Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees. Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference. The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio superstar. WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech. Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.” The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.” Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone. This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!” Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week. Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke. Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).
iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX. Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him. WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signal covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs. iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming. Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston. We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”
Canada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice. Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains. The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening. As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here. Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.” Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.
Cumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energized by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).
New Course Set at WRKO, Boston. In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step in its evolution. He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society. We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate. I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.” Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales. The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.
Odds & Sods. Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her being arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney. She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston. The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.” He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
NJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week. The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs. Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back. He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks. He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks. My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since. I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days. I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth. Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.
RAB Reports Q2 Sales Down 3%. It’s not surprising that the quarterly report from the Radio Advertising Bureau indicates pretty much what the Q2 data from the industry’s publicly traded companies showed. Again the culprit was spot sales which dipped 5% while network ad sales were flat. The positive was the digital and off-air categories which were up 9% and 15% respectively. (All comparisons are Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013). Advertiser categories that saw notable increases during the quarter included: home improvement (+ 4%); charitable/religious/non-profit/government agencies (+11%); specialty retail (+14%); auto parts/service (+14%); and amusement/theme parks/museums (+ 9%). RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Based on pacing and industry insights, we anticipated a relatively flat-to-down Q2. While we don’t forecast, a greater percentage of radio’s total annual revenue historically comes through in the second half, and we’re anticipating that we’ll see better results by the end of this year.” See the whole report here.
Brady: Radio’s Precarious Tipping Point. The somber financial state of radio as an advertising medium is the subject of almost-daily articles both in the consumer media and the media trades. It’s not unusual to read the opinion that radio has an “image problem,” but as Futures & Options, Inc. president and CEO Bill Brady writes, “Fifteen years of post-consolidation chickens are finally coming home to roost. Homogenized programming, time-spent listening declines and the decimation of sales departments are now taking their toll.” Brady also argues against the notion that the current state of things is the “new normal.” A lot is written about what’s wrong with radio programming, but in this piece, read what media management pro Brady says is problematic about the business end of the business. Check it out here.
Michael Harrison Comments on Disney Plans to Sell off 23 of its 24 Stations: Talkers publisher Michael Harrison,when asked his take on the much-discussed Walt Disney Company decision to sell 23 of its 24 Disney Radio outlets, says, “The loss of 200 more industry jobs is, indeed, tragic – an ongoing plague that is nothing short of heart-breaking on the human level of our beloved industry. However, those who are running around like Chicken Little, squawking that this move is indicative of the radio industry’s sky falling, are missing the real implications of this development. Group owners and consolidators such as Disney, who don’t think this medium matches their unbending programming or, worse, believe there is no way to keep old listeners and attract new listeners via creative programing, SHOULD get out and give new, enthusiastic operators the chance to get in at a reasonable investment.” Harrison points out, “That is not to say that all consolidators should exit the business – companies such as Cumulus Media, Emmis, Alpha Media, Saga Communications and others are showing that, although the answers aren’t necessarily coming easily, they intend to find and implement them in the belief that the ‘stick’ still has years of life and the potential for pertinence in it.” Harrison continues, “Disney’s bailing out on the idea that AM radio can no longer attract young listeners indicates it does not have the will nor financial incentive to create programming that will draw listeners of all ages to our medium.” Harrison concludes, “The primary answer to radio’s growing lack of confidence and eroding status is to make massive improvements and reinventions in its on-air attractions.”
Dan McNeil Officially Gone from WSCR. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Dan McNeil is not returning to the air at CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR, Chicago “The Score.” He’d been off the air since June when his contract expired and he and the station had been in negotiations, but the two sides apparently could not come together. It’s been widely reported that McNeil wanted to move from middays to afternoon drive and receive a pay hike from a reported $300,000 per year to $500,000. Former partner Matt Spiegel notified listeners of the station’s inability to bring McNeil back and said he’s looking forward to getting a new partner and forging ahead. Read Feder’s column here.
