slight pace over the next few years, reaching $16.2 billion overall in 2019. BIA/Kelsey chief economist and SVP Mark Fratrik comments, “Local radio stations continue to maintain an important position in the local media marketplace. Last year, a slight decline in over-the-air revenues was offset by an increase in online revenues, resulting in steady overall revenues.” See the chart above to get a view of the top 10 revenue-producing radio stations in the U.S. For more information, broadcasters can visit BIA/Kelsey’s website here.
Report: Ingraham to Launch News Site. Politico’s Dylan Byers is reporting that Courtside Entertainment Group-distributed talk radio personality Laura Ingraham (pictured here) is preparing to unveil a news-oriented website. Byers says insiders say it will be a “conservative news and opinion website.” Byers goes on to write, “One source said that Neil Munro, the political reporter who resigned from the Daily Caller this week, will serve as the site’s editor, though that could not immediately be confirmed. Neither Ingraham nor Munro responded to a request for comment on Tuesday.” Read his piece here.
‘22 Everyday’ – An Important, Powerful Song by Rising Country Star T.J. Bebb Pertinent to News/Talk Radio for Interviews. Subscribers to TALKERS magazine’s sister trade publication in the music arena RadioInfo’s daily email headlines received a download of an outstanding song this morning (4/1) designed to advocate awareness, prevention and education of the tragic fact that there are more than 22 military suicides in America every 24 hours. T.J. Bebb has recorded the song “22 Everyday,” which deals with this alarming statistic. A recent analysis by News21, an investigative multimedia program for journalism students, found that the annual suicide rate among veterans is about 30 for every 100,000 of the population, compared with the civilian rate of 14 per 100,000. The analysis of records from 48 states found that the suicide rate for veterans increased an average of 2.6% a year from 2005 to 2011 — more than double the rate of increase for civilian suicide. Numerous other academic and journalistic studies have corroborated this sad state of affairs. According to RadioInfo music co-editor Duane Doobie Jr., “’22 Everyday’ is a MUST add for every country radio playlist. Not only is it an excellent song by a wonderful artist – it carries a message that should be heard by every American who cares about their country and the brave men and women who courageously defend it.” Born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania, T.J. Bebb now calls Nashville home. Bebb has opened up for numerous national acts including: Loretta Lynn, George Jones, and Craig Morgan among others. He has just released his first Nashville-produced album… a tribute to some of the greatest country singers of all time and also just wrapped up a tour in Brazil where they fell in love with his voice and performance. T.J. has toured with bands and plays solo acoustic shows as well. To learn more about this consciousness-raising initiative, download a copy of “22 Everyday” and, perhaps, arrange to interview T.J. Bebb about the 22 Everyday Task Force and Crisis Line (800-273-2855) please click here.
Odds & Sods. WVON, Chicago names Micae Brown host of the “Urban Business Roundtable” program. The locally produced, 30-minute business program airs three times during the week on WVON and is produced for sponsor Ariel Investments…..The next edition of “KNX On Your Corner,” from CBS RADIO’s all news KNX, Los Angeles takes place in northern Los Angeles County for an in-depth look at the Santa Clarita Valley on Friday, April 24 from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. The live remote broadcast begins at 1:00 pm from the Salt Creek Grille with Frank Mottek hosting the “KNX Business Hour.” Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the afternoon news from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm from the restaurant…..Gay rights activist Michelangelo Signorile will be comic and actress Rosie O’Donnell’s guest on SiriusXM’s next “Town Hall” show being produced tomorrow (4/2) in the satcaster’s New York studios before an audience of SiriusXm listeners. The show will air on Monday, April 13 4:00 pm ET and on Thursday, April 16 at 2:00 pm ET.
