By Mark Wainwright
Talk Show Host
SYRACUSE — Holland Cooke’s recent commentary on TALKERS TV about local endorsement spots reinforced my long-standing belief in local radio, and it gives me an opportunity to share some thoughts about the success we’ve had doing endorsements in Syracuse.
If I had to narrow it down to one key piece of advice, it would be: Don’t make endorsements just another part of your commercial load. Make them part of your show!
Over time, radio listeners have learned to tune out commercials, either mentally or by actually hitting the button. An entertaining live personal endorsement spot, performed at the start of a stopset, can break that pattern and grab the listener’s attention.
That’s why it’s important that the endorsement be funny, or compelling, or unusual, or crazy, or something other than a conventional straight read. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something like: “It’s 7:20, Ron Radio here, with a word about your local Chevy dealers…” followed by the air personality simply reading a piece of copy. The host might have a good voice and great reading skills, and since there’s a live human element involved, there’s some improvement over just pressing the button to start the spot cluster– but only marginally so. The listener still thinks “commercial!” and proceeds to mentally or physically throw the switch. The client’s money and the host’s time have been wasted.
Meanwhile, my approach has always been that endorsements spots are part of my show. They are program content, with each one giving me 60 seconds — okay, maybe 65 or 70 seconds, sometimes I cheat a little — to show off my personality, my sense of humor, my perspective, or just allow a few rebellious brain cells to make themselves audible for a moment. I’ve used music, drop-ins, sound effects, character voices, bad puns, plays on words, you name it. Sometimes I do a lot of advance preparation, sometimes I totally ad-lib them on the fly. The point is, they’re different, and if I can get listeners to stop thinking “commercial!” and get them thinking “What is he DOING?” or “Where is he going with this?” or “Did he actually SAY that?”, then I’ve earned my talent fee. It breaks the established tune-out mechanism, the listeners start paying attention, and that’s when the client’s name and selling points sink in.
This approach requires some groundwork, and a lot of trust all the way around. Whenever I meet with a potential client, I make sure they understand what they’re getting when they ask for a Mark Wainwright personal endorsement. Not all clients or station salespeople are comfortable with my technique, or they might be hesitant to cede so much creative control to an individual air personality; I’ve had to turn opportunities down — graciously and diplomatically, I hope — when the client’s discomfort was clearly apparent.
Obviously, you also need the station’s management to support you and respect your professional judgement. This approach doesn’t work if the air talent is always second-guessing himself about what the brass will think. Fortunately, the management folks here in Syracuse cut me a lot of slack. And the clients? Once they give me a chance and they see the results, they pretty much let me get away with murder.
It’s very gratifying to have a client tell everyone in town that your live commercials were directly responsible for a big increase in their business, and it’s great to have listeners come up to you at an event like the New York State Fair and hear them repeating the same gags and catch phrases you’ve been using in endorsements. They’re engaged and responding, and the advertisers know it. That’s local radio.
(And the extra money in your paycheck doesn’t hurt!)
Mark Wainwright is the morning drive host at WSYR, Syracuse. He can be emailed at markwainwright@iHeartMedia.com.
Ramsey Hosts Smart Conference in Atlanta. Syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey hosted a daylong “Smart Conference” in Atlanta this past Saturday (10/8) at North Point Community Church. Promoting the event was Ramsey’s Atlanta affiliate, iHeartMedia talker WGST. “These events certainly increase tune-in and listenership as we lean into them,” comments iHeartMedia Atlanta region president Justin Schaflander. “Far more importantly, they truly impact the lives of our listeners as it helps them find inspiration and answers on everything from finances to parenting and just life in general. The events create a deeper relationship between our listeners and Dave’s team, which in turn, create a far more beneficial connection between our sponsors and clients as they interact with Dave’s audience. It is a win on all fronts.” Along with Ramsey were Chris Brown, Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Inky Johnson, Dr. Meg Meeker, Anthony O’Neal, and Dr. Les Parrott. Attendees were provided information on how to win with money; strengthen their marriages; build parenting skills; and excel in their careers.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2016 PPM survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of Major League Baseball flagships. In this special feature report, you will find charts listing stations by format and (6+) AHQ share; ratings fluctuations from August 2016 to September 2016; ratings comparisons from September 2015 to September 2016; how MLB key stations ranked in their respective markets; and how they did by league/division. See it all here.
Hughes’ Howard University Honor. In a ceremony that will take place one week from this Sunday (10/23), Howard University‘s School of Communications will be renamed the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, as a tribute to Radio One‘s founder and chairperson. The announcement comes after a multi-million dollar gift to the Washington, DC school from Hughes’ son, Radio One president and chief executive officer Alfred C. Liggins III. Howard University president Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick comments, “The Howard community is thrilled that Mr. Liggins has chosen to honor his mother in this manner for her pioneering work in the field of communications. The gift will have a transformational impact on the school’s commitment to serve the communications industry and as a high-level producer of diverse media specialists.”
Cox Media Group Tampa Boosts Caldwell to Digital Sales Manager. Two-year Cox Media Group Tampa digital media strategist Megan Caldwell is promoted to digital sales manager for the company’s six-station cluster. Vice president and market manager Keith Lawless remarks, “Megan knows the digital space, knows our marketing partners, and knows what it takes to compete and win in this competitive, fast moving space.” Director of sales Jason Meder comments, “We are so excited to have Megan lead our digital sales efforts in Tampa. With a background in digital content, Megan brings unique experience to this role. Her knowledge – combined with her ability to create solutions for advertisers – is an amazing resource for Cox Media Group Tampa.” Caldwell adds, “I am beyond excited to be leading our team in digital. As the digital sales manager, I will be focused on driving initiatives that help us continue to build long-term relationships with our clients.” The 2012 University of Central Florida graduate previously spent two years as Cox Media Group Tampa’s digital producer and was social media manager for New Age Skincare. With their September 2016 Nielsen Audio PPM 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, CMG Tampa consists of adult contemporary WDUV “Lite Favorites” (9.3, #1); WXGL “Classic Hits 107.3 The Eagle” (6.0, #3); adult contemporary WWRM “Magic 94-9” (5.3, #6); CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5” (4.7, #7); talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone” (2.3, #18); and alternative WSUN “97-X” (2.3, #18).
WHO’s “Puppy Jake Foundation” Raises $22,000. Last Friday’s (10/7) third annual “Puppy Jake Foundation” fundraiser brings in more than twice as much as the combined total of year one ($4,000) and year two ($6,000). WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talent Simon Conway staged a free sandwich giveaway in the parking lot of the iHeartMedia talker and – in two hours – collected more than $22,000 to benefit the charity, which acquires, raises and professionally trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans. Conway states he was “speechless for about two seconds. People drove long distances; handed over huge sums of money; and donated enough to acquire, train for two years and ultimately hand over for free a service dog for a wounded veteran.” Thus far this year, the charity has given 11 dogs to veterans; nine more canines will graduate the program next March.
NBC-TV Suspends Bush. By now, you know it was a rough weekend for former radio talent Billy Bush, who was believed to be groomed as a possible replacement for Matt Lauer on NBC-TV‘s “Today Show.” The network has suspended the ex-“Access Hollywood” host for his role in a 2005 video with Donald Trump that surfaced on Friday (10/7). Bush is heard laughing and encouraging the now Republican presidential nominee as they engaged in a vulgar conversation about women. The Washington Post published the tape of Trump, who is heard on a hot microphone boasting to Bush about kissing, groping, and having sex with women, saying that, “When you’re a star, they let you do anything – I don’t even wait.” At first, it seemed Bush was going to appear on “The Today Show” this morning (10/10) to apologize, but by last night, NBC decided he would not go on the show; instead, executive Noah Oppenheim issued the suspension. There is no immediate information about how long it will last. “Let me be clear,” Oppenheim writes in a staff memo, “There is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape. NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.” In a statement he released on Friday, Bush notes he is “embarrassed and ashamed” of his role in the 2005 video. “This happened 11 years ago. I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along.” His weeknight (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) “Billy Bush Show” debuted on April 14, 2008; Westwood One ended production of it in late-December 2014. Prior to that radio project, a mix of music and celebrity banter targeted to CHR and hot AC stations, Bush did wakeup duty on WWZZ “Z-104,” Washington, DC (now Radio One‘s WPRS “Praise 104.1”). In advance of starting his senior year at Maine’s Colby College, Bush scored a summer internship at Bill O’Shaughnessy’s WVOX in Westchester, New York.
Talk Radio Pro Rusty Humphries to Host ‘Trending Today USA’ to Launch in January. The new program comes from USA Radio Networks where CEO Floyd Brown has “tasked radio veteran Rusty Humphries with re-imagining the talk radio format.” The result is the new talk show “Trending Today USA” and will be hosted by Humphries beginning January 11. Humphries says, “This program will focus on what America is discussing, viewing and sharing in social media. Everything has been reimagined, from the network commercials, to the music, to the way the news is being presented –this will be talk radio for the social media mindset!” The company says the new show “will give affiliates programming that appeals to a multi-generational audience in the same way social media has done. It will provide advertisers and agencies with the audience they covet and make the show a commercial success.” Humphries adds, “Don’t get me wrong, there are some very talented people on the air today, but the industry needs some shaking up. Listeners have moved away from traditional platforms and are spending their time on social media. We’re producing a show which will not showcase my opinions, but will showcase the social news being devoured by Americans. I believe this show, and others like it, will restore talk programing to prominence. It will breathe life into a format aching for resuscitation. Americans are consuming news more than ever, but they are doing it on different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. With that in mind, I have worked with a group of social media giants to craft a show that lowers the bellicose and increases the pacing and news. I am more proud of this program than anything I have done in radio to date.”
Report from the Nielsen Audio Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Maryland at the Nielsen Audio Client Conference and he files this report with TALKERS. Some of the topics addressed at the conference include the growth of Black and Hispanic radio audiences, their loyal use of the medium and their importance to the future of radio; Washington urban radio icon Donnie Simpson’s thoughts about broadening programming; plus a granular look at a radio station’s audience and the importance of “Super Fans.” Read it all here.
iHeartMedia Names Sara McClure Sacramento Market President. The new market president for iHeartMedia’s Sacramento station group is Sara McClure, who takes over for John Geary, allowing him to return to his retirement. This is a promotion for McClure who was serving as SVP of sales for the cluster. She joined iHeartMedia in 2013 after 15 years with Entercom. She says, “I am thrilled to take this next step in my career. Becoming president of iHeartMedia Sacramento, which is my hometown, is very special. iHeartMedia is a company of opportunity where I can operate within a culture that is consistent with how I do business. I look forward to delivering results to our clients and fantastic products to our listeners, while creating an environment for our team that allows them to excel as part of a dynamic organization in a rapidly evolving industry.” iHeartMedia operates hip hop KHYL “V101.1,” news/talk KFBK, talk KSTE, adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and country KBEB “B 92.5.”
WGN, Chicago Names Steve Grzanich News Anchor. Veteran Chicago journalist and broadcaster Steve Grzanich joins the news staff at Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago to anchor the daily 5:00 am to 6:00 am program, “The Opening Bell.” The station says the show will be a “fast-paced hour for investors, entrepreneurs, innovators and every Chicagoan who wants to better understand how their money moves around the planet and their workplace.” Vice president of programming and content Todd Manley states, “You will get much more than the numbers with Steve. You’ll get the plotlines and the characters that fuel the business world from one of our town’s greatest reporters.” In addition to anchoring “The Opening Bell,” Grzanich will be part of the Steve Cochran morning drive show working alongside news anchor Andrea Darlas. Grzanich spent 20 years with CBS RADIO’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM and is a contributing reporter at Chicago-based Rivet Radio.
Hillsdale College Names Scot Bertram Station Manager for WRFH. The new radio station at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan has its general manager as the school hires Scot Bertram of WROK in Rockford, Illinois to assume the role next semester. Bertram is currently program director and morning host at the Townsquare Media-owned news/talk station. Bertram says, “The combination of Hillsdale and radio was immediately appealing. It fit like a glove — my interests, passions, and skills. I’m looking forward to working with the students, people who want to take part, want to learn more. The ability to speak extemporaneously and think on your feet, is a skill applicable to many professions.” Gold Bold Media Group founder and president Vince Benedetto, who donated the resources for Hillsdale’s radio station, says Bertram’s caliber is a tribute to Hillsdale’s reputation. “He has all the skill sets that are critical to getting the radio program off the ground for the college and doing something historic that they’re going to be working on.” In addition to his work with the station, Bertram will teach a broadcasting course as a journalism elective.
Sun Broadcast Group’s Jason Bailey Named Honorary Trustee for the Alliance for Women in Media. The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation announce Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey is the newest Honorary Trustee. The Honorary Trustee program at AWM/F offers senior executives the opportunity to engage and influence the strategy of AWM/F and its support of women in media. The program highlights ways to work together that are exclusive to Honorary Trustees and not available at any other partnership level through the Alliance for Women in Media or the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. AWM/F chair and SVP of global content operations at Discovery Communications Kristen Welch states, “The Honorary Trustee program serves as an avenue for innovative, passionate media C-levels to get involved with advancing and supporting women in media. We are proud to add Jason Bailey to our Honorary Trustee program and look forward to seeing how his passion for innovation and radio are reflected in his contributions to the Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation.”
Odds & Sods. Flint, Michigan news/talk WWCK “Supertalk 1570” fills the morning drive slot with market media pro Michael J. Thorp. He takes over for the retired Lou Lobsinger, effective Monday, December 7 at the Cumulus Media-owned station. Thorp worked for years in local television hosting the morning show on WJRT-TV…..Regine Schlesinger retires from CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM/WCFS-FM, Chicago after a 42-year career there. She was most recently a reporter and anchor for the station…..Yahoo! Sports Radio will launch new shows on the network beginning in January. A new program with host Joe Spano will air in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot; Matt Perrault moves from a fill-in role to hosting his own 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily show; Lewis Woodward joins the network for a “vital role during weekends,” and the new “Nothing But Net” show hosted by former NBA guard Troy Hudson launches next Thursday (12/10) from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm…..Emmy Award-winning sports reporter and KNX, Los Angeles sports correspondent Randy Kerdoon launches a new weekly podcast on PodcastOne titled, “Talking About Cars.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Randy’s connections and knowledge of the auto industry is sure to be entertaining, and podcasts about cars are increasingly popular. He’s a radio pro right here in my hometown. It’s safe to say PodcastOne is populated with some serious car freaks, starting with Adam Carolla and including me, so we’re all hoping this hometown boy makes good.”…..One of talk radio’s favorite guests, Peter D. Kiernan, author of the best-selling Becoming China’s Bitch (Turner, 2012), has won two major independent book awards for his latest book, “American Mojo Lost and Found: Restoring Our Middle Class Before the World Blows By” (Turner, 2015). The prestigious 2015 Royal Dragonfly Book Award Contest recognized Kiernan in two categories: first place in the Business and Finance and Historical Non-Fiction categories.
Gifts, Gadgets, Gizmos and Hi-Tech Holiday Goodies. Noted media consultant Holland Cooke joins host Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the PodcastOne international hit for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out,” posted today (12/1). The two talk about the latest technological marvels that are the hot stocking stuffers this holiday season… and then some. They delve into the world of drones, driverless cars, and gadgets within the expanding “Internet of Things” that keep tabs on their owners — such as toothbrushes that inform your dentist about the health of your teeth, baby clothes that inform parents about the well-being of their sleeping child and refrigerators that order replacements when you are running out of milk. Harrison and Cooke cover a wide spectrum of items from low-tech 20th century devices such as the Slinky and yo-yos to the modern-day Apple Watch and the coming practice of embedding chips into the human body. They discuss the implications of this new unfolding era on privacy and other significant aspects of sociology. To hear the entire conversation please click here or click on the player boxes in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Syracuse Family ‘Wins’ Waffles with Wainwright. Last month, WSYR, Syracuse morning drive host Mark Wainwright urged listeners to invite him and the WSYR morning show into their home for a live broadcast and – waffles! Much to Wainwright’s surprise, numerous families competed to host the show on November 12. The “winning” family was John and Katie Femenella and their kids (Wainwright is pictured here at the mic with John Femenella at left). In addition to hosting the broadcast from their kitchen, Anthony Donofrio, executive chef of the Modern Malt, prepared breakfast for all. Wainwright says, “John and Katie and their kids were terrific. We could not have had a warmer or more enthusiastic reception. For much of the morning, it felt like the whole neighborhood showed up. When I compared notes with John later, we realized there might have been one or two crashers in the crowd. John thought they were Katie’s friends, and Katie thought they were John’s friends! Maybe they were relatives of the neighbors? Anyway, everybody was nice, and the Modern Malt folks were very impressed by the turnout. I really enjoy promotions where listeners are actively engaged, and this was a perfect example.”
San Bernardino Shootings/Gun Control, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Turkey Military Tensions, Battle Against IS, Syrian Refugee Controversy, and DiCaprio Bear Rape Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that took the lives of 14, plus the related issue of gun control; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the military tensions between Turkey and Russia over the downing of a Russian fighter and allegations Turkey is buying oil from an IS-controlled region; the larger topic of the battle against Islamic State; the controversy over how to deal with refugees from the Syrian civil conflict; and the flap over a scene in the new Leonardo DiCaprio film in which some reviewers say DiCaprio’s character is raped by a bear were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen Audio Tells Clients it Won’t ‘Support Voltair.’ During today’s subscriber webinar, Nielsen Audio reported that its testing of the audio processor Voltair revealed nothing substantial to indicate the unit positively affects the ability of the PPM units to pick up the watermarked audio signal under normal circumstances. According to sources taking part in today’s webinar, Nielsen reports the unit could improve the reception of the watermarks in some cases but it’s difficult to determine if that reflects “true listening.” The result is that the company says it will not “support Voltair.” It is stopping short of requiring the Voltair unit be removed from subscribers’ audio chains as Canada’s Numeris ratings agency has done. It’s not clear from a legal standpoint whether Nielsen could require stations to remove the units in the U.S. Today’s webinar also addressed improvements to the PPM technology and told subscribers that it is rolling out a new encoding monitor that will be delivered to all subscribers in 2016.
Kay, WEPN-FM Agree to Three-Year Extension. The just-signed pact with afternoon drive host (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) Michael Kay will keep the television voice of the AL East New York Yankees at WEPN-FM “98.7 ESPN,” New York through 2018. As it has since February 2014, “The Michael Kay Show” (with co-host Don LaGreca) will continue to be simulcast on the YES Network. WEPN-FM general manager Tim McCarthy comments, “Mike has been the cornerstone of ESPN Radio New York the past 14 years and his audience is growing. He is a familiar and friendly voice for the New York sports fan. His credibility and passion each day provide New York listeners an entertaining and informative choice for their commute home. He is one of the best in the sports business and I am proud he will remain part of the 98.7 FM team.” Kay remarks that after 14 years, he is “thrilled to remain with 98.7 FM and [have] this opportunity to continue doing sports talk radio in a fun, entertaining way. Don and I do not take our positions or the loyalty of our listeners who spend their afternoons with us for granted. They are part of our family – and we treat them that way. I am really excited about [the station’s] future and I am very happy to remain with such a great company, ESPN.” Bronx native/Fordham University graduate Kay covered college basketball and the New Jersey Nets for the New York Post. He got his first television job in 1989 with MSG Network, where he won three Emmys. Three years later, he became a Yankees’ broadcaster on WABC-AM and the team’s play-by-play announcer when YES launched in 2002.
Wainwright Officially Named WSYR, Syracuse Morning Host. Talk pro Mark Wainwright became the go-to guy when the late Joe Galuski first became ill and was required to take time away from the mic, and now Wainwright has been hired as the morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s “Newsradio 570 WSYR.” Galuski was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2014 and died in May. Wainwright first did fill-in work at the station in March of 2013. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Rich Lauber comments, “Mark Wainwright has become a familiar voice to our listeners and he has developed great relationships with our staff and clients.” Wainwright spent more than 25 years in radio before leaving the business in 1997. He says, “I felt right at home here after my first hour on the air at WSYR. Our late colleague Joe Galuski spent more than two decades building a successful and highly regarded morning program, and I am committed to continuing that success. I just wish this all came under happier circumstances, as Joe Galuski is dearly missed by me – and the Central New York community.”
WOLF-AM, Syracuse Flips from Classic Hits to Sports. Using Fox Sports Radio Network for programming, Wolf Radio Inc.-owned WOLF-AM, Syracuse drops the classic hits format for sports talk branded as “Fox Sports 1490 Syracuse.” Shows airing on the station include: “Jay Mohr Sports,” the Dan Patrick show, the Rich Eisen show, “Steve Gorman Sports!,” “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North,” JT “The Brick,” and the Jason Smith show. Station manager Sam Furco states, “This is very exciting for Central New York. We have done a lot of research and testing for this format. We have every confidence this format will be a hit for listeners and local businesses.”
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents this report analyzing Nielsen Audio PPM survey data for stations serving as flagships for MLB play-by-play broadcasts. In this report, Kinosian looks at the performances of those outlets over the past four PPM surveys, fluctuations from June 2014 to June 2015, where those stations rank in their markets, leaders in market share and much more. See this entire report here.
Compass Media Networks Begins Syndicating Joe Pags’ Show. San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo broadcasts from flagship station WOAI and is heard on a number of iHeartMedia news/talk stations. His 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm CT daily program is now being syndicated by Compass Media Networks which says it will handle exclusive syndication of the show. Pags comments, “I love entertaining and am thrilled to bring my unique brand of talk radio to a wider audience with Compass Media Networks.”
Sports Talk Show Host, Author and Album Rock Radio Pioneer Richard Neer Interviewed by Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out.” Actually, it is more of a startlingly intimate conversation between two old friends than a formal “interview” per se. WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer returns to the Podcast One weekly international hit “Up Close and Far Out” hosted by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison for the second installment of an intermittent, ongoing conversation between the two about their days together during the formative years of album rock radio. This series of conversations between them will appear on the podcast in approximately two-month intervals. In this latest chapter posted today (7/21), they dredge up personal memories and juicy details about the 10 months they spent together launching and building the progressive rock format at the legendary WLIR, Long Island between 1970 and 1971 – during which period they were catapulted from being obscure 21 year old college students playing beautiful music on a struggling station to becoming well-known personalities and music programmers at one of the leading FM rock outlets in America – WNEW-FM, New York. They talk about the nature of the times, the emergence of the counter-culture and the challenges they faced in programming a free-form, “underground” station within a highly competitive, contentious, and uncharted environment. It is a story about drugs, groupies, music, street-cred, politics and generational upheaval. According to Harrison, “Richard successfully broke ground on chronicling some of these colorful, historic events in his landmark book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001), but this new series of candid, uninhibited conversations presented within the context of my podcast draws upon the spontaneous spoken word to really dig up and display the amazing details, color and emotions of those very special, long-gone times.” This marks the 20th installment of “Up Close and Far out with Michael Harrison.” The podcast is targeted to an audience described as “media freaks around the world.” Initial guests include radio’s Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Mark Levin, Thom Hartmann, Ronn Owens, Nick Michaels, Dr Joy Browne and Alan Colmes; music legend Linda Ronstadt; space pioneers Buzz Aldrin and Dr. Alan Stern (of the New Horizons mission); teenage celebrity interviewer Pavlina Osta, techno-biologist Rebecca Costa; cybersecurity expert Steve Weisman as well as leading edge, multimedia journalists Chris Ruddy and Joe Sciacca. To listen to the entire Harrison/Neer episode, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of TALKERS.com.
Former TheBlaze Staffers Launch Autonomous Publication. A number of former staffers with Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze are launching a new publication on the Medium blog-publishing platform called Autonomous. As reported by CapitalNewYork.com, former TheBlaze vice president of digital content Steve Krakauer is leading the venture that will include other former Blaze staffers Raj Nair, LaVern Vivio, and Chris Knowles. Also involved will be former Blaze CEO Chris Balfe. The story also notes that this will not be a full-time job for any of the participants, at least initially. Read the piece here.
Odds & Sods. WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire personality Jack Heath will participate in the “Voters First Forum” at which Republican candidates for president will appear. Heath will moderate the forum – note it’s not being called a debate – that will be aired on C-SPAN…..At Curtis Media’s news/talk WPTK, Raleigh, Doug Kellett exits his morning show role there after three years with the station…..In San Diego, financial advisor George Charles Cody Price is ordered to pay more than $1 million in fines and restitution in a settlement agreed to in U.S. District Court. Price had hosted a financial advice program on Midwest TV’s KFMB, San Diego in 2011. He was accused of defrauding investors.
WAUK, Milwaukee’s Steve Haywood Dead at 49. Milwaukee native and longtime sports media personality Steve Haywood died on July 19 after a 15-year battle with various health issues including Type 2 diabetes, cardiomyopathy, and kidney problems. Haywood co-hosted “The Game” with Bill Johnson on Good Karma-owned sports talker WAUK, Milwaukee “ESPN Wisconsin.” The station’s website features a piece by Drew Olson in which Good Karma CEO Craig Karmazin states, “Steve distinguished himself with his passion, knowledge and relationships with his beloved Milwaukee Bucks, and the city of Milwaukee. In doing so, he created a partnership between ‘ESPN Milwaukee’ and the Milwaukee Public Schools, which brought attention and advocated for student athletes throughout the city. He will be missed.”
Iran Nuclear Deal, Obama Race Database, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Climate Change-Western Drought, Social Security-Gun Surrender Proposal, ISIS Atrocities, Chattanooga Attacks Aftermath, and Immigration-Sanctuary Cities Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The UN’s approval of the Iran nuclear deal and the Islamic state’s subsequent threat to “trample upon America”; the Obama Administration’s building of a racial database of Americans; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and John Kasich’s hint he’ll enter the race; the subject of climate change and the ongoing Western drought; President Obama’s proposal to require Social Security recipients who don’t manage their own affairs to surrender their guns; atrocities being perpetrated by ISIS; the aftermath of the attacks on Chattanooga military facilities and the state of mind of Mohammod Abdulazeez; and the issues of illegal immigration and the policies of sanctuary cities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity — Content Marketing & Design Manager. Westwood One is seeking a well-rounded content marketing and design manager to join our content marketing team. We’re looking for someone with a proven track record creating and distributing compelling content marketing pieces that rise above the competition, inspire others to take action, and drive lead generation. The ideal candidate will have a positive attitude, efficient project management skills, pro-active thinking, hustle, and prior experience crafting engaging content marketing campaigns. Find more information here.
Cumulus/Westwood One Star Mark Levin Continues to Gain Syndication Steam. Dubbed “The Great One” by Sean Hannity, Cumulus/Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin continues to grow in stature as one of the elite stars in the talk radio industry. Levin, who has written a number of best sellers and is respected as an outstanding constitutional attorney and scholar, has added over a dozen new stations to his affiliate roster of 300-plus in the last quarter alone including KRLA, Los Angeles; WPGP, Pittsburgh; WREC, Memphis; WRVA, Richmond; KTSM, El Paso; KWSX, Stockton; KFIV, Modesto; WBUV-FM, Biloxi; WPGG, Atlantic City; WTKS-AM, Savannah; KWHN, Ft. Smith; WDAK, Columbus, GA; and WFEA, Manchester, MA. According to Michael Harrison, “Levin doesn’t always get the credit he deserves as the true heavyweight he is – but the numbers don’t lie. He has one of the largest audiences of all the political news/talkers in America and is positively adored by the millions of individuals and organizations that make up the heart of the fundamentalist, Constitutionalist core of the conservative movement.” Levin is ranked by TALKERS as #6 on the Heavy Hundred (the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) and tied with Glenn Beck as the fourth most-listened-to radio talk show host in the nation.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of April 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of April 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Talkers New York 2015 Will Be Sold Out Today. Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be declared sold out at the end of business today (5:00 pm EDT), a day earlier than anticipated earlier this week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.” Casey continues, “There will be no general registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT today Thursday, May 14.” The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Vacca Upped to Executive Producer at WOR, New York. Promoted from producer to executive producer of the “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt In The Morning” show at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR, New York is Natalie Vacca. Vacca has been on the WOR staff for the past 18 years, producing such personalities as John Gambling, Barry Farber, Joan Hamburg and Alan Colmes. She says of her new gig, “I have had the honor to work with some of the best talent in talk radio over my career. To add Len Berman and Todd Schnitt to the list couldn’t be more exciting.”
Salem Radio Network to Participate in Conservative DC Conference. The annual “Road to Majority” conference is organized by the Faith and Freedom Coalition and this year Salem Radio Network will broadcast from the event that takes place in Washington, DC June 18-20. SRN personalities Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a special VIP “preview dinner” on the eve of the conference and will broadcast their talk shows from Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel during the conference. The political event will include appearances from 2016 presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as well as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor Rick Perry plus Gary Bauer, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and FOX News Channel contributor Todd Starnes. SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup states, “The mission of the Faith and Freedom Coalition – that, in essence, the greatness of America lies not in the federal government but in the character of our people…the simple virtues of faith, hard work, marriage, family, personal responsibility, and helping the least among us – dovetails perfectly with the values we hold at SRN. We are proud to partner with Ralph Reed and his team.”
Odds & Sods. This evening (5/14), CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield will be honored by the Philadelphia Police Athletic League as one of the city’s most distinguished business leaders. Along with SugarHouse Casino general manager Wendy Hamilton and PECO SVP and COO Michael Innocenzo, Rayfield will be feted at PAL’s awards dinner for his “extraordinary contributions in support of PAL’s mission of ‘Cops Helping Kids.’”…..Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini is serving as the radio pool reporter today (5/14) from the Camp David Summit as President Obama convenes with six Gulf state leaders to discuss the nuclear deal with Iran.
WSYR, Syracuse’s Joe Galuski Loses Battle with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Off the air at iHeartMedia news/talk WSYR, Syracuse since last fall as he battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma, longtime morning host Joe Galuski has died, the station announced this morning. Galuski, 64, had been with WSYR since 1988 and served as the station’s morning drive host since 1998.
iHeartMedia Recognized at Festival of Media Global Awards. Two honors are bestowed upon iHeartMedia at the Festival of Media Global Awards 2015 – a media industry event that recognizes innovation and leadership in the global advertising field. The awards ceremony took place on May 12 at the Rome Cavalieri in Italy. iHeartMedia was honored with the “Best Media Vendor of the Year” award, which recognizes the creative efforts of a media owner to connect advertiser clients with their audiences, for its work with Diet Coke and Taylor Swift. The multi-platform campaign simultaneously launched Diet Coke’s “Get a Taste” advertising campaign and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. The program generated approximately 500 million press impressions and 200 million on-air, digital and social impressions for Diet Coke. Taylor Swift’s album 1989, predicted to sell 800,000 units before the iHeartMedia campaign, sold nearly 1.3 million albums in just the first week, and became the No. 1 best-selling album of 2014. iHeartMedia was also named the Silver Winner in the “Best Media Owner Sales Team Initiative” category, which honors a media owner’s local or regional sales teams for their innovative and creative sales packages implemented within the market. In this category iHeartMedia was recognized for its partnership with Bank of America for World AIDS Day. iHeartMedia’s comprehensive cross-platform program across radio, digital, social and outdoor delivered more than 100 million media impressions in 24 hours for “A (RED) Thank You,” a special World AIDS Day event that took place in New York’s Times Square. Additionally, iHeartMedia drove on-air and social conversation, helping to generate over 10 million views of the YouTube (RED) concert video, the most views on (RED)’s YouTube channel in its history, ultimately raising $1 million in donations to (RED) on one day.
Obama Georgetown Speech, Philadelphia Amtrak Crash, Baltimore Riots and Protests Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Trade Bill, Iran Nukes Program, and ‘Deflategate’ Penalties Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13). The scrutiny of President Obama’s speech at Georgetown, including his statements about changing how the media reports; the continuing investigation into the cause of the Philadelphia Amtrak derailment; the ongoing political and legal effects of the Baltimore riots and protests; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the divisiveness in Congress over President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade bill; concern in the Middle East over the Iran nuclear program negotiations; and criticism of the NFL’s sanctions against the Patriots and Tom Brady over the “deflategate” matter were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pew Research Study of Most- and Least-Trusted News Outlets Demands Definition of ‘News Outlet.’ The results of the recently released Pew Research study of the most- and least-trusted news outlets come from the firm’s ongoing American Trends Panel and were culled from 2,900 responses. Many of the findings are not surprising – liberals don’t trust Fox News Channel and conservatives don’t trust NPR – but what TALKERS found interesting was the inclusion of radio talk shows such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and TV comedy shows like “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show” among news outlets. Lumping talk and comedy shows with actual news organizations certainly gives the list some color. For the record, TALKERS does not consider a talk show or television show a “news outlet” in the traditional sense, but perhaps the fact that at least some consumers get their “news” from Jon Stewart or Rush Limbaugh is broadening the definition of “news outlet” whether industry people consider it to be so or not. See the Pew study here.
WSYR, Syracuse Personality Galuski Battling Cancer. Morning show personality Joe Galuski has been off iHeartMedia-owned news/talker WSYR, Syracuse for the past five weeks and yesterday the station fixture announced he’s been battling cancer. Syracuse.com reports Galuski is fighting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a stronger form of the same disease that he beat after a previous occurrence in 1992. Galuski assured listeners that he is going to “knock it out.” iHeartMedia VP/market manager Rick Yacobush tells Syracuse.com, “Our plan right now is for Mark Wainwright and George Kilpatrick to be alternating as morning hosts and keep the seat warm until Joe returns.” Read the whole story here.
Successful Event. This photo was taken from the balcony of the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California at last weekend’s AM 870 The Answer Town Hall. On the stage are (from left to right): KRLA “The Morning Answer” hosts Elisha Krauss and Brian Whitman, “Morning Answer” host and author Ben Shapiro, SRN-syndicated talk hosts Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, and Hugh Hewitt; and author and media personality Katie Pavlich. The sell-out crowd of 1,300 was also treated to surprise guest Mike Gallagher leading them in a spirited rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The hosts heard on the Salem-owned station batted around issues including the mid-term elections, the upcoming leaders of the Republican Party and the Ebola pandemic threat.
Westwood One and vCreative Extend Partnership. The rep deal between Westwood One and vCreative continues as the two firms announce a multi-year extension. vCreative offers cloud-based terrestrial and digital software that allows continuity, traffic, and production departments to work easily together. Westwood One COO Charles Steinhauer says, “vCreative is a great partner for Cumulus and the radio industry at large as they continue to innovate and improve station work flow. Westwood One is proud to extend our partnership with vCreative president Jinny Laderer and her team as we continue to represent the best and brightest companies in the marketplace.”
The Conclave to Honor Ginny Morris with Rockwell Award. As the 39th Conclave Learning Conference on November 14-15 in Minneapolis approaches, The Conclave announces the 2014 Rockwell Award is being bestowed upon Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris. Conclave board of directors chairman Mark Bolke says, “The Rockwell Award recognizes those who have contributed to the rich legacy of the radio industry, communicating, inspiring and mentoring. Ginny has led Hubbard’s radio division from a two-station Minneapolis based group to one of the prominent and most respected radio companies in the country. We thank Ginny for her support of the Conclave over the years.”
Howard Stern to Undergo Analysis on Radio Show. He’s received a lot of attention during his long radio career, but now Howard Stern will undergo “scientific and metaphysical analysis” on “The Outer Limits of Inner Truth Radio Show.” To be clear, Howard Stern is not appearing on the show (as far as we know), but the program’s hosts will speak with experts from various disciplines as part of the show. Executive producer Ryan McCormick says, “We’re going to examine Mr. Stern’s life in a way that we feel has never been done before. We believe that Howard Stern is a very deep intellectual and spiritual person and that his life can offer humanity a lot of valuable lessons.” The program – set to air on Saturday, October 25 at 10:00 pm CT (on the web, 11:00 pm CT broadcast) – will be divided into five parts and feature 15 separate interviews with people including Regan Arts CEO Judith Regan, former Viacom EVP Tony Fox, a former Stern show intern, plus numerous psychics and psychologists. McCormick adds, “It is our sincere hope that the research we’ve compiled for this broadcast helps Mr. Stern in some way to have a greater understanding of who he truly is and provide him with some measure of peace and comfort.” See more about the show at www.outerlimitsradio.com.
Ebola Pandemic Threat, Mid-Term Elections, Monica Lewinsky Speech, the Battle Against ISIS/Denver Teens Plan, Michael Brown Autopsy Report/Ferguson Tensions, Obama Green Cards/Immigration Plan Report, Financial Markets Activity, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). The concerns over an Ebola pandemic and how U.S. authorities are dealing with the matter; the looming mid-term elections and the possibility of a majority change in the Senate; reaction to Monica Lewinsky’s recent speech in which she blamed the media for her treatment after the Bill Clinton affair; the ongoing battle against ISIS and the case of three Denver teen girls trying to fly to Syria to join ISIS; the just-released Michael Brown autopsy and tensions in Ferguson over whether Darren Wilson will be charged; reports of the Obama Administration’s plan to increase the number of green cards issued and its immigration policy; the activity on the world’s financial markets; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KSFO Talk Show Host Ethan Bearman Met with Kevin Metheny on Friday Afternoon (10/3) Shortly Before the Famed Programmer’s Untimely Death. In what might have been Kevin Metheny’s final meeting with a talent at a station he directed, the famed programmer engaged in an almost 90-minute session with up-and-coming talk star Ethan Bearman who hosts weekend programs on KSFO, San Francisco and handles fill-in work at the Cumulus Media San Francisco operation. According to Bearman, the impromptu get-together took place shortly after he got off the air after filling-in on the station’s AM drive show. Bearman tells TALKERS, “I tracked Kevin down in his office and planted myself firmly in his guest chair. He raised an eyebrow, cracked a smile, said hello and asked if I knew what channel he could find the Giants game, starting in 45 minutes or so. We shared stories, we talked vaudeville, we laughed about movies and television shows, and then we got to the business at hand. We talked radio — what it means, where it’s going, what it takes to be successful. He opened up, verbally put an arm around me and starting sharing advice and tips on how best to entice an audience.” Bearman, who had only briefly met Metheny several months earlier, says he was struck by the man’s sense of humor and friendly manner stating, “He even did impressions of well-known figures inside and outside the industry for me as we broke the ice – something that really made me feel very special because we didn’t even have an appointment.” Bearman continues, “I left my meeting with Kevin at 12:45 Friday afternoon with a hearty handshake and big smile. I had learned more from him in an hour-and-a-half than I had in months and I know I will be thinking about his words for years to come. He conveyed a desire to make radio better, to make the station better, and to help me to be better at my craft. And he did it all in a manner without arrogance, with a genuine spirit, and a feeling of one who not only wants to win, but wants to help others do the same.” Bearman concludes, “In such a short time, I knew Kevin Metheny was a not only a successful man and loving father, but someone who wanted to lift others in the process, a real mensch. So many people in this business knew for decades that was who he was, I feel both short-changed and uplifted knowing him so briefly.”
MLB Baseball Flagship Station Analysis. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents his fourth analysis of the performances of MLB flagship stations this season – this time based on September PPM data. Again, the flagships in markets where baseball has traditionally been good to its radio outlet and in markets where the team was performing well continue to benefit from increased listenership. In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past five PPM surveys, compared to September 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
New Townsquare Trenton Market Manager Named. A new market manager for Townsquare Media’s talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is named as Fred Bennett takes over for Lorenzo Caldara. Bennett comes to Townsquare Media from his most recent position as chief business development officer for Jelli Inc. In a statement, Bennett comments, “I am thrilled to be joining Townsquare Media. ‘New Jersey 101.5’ has done an awesome job of serving advertisers and the community with informative, entertaining and unique content. I look forward to working with the team to realize the full potential of the powerful ‘New Jersey 101.5’ brand.”
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Columnist Joins ‘The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. Now making regular appearance on CBS RADIO’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan” is Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sports columnist Rob Rossi. He’ll provide insight for the upcoming NHL season, making regular appearances on “The Fan Morning Show,” “Starkey and Mueller,” and “The Colin Dunlap Programme.” He’ll also appear once a week on sister news/talk outlet KDKA-AM’s “Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway. Program director Ryan Maguire comments, “We’re thrilled that we could add Rossi’s insight on not only Penguins hockey but the entire Pittsburgh sports scene to our team.”
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for WSYR, Syracuse morning show host Joe Galuski all this week is Mark Wainwright…..Comedian Chelsea Handler is sitting down with Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl for the SiriusXM “Town Hall” show. The program is being recorded today (6:00 pm ET) before a studio audience in New York and will air Thursday at 6:00 pm on the satellite service…..CBS RADIO’s Los Angeles all-newser “KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO” is spotlighting the northern San Fernando Valley as part of its “KNX On Your Corner” series on Friday, October 24. Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the news from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Frank Mottek will host the “KNX Business Hour” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson will anchor the broadcast from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
The Next-to-Next Generation. Pictured here is WGOW, Chattanooga talk show host Brian Joyce (right) broadcasting live from client Economy Honda Superstore. The young man sitting across from him (left) is 7-year-old Philip Roberts who came to the remote with his mother. Joyce tells TALKERS, “At first, we thought the mom was there to take a test drive or buy a new car. It turns out Philip is a huge fan of the Brian Joyce show, to the point where he even pretends he has his own talk radio show! When he comes home from school, his mom says he sets up a table with a ‘Talk Radio 102.3’ logo and puts on a headset, and he’ll do an entire talk show for his mom and dad.” Joyce says they put Philip on the air for a segment and he was thrilled to get the opportunity.
Promoting for a Cause. Tonight’s WWE Monday Night RAW live at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn got a shot on CBS Sports Radio this morning as WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon appeared on the morning show to talk about the WWE’s partnering with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Pictured here are (from left to right): “The Morning Show” hosts Brandon Tierney, Dana Jacobson, Tiki Barber and McMahon.
Steve Shaw Named Westwood One President. Moving up from his post as SVP of Cumulus national sales is Steve Shaw who takes on the president role at the company’s Westwood One syndication and sales unit. The company says Shaw will “expand his role as head of national spot sales for Cumulus’ owned-and-operated stations to include all national and digital sales for WestwoodOne, effective immediately. In this new role he’ll oversee Westwood One Networks, Westwood One Sports, and Westwood One Digital, including Rdio and Cumulus National Sales, which will be renamed Westwood One Media Group. Shaw was previously president of Katz Radio Group and president of Cox Digital Solutions. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says, “Steve will drive the integration of our large stable of national media assets and advertising products under the Westwood One brand. His track record of success in both broadcast radio and digital media will be instrumental as Cumulus and Westwood One combine to provide a compelling new set of ad packages designed to meet the rapidly evolving needs of our advertisers.” Shaw comments, “Westwood One brings to listeners and advertisers an incredibly powerful combination of great content across a multitude of distribution channels. With many of the most established brands in sports, talk, news and entertainment, as well as emerging new brands including NASH and Rdio, the opportunities are significant. I am very excited to be working with the Westwood One team to create unique and effective solutions for our agency and client partners.”
WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta Re-Ups with Cox Hot Talker. Afternoon drive personality Mike Calta signs a contract renewal with Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone.” The station says the “#1 afternoon drive talk show host” continues in his role as host of the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm show. The station’s director of branding and programming, John Brennan, comments, “Mike Calta has earned his place among the elite in radio. I’m honored that he will continue his dominance for several more years as part of The Bone’s team. This announcement shows CMG’s commitment to providing its communities with the most compelling content and personalities.” Calta says, “I’m excited to continue my radio career for the next five years right where it started 20 years ago in Tampa Bay. CMG has been a great company to work for and I look forward to growing the Mike Calta show with them.” Calta changed his air name from the high school nickname “Cowhead” that he used for years to his given name earlier this year.
Madison Talk Host Mitch Henck Out at WIBA-AM. Telling the Wisconsin State Journal he “probably milked (the radio job) as long as you could,” mid-morning talk host Mitch Henck says he was ousted by Clear Channel from news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison in a budget-related move. The host of the 8:00 am to 11:00 am “Outside the Box” program says the ratings were not a problem and that it was “a corporate thing.” Henck tells the paper he was neither right nor left in his approach to talk radio and he’s probably a “throwback.” He also says he’s not bitter about the exit and will focus on other interests including his night club act called The Big Show in which he performs songs from the 1950s and 1960s.
CBS RADIO Executes Cross Platform Sales Promotion in NYC. This promotion ties in the popularity of golf among a certain demographic, that demo’s passion for luxury cars and a popular sports talk personality. CBS’ radio, TV and digital platforms are executing a promotion involving the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Lexus dealers and the Metropolitan Golf Association (MGA) called the “Lexus Perfect Drive” that features WFAN morning drive personality Craig Carton. It was developed in collaboration with CBS Altitude Group and Team One, the ad agency for Lexus, to create excitement in the golf community through an engaging promotion implemented via original audio and video while also driving consumer awareness of the Lexus brand. Vignettes broadcast on sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, all-news WCBS-AM and classic hits WCBS-FM, plus WCBS-TV and featured on www.cbsnewyork.com offer an insider’s view into an array of renowned golf courses, and in-depth conversations with each club’s head pro as they reveal tips on what it takes to make par on the course’s most challenging hole. A different course will be highlighted each week of the 12-week campaign. During the promotion Lexus enthusiasts can visit one of 21 tri-state area dealerships where they can test drive a featured automobile or enter to win a VIP experience at a local golf club. One grand prize winner will receive a trip to a famed golf resort in Ireland. Altitude Group EVP Rich Lobel states, “We had a great time working with Team One and Lexus to create a campaign that highlights their pursuit of perfection and comes to life on a very local level. Craig is a known golf enthusiast with a distinctive ability to speak to sports fans and champion results for clients. He will be a great ambassador for Lexus as we execute this program.”
Talk Host Phil Valentine to Take Listeners on ‘The Great Loop.’ Nationally syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is taking his listeners with him as he brings his newly purchased boat – a 1968 57-foot Chris Craft Constellation – home to Tennessee from Fort Pierce, Florida. He’s calling it Great American Vacation: Cruising the Great Loop and he’ll broadcast daily from the master stateroom of the boat he travels part of what’s called The Great Loop, also known as the Great Circle Route. That route runs from Chicago and the Great Lakes down to the Tennessee River then down to Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico through the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. From there it hugs the coast of the Panhandle down past Tampa then either across Florida via the Okeechobee Waterway or down around the tip of Florida then back up the East Coast to New York, up the Hudson then the Erie Canal and back into the Great Lakes. The entire loop is about 6,000 miles. Valentine plans to traverse approximately a quarter of the loop from Fort Pierce to Mobile then up to Tennessee. The Fort Pierce to Mobile leg will take approximately 8 to 10 days. The last leg to the Tennessee River will take another 4 days. The Westwood One personality says, “I’ve been looking for this particular boat for about eight years. I’ve dreamed of doing at least part of the loop and the part we’re doing is probably the most scenic in the country. The great news is our entire audience can vicariously join us for the ride.” Valentine has hired a captain and first mate to navigate the trip. Updates along with pictures and videos are being posted daily at http://CruisingTheGreatLoop.blogspot.com.
‘The Game 87.7’ Partners with Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The late morning sports talk show “Kap & Haugh,” heard daily on WGN Radio’s sports talk sister WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7,” will be seen on Comcast SportsNet Chicago beginning July 21. Tribune’s WGN Radio announces the show featuring David Kaplan and David Haugh will be simulcast live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and the deal will also include a one-hour “best-of” show that will air weeknights from 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. WGN and WGWG-LP president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “It’s been our focus to deliver sports talk like no one else. Combining the ‘Kap & Haugh’ radio broadcast with the TV powerhouse Comcast SportsNet is another piece that fits in our puzzle to bring a complete media experience to the Chicago sports fan.”
Kantar Media Reports U.S. Ad Spend for Q1 2014 Up; Radio Categories Dip. The Sochi Olympics were a boon for U.S. ad spend in the first quarter of 2014 but television was the beneficiary of that. However, even without the Olympics money, the U.S. ad spend was up just under 4% compared to the same period a year ago. As for radio, national spot was the only category – at a jump of 6.7% — was the only one to see an increase from last year. Local spot, network radio and Hispanic spot were all down with local radio dipping 4.7% compared to the same period a year ago. Kantar reports that both local radio and Hispanic local radio saw declines attributable to lower spending from the retail, auto dealer and restaurant categories. See the press statement here.
Holding Hands at the Talkers Conference. Sales maven Al Herskovitz writes that the recent Talkers New York 2014 conference provided the opportunity to meet in person with fellow talk radio sales people and compare notes about the current state of business. He says that during chats in the hallways, one topic kept coming up: the art of servicing the client after the sale has been made. Heskovitz writes that, aside from the ever-present medium and large market concerns about the inclusion of a digital component in marketing proposals, “every group member agreed there are steps that now must be taken to keep the nervous advertiser as comfortable as possible during the run of the spots.” Read Herskovitz’s suggestions for reminding your clients how important your vehicle is for getting their message to consumers here.
Odds & Sods. Whether the current spate of Clear Channel layoffs is a company-wide trend or just coincidence is not known for certain, but longtime WKBN, Youngstown, Ohio news director Jim Michaels has been let go after a 30-year career with the station, and according to WFMJ-TV, he was the last person left in the station’s news department…..Alaska talk show host Michael Dukes will become the new morning show host at Ohana Media Group’s KBYR, Anchorage in September. Currently he is host at Last Frontier Mediactive-owned KFAR, Fairbanks…..Talk show host Mark Wainwright will be sitting in for WSYR, Syracuse morning host Joe Galuski from June 30 through July 3. Wainwright says he’s available for fill-in work an can be reached at email@example.com…..Speaking of fill-ins, Clear Channel talk personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo – WOAI, KPRC and KHOW – is being heard this week in the Crescent City as his show is airing in the afternoon drive slot where WRNO’s John Osterlind is on vacation.
Dr. Joy Browne Works to Support Cancer Survivors and Their Families. Nationally syndicated (Radio America) relationships host, Dr. Joy Browne – a past recipient of the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year Award” – continues her charitable ways. Immediately following her appearance at Talkers New York 2014, the perennial Heavy Hundred radio star participated in the second annual Manhattan Relay for Life presented between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am at Pier 36 (6/21-22) presented by the American Cancer Society in support of cancer survivors and their families. She is pictured here at Basketball City with the emcee of the event, Lehi Dowell.
Chris Christie Steps to the Plate for Boomer Esiason Foundation. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is pictured here at the plate at Yankee Stadium taking part in the fourth annual Bombers Boomer Broadway Softball Classic on Monday, June 23. Christie is a regular guest on WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton morning show and he joined Boomer Esiason’s team for the charity softball game. Team Boomer, which consisted of WFAN personalities and Esiason’s noteworthy friends including Christie, played an exciting matchup against a host of Wounded Warriors and New York Yankees alumni, benefitting the Boomer Esiason Foundation. WFAN reports that in the 7th inning, with the bases loaded, the Governor’s fielding at third base contributed to leading his team to a 7-6 victory. Photo by Christian Conte/CBSNewYork.com.
Hillary Clinton Wealth Claims/Health Rumors, Iraq Turmoil-U.S. Assistance, Illegal Immigrant Influx, IRS Scandal, More VA Hospitals Allegations, Klein Clintons-Obamas Book, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). Ongoing claims by Hillary Clinton that she and Bill are not rich plus reports that she’s not in good health; the ISIS-perpetrated violence in Iraq and U.S. assistant to the Iraqi Army; controversy over the massive influx of illegals crossing the U.S. border in the Southwest; more testimony from IRS officials about the missing Lois Lerner emails; new allegations of mistreatment of patients at VA hospitals; the new Ed Klein book Blood Feud about the relationship between the Clintons and the Obamas; and World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research about TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 a Tremendous Success. Aside from the impressive numbers (60-plus speakers, hundreds of registrants, early sellout, 29 sponsors), the 17th annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national convention in the talk media industry was a crowd-pleaser in terms of issues addressed, solutions proposed, and connections made. Talkers New York 2014 has received praise not only for its agenda’s precision and well-balanced representation of the industry’s diversity — but the spectacular (India House) venue’s food, comfort and elegance as well. It was a power-packed day (6/20) without a second of downtime. From the opening “Breakfast with Hannity” networking social to the final “Farewell Cocktail Reception,” it stands out as what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “one of the really good ones.” In the words of Journal Broadcast Group’s VP/news/talk programming Tom Langmyer, “This is an incredible venue and the discussions are truly enlightening and powerful. Not only is the event informative, but also very inspiring. This is the juice we all need – and I am even more optimistic about the future of talk and the personal connection we can provide – across ALL platforms.” Consultant/programmer Greg Moceri, CEO of Moceri Media adds, “Just amazing to me how many of us in the biz all these years feel this is a ‘can’t miss’ event every year.” Courtside Entertainment/PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz describes Talkers New York 2014 as “a high-energy, super-pro, first-class conference.” Radio and WPIX-TV, New York commentator Lionel says, “It just might have been the most fruitful and beneficial to date, if that’s even possible.” Salem syndicated personality Mike Gallagher called it, “another wonderful gathering.” Kraig T. Kitchin, CEO of Sound Mind, LLC says, “A great environment for conversation, for interaction, and for shared ideas. I had a great time! I learned a lot – more than I anticipated. The camaraderie was very evident, industry-wide, and that was a true blessing.” Among the major issues addressed were the challenges facing radio (of all formats, including talk) in the 21st century digital age including the arenas of programming, sales, technology, audience measurement and economics. The very role and pertinence of radio in this new era was held up to the spotlight of scrutiny in terms of generational changes and expectations. The result in a nutshell: unbridled (but absolutely realistic) optimism! The two words that came up time and again throughout the day were “community” and “passion.” Perhaps, the general sentiment of the conference is best summed up by WAQY, Springfield, MA “Rock 102” morning show co-host Mike “Bax” Baxendale who wrote, “These seminars have always made me want to become a greater broadcaster. For that I am deeply grateful.” In the words of TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The hours and hours of valuable content generated by this event are going to keep our editorial and audio/video production departments busy for weeks as we break it all out and organize it for presentation in the form of stories, news and video packaging.” Look for multi-media coverage of the event right here at Talkers.com in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, the staff and management of TALKERS want to express deep gratitude to the hundreds of individuals and companies who supported this event so solidly as registrants, speakers and sponsors. We are humbled by your precious friendship and confidence.
Sean Hannity makes point during morning keynote.
Sean Hannity addresses standing room crowd.
Phil Boyce (l) and Greg Moceri (c) interviewed by
Sean Hannity (r).
Mike Francesa delivers sports talk keynote.
Norm Pattiz accepting Lifetime Achievement Award.
Thom Hartmann accepting Freedom of Speech Award.
Julie Talbott accepting Woman of the Year Award.
Carole Marks presenting Joyce Kaufman with
Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Jim Bohannon emceeing the Awards Ceremony.
Not pictured, Kenneth Chandler, introducer.
Jerry Del Colliano delivering special address.
Erica Farber moderating “State of Radio Advertising
and Sales” panel.
“State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel. (l-r):
Ron Furman, Julie Talbott, Joe Puglise, Kraig Kitchin.
Not pictured: Dr. Asa Andrew, introducer.
“Radio: The Big Picture Panel” (l-r): Tom Langmyer,
Mike McVay, Sam Kimball, Steve Goldstein, Tom Leykis.
Not pictured: Michael Harrison, moderator;
Dana Loesch, introducer.
“The State of Local Talk Radio” panel. (l-r): Jerry Crowley,
Larry Young, McGraw Milhaven, Mike “Bax” Baxendale,
Lee Harris. Not pictured: David Bernstein, moderator;
Ethan Bearman, introducer.
“The State of Talk Radio Programming” panel. (l-r):
Bill Hess, Craig Schwalb, Gabe Hobbs. Not pictured:
Kevin Casey, moderator; Phil Boyce, panelist.
“The State of Talk Radio Programming” panel, Andy Bloom.
“Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career”
panel. (l-r): Ron Hartenbaum, Tom Becka, Martha Zoller.
Not pictured: Mike Kinosian, moderator.
“Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career”
panel. (l-r): Tom Marr, Joe Piscopo.
“The Talk Rumble” (l-r): Mike Gallagher, Bubba the
Love Sponge, Joyce Kaufman, David Webb,
Kevin McCullough, Alan Colmes, Thom Hartmann.
Not pictured: Lionel, moderator; Dr. Joy Browne, introducer.
Howard B. Price delivering special address.
WBEN, Buffalo to Flip Programming. Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN will move late morning talk show host Tom Bauerle to the PM drive slot currently held by Buffalo market legend Sandy Beach and Beach will shift to the late morning show. Both personalities have been in their current time slots for long periods – Bauerle for the past 11 years after moving to WBEN from the company’s sister sports talk station WGR. The change is expected to take place at the end of July.
How to Be a Talk Show Host. In a candid, tell-it-like-it-is piece posted today (7/22) WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse talk star and TALKERS columnist Bob Lonsberry draws upon his vast experience and presents a point-by-point tutorial on how to be a talk show host…or at least how to be a GOOD one. He basically breaks it down to five steps: 1) ignore anyone who tries to tell you how to be a talk show host; 2) focus on listeners; 3) don’t suck; 4) remember that callers are only a tool; 5) stand for something; and 6) get out of the studio. To read all the juicy details, please click here.
Kevin McCullough to Host Daily Local Talk Show on WMCA, New York. Salem Communications announces talk media pro and digital entrepreneur Kevin McCullough will begin hosting a daily one-hour talk show on Christian teaching-formatted WMCA, New York on August 5. Salem states this is a return to WMCA for McCullough who has also been heard on the company’s KKLA, Los Angeles and WMBI and WYLL in Chicago. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “Kevin has proven to be one of the true up-and-coming voices in Christian talk radio and we are delighted he will be able to join our team. His afternoon program will be live and local, tackling issues of concern going on locally and in the world with a Christian world view.” In a statement, Salem says McCullough’s program will include discussion with local ministers about their concerns and how our listeners can relate to and understand major world events in a biblical perspective. “The addition of Kevin will allow WMCA to truly reflect the attitude of the city we serve, and be more responsive to community concerns,” according to WMCA vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley. McCullough continues his talk programs produced and syndicated via his own XtreMEDIA.
NBC Sports Radio Network Lands WCAR, Detroit as Affiliate; Move Adds Fuel to Greater Media Sports Talk Flip. Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Detroit is the newest affiliate for the NBC Sports–Dial Global sports talk radio initiative branded NBC Sports Talk Radio. From the sound of the press release it appears the station will carry most if not all of the network’s programming in addition to NFL games distributed by Dial Global. WCAR had been an ESPN Radio affiliate and this move strengthens the suspicions that ESPN will find a partner in Greater Media which is strongly rumored to be prepared to flip AC WMGC, Detroit “Today’s 105.1” to sports talk in August.
‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ Gets Media Attention for ‘Homeless Vet’ Sting. When WGRD, Grand Rapids-based, Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated morning show “Free Beer & Hot Wings” heard about panhandlers posing as homeless veterans to gain sympathy and earn more money, they sent Producer Joe to a corner in Grand Rapids where a panhandler named Rudy was doing just that. In fact, Rudy had admitted to local TV station WZZM that he was not a veteran. According to AllMichigan.com, and as you can see in the WGRD photo here, Producer Joe showed up where Rudy was panhandling sporting a cardboard sign reading “Liar,” causing Rudy to ride off on a mountain bike. Producer Joe came back to the location the next day and “panhandled” to raise $1,085 for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. WGRD matched the funds and $2,170 was donated to the home.
The Dismal State of the Radio Remote. According to radio sales and marketing maven Al Herskovitz, TALKERS columnist and president of H&H Communications, the age old programming/sales tool known as the “remote” — which has fallen on hard times — still has the potential to be a winner in the sports talk genre. The remote on-location broadcast was once a staple in the sales rep’s arsenal. It almost has disappeared from the airwaves, particularly from talk radio — and for logical reasons, too. The strength of the talk format comes from the right and left, pro and con, political and social issues topics. A remote could possibly generate a partisan flash mob that might trash Charlie’s Auto Parts and Car Wash. That’s the last thing “good ole Charlie” would want. This is aside from the currently popular radio rows which are not commercially sponsored events for stations or programs and not meant to draw crowds to the location. In a new column posted today (7/22) Herskovitz breaks down the challenges that must be overcome and cites opportunities still ripe for exploitation in doing remotes. To read it, please click here.
Jeff Katz Commentary Added to Arkansas Talk Station. Boston-based talk radio personality Jeff Katz’s “The Katz Commentary” is heard three times daily on WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts. Now, Katz gets his daily feature added to the program schedule in Central Arkansas on Saline River Media’s news/talk KEWI, Benton. Katz says, “I am thrilled that the voice of Central Arkansas will be adding ‘The Katz Commentary’ to its great lineup. I’m working hard on my Razorback yell, as well.”
Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The “intensive, 10-day event,” organized by Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System in cooperation with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and Western Kentucky University kicks off the Radio Talent Institute at the school today. The Institute begins with opening comments from WKU President Gary Ransdell; Dean David Lee of Potter College, WKU; and director of journalism and broadcasting, WKU, Dr. Loup Langton, along with Rick McCue from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and WBKO TV. Former broadcaster, now assistant professor at WKU, Dick Taylor will moderate the event. Sixteen students from the region have been accepted into this year’s Institute. Those students will hear from 36 radio professionals, including Bud Walters, president/owner of the Cromwell Group, Nashville; Steve Newberry, president/CEO, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Glasgow; Christine Hillard, president/COO of Forever Communications, Bowling Green; with Ed Henson of Henson Media, Louisville, opening the institute with “Getting in, Becoming an Entrepreneur.” Also instructing during the event are: Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media leading a session on “On Air, Developing Your Voice, Your Style…You”; Morning Mouth publisher Don Anthony who will deliver “How to Get a Good Job”; plus news/talk radio sessions by WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and WKU public radio morning host, reporter and producer Joseph Corcoran. This is the second Radio Talent Institute of the summer and Vallie states, “These students are starting their careers in radio, and we are developing the next generation of broadcasters. The students come with enthusiasm and passion for the business, and it’s very impressive how industry professionals sacrifice their time to come to the campus to teach sessions and give back to the industry.”
Odds & Sods. Matt Dery exits CBS Radio’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit where he was afternoon sports anchor on the Valenti & Foster program after the station did not renew his contract…..Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco renews its deal with IMG College to carry University of California football play-by-play and adds Men’s basketball games to the five-year deal.
Picking the right topics when working in multiple markets
By Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo
Radio Talk Show Host
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo – a member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – is the host of mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on The Weekend show. He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others.)
HOUSTON/SAN ANTONIO/DENVER/EVERYWHERE — “Good morning, Houston.” “Good afternoon, San Antonio.” “Happy Saturday, Denver.” “Good Weekend, America.” These are all things I’m lucky enough to say either every day or every week. It’s a supreme compliment to have the support of the stations in these markets and from Clear Channel and Premiere and quite a challenge. Each show has its own feel, flow and audience make up and reaction. So, over the last 11 years, I’ve learned what works everywhere and what is market specific.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish Takes “Angry is Over” Campaign on the Road. WYD Media nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish is known for being independent minded and not locked into party ideology. Smerconish has been making it known via his radio show, TV appearances and newspaper columns that he believes the country is in real trouble due to the intensely divisive political climate both in Washington, DC and in the media. He writes in part, “Recently, I have been engaged by many corporations, trade associations and academic institutions to address the cause of the polarized climate and how it can be fixed. I’ve been calling my speech ‘Angry Is Over,’ and in hearing what I have to say, many audiences are surprised (but not doubting) when I cast significant blame on the talk radio and cable television industry. Well, it’s true.” Now, Smerconish is taking his “Angry is Over” message on the road with a live appearance in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 9 at the Scranton Cultural Center in what he terms the first live appearance of the tour.
Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Names Jason Furst PD. The Charlotte news/talker announces programmer Jason Furst will take over the program director role at WBT-AM/FM on Monday, October 29. He’ll replace Carl East who exits the station tomorrow. Furst comes to WBT from Clear Channel’s upstate New York outlets WHAM and WHTK, Rochester and WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse. Greater Media Charlotte market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “We are excited to have Jason join the Greater Media Charlotte family. His experience made him the perfect choice to lead the WBT-AM/FM team.”
Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno to Replace Premiere Shows with Local Talent. Stating that the “expansion of its local programming will be phased in over the next 90 days,” Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM says it is accelerating its commitment to live and local programming. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks is not renewing its deal with the stations for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other programs. Peak and KMJ SVP and market manager Patty Hixson states, “We value program exclusivity and have long anticipated the opportunity to control our own programming locally rather than rely on national talk shows available in so many other places that can be taken from us at the whim of their owners. Adding 105.9 KMJ-FM over three years ago allowed us to expose our local news and talk shows to the largest available radio audience with crystal clear reception. Building KMJ NOW, our on-line local news platform, as well as KMJ’s Apple-delivered mobile app have given us tremendous reach to every computer and smartphone on the planet. KMJ’s future lies in its local programming, and we know we have the best people in the business making it right here in Fresno 24/7.” The move by Premiere Networks not to renew with Peak signals Clear Channel is preparing to flip an FM to news/talk in the near future. Currently, CC’s lowest-rated FM is country KHGE. But it also has three FM’s airing rhythmic AC, soft AC and modern AC in the market.
Radio Legend Bob Grant Retires, Then Unretires. Talk radio legend Bob Grant, currently heard weekly on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday afternoons, teased that yesterday’s broadcast would be his last but changed his mind several hours later. According to the New York Daily News, the 83-year-old Grant posted a message on his website on Friday stating, “I am not sick, I am just a tired of [being a] life member of the chorus…I will miss you as much as you say you miss me.” He apparently had a change of heart and later stated that he would broadcast for the foreseeable future.
Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart Host “The Rumble 2012.” “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and Fox News Channel star (and host of the Courtside Entertainment distributed “Talking Points” feature) Bill O’Reilly squared off in a debate of the issues on Saturday at George Washington University. The event was broadcast via a web-only $5 pay-per-view. A testament to the popularity of these two performers came in the form of numerous people being unable to get through to the server to access the live feed. Dow Jones’ Peter Kafka, who writes the AllThingsD column, reports that many people had trouble viewing the show but states he was able to watch without much trouble. At one point Nox Solutions, which hosted the webcast, Tweeted that due to demand, the servers had been overloaded.
Dave Ramsey Packs Long Beach Convention Center. Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey presented his only Total Money Makeover Live program of the fall season to more than 9,000 fans in the Long Beach Convention Center for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles. Station general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Yet another great Dave Ramsey event for KFWB! Having such a successful day with over 9,000 people in attendance is a huge win for us. We continue to value the close relationship we have with Dave and his team.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Rachel Cruze, speaker; Diane Sutter, trustee for KFWB; Valerie Blackburn, general manager for KFWB; Dave Ramsey; Danielle Mosher, marketing for KFWB; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager for KFWB; Jon Acuff, speaker and author; and Andy Ludlum, program director for KFWB.
Don’t Overlook the Unique Value and Power of Email. Leading broadcasting digital media consultant Chris Miller advises radio programmers and marketers not be so blinded by social media that they “fall out of love” with good old simple email. He writes in TALKERS today that email is still a powerful tool to communicate with your listeners, especially if you target adults. He suggests 1) Make your email a thing of value; 2) Give the listeners something to keep; and 3) Write it very simple and concise. He also points out the inherent ability email has as a vehicle to carry advertising – something far less convenient to pull off on Facebook and Twitter. To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.
Talk Host Debbie Nigro Begins New Venture Today. Talk radio pro Debbie Nigro launches a new talk initiative today on Cumulus Media’s WFAS, White Plains, New York and online via the WFASam.com website. Calling it “innovative female-driven but gender-friendly talk radio,” the new program is the brainchild of the woman who brought her “Working Mom on the Go” syndicated talk show to stations across the country during the 1990s. This new show airs at 1:00 pm ET four days per week on WFAS.
Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Operating Internet Radio Station. The Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania is operating what may be the country’s only chamber of commerce-owned internet radio station. Radio host Richard Gerstner is the only employee of the station – and a part-time employee at that – but it’s been on the air for a year with the goal of driving new, local business relationships. The station drew 12,000 unique visitors in its first year and chamber president Chris Phelan believes that means about one in every 10 or 11 county residents tuned in at some point. According to a story in the Express-Times, the station currently airs only 10 hours of fresh programming each day, including its 8 am to 10 am daily “Good Morning Hunterdon” flagship program and 38 other shows hosted mostly by Hunterdon business owners. The rest of the airtime is filled by re-runs. Phelan says the station is helping to achieve the chamber’s main goal with the station: to build a sense of community.
Odds & Sods. Opie & Anthony alumnus Rick Delgado begins a regular internet talk show called the “Ugly American Radio Show” via inravio.com. Delgado most recently was producer and “third mic” for the “Paul and Young Ron Morning Show” at Clear Channel’s WGBB, Miami. Delgado was executive producer of the Opie & Anthony show at WNEW-FM, New York from 1998 to 2002…..John Andariese retires from his position as the radio voice of New York Knicks basketball. Andariese has been involved with Knicks basketball since 1972, serving as the play-by-play voice since the 1998-99 season. A statement from MSG Networks says Andariese is stepping down to spend more time with his family and to focus on his advertising business. Brendan Brown will take over the Knicks radio broadcasts…..The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron writes that former Houston Astros player and broadcasters Alan Ashby and Larry Dierker are among two of the possible candidates for the Astros radio booth next season. The team announced Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond would not return next year. Former MLB pitcher Steve Sparks is also on the list of possible broadcasters for the club…..SiriusXM is bringing actor/director/writer Chazz Palminteri aboard for his own four-week series called “Ask Chazz.” The acclaimed star of stage and screen will answer questions about show business and will offer advice about the entertainment industry, as well as business, sports, life and anything else on listeners’ minds.
The FCC and You – Part 2: An Explanation of Obscenity. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes the second in a series of exclusive articles covering crucial regulatory information of which all license holders must be aware. Here Weisman outlines the three-pronged guidelines to defining obscenity and discusses some of the court cases that have helped codify the FCC regulations as they stand today. Read more here.
Rivers Radio Launches Progressive News/Talk Station in Atlanta. WGUN, Atlanta debuted as a progressive news/talk outlet yesterday featuring a lineup that includes: Syndication One’s Warren Ballentine, The Ed Schultz Show, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes, WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, and The Mike Malloy Show. Rivers Radio EVP and general manager Kevin Hemmings states, “Atlanta’s 1010 is excited to be able to offer this incredible lineup to our rapidly growing audience. For the first time in a very long while, the listeners of Atlanta now have a diverse choice of viewpoints and opinions.” WGUN had been airing an oldies/standards format.