Paul Westcott Exits WTAG, Worcester. Leaving the full-time radio business at Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAG, Worcester for a position in Washington outside of the radio business is morning drive personality Paul Westcott. Today (8/15) is Wescott’s final day hosting the morning show but it will not be the end of his talk show career. Westcott reports that he’s going to stay in the media business posting and podcasting via former “America Now” host Andy Dean‘s new ConnectPal platform. This means there’s a morning drive position open at WTAG, Worcester and interested radio talent can apply by emailing: KEVINJOHNSON@clearchannel.com
Heidi Selexa Show Debuts on CRN Digital Talk. Radio personality and actress Heidi Selexa is bringing her show “Out of the Friend Zone” to CRN Digital Talk Radio where it premieres today at 10:00 pm ET. CRN Digital Talk says, “The one-hour program is a fun yet serious, authentic show examining interpersonal relationships. It unlocks the secrets of what is really going on in other people’s minds – and also serves as an open platform to expose and explain misunderstood signals, signs and messages between the sexes.” CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn adds, “’Out of the Friend Zone’ accomplishes something special. Many shows help people with relationship and communication issues – but Heidi accomplishes it in an exceptionally fun way. She talks with listeners – not at them.” In addition to Selexa’s AM/FM radio career, she was a personality on SiriusXM’s “80s on 8” channel.
Odds & Sods. A new hockey season means the return of “Chicago Blackhawks Live” to WGN Radio. Two September editions are already announced as Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw will be featured on September 3 and head coach Joel Quenneville will be featured on September 10. Both broadcasts will be live from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from the Old Town Pour House in Chicago and will air on sports talk WGWG-LP and replays of the programs on news/talk WGN following the Cubs games…..Talk media pro Jerry Klein will do some substitute work at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte over the coming Labor Day weekend. He’ll fill in for John Hancock on Friday 8/29 and for Keith Larson on Monday 9/1. Klein was a full-time personality on the station back in 1994…..CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer (pictured here) is said by CBS to be the only network radio news reporter traveling with President Obama on his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard where he anchored coverage of the president’s press statement about the Ferguson, Missouri situation. Maer also did two-ways with affiliate stations about the president’s statements as well as about the Hillary Clinton-President Obama foreign policy rift.
Hartford Courant Shows Connecticut Radio People Some Love. Although a number of America’s great newspapers/local news bureaus employ media writers who cover the radio business as part of their beats, often, local media give radio stations and talent the cold shoulder due to the competitive nature between the two. For this reason, it’s nice to see the Hartford Courant’s recent pictorial on the radio personalities of Connecticut. Check out the piece here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Saying that it’s hit the 500-affiliate mark, Yahoo! Sports Radio announces the addition of WWCS, Pittsburgh; WCAR, Detroit: KTXX, Austin: WCLT, Columbus, and KSGG, Reno to its affiliate roster.
Michael Brown Slaying Aftermath/Militarized Missouri Cops Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 11-15. The death of black teen Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer, the subsequent riots and looting, and the militarized status of the Missouri police tied for the top stories of the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the ISIS threat and the U.S.’s Iraq policy. Following at #3 was the Hillary Clinton–Barack Obama foreign policy tussle and at #4 was the suicide of actor and comic Robin Williams. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
Rita Cosby Joins WABC, New York for ‘The Ride Home.’ Television and radio pro Rita Cosby is joining NY1 personality Pat Kiernan as co-host of the WABC, New York’s 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm program, “The Ride Home” beginning Wednesday, May 21. Cumulus Media describes the show as “the signature drive time show featuring the latest information, insight and opinion on news, sports and pop culture with an emphasis on the New York area.” On the new gig, Cosby says, “I am so delighted to join my friend and NY1 icon Pat Kiernan along with the rest of the 77 WABC family. While I’ve been fortunate to cover the biggest national and international stories for years, there’s nothing better than covering stories that touch the very cornerstone of my own neighborhood and place of birth, New York City. I’m excited to be a part of an exceptional and passionate team, bringing listeners context to the biggest stories impacting The Big Apple and showcasing some of the most noteworthy guests making headlines.” Cumulus corporate programmer of news/talk Randall Bloomquist comments, “We’re excited to welcome such an extraordinary journalist and dynamic host as Rita Cosby to the 77 WABC family. Together, Pat and Rita bring decades of broadcasting experience and a proven ability to jump between topics and deliver the day’s most important news. As New Yorkers make their way home at the end of the day, our listeners can look forward to being kept informed and entertained by two of the best in the business.”
National Association of Media Brokers Backs Elimination of Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Ban. Filing a comment with the FCC in favor of eliminating the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban is the National Association of Media Brokers. The comment states, in part, “History shows that much of the broadcast industry was birthed by newspapers, which proved to be admirable stewards of the public trust. Specialization and regulation over the years has, to a large extent, separated ownership of the two. However, allowing newspaper/broadcast combinations in today’s marketplace, where there are so many choices for reading, viewing and listening, can only strengthen local content and public service. This recommendation is not made for the purpose of increasing our business or to rescue newspapers or AM radio stations. Frankly, we believe eliminating newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership restrictions would not generate a significant wave of such transactions. It would, however, be a step forward to enhancing public service without any meaningful impact on diversity. At first you might believe this would be a path mostly for newspapers to invest in broadcast stations, but the reverse also can be expected, especially in smaller markets.”
WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Gives Eric Von Haessler Part-Time Work. The former member of “The Regular Guys” morning drive program on Cumulus Media’s rock WNNX, Atlanta has been off AM/FM radio since exiting that show last September. Now, Eric Von Haessler has been tapped to do some fill-in work on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho. Program director Pete Spriggs tells the paper Von Haessler filled in for Monica Perez on Saturday, May 17 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and that his future with the station is unclear. “We will see where it goes. Today, I just think it is cool to get him on the radio,” Spriggs tells Ho. Von Haessler was part of “The Regular Guys” for more than 15 years at three different stations before exiting last fall.
Townsquare Media Flips New Jersey AMs to News/Talk. The oldies simulcast on WOBM, Lakewood Township and WADB, Asbury Park is gone and a news/talk format takes over on the Townsquare Media stations. The lineup includes local morning drive team Bob and Marianne Levy followed by paid programming from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. After that it’s the Premiere Networks lineup of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Also on the schedule is Compass Media’s Todd Schnitt.
Mitch Dolan Named COO of Times-Shamrock. Longtime ABC executive Mitch Dolan (10 years as president of ABC Radio’s station group) is now the chief operating officer for the Scranton-based Times-Shamrock Communications company where he’ll oversee its radio and outdoor properties. The Scranton Times-Tribune reports Dolan will manage the company’s stations in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Baltimore, Reno, and Las Vegas as well as the operational partnership in Milwaukee. Times-Shamrock owner Bobby Lynett is quoted in the paper saying, “Mitch’s reputation preceded his introduction to us. He is exactly the type of individual we want leading our group of managers and our geographically diverse radio and billboard division. Since meeting Mitch, we have grown more and more excited about the great ideas and enhancements we know he can institute.”
RAB: Another Flat Quarter for Radio. Actually, the spot segment of radio was down during the first three months of 2014, by 2%, with digital and off-air – both up 16% — saving the industry from a down quarter. National was down 8%, according to the RAB’s report. Total revenue for the quarter was $3.79 billion. This was the fifth consecutive flat quarter for the industry. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The double-digit gains in the digital and off-air sectors this quarter highlight the growing interest among advertisers in utilizing radio’s multiple facets. With radio broadcasters increasingly dedicating their efforts to improving and supporting their digital channels, local and national advertisers alike will find these platforms increasingly attractive to reach audio consumers.” As far as ad categories are concerned, Farber reports that “a number of category increases offset cutbacks in spending among others whose businesses were adversely impacted by weather conditions and other factors.” Advertisers in the highly competitive communications/cellular arena rang up a 33% increase over their Q1 ’13 level to rank #2 among all categories in the spot segment; automotive, while flat, is again radio’s leading revenue category. Spending in the insurance companies category was up substantially (+33%), nearing the March 31 deadline for open enrollment under the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). Health care category advertisers also upped their spending (+16%) in an effort to attract the newly insured to their services. Home improvement spending was up 14%, reflecting consumers’ need to deal with weather-related issues and growing home sales/remodeling efforts. Also up for the quarter were professional services (+7%), concerts/theater/movies (+6%), and casinos/lottery (+3%).
Beasley Opens Las Vegas Media Center. The dedication of Beasley Broadcast Group’s new Las Vegas operations took place on Thursday, May 15 and founder-chairman-chief executive officer George G. Beasley was among those attending the dedication ceremony of the new BeasleyMedia Center. Beasley received a Certificate of Commendation from Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid, and proclamations from Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and the Clark County Commissioners. Executive vice president of operations Brian Beasley comments, “Our Las Vegas team strives to provide the very best radio experience to both listeners and advertisers. Importantly, they also voluntarily create, promote, and participate in a variety of civic and charitable events that benefit the local Las Vