Cumulus v Johnny and Blondie Gets Underway in Michigan. Another non-compete case involving Cumulus Media is in the courtroom, this time in Michigan. Cumulus is suing former WHNN, Saginaw, Michigan morning personalities Johnny Burke and Bonnie Belger-Holzhei, a.k.a. Blondie, alleging they violated the non-compete and non-solicitation clauses in their contracts after being fired by the station earlier this year. As reported in MLive.com, this comes after the pair sued Cumulus for age discrimination. Cumulus is asking the court to prevent the duo from continuing to host the internet show they launched shortly after leaving the station. Interestingly, Cumulus is not after Burke for the non-compete violation since it would then have to pay six months of his $125,000 salary but is pursuing the non-compete matter with Belger-Holzhei as her salary was just $31,200. What Cumulus really appears to want is the court to find that they have been going after Cumulus clients to sponsor their internet show and force them to stop. Read the MLive story here.
Dave Ramsey Interviews George W. Bush at Dallas Appearance. At Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Summit – held May 23 – 25 at the Omni Dallas Hotel – the nationally syndicated superstar interviewed former President George W. Bush (pictured at left with Ramsey). The three-day conference also included speakers Seth Godin, Jim Collins, Pat Lencioni, Dr. Henry Cloud, Chris Hogan and Christy Wright, providing attendees with knowledge on leadership, building company culture, communication, work/life balance and organizational health.
The Presidential Race/New Mexico and California Trump Protests, SC Abortion Ban, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, Texas Restroom Law Suit, China Naval Activity, Katie Couric Gun Doc Controversy, Thiel-Hogan Gawker Suit Connection, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25). The activities of the candidates for president and the violent anti-Trump protests in New Mexico and California; the new South Carolina law banning abortion after 20 weeks; the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; Texas and 10 other states file suit against the Obama Administration over transgender restroom laws; growing concern over China’s naval activities including its patrolling the Pacific with nuclear-armed subs; allegations Katie Couric edited the statements of gun rights activists in a new documentary; the revelation that billionaire Peter Thiel is funding Hulk Hogan’s suits against Gawker; and the NBA and NHL Playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. At the Toledo operations of iHeartMedia, WSPD program director and afternoon talk show host Scott Sands is promoted to SVP of programming for the station group. In addition to programming news/talk WSPD, he now has oversight of CHR WVKS, country WCKY, adult contemporary WRVF, rock WIOT and sports talk WCWA. Sands assumes the role previously held by Nathan Reed who recently exited the company to join Cox Media Group’s hot AC KRAV, Tulsa “MIX 96.”…..In advance of President Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima on Saturday (5/28), the Japanese TV network TBS interviewed CBS Radio News reporter Pam Coulter (pictured at left in yellow) about the president’s decision to go to Hiroshima. Coulter is the only U.S. radio network reporter in Japan covering the event.
41st Annual Gracie Awards Held in Beverly Hills. The annual Gracie Awards took place last night at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Awards were handed out in both television and radio categories. Some of the women working in commercial radio who were honored include: Loren Raye, co-host of “The TJ Show” on WODS, Boston “103.3 AMP Radio”; Marla Diamond, reporter/correspondent with WCBS, New York; Nina Hajian, co-host “Shoboy in the Morning” at WBMP, New York “92.3 AMP Radio”; Rita Cosby, WABC, New York; Joan Hamburg, WABC, New York; Felicia Middlebrooks, WBBM, Chicago; Suzyn Waldman, WFAN, New York; and Jane Tillman Irving, WCBS, New York. See the entire list of winners here. Pictured above is the Alliance for Women in Media board at last night’s awards ceremony. They are: (l-r, front) Kristen Welch, AWM/F chair, SVP, Global Content Operations, Discovery Communications; Christine Travaglini, AWM/F treasurer-elect, president, Christal Radio; Karla Ballard Williams, AWM/F director and Gracies chair, founder and chief executive, Ying Bank; Josie Thomas, AWM director, EVP and chief diversity and inclusion officer, CBS Corporation; Heather Cohen, AWM/F director and Gracies chair, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Annie Howell, AWM/F director and Gracies chair, founder & co-president, The Punch Point Group. Back row: Sarah Foss, AWM/F chair-elect, vice president, product management, media, Imagine Communications; Kimberly Maki, AWM/F director, Bright House Networks, corporate vice president, Corporate Communications; Keisha Sutton-James, AWM/F treasurer, vice president, ICBC Broadcast Holdings. Photo: Hamilton Photography
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Names Sharpe, West New ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ Hosts. The Bonneville-owed news/talk station is bidding Ned Foster a happy retirement after a 27-year stint with the station. News anchor Connie Weber recently left the morning program after a 10-year term. So, effective November 30, longtime Valley news personality Jim Sharpe and award-winning news anchor Jayme West will be the new hosts of KTAR’s “Arizona’s Morning News.” Bonneville Phoenix vice president of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “With more than 40 years of combined local news experience, Jim and Jayme are the perfect pair to move the ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ product forward on air, online and on social media. We think their natural chemistry, insatiable curiosity and passion for our community will be warmly received by our audience, which counts on ‘Arizona’s Morning News’ to keep them informed and connected.” Bonneville notes that Sharpe is a 2006 Associated Press Arizona Reporter of the Year and a war correspondent who most recently hosted a nationally syndicated news talk program on USA Radio Networks. He’s also hosted the “Sharpe in the Morning” program on crosstown news/talk KFYI. West is a five-time Arizona Associated Press Reporter of the Year winner and 19-year KTAR veteran who will move to mornings after previously anchoring the news in afternoon drive and hosting “Arizona’s Evening News.”
KOGO, San Diego Announces New Programming Lineup: Hannity Joins for Middays, DeMaio to PM Drive. San Diego news/talk outlet KOGO “News Radio 600” adjusts its program schedule, “with extended news programming, a new timeslot for Carl DeMaio and the addition of top-rated, nationally syndicated talk radio host Sean Hannity,” effective Monday, October 26. iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest states, “We are extremely excited about our new lineup and the addition of Sean Hannity to our team. ‘News Radio 600’ has experienced tremendous ratings growth in the past year and we anticipate these new changes will help evolve our programming to the next level.” A year ago, the station launched new programming with an emphasis on news in morning and afternoon drive and reports the ratings indicate the audience is responding. The daily lineup is: “San Diego Morning News with Ted Garcia & LaDona Harvey,” Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, “DeMaio Report,” and “KOGO Evening News with Ernie Brown.”
ESPN Layoffs Claim KSPN, Los Angeles PD Mike Thompson. The layoffs at sports entertainment giant ESPN – confirmed yesterday by the company – have hit the radio ranks with ‘ESPN LA’ program director Mike Thompson learning that his position is being eliminated. He stated in an email to the Los Angeles Metro Bugle, “It’s been a wonderful 12 years with the Walt Disney Company. I am honored to have worked alongside talented broadcasters to build a record ratings winner among contemporary males never seen before in the format and AM radio in the No. 2 market.” The company is laying off some 300 staffers across all company departments. Although on-air talent is not expected to be affected, it’s unclear how many more behind-the-scenes radio people will be affected.
SiriusXM Reports Q3 Earnings; Net Revenue Up 11%. Satcaster SiriusXM reports its third quarter 2015 financial numbers announcing that revenue was up 11% year-over-year and net revenue was $167 million, compared to $136 million during the same period a year ago. In a statement, Jim Meyer says, “With subscribers at an all-time high of nearly 29 million and record adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin, our third quarter was one of the strongest performances in our company’s history. We are confident of our continued success in the fourth quarter, and we are increasing our guidance for self-pay and total net subscriber additions, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA.” The burning question before SiriusXM is will Howard Stern renew or leave the platform he’s been on for the past 10 years? Meyer would only say in an investors’ conference, “I hope so.” He went on to say, “You should assume we speak quite often and stay tuned for updates. And of course, the best way to hear any news regarding its renewal is to tune into Howard’s show every morning, heck, that’s what I do.”
FAQ: Is There a PD? Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the changing/disappearing role of program director. As he notes in his column published today (10/22) that radio stations are not programmed anymore, they are managed. There are two primary reasons: “Debt service compromises Quality Control. VERY few managers are responsible for a single station. At many talk stations, this manager also does an air shift, before or after Rush. Stations think they can get-away-with-it because… most programming is now non-local. Who’s left to direct? Most talk programming comes off the bird. Music stations are voicetracked or downlinked from the mother ship. Directing is a lost art.” For those managers seeking a real, live PD, read Holland Cooke’s take on what qualities he/she must possess here.
Odds & Sods. The decision is not set in stone yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that CBS RADIO will likely move Chicago Cubs play-by-play from all-news WBBM-AM to sports talk WSCR “The Score.” WSCR is losing Chicago White Sox play-by-play as Cumulus-owned crosstown news/talk WLS-AM will begin serving as that team’s flagship beginning next season…..John W. Pirkle-owned WNFZ-FM, Knoxville drops news/talk and goes alternative rock as “94Z.” However, the “Rude Awakening” morning show with Mike Howard and Terry West remains on the program schedule. The station also aired a local afternoon show called “The Drive” with Russell Smith. It’s not clear what his and producer Richard Daughtry’s fates are…..CBS RADIO gives Nick Wilson an evening sports talk show on WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan.” Wilson has been a producer, part-time host and sports anchor at the station. His rise to host of “The Nick Wilson Experiment” comes after Ken Carman moved from that slot to co-host morning drive with Kevin Kiley…..Cumulus Media gives Toledo news/talker WSPD an FM presence in the market as the station is now simulcasting on new translator W221BG at 92.1 FM. The translator is licensed to Rudolph, Ohio, about 25 miles south of downtown Toledo.
KMOX, St. Louis’ Bill Reker Retires. According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KMOX, St. Louis news anchor Bill Reker is retiring from the station after a 20-year career there. KMOX program director Steve Moore tells the paper, “He is a pro’s pro. Whether it was severe weather or something going on in Ferguson, you knew you had a professional in the newsroom. I’ll miss the level of calm he brought.”
Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony, Joe Biden’s ‘Won’t Run’ Announcement, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Relationship, Paul Ryan House Speaker Bid, Chris Rock to Host Oscars, European Migrant Troubles, and MLB League Championships Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). Today’s Benghazi testimony by former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that he will not run for president; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016, notably Dr. Ben Carson’s poll-leading numbers in Iowa; the military relationship between Putin’s Russia and al-Assad’s Syria; Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s bid for the Speaker of the House post; comic Chris Rock set to host the next Academy Awards show; ongoing migrant problems in the European Union; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Talk Host Found Guilty of Campaign Law Violations. He’d already served 10 months in prison for a 2004 conviction on corruption charges when CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford hired John Rowland to host a daily afternoon drive radio talk show. Now, after Friday’s conviction on seven counts of campaign finance law violations, it appears that Rowland is likely headed back to prison. Sentencing is scheduled for December 12 but his attorneys plan to appeal. According to the Hartford Courant’s account, Rowland, who resigned from WTIC in April just before being indicted on the charges, chose not to take a plea deal for 18 months jail time and tested his luck with the jury. It didn’t work as the jury found him guilty of all charges related to his scheme to consult a Republican political candidate in 2012 and hide the fact that he was accepting the cash for those purposes. Read Edmund Mahony’s Courant story here.
Local On-Air Talent CAN Become Indispensable. Media consultant Holland Cooke revisits (and expands upon!) the point he made the “pages” of TALKERS four years ago that “if you’re in RADIO, you’re in SALES” in a column published today (9/22). It’s easy to pick apart the effectiveness of another medium’s advertising components but radio must look in the mirror for, as Cooke writes, criticism of a lot of radio’s not-so-great spots is justified because “at many stations, including some in major markets, there’s no creative department. Reps write their own copy, a task that’s not sellers’ core competency.” Effectiveness is directly related to quality, so how to up the quality? Cooke offers some suggestions and you can check them out here.
Consultant Fred Jacobs Encourages Radio Talent to Learn and Exploit Expanded Array of Available Media Tools. Reaction and commentary continues to buzz throughout the industry on the topic of the role of the aural media arts (non-visual radio and music) in the increasingly multi-media/visual environment of the digital era – instigated largely last week by comments made by TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison in the aftermath of the Clear Channel name/branding change to iHEARTMEDIA. According to Harrison, “I am delighted by the enormous number of responses – mostly overwhelmingly positive – that my comments sparked. Of course, there were those who immediately jumped to the conclusion that I am against the word ‘media’ or that I do not believe radio should be involved in internet, satellite or visual media at all. This is, of course, preposterous! The name of our company that owns TALKERS is Talk Media, Inc.; the name of our convention was the New Media Seminar way back in 1998; TALKERS magazine’s slogan is The Bible of Talk Radio and the New Talk Media; I have championed a concept known as “The Media Station” for more than a decade and the list goes on. All I am saying is we should remain sensitive and respectful to the idea that there is a very important place in this emerging mix for pure audio-only radio and music in terms of the fundamentals of these processes – and that by doing so, we will be serving the best interests of our industry, the people who work in it and the consumers who love radio and music on their basic terms.” Harrison continues, “My friend, noted radio consultant/researcher Fred Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs Media, — also an industry voice who is outspoken on this most compelling issue — has written and posted a blog today (9/22) that I believe adds an important dimension to the subject that warrants attention. Jacobs makes a case, somewhat counterpoint (but not contradictory) to mine, that I find inspirational.” In the blog, Jacobs writes, “I started thinking about this notion that the proliferation of screens will narrow the field for talkers, DJs, and hosts who are great with words, but not so wonderful visually. As he [Michael Harrison] notes, screens of all sizes are becoming dominant parts of how people consume media. Thankfully, radio has been able to participate on most of those screens, whether on smartphones or tablets. Over time as autonomous driving becomes more common, those who ride in these cars will gravitate to entertainment that is visual in origin – at least at a higher percentage than they are able to consume now while dangerously texting and driving. So is this the beginning of the end for radio, or is it simply the beginning of the beginning? Because as we have explored in this blog during the past few years, disruption forces old stars to adapt while bringing new ones to the center stage. Notably, two of the “Best Motion Picture” Oscars in just the past few years have focused on this topic. The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth was a story about changing technology, as the King of England was forced to learn how to communicate on the radio. Of course, he struggled, but in the end he was able to adapt. And in The Artist, the film’s silent film star refused to adapt to ‘talkies’ and is eventually displaced by a new brand of movie icons. Change is uncomfortable and it can be bitter, as depicted in this amazing film. The ending eventually become a happy one, but the road was arduous and difficult because of the tech disruption caused by the advent of movie sound. Change is hard, especially for those who have enjoyed the status quo. It tests everyone in all strata of the organization and the industry. Accepting, adapting, and adjusting is hard work. It can be quite uncomfortable in workplaces that were once always fun and even kind of easy. But these are the necessary skills that radio people need to exude in order to make the transition. We see signs of this every day in broadcast radio. Those who have the ability to connect with audiences – in person and in social spaces – have a unique edge. The old paradigm of the DJ hermit, locked down the hall in the air studio, is breaking apart. Today’s air talent need to be able to mix it up with listeners, clients, and community leaders. Not every film star is handsome. The public appreciates an interesting face, whether it’s Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones or Linda Hunt on NCIS. They may be exceptions, but they stand out because they’re different, captivating, and worthy of our attention. They’re also immensely talented actors. And the same will be the case on the radios of the future. While good-looking DJs like Ryan Seacrest or Bobby Bones may have inherent advantages, Howard Stern proves that must-hear content trumps a pretty face. And he’s not alone. Words matter, and they will continue to in a media ecosphere that is now dominated by visuals. Screens or not, it’s the thought that counts. These are changes that radio need to roll with. Let’s open up new visual doors, new avenues, and new paths for our content. And let’s embrace them because it’s truly a media world.” To read Fred Jacobs’ entire blog, please click here.
Radio Management Pro Warren Named VP/MM for Cumulus Nashville. Jumping from the Austin cluster of Entercom where she was director of sales and taking on the vice president and market manager role at Cumulus Media Nashville is Allison Warren. Cumulus SVP Jeff Brown comments, “Allison was a key part of my team in Denver some years back. She did great work there and has since built a portfolio of successes in vibrant radio markets including Austin, Madison and Milwaukee. Her results-driven, collaborative leadership style will infuse our Nashville operations with the energy and focus needed at this pivotal point in the cluster’s growth. Allison will be an incredible asset to Cumulus’ leadership team.” Warren also served with Entercom at its Madison and Milwaukee clusters as well as with CBS RADIO in Denver. Cumulus operates six stations in the market including news/talk WWTN-FM “SuperTalk 99.7,” sports talker WGFX “104.5 The Zone,” as well as the Tennessee Titans Radio Network.
Cross Platform Media Acquires IRN/USA Radio Network. The president and CEO of Cross Platform Media, Sam Hassell, says the acquisition of IRN/USA Radio Network “rounds out the services of Cross Platform that is already deeply embedded in the national media space.” Hassell continues, “We are very excited to make this announcement. We look forward to fulfilling the original vision of USA Radio Network by providing audience-engaging news and content to the independent and group station owners around the country.” Christian and conservative broadcast pioneer Marlin Maddoux launched the USA Radio Network in 1985 and Hassell adds, “We are very respectful of the Maddoux legacy and proud to continue syndicating ‘Point of View,’ ‘Daybreak USA,’ IRN/USA News and so many other significant programs.” IRN/USA Radio Network currently produces and/or distributes more than 20 nationally syndicated radio programs with audience-targeted formatting primarily for news/talk and Christian radio (both commercial and non-commercial).
BIA/Kelsey Forecast for 2015 Local Media Revenue: Up 1.6%. But, of course, the increase comes as beneficial for those in the online/digital media realm (+13.1%) and, not surprisingly, traditional media is expected to see another dip (-1.7%). BIA/Kelsey is presenting these results and more at its Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing conference in New Orleans this week. The company predicts that in 2015, online/digital will account for more than one-quarter (25.2%) of total local media revenues in 2015. Revenues for online/digital are expected to grow from $31 billion in 2014 to $35 billion in 2015, representing a 13.1% growth rate. Other forecasts include: Mobile local ad revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2015; Local social media revenues will grow from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $3.6 billion in 2015; Local search revenues will grow from $7.1 billion in 2014 to $7.2 billion in 2015; Local display revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $4.9 billion in 2015; and Local online video revenues will grow from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $3.0 billion in 2015.
Dolans and Seaview Radio Hit Home Run with Live Event in South Florida. Proving there is life after WOR, New York, the legendary husband/wife money media team of Ken & Daria Dolan (pictured here, Daria at left, Ken at right) joined forces with WSVU (960 AM/95.9 FM/ 106.9 FM), North Palm Beach “Seaview Radio” this past Saturday (9/20) presenting a successful, day-long listener/sponsor event titled, “South Florida Wealth & Health Expo 2014,” at the prestigious Jupiter Maltz Theatre in Jupiter, Florida. The event brought local businesses and services from the fields of health, finance and better living together highlighted with on-stage financial advice presentations by the Dolans. Seaview Radio general manager Chet Tart tells TALKERS, “The event gave us a wonderful opportunity to establish new and heightened relationships with sponsors from one of the most dynamic business sectors in the market. We immediately received positive response with attendees and vendors already asking about next year’s event. I think we might have to find a larger venue, next time around.” The Dolans, now based in Jupiter, are best remembered for their stunning run of success at WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network in the 90s and early-2000s – supplemented by their hosting hot shows on CNN, MSNBC and other cable news/talk networks as well as penning best-selling books on the topic of personal finance. Known for their entertaining banter and solid advice both on air and on stage, the Dolans went into semi-retirement several years ago – but have had difficulty steering clear of offers that keep coming their way for live appearances and their broadcast sales consulting services. The result has been the birth of the increasingly active firm Dolan Media. CEO Ken Dolan tells TALKERS, “There are huge revenue and promotional opportunities for local radio stations in live events – especially in the areas that strike home to most people – health and money. The two go together beautifully as we have just proven at this event in Florida. Daria and I are strongly considering taking this show on the road and helping stations around the country create a very exciting form of financial and PR synergy so dearly needed by small and middle-sized operators at this time.” Perennial members of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred during their run at WOR, the Dolans have been ranked #75 on the prestigious Heaviest Hundred list of the “100 Most important Radio Talk Show Hosts of All Time.” WSVU, North Palm Beach was recently sold by North Palm Beach Broadcasters to JVC Media. GM Chet Tart – one of the most connected broadcast executives in the market – will stay on as GM of the new expanded operation planned by the acquiring owners, telling TALKERS, “With this transition to JVC, I find myself even more focused than ever… offering leadership, encouragement and inspiration to the staff. That’s my focus!” Chet Tart can be reached by email at email@example.com. Ken Dolan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Odds & Sods. At the iHeartMedia Des Moines cluster, alternative KXDA PD Mike Killabrew takes on the programming responsibilities for sister sports talker KXNO, leaving WHO programmer Van Harden to focus on his duties with the heritage news/talker…..Radio personality Denny Schaffer – most recently with iHeartMedia news/talker WRNO, New Orleans and former host at the company’s WSPD, Toledo – is back in Toledo as morning jock on Cumulus Media’s hot AC WWWM “Star 105.”…..Dallas news pro Jim Ryan joins ABC News Radio full time. Ryan — a current staffer at WBAP, Dallas and part-time contributor to ABC News Radio, makes the switch starting November 1.
TALKERS Spotlight: THE WATCHDOGS
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Contrasted to national talk radio hosts who can sometimes get deeply mired in a monotonous right against left (or vice versa) onslaught, many of their local counterparts emerge as bona fide folk heroes for standing up against a coterie of injustices inflicted on their fellow residents.
Actions taken by this band of “watchdogs,” in the overwhelming number of instances, have nothing to do with political leanings or a partisan playbook.
Legendary for rooting out the “bad guys,” afternoon talk hosts “John & Ken” (John Kobylt & Ken Champiou) expose what they consider dirty dealings to their very large audience on Los Angeles’ KFI. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr is a thorn in the side of the “powers that be” in New England. Everywhere in between, intense professional satisfaction comes when they go toe-to-toe with pit bull-like tenacity against the establishment. In that same sort of imagery, “hold their feet to the fire” has actually become a talk radio slogan as on-air talents attempt to expose and defeat “the bad guys.”
Randy Michaels Speaks About Tribune Company in Newspaper Piece. Sam Zell declined to be interviewed for a four-part series in the Chicago Tribune about the parent company’s financial and legal odyssey but former Tribune CEO and radio executive Randy Michaels did contribute to the story. The piece charges that both Zell and Michaels never really understood the business (newspaper) or the culture of the place they were trying to save. But Michaels tells the Tribune he believed he had to get the newspaper’s staff to move quickly adapting to the digital age or it would be too late. Michaels says, “I cared a lot about that company, and while I recognize that there’s plenty that people might disagree with, I worked hard to keep those brands relevant in a changing world. We thought that by knocking down some of the walls, by bringing in a looser culture and getting rid of all the bureaucracy, that we had a chance to outperform. I thought it was my role to challenge everything.” The piece cites the reluctance among the Tribune staffers to accept the forced change in culture and highlights some of the resentment felt when Michaels’ former radio colleagues were brought into executive positions.
Programmer Kevin Metheny Named WJR, Detroit PD. Programming pro Kevin Metheny is the new program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR, Detroit. Metheny had been interim program director at Clear Channel’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “Buz’n 102.9” after leaving WGN, Chicago in November of 2010. Prior to his stint at WGN, Metheny was operations manager a Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster. Metheny states, “I’ve long admired WJR from 90 miles across Lake Erie where I put 760 on a button the day I landed in Cleveland. ‘The Great Voice of The Great Lakes’ is a gold standard collection of impossible-to-duplicate treasures and I’m thrilled to join the Cumulus team.” Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay adds, “Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the spoken-word format to the legendary WJR. We are excited to have him on the team!”
Talk Radio Network Unveils Seven New Weekend Programs. In what Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters calls a focus “on helping our affiliated stations make more money,” the company launches seven new programs this weekend, beginning with “Making America Laugh with Louie Anderson.” The comic brings “his brand of humor and warmth to the radio airwaves – covering topical news, taking listener calls, and riffing with comedic and celebrity guests.” Other programs lifting off this weekend include: “Nutzz & Knight Radio” hosted by Gordon “Lug Nutzz” Stewart and actor Christopher Knight (Peter Brady from “The Brady Bunch”). TRN calls it “a hysterical, fast-paced, and irreverent action/motorsports lifestyle and entertainment radio program, featuring interviews with personalities from NASCAR, the NHRA, and IndyCar to action sports athletes, musicians, and the entertainment industry.” “All Action Sports Radio” is dedicated to complete coverage of the action sports industry – surfing, skateboarding, BMX, Motocross, skiing, snowboarding, and more. “The Brian Oxman Show” features the former high-profile attorney for Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. “Blueprint of a Champion Radio Show” is a proprietary goal-setting and success program for student athletes brought to life through radio hosted by Neil Mason, a standout college athlete, Olympic coach and successful entrepreneur. “The Anthony Vultaggio Show” is a general issues talk program. “The Hibbard Show” is hosted by husband and wife team, Dave and Marhnelle Hibbard and is geared toward helping people in both their professional lives and in their personal lives.
Scott Sands to Program WSPD, Toledo. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces programmer Scott Sands will take over the program director role at news/talk WSPD, Toledo and sister rock outlet WIOT. Sands most recently was involved in launching CHR WWHX, Bloomington, Illinois with Vallie/Richards/Donovan. He also partnered with Vallie/Richards/Donovan to launch and program Main Line Broadcasting’s modern rock WCLI, Dayton “Click 101.5.” Until earlier in the fall, Brian Wilson had been serving as program director and afternoon drive host.
Cox Media Settles with Todd Schnitt; Jury Seated in Complaint Against Bubba the Love Sponge. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the defamation suit by talk show host Todd Schnitt against long-time Tampa market rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) continues as a jury was seated yesterday morning. However, Schnitt’s suit against Cox Media (Clem’s employer) has been settled. The paper reports that Cox Media and Schnitt reached a settlement on Friday, the terms of which were not disclosed. Cox Media Tampa market manager Keith Lawless is quoted telling the Times, “(The settlement) was a business decision, but in no way reflects that we are not in support of Bubba. It’s not such a bad thing that all our focus is now on defending Bubba.” Meanwhile, a jury of six with four alternates has been seated in Schnitt’s suit against Clem but not without some drama as the Times reports both sides initially agreed to the make-up of the jury, then Schnitt’s lawyers asked to reconsider. Immediately Clem’s attorneys asked for a mistrial but the judge declared the jury selection final and swore in the jurors.
Odds & Sods. With Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt tied up in court in his suit against Bubba the Love Sponge, he’ll be missing some time on the radio. KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell is subbing for Schnitt on his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program on Thursday, January 17…..Former WTKK, Boston talk host Michael Graham fills in for crosstown WRKO afternoon drive host Howie Carr on Thursday…..The big Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong will air on Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Thursday evening but SiriusXM will get the first crack at distributing the audio of the interview on Friday on its Oprah Channel…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is hosting a special “Ask The Doctor” program featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, today at 10:00 am to help listeners learn more about the flu. The hour-long Q&A session will answer a number of concerns related to this year’s harsh flu season and more with WTOP mid-day anchors Mark Lewis and Debbie Feinstein hosting and taking calls from listeners…..Michael Patrick Shiels, host of “Michigan’s Big Show,” will broadcast his syndicated morning show live from Monte Carlo, in the principality of Monaco, on Friday, January 25. The special, international broadcast will originate from the historic Hotel de Paris next to the famed Casino de Monte-Carlo and guests on the program will include: actor Roger Moore, singer Shirley Bassey, residents of Monaco, as well as a representative of Monaco’s Royal Family.
Dial Global Sports Distributes NFL Conference Championships. The NFL’s conference championship weekend takes place on Sunday and Dial Global Sports brings affiliate stations exclusive radio play-by-play of the San Francsico 49ers vs Atlanta Falcons matchup and the Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots game. The NFC Championship game is being called by Dave Sims alongside Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and Tony Boselli on the sidelines. The AFC Championship game is being announced by Kevin Harlan with the play-by-play, Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Mark Malone on the sidelines.
WGN, Chicago and NHL’s Blackhawks Agree to Five More Years. Now that NHL hockey is set to return, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the Chicago Blackhawks have announced they will extend their deal for the station to be the exclusive market radio home of the team’s play-by-play broadcasts. The new, five-year deal will keep WGN as the team’s flagship station through the 2018-19 NHL season. WGN Radio DOS and interim general manager Jeff Hill says, “We are proud to extend our relationship with the Blackhawks and bring the excitement of hockey play-by-play to our listeners. The fast pace of the broadcasts provide an incomparable energy and we look forward to delivering the best hockey broadcasts for the next six years.”
Debt Ceiling Debate, Gun Legislation Proposals, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Controversy, ObamaCare Costs, and Lance Armstrong ‘Oprah’ Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The battle between the Obama Administration and Congress over raising the debt ceiling; threats by the president to use executive powers to write new gun legislation; the controversy over the movie “Zero Dark Thirty”; the costs brought about by the Affordable Care Act; and Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us at TALKERS. All of us at TALKERS want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude at Thanksgiving to the hard-working, dedicated members of the radio industry and its associated fields who support and encourage us in this endeavor as readers, contributors and sponsors. PLEASE NOTE: Our regular weekday mid-morning emailed newsletter will not be sent out tomorrow (Thanksgiving) or Friday – but the home of TALKERS (www.talkers.com) will be updated with major breaking stories should they occur, as is the case 365 days per year. We sincerely hope you all have a wonderful holiday with loved ones and reflect on how fortunate we all are to have the opportunity to be in a business and medium that is so vital to preserving the public’s well-being as well as bringing entertainment, happiness, information and opinions to millions each and every minute of the day. May we all have the courage, strength, intelligence and will to keep the spark of radio and talk media glowing through these challenging times and into the promise of yet another golden era.
Andy Stuart Exits Clear Channel Toledo Market Manager Post. More changes at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Toledo cluster a little more than a week after news/talk WSPD programmer and talk host Brian Wilson was let go by the company. Toledo market manager and regional market manager in Northern Ohio Andy Stuart announces he’s leaving the company to take a CEO post at a new technology firm that he and his superiors are not naming due to the secretive nature of the tech business, according to the Toledo Blade.
Salem Communications Prepares to Flip WMUU, Greenville to Conservative Talk. The class C FM at 94.5 that Salem Communications is buying from Bob Jones University-affiliated Gospel Fellowship Association covers a huge part of the Greenville-Spartanburg region. Salem tips via Facebook that the station will be imaged as “Conservative Talk 94.5 FM” and will begin airing the Salem Radio Network slate of conservative talk shows featuring Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett on Monday, December 3. The station currently airs a beautiful music format.
WTN, Nashville Raises $120,000 for Nashville Rescue Mission. Cumulus Media news/talk WTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” pulled in more than $120,000 for the Nashville Rescue Mission during its 2012 Radiothon on Monday, November 19. Vice president and market manager Mike Carpenter states, “We are more than pleased with the results of this year’s Hunger to Hope Radiothon for the Nashville Rescue Mission. Our gracious listeners and clients helped raise over $20,000 above and beyond our original goal. We are very proud to be a part of this effort to support the community through the Nashville Rescue Mission.” The station reports that the effort was spearheaded by talk show personality Michael DelGiorno and the broadcast included all four of the station’s prime daytime hosts, utilizing commercial time as well as much of their normal program content to push for donations. The lineup included Ralph Bristol from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Michael DelGiorno from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Dave Ramsey from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Phil Valentine from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Additionally, Michael DelGiorno broadcast live from the Nashville Rescue Mission for an hour with Ralph Bristol, pre-empted the Mike Huckabee show by extending his program an hour, and then returned to the studio to raise $45,000 in the final hour of the radiothon at 6:00 pm.
KKLA, Los Angeles Personality Frank Pastore Injured in Motorcycle Accident. Former major league baseball pitcher and Christian talk radio personality Frank Pastore is in critical condition at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident on Los Angeles’ 210 Freeway on Monday evening. According to The Sun, Pastore – who hosts the PM drive slot on Salem Communications’ KKLA, Los Angeles Christian teaching outlet – was hit by another car while riding his motorcycle and thrown from the bike. Just how extensive his injuries are is not known at this time.
KJAC, Fort Collins Inks Deal with Colorado State University. Front Range Broadcasting sports talker KJAC, Fort Collins “105.5 ESPN” strikes a deal with Nelligan Sports Marketing to serve as the flagship station for Colorado State University athletics. The deal will have KJAC broadcast football and men’s and women’s basketball play-by-play beginning in July of 2013. The contract also calls for production and airing of weekly coach’s shows. Games will also air on Front Range’s KDSP, Denver “102.3 ESPN.”
More Holiday Fill-In Work. Progressive talk host Nicole Sandler is sitting in for Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes on her nationally syndicated program for today’s pre-Thanksgiving Day program. Sandler is also scheduled to host Rhodes’ program around the Christmas holidays December 17-21, December 26-28 and on New Year’s Eve day.
WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville Raises $54,000-Plus for Cancer Charity. Seven Bridges Radio’s sports talk WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville “1010XL” raised more than $54,000 for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund – New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s charity that benefits children battling cancer – during its radiothon on October 25. Pictured here are staffers manning the phones at the 1010XL offices during the one-day radiothon.
Israel-Hamas Violence, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, and Thanksgiving Holiday Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20). The ongoing attacks between Israel and Hamas; the battle in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; the possible security effects of the Petraeus–Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi investigation and Petraeus’ involvement; and the Thanksgiving holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WTOP, Washington’s Jim Farley: “We’re Engaged Across All Platforms.” Hubbard Broadcasting’s Jim Farley, vice president of news and programming at WTOP, Washington, speaks with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison in this TalkersTV video interview. Farley tells Harrison that although WTOP is a heritage radio station, they think of it differently, “We don’t think of it as a radio station; we think of it as a digital news organization…we compete with everybody who does news.” Farley praises WTOP ownership – both current and past – for having the foresight to invest in staff and equipment to compete in the 21st century news game. Farley says they recently added a digital editor for the overnight shift so the organization has a radio and digital editor on the clock at all times. “Whenever there is a story – middle of the night or on weekends – we’ll be engaged across all platforms.” See the TalkersTV video in the box on this page.
Former WCCO, Minneapolis Talk Host Don Shelby Joins BringMeTheNews. Longtime Twin Cities TV and radio personality Don Shelby (pictured at left) begins a new position as morning drive news anchor at BringMeTheNews – the radio news network and online news site for Minnesota founded by Twin Cities news pro Rick Kupchella (pictured at right) in 2009. Shelby, a longtime WCCO-TV newsman who retired from his midday talk show at WCCO radio in 2010, will be morning anchor for the service heard on some 30 stations around the state. He’ll also handle original news reporting. Shelby states, “I am so pleased that I’ll be back in the game – not just to be back in the game, but to satisfy the needs of people who, for 32 years, trusted me to tell them the truth. I miss them and I miss the opportunity to do that.”
Sports Talk Talent Moves in San Diego; Rosenberg and Williams to XEPRS. Josh Rosenberg and Charod Williams jump from KLSD, San Diego “Xtra Sports 1360” to crosstown (actually, cross-border) XEPRS XX 1090 for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift beginning Monday, March 26. The move pushes Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton to the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot, Darren Smith to the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm shift and John “The Coach” Kentera to the 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm show when Padres baseball is not airing. KLSD has not announced who will replace Rosenberg and Williams in the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm shift.
Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Returns to Air in the Market. Talk show host Matt Mittan left Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville five months ago. Now, after continuing to produce his program along with co-host and producer Agnes Cheek online and self-syndicating it in various formats to a number of stations in the region, the program returns to Asheville on gospel WZGM. More than that, Mittan and Cheek have taken operational control over the HRN Broadcasting-owned station. Mittan tells the Asheville Citizen-Times the station will still air gospel music in the morning plus Dial Global’s Clark Howard, his program from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Dial Global’s Neal Boortz from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Eventually, he’d like to add more local talk to the station.
Beasley Broadcasting Names Rafe D’Amico NSM for Las Vegas Cluster. Rafe D’Amico already serves as national sales manager for Beasley stations on Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware. Now he’s named NSM for the entire Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KDWN. Beasley Las Vegas director of sales Cory Cuddeback says, “I’m thrilled that Rafe is joining our Vegas team. Rafe has an impeccable reputation along with a solid background in the industry and will be a tremendous asset for our cluster moving forward.”
Promotions at Clear Channel Toledo. A number of staffers at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Toledo cluster are being promoted including news/talk WSPD executive producer Katie Hileman who is named assistant program director for the station. Sports WCWA program director Tom Riggs also takes on the cluster’s digital content director responsibilities.
WLW, Cincinnati Celebrates 90th Anniversary This Week. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s venerable WLW, Cincinnati is celebrating its 90th year in operation this week. The station was put on the air on March 23, 1922 by Powel Crosley, Jr. In 1934 WLW would receive permission to broadcast at 500,000 watts – the only station to do so – and for the next five years earned the nickname “The Nation’s Station.” The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter details a very cool, quick history of WLW in his column here.
KABC, Los Angeles To Give Away New Sidewalk in “Sidewalk Insanity” Promotion. In an affectionate nod to Los Angeles’ notoriously decrepit sidewalks, Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is running a “bracket-like” contest in which one lucky winner gets a new sidewalk courtesy of sponsor Capital Construction. The station says, “L.A. is world famous for having the world’s worst sidewalks – more than 4,000 miles of jagged cliffs of cracked and tree-root-raised barricades – making walking, skateboarding or wheelchair access virtually impossible.” Contestants are encouraged to send a photo of their lousy sidewalk to AM drive host Doug McIntyre (pictured here holding a chunk of broken concrete) for their chance to enter the bracket and have listeners vote on the worst of the worst.
KOIN-TV, Portland News Anchors to Fill In on KPAM Radio. Pamplin Media Group program director Dennis Glasgow reports KOIN-TV, Portland news anchors Jeff Gianola and Kelly Day will fill in for talk host Bob Miller on the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show today. Glasgow states, “Not only is this going to be great radio, but this is a great example of sharing talent and resources. We value this important and exclusive local partnership with KOIN and look forward to having Jeff and Kelly grace our airwaves, I know our listeners will feel the same way.”
Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Federal Budget Debate, Florida Youth Slaying, Iran Nuke Ambitions and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20). The GOP primary election in Illinois and the larger 2012 presidential campaign issues, the ongoing debate over cuts to the federal budget, the controversial killing of an unarmed Florida teen, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and continuing tensions for U.S. troops in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.