Syracuse Talk Personality Jim Reith Joins Pubcasters for New Shows. Longtime WSYR, Syracuse talk show host Jim Reith – a 27-year employee of the station who was downsized in October of 2011 – begins a new career in the public media world when he debuts a 30-minute TV talk show on WCNY-TV, Syracuse in May and a radio talk show on WCNY-FM, Syracuse in the fall. Reith tells the Syracuse Post Standard, “I want to be a local guy doing local topics with local people. I want to inform people about local issues in a more developed way than you can do with a sound bite. And I want to entertain people and have some fun.” Reith’s TV talk show will air daily from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm starting May 14 and in the fall he’ll begin a daily three-hour radio talk show on classical WCNY-FM’s HD 3 channel.
Cumulus-Finebaum Suits May Reach Settlement Out of Court. If Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance has his way, the lawsuits between WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum and employer Cumulus Media will be settled out of court. According to the Birmingham News, Vance has ordered the two sides to get back to the negotiating table in order to settle the contract dispute. The two sides were in court last week for a hearing before Vance and they appear closer to a settlement. Finebaum is suing over contractual issues that took place when Citadel owned the station and Cumulus is countersuing claiming breach of contract.
Leland Conway Moves to WRVA, Richmond for PM Drive. Lexington, Kentucky talk show host Leland Conway leaves his afternoon drive show at Clear Channel’s WLAP after six years to take over the same time slot at the company’s WRVA, Richmond. Conway fills the slot at WRVA that opened when the station parted ways with Doc Thompson. Back at WLAP, the station will get assistance from WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and others filling in Conway’s afternoon show until a permanent replacement can be found.
WTMA, Charleston Morning Host Richard Todd Resigns. Citing the difficulty of being a single parent after the passing of his wife from cancer back in January, WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina morning drive host Richard Todd has resigned from the station. Todd returned to the radio in February after taking some time off subsequent to the death of his wife Mary Todd on January 3. Todd told his audience he would not be leaving his position had it not been for his wife’s passing. He said he isn’t able to focus and prepare the way he needs to in order to execute the show the way he’d like.
Former NFL Players Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu Exit KILT, Houston. The two had been contributors to CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT, Houston where they worked on both its coverage of Houston Texans football and with some of the station’s sports talk shows. Now, the Houston Chronicle reports the two have resigned from the station and the scuttlebutt is that they will resurface at Clear Channel’s crosstown sports talk KBME. KILT program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper, “We appreciated the time they were here. We have been fortunate to build a large staff, and with that will come departures. And with departures comes rebuilding, and we are excited about our future.” Greg Koch is an attorney and N.D. Kalu works in the real estate business in the Houston area.
Former Senator Arlen Specter Hangs Up on GCN’s Jason Lewis. Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter grew tired of his time on Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis show – especially of having to sit through commercial breaks – and hung up on Lewis, but not after admonishing him for how the interview was being conducted. Specter was on the program to promote his latest book, Life Among the Cannibals (Thomas Dunne Books 2012). GCN reports Specter was upset Lewis didn’t spend enough time with the Republican-turned-Democrat discussing his book. After the second commercial break he told Lewis, “I gave you 10 minutes. You’ve been over every subject except for my book. I’ve listened to two rounds of your commercials. I think it’s insulting. I’ve been in a lot of interviews in the course of the past 30 years and you are absolutely insulting! I told you the last time around I wasn’t looking to sit around and listen to your commercials, and I didn’t want to hang up on you. But I want to tell you this is no way for anybody to run an interview. I’m as experienced as you are, if not more so. And that’s all I have to tell you, so goodbye!”
WFED, Washington PM Drive Host Francis Rose Available to Comment on Latest Government Waste Scandal. A new report from the Inspector General at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the agency that buys goods and services for the Federal government, says leadership spent over $822,000 on a conference attended by about 300 people in October 2010 (over $2700 per attendee). The report says “many of the expenditures on this conference were excessive and wasteful and that in many instances GSA followed neither federal procurement laws nor its own policy on conference spending.” This story has been gaining traction among government waste watchers and is already huge in the nation’s capital. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED (sister station to WTOP) uniquely targets its programming to Federal employees – particularly the bureaucracy’s movers and shakers – and is all over this breaking scandal. (See http://www.federalnewsradio.com/445/2812012/GSA-head-Johnson-resigns-two-others-fired.) Afternoon drive host Francis Rose tells TALKERS he is available for live and taped interviews via telephone on talk shows around the country to provide insight into its outrageous details. Rose can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell at 202-657-9907.
Jim Rome’s New CBS Sports Network Show Airs Tonight. Sports talk icon Jim Rome begins a new chapter in the TV side of his sports talk career as CBS Sports Network – CBS’ new sports cable channel – broadcasts the first edition of his TV show since Rome parted company with ESPN. Rome appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman” last week to promote the new show and talk sports. Rome’s new TV program airs nightly at 6:00 ET.
GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign, Syrian Violence, ObamaCare Status, Iran Nukes, Gas Prices and NCAA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the drive to end the violence in Syria, the politics surrounding the legal status of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, Iran’s nuclear ambitions; the rising price of gas and the NCAA basketball finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Don Martin Interviewed on TALKERS TV. He is one of the most influential management figures in sports talk radio. Don Martin wears both national and local feathers in his sports cap serving as vice president/general manager of Fox Sports Radio and general manager/program director of sports talk KLAC, Los Angeles. TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian caught up with Martin at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20/11) and interviewed him about the state of sports talk radio including the local and national perspectives, where to find new talent and the importance of stations having play-by-play associations with a popular sports franchise. Martin also discusses the impact that the PPM is having on the sports talk genre saying that it is showing the format in a positive light. According to Martin, sports talk radio is one area of the talk media world that is less impacted by these difficult times than most. He credits the fact that so many talented hosts are out of work as providing a vibrant talent pool from which to pick when openings come and points to the continual crop of retiring athletes as being another source of potential sports talk broadcasters. Check out this must see video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
KSFO, San Francisco Makes Program Changes; Melanie Morgan Returns to AM Drive and J.D. Hayworth Takes Over Late Mornings. Almost four years after exiting the AM drive show she co-hosted with Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan is back on the Cumulus Media station alongside morning host Brian Sussman. KSFO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to have Melanie back on KSFO. She’s very popular with listeners and we’re looking forward to her many contributions on the revamped morning show.” Cumulus fills the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot vacated by Rush Limbaugh when the Premiere Networks star moved across town to Clear Channel’s new KKSF with former Arizona congressman KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth. Hayworth says of his new gig, “As a ‘recovering’ Congressman, I’ll ‘pull back the curtains’ and explain why politicians do the things they do. With the help of KSFO listeners, we’ll endeavor to provide common sense and clarity in these challenging and confusing times.”
Bob Lonsberry to Host Local Show for Clear Channel’s WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse. Bob Lonsberry tells the Syracuse Post-Standard he’ll make his new show local for Syracuse listeners even though he’ll be a commuter from his home market of Rochester where he hosts the midday show on WHAM. Lonsberry takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program beginning January 9. The shift was formerly held by Jim Reith who exited the station at the end of October. Lonsberry tells the paper, “I want something that literally speaks to a Syracuse listener, is representative of them and is a service to them.” Lonsberry will lead into WSYR-AM/FM’s 5:00 pm news-oriented “Daily Wrap with Joe Galuski and Kevin Schenk.”
Gene Burns to Begin KKSF, San Francisco Show Next Week After Apparent Health Issues. The new lineup at Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco began this week but former KGO talk host Gene Burns was missing in action. Numerous reports in the media trades cite a mini-stroke suffered by Burns as the reason he’s not on the air. However, Bay Area blogger Rich Lieberman reports that Burns did not suffer a stroke of any kind, that he has another unspecified medical condition and is expected to be on the radio next week.
WXOS-FM, St. Louis Tweaks Lineup; Former Cardinal Chris Duncan Moves to PM Drive. Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan from his role on the evening show to “The Fast Lane” PM drive program where he’ll work alongside Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr. Bob Ramsey, who had been part of the “Fast Lane” show, moves to the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show with co-host Brian Stull for the newly named “Stully & Rammer” show. Ramsey also maintains his role as voice of the St. Louis Billikens calling St. Louis University men’s basketball games on the station. Program director Kent Sterling states, “We are excited to put Chris Duncan on ‘The Fast Lane.’ He is a unique communicator with an incredible work ethic, and a great guy. He has lived a life in the eye of the sports hurricane and he speaks with an authority that is captivating. Media is all about finding great communicators and Chris is one of the most gifted in America.”
CBS Radio Announces Debut of DC All-News Outlet. CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington will hit the airwaves on January 19 and will feature the following talent lineup: Bill Rehkopf and Amy Morris in AM drive, Jenny Glick and Chas Henry in middays, Evan Haning and Nancy Lyons in PM drive, and Sarah Jacobs and Cheryl Simone in evenings. Program director Robert Sanchez says of the new station, “We are very excited to have put together such a great group of professionals who have spent many years covering local and national news. Each brings a specialty to WNEW creating a great team which will deliver important and compelling news that matters to local residents. When Washington needs to know, this team will have them covered.”
Rob Williams New OM/PD at WQRT, Cincinnati; New PM Drive Show Debuts. The Florence, Kentucky-licensed talk station owned by Christian Broadcasting System Ltd. names former Clear Channel programmer Rob Williams operations manager and program director for “Real Talk 1160” – WQRT. Williams replaces Cary Pall. At the same time, as talk host Andy Furman begins his new position hosting morning drive on the Fox Sports Radio Network, he leaves WQRT and makes way for “The Other Guys” afternoon sports talk show featuring Fox Sports Ohio’s Jeff Piecoro, former producer and co-host of the Furman show Rick “the Brick” Wall, and Metro Networks’ Jeremy “J-Lance” Lance.
Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Fracking-Related Earthquakes and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3). The GOP Iowa Caucuses held yesterday, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and warnings to the U.S. about carriers in the region, reports of earthquakes in Northeastern Ohio thought to be related to oil and gas fracking and the first financial markets activity of the new year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mona Lipschitz Debuts New Column. Full of gossip, rumors, personal asides and unbridled opinion about the industry and the people in it, Mona Lipschitz debuts her new column “Straight from The Lip” today at Talkers.com. In it she offers some keen insights about recent changes at Merlin Media and Cumulus Media as well as some pointed advice for Anderson Cooper. Mona has been the news editor of TALKERS magazine for the past 21 years and she knows where all the bodies are buried in this business. Let the dishing begin! To read the first installment of “Straight from The Lip,” click here.