Beasley Promotes Shannon Kelley to Director of Digital Content. The services of Shannon Kelley were acquired by Beasley Broadcast Group along with the Charlotte stations it got in a swap with CBS RADIO. Now, Beasley ups Shannon Kelley to corporate director of digital content. She’ll work out of the Charlotte offices and in this position will focus “on designing and implementing an actionable digital content strategy with the intention of expanding the company’s brands in the digital space, while increasing traffic to websites, streams and apps. She reports to vice president of programming Justin Chase. You can congratulate Shannon at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indiana Religious Freedom Law Flap, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah Problem, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, Boston Marathon Bombing Trial, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Final Four Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). The controversy being created over Indiana’s religious freedom law and Governor Mike Pence’s vow to fix the law; criticism of “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah’s anti-Semitic jokes and Tweets; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email for State Department business; the probe into the downing of Germanwings Fight 9525 and the mental state of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz; the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the NCAA Men’s hoops tourney were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Revenue Up 3.1% in Q2; No Comments from Lew Dickey on Limbaugh Situation. As Cumulus Media prepares to hold an investors’ conference call this morning at 11:00 am ET, the company releases Q2 revenue figures that highlight a 3.1% increase in net revenue on $289.7 million compared to the same quarter one year ago. The company notes, “This increase was attributable to a $4.3 million increase in local advertising revenue, a $3.9 million increase in revenue related to digital initiatives and a $2.8 million increase in revenue due to the addition of stations in the Bloomington and Peoria markets we acquired from Townsquare Media in July 2012. These increases were partially offset by a decrease of $2.3 million in cyclical political revenue.” Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey issued the following statement, “This was a solid quarter earmarked by revenue growth and strong expense management. Our targeted growth initiatives are ramping on schedule and our merger integration and problem market turnarounds are largely complete.” During today’s investors’ conference call, Dickey pre-empted any questions about negotiations with Premiere Networks‘ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity saying he wouldn’t comment while the company is in negotiation mode. When asked later the call if the company makes money on the Rush Limbaugh program, Dickey reiterated his unwillingness to comment but said he’ll have more to say after the process is complete and believes that will be sooner rather than later. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the call transcript. Members can see the whole call here.
CCM&E Parent Clear Channel Media Holdings Names Richard Bressler President and CFO. Richard Bressler has served as chief financial officer of Time Warner and Viacom and managing director at Thomas H. Lee Partners. His installment as president and CFO of Clear Channel Media Holdings means he replaces Tom Casey, who served in that position for the past three years. The company says, “As president of CC Media Holdings, Inc. and Clear Channel Communications, Inc., Bressler will work closely with Bob Pittman on the further development of strategies and initiatives to ensure that Clear Channel capitalizes on its unique assets.” In a statement, Pittman comments, “I know Rich very well, and we have even worked together – twice – at Time Warner. He has been an invaluable strategic partner for us in his position at Thomas H. Lee Partners, and now he will play an even bigger role in helping Clear Channel fully maximize our unparalleled assets, working closely with me, John Hogan and William Eccleshare and the rest of our leadership team to continue to build the leading multi-platform media and entertainment company in the U.S. with global reach. I recruited Rich for this role because there are few people who have as deep an understanding as he does of our company and the opportunities we have to lead the industry in helping marketers meet the demands of increasingly connected consumers. I’m confident that he’ll add another layer of expertise and experience as we take the company to its next level of growth, and will be a tremendous leader for our financial team. His keen strategic, financial and analytical skills will be a huge asset to all of Clear Channel.” In reporting this story The Wall Street Journal notes that “CC Media reported that its  first-quarter loss sharply widened as revenue dropped, while sister company Clear Channel Outdoor logged a wider loss amid higher expenses tied to interest, depreciation and amortization.”
Alan Colmes: Regarding Limbaugh and Hannity, the Liberals Have it All Wrong. Fox News Radio talk show host and Fox News Channel commentator Alan Colmes, who is also publisher of the liberal blog alan.com, writes an opinion piece for TALKERS magazine in which he states that liberals who are jumping for joy over the mainstream press stories trumpeting Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hannity’s possible departure from 40-some Cumulus Media talk stations, need to examine the facts. Colmes says, “Seeing liberal bloggers declare victory about how a boycott of these shows’ sponsors led to this makes my hair stand on end for four reasons.” The first reason, Colmes says, is the most important in that “that’s not at all what happened.” Read Colmes’ entire piece here.
Rush Limbaugh Addresses Premiere-Cumulus Negotiations on Monday Program. Rush Limbaugh didn’t go into any detail – because it wouldn’t be appropriate while negotiations are going on – but he did address the flap that began with a Politico piece that ran over the weekend alleging that Cumulus Media is considering dropping his and Sean Hannity’s programs from some 40 O&O stations due to a breakdown in contract renewal talks. Limbaugh told listeners that “what you’re being treated to is just a public business negotiation.” He implied one party is leaking to the press but assured listeners nothing is likely to change but if it does, the program will be available on even more stations. “And someday, someday I am looking so forward to being able to detail all of this for you, but suffice to say nothing is gonna happen that you will notice. Nothing is going to change…You are gonna be able to get this radio program on as many, if not more, radio stations down the road than it’s on now.”
Art Bell to Return to Broadcasting Via SiriusXM. Rumors of Art Bell’s return had been bubbling for several weeks but now the cat is out of the bag as SiriusXM announces the man who took late-night talk of all things paranormal to the front burner of popular culture in the late 1990s will return from self-imposed retirement with a nightly show on the satcaster. Bell’s new program, “Art Bell’s Dark Matter,” will air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET and will debut from a studio in Bell’s rural Nevada home on September 16. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We are excited to be the exclusive home of Art Bell, who has captivated a nation of listeners throughout his career with his intelligent and inquisitive, yet entertaining style. Art Bell left terrestrial radio after the biggest possible successes. We are honored that Art now wants to work with SiriusXM to write his next chapter. His vision takes advantage of our best strengths and his new show will be uncensored, unrestricted, uncluttered and utterly unique. With his return to radio on SiriusXM, he will be able to reach millions of longtime listeners and new fans everywhere in the nation.” Bell tells the AP’s David Bauder he’s excited about working on satellite radio, “It seems to me they are the next step in technology. I’ve always been a technological junkie. The mix of what they’re giving me, the freedom that they’re giving me, is priceless.” After Bell left the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Coast to Coast AM,” George Noory took over as the regular host. He recently signed a contract renewal to continue that role and TALKERS spoke with him about his work. See the next story for more.
George Noory to Lead Legions of Late Night Listeners for Years to Come. Premiere Networks and “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory recently announced the two sides had just inked a new contract to keep Noory in the host position for years to come. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian took the occasion of this new deal to speak with Noory about his career, the “Coast to Coast AM” program and much more. Noory says one of the things about his audience that amazes him is the spread of its demographics. “We have received phone calls from 11-year-olds and we hear from people in their 90s. This show is very strong [among 25-54s], but talk radio skews a little older – especially at night. People in older demos still have a lot of money and our advertisers are very happy. People will say that their father used to listen to Art Bell and now they listen to me. This is an all-encompassing show that blankets the entire population.” Read Mike Kinosian’s entire story here.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Roger Rafson of CMS Station Brokerage. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Roger Rafson of CMS Station Brokerage in Pittsburgh. Rafson has been in radio since he was 11 years old and has a passion for the medium. He is also optimistic about the deal business and agrees with this publication’s philosophy that now is a good time for out-of-work top executives and first-time entrants to get into ownership and roll up their sleeves at some really fine local opportunities. His company specializes in small- and medium-market station sales. He says, “I’ve never felt comfortable pontificating about the state of the media brokerage/station sales category as a whole. What I can tell you about is what comes across my desk. Yes, we are busy. We sold 14 stations in 2012 and already in 2013 we’ve sold nine. I do get the sense that the worst of the recession is behind us. Better days lie ahead.” He offers up several of these opportunities as well. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
Allan Handelman Returns to the Air in Triad Market. Curtis Media Group’s WSJS, Greensboro, North Carolina announces talk show pro Allan Handelman makes his return to the Triad market after a 16-month hiatus. Beginning Monday, August 5, Handelman takes over afternoon drive on “The Triad’s NewsRadio 600 WSJS.” His predecessor, Bob Campbell, is leaving talk radio to pursue his passion in music radio. WSJS operations manager Matt Clark states, “WSJS airs more locally originated news and talk programming than any other radio station in the region. Allan Handelman brings world-class credentials to our lineup while upholding our core mission of reflecting the unique tastes and perspectives of local listeners across the Piedmont Triad.” Handelman was last heard in the market on the former “FM Talk 101.1” WZTK where he hosted a daily show from 2005 to 2012. The station abandoned the talk format in April, 2012. Handelman continued his national syndication efforts with both “The Allan Handelman Show” and “Rock Talk.” Handelman says he’s eager to be back on local radio. “I really missed that afternoon connection with North Carolina listeners from the Triad region. There are so many interesting things to talk about that most other shows either neglect or don’t know how to handle.”
Sales Lead, Programming Heads-Up: “The Fixer Mindset.” Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes that the mindset of the contemporary American talk radio listener is ripe for the picking (or selling, if you prefer) of goods and services that appeal to their post-recession desire to make more last longer. But it’s about more than just sending a sales guy or gal out to see if the local independent auto shop wants to advertise on your radio station. There’s a whole thought process that goes along with programmers and sales staffers approaching this client base the right way…plus, there are cool digital opportunities awaiting the client and the marketing department. Read Holland Cooke’s insights here.
Odds & Sods. Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN, Atlanta “680 The Fan” announces it has signed Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to appear every Tuesday during football season on its “ The Front Row” program with Ray Mariner, Sandra Golden and former Falcon Brian Finneran…..ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York extends its reach onto Long Island beginning Monday, August 5 as the station’s programming will be simulcast on Livingstone Broadcasting’s WLIR-FM, Hampton’s Bay, New York from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight. That includes shows hosted by Mike Lupica, Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco, Michael Kay, and David Rothenberg…..KOZN, Omaha PM drive co-host John Bishop will handle play-by-play duties for broadcasts of Creighton University Men’s basketball this season. He’ll be accompanied by color analyst and former Bluejay Nick Bahe who begins a daily midday sports talk program on NRG Media’s KOZN on August 5.
Howard Stern’s Wife Beth to Guest Host ‘Animal Radio’ This Weekend. Beth Stern is well known as a model, actress, the wife of radio legend Howard Stern and an animal rights activist. This weekend she’ll be the guest host on the nationally syndicated “Animal Radio” program. Beth Stern serves as the spokesperson for the North Shore Animal League and she spends countless hours fostering animals, cats in particular, in her New York home. The Stern’s live with four adopted cats — Walter, Apple, Leon Bear and Charlie Boy. This doesn’t include the many cats that she’s fostering until they are able to adopt them. Beth (pictured here with a canine friend) says she uses her husband’s SiriusXM show to help find good homes for some of the animals. When asked if her highly visible husband is involved in the fostering process, she replies, “He’s right there with me. He photographs them. He names them. He cried like a baby the other day when I had to hand-off a litter of cats to their new family.”
Limbaugh-Hannity/Cumulus Flap, Weiner Case Political Ramifications, Immigration Legislation, Pope Francis Gay Comments, and ObamaCare Implementation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29). The mainstream media coverage of negotiations between Premiere Networks and Cumulus Media over carriage of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity; the political repercussions of the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal; the battle in congress over immigration legislation and amnesty; comments by Pope Francis about homosexuality; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Reports Net Revenue Down 5.6% in Fourth Quarter of 2011; Company High on Geraldo and Huckabee. Cumulus Media Group CEO Lew Dickey and chief financial officer J.P. Hannan appeared together on yesterday’s conference call to tell analysts the company’s plans for consolidating the former Cumulus Media Partners (former Susquehanna stations) it brought into the fold in August and the former Citadel stations it closed on in September are coming together allowing them to realize the “synergies” — $10.5 million worth — within the time frame originally predicted. As far as revenue is concerned, the company saw revenue down only 1% if you exclude political advertising from Q4 one year prior. Dickey told analysts there was growth in the automotive, financial services and retail sectors in Q4 and he – like many – expects this to be a big year for political dollars. Dickey addressed the coming launch of the Mike Huckabee program and stopped short of saying Cumulus could capitalize on Rush Limbaugh’s current PR challenge but told analysts his company sees a real upside for the April launch of Huckabee’s program for which it says it has about 110 affiliates lined up already. Dickey also said that Geraldo Rivera – currently heard on WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles only – is ripe for national syndication and calls the New York and Los Angeles placement a “precursor” to a national rollout.
Rush Limbaugh Takes Monday Off; Premiere Networks Suspends Airing of Barter Spots for Two Weeks. Things are quieting down with regard to the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke controversy but El Rushbo took yesterday (3/12) off to play golf with regular fill-in Mark Steyn sitting in the host’s chair. Public relations and crisis management expert Brian Glicklich is working with Limbaugh’s team and it sounds as though the day off was probably his idea. At the same time, Premiere Networks issued a memo to traffic departments at news/talk affiliates and is suspending the requirement that stations run barter spots – the ones that air in addition to the network spots actually contained within Limbaugh’s and other Premiere shows – for this week and next. Premiere gives no reason for this but one could surmise it doesn’t want to have any clients’ spots air within “controversial programming” and a cool down period like this will allow it to get a handle on where these spots are to air and where they should not.
Curtis Media Blows Up “FM Talk 101.1” WZTK-FM; Programming Changes Affect WPTF, Raleigh and WSJS, Winston-Salem. Curtis Media shocks the news/talk world with the sudden announcement that eight-year-old FM talker WZTK-FM, Burlington – serving both the Triad and Triangle markets of North Carolina is signing off its talk format and will re-emerge within a few weeks. But some of the talent heard on WZTK-FM is being spread out among Curtis Media’s other news talkers in the Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem/High Point/Greensboro markets. Here’s what’s happening: First, in the Triangle market of Raleigh-Durham, Curtis drops country on WKIX at 850 AM and will operate two outlets – NewsRadio 680 WPTF and TalkRadio 850 WPTF. WPTF VP/GM David Stuckey states, “NewsRadio 680 WPTF is where people will hear about the big events of the day, while TalkRadio 850 WPTF is where they’ll talk about those stories.” Stuckey says that while WPTF has proudly conservative roots dating back to 1924, the two stations will strive for balanced news coverage and an open exchange of all opinions across the ideological spectrum. “Unlike some media outlets, we’re not going to force-feed the same political agenda ad nauseum. We’ve seen ratings slippage on stations and channels with a hard-leaning approach, and more advertisers are telling us they want media platforms that are less toxic and more civil.” As far as talent is concerned, Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire survive the cut at WZTK-FM and will host PM drive on WPTF and WSJS. Dial Global’s Neal Boortz and Clark Howard are also landing on WPTF and WSJS. Shows that “didn’t make the cut” include local host Allan Handelman, TRN’s Michael Savage and Phil Hendrie and Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes.
Larry King to Host Show on Internet TV Network. American television and radio icon Larry King is returning to the interview desk with a start-up online TV network called Ora.TV being financed by Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim. A debut date for the site has not been announced yet but the Ora.TV website says it’s coming this year. The site states, “From its inception, Ora is an internet-based on-demand network producing a wide range of programs that transcend traditional formats. Our programs will resemble broadcast TV in terms of quality, but viewers will watch when and where they like with interactive capability.” Former News Corp. president of digital journalism Jon Housman will lead the network.
Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Holds “Insight 2012” with Major Political Guests. The annual “Insight 2012” program hosted by WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes has become a must-listen for Wisconsin political aficionados the morning after it takes place. The actual event is a ticket-holder-only live event the night prior – in this year’s case, last night. Sykes hosted fellow WTMJ host Jeff Wagner and other journalists plus Wisconsin State Senate candidates Jeff Fitzgerald, Tommy Thompson, Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde. Also appearing were U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan, Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Last evening’s event is being re-broadcast this morning from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon on WTMJ.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Signs on with TuneIn. The “Voice of Chicago” can now be heard around the world via the free, internet service TuneIn, which boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn vice president of programming Kevin Straley says, “WGN is known all over the country and has a rich history in Chicago. Our goal is to share all of the best programming from around the world with over 30 million monthly listeners, and partnering with WGN brings us one step closer to that goal.”
KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Announces Pirates Broadcast Talent. CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh announces former Chicago Cubs third baseman Kevin Orie will be paired with radio host Dan Zangrilli to handle the game-day shows before and after each Pirates baseball game throughout the season. The two will host a one-hour preview program and a one-hour post-game show. Pirates broadcasters (Greg Brown, Tim Neverett, Steve Blass, Bob Walk, and John Wehner) will continue to be featured during the pre- and post-game shows, as well as calling all the action during the games.
Report: 3MTR Abandons Talk Format in Melbourne. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on the demise of talkback radio 3MTR in Melbourne. Smith notes the station had been having financial difficulties for months and was unable to compete with Melbourne’s talk 3AW. Read more here.
Afghan Civilian Massacre, 2012 Presidential Race, HBO Palin Movie, Rush Limbaugh Controversy and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). The case of a U.S. Army sergeant who killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan; the GOP candidates’ battle to win the nomination to face President Obama in November; HBO’s “Game Change” film about Sarah Palin and the 2008 presidential race; the ongoing controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh; and the Iran nuclear weapons issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phil Hendrie Walks the Red Carpet. Sure, he’s not wearing a glitzy, designer gown but he is walking on a red carpet! That’s Talk Radio Network personality Phil Hendrie at the Los Angeles Animation Festival on Saturday, March, 10. Hendrie – whose voice appears in numerous animated films and TV programs – was a cast member in Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s “Team America” film. Hendrie states, “I was happy to be involved in any way that I could, because that was a great work experience for me…Every time that it’s mentioned that I was in ‘Team America,’ people instantaneously recognize it. They know the voice of I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E., they know the voice of the terrorist, they know the film, so it’s like my instant credibility button.”
Steve Malzberg Out; Former Governor David Paterson Named WOR, New York PM Drive Host. Citing a desire to be locally focused, WOR, New York ousts Steve Malzberg from the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program and brings former Governor David Paterson in to host the show. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “During his frequent stints as a fill-in host on WOR, Governor David Paterson proved to be a favorite with our listeners throughout the tri-state area. He was the obvious choice to be the man behind the microphone as we extend our locally focused drive-time programming to the afternoon.” Paterson is a confessed “radio junkie” states WOR program director Scott Lakefield. “He is truly a fan of the medium.” Malzberg is the second conservative talk show host to leave the station within the past year. Premiere Networks host Glenn Beck exited the station at the beginning of the year. But Lakefield tells TALKERS that from a positioning standpoint, there’s nothing to read into this move. “This is all about our belief in David Paterson.” He says of Malzberg, “Steve is a fine broadcaster and we have the utmost respect for him.” Since leaving the governor’s mansion, Paterson has done some fill in work at sports WFAN among other New York radio outlets. He begins his new show Tuesday, September 6. As for Steve Malzberg, he writes on his website, “I am extremely proud of the four years in PM drive there. I could not have imagined the great success, which came very quickly. (Not entirely true, I knew we would rock!) I wish my successor David Paterson all the best. Please understand that this is not the end of the Steve Malzberg show, just a detour on the road to a better and bigger forum for all of us.” Malzberg is available for fill-in work. Contact Frank Murphy at 732-741-5456.
Norm Pattiz Set as Special Guest Speaker at “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.” What began as a “Who’s Who” of talk radio people in Southern California has blossomed into a “Who’s Who of Broadcasters in America” as Norman J. Pattiz, CEO of Courtside Entertainment and legendary founder of Westwood One joins the amazing roster of speakers set for the forthcoming “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011.” The first-time groundbreaking event, described as a “new kind of broadcast industry gathering” is being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club in the City of Angels on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Conference director (and TALKERS publisher) Michael Harrison states, “Having Norm Pattiz speak at this conference really ties it all together in a very special way. Norm is one of the major figures of the modern era of radio of all formats. I had the privilege of working with him in the late 1970s and early 1980s during the dawn of Westwood One when my ‘Great American Radio Show’ was one of the then-fledgling firm’s earliest offerings and I have personally witnessed how this great man embodies the very essence of Southern California radio and its connection to the entire globe.” Pattiz’s address is aptly titled “From Westwood to the World, a View from Courtside.” The Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011 features a line-up of more than 30 leading talk broadcasters including keynote speaker Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles and most of the top program directors from the major talk stations in Southern California. For the complete up-to-the-minute agenda and registration information, please click here.
KPAM, Portland Drops News Block; Adds Terry Boyd in PM Drive. Pamplin’s KPAM, Portland brings market media personality Terry Boyd aboard to host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program called “Terry Boyd’s World” beginning Tuesday (9/6). Program director Dennis Glasgow says, “I’ve known Terry for several years and he has a loyal following of listeners that are going to be elated that he’s back on the air here in Portland. He brings a unique brand of energy, enthusiasm and entertaining talk that our listeners are definitely going to enjoy.” Matt Wilcox is named executive producer for the new program. KPAM is dropping the afternoon news block it began in late May but VP/GM Dave Saxe notes the station remains live and local, “Terry Boyd is a great addition to Portland’s only live and local talk station. Terry will be the most entertaining local afternoon show in Portland radio and will round out the AM 860 live and local talk line up from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm.”
KSL’s Jay Mcfarland Releases New iPad App. Mcfarland co-hosts KSL, Salt Lake City’s unique mid-afternoon show “The Browser” with Amy Iverson. He also creates iPhone and Android apps and now he releases an iPad version of his popular iPhone app Pocket Politician that he says is “a fun and easy to use sound board of all the best political gaffes of our recent history. From President Bush’s ‘recruitaments,’ to Obama’s ‘57 states,’ to Palin’s ‘I can see Russia,’ all of your favorites are ready to play at the press of a button.” Check out all of Mcfarland’s games and app at his website jaymcfarland.com.
Curtis Media Group Changes Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point AM Management. Tom Hamilton exits the general manager post at Curtis Media’s AM stations in the Triad market – news/talk WSJS and the three-station Triad Sports Network – and Ken Salyer takes his place. Curtis Media president and COO Phil Zachary says of Salyer’s hiring, “Ken Salyer has successfully managed in three different rated markets in the Carolinas and I’m just thrilled at our good fortune. Ken’s years of experience, colloquial knowledge of the regional marketplace and proven leadership skills can only build upon the strong foundation and outstanding team already in place with our Triad stations.” Salyer will also manage the sales effort at talk WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina – “North Carolina’s Superstation.”
Obama Economic Policy/Jobs Speech Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 29 – September 2. President Obama’s handling of the economy and his planned jobs program speech before a joint session of Congress and the nation was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 on the Talkers Ten was the 2012 presidential race. Following at #3 was Libya turmoil and the U.S. policy there followed by financial markets activity at #4. The Talkers Ten is published every Friday at Talkers.com. Click on the banner below to view the entire chart.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Citadel Media’s “Red Eye Radio” hosted by Doug McIntyre adds KFMB, San Diego…..Fox Sports Radio’s J.T. the Brick and Ben Maller pick up WKRK-FM, Cleveland…..“Watchdog on Wall Street” host Chris Markowski get his “Money Minutes” feature added to WNRR, North Augusta, South Carolina.
WEEI in the Spotlight. That’s Entercom Boston director of AM programming Jason Wolfe on the big screen at Fenway Park accepting the Boston Red Sox Jimmy Fund Award on Wednesday night (8/31). The award was presented at a pre-game ceremony to Wolfe, WEEI and (regional cable network) NESN in recognition of the 10th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute that took place on August 30-31. The effort raised some $3.3 million dollars for Dana Farber – topping last year’s $3.1 million – to put the radio-telethon’s 10-year fundraising total at more than $28 million. Wolfe said, “I am incredibly honored to receive this award…I’m very lucky to have played a part in its success, and I want to thank the WEEI listeners and the NESN viewers for their amazing support over the last nine years. It’s their donations that have helped make such a difference and have saved so many lives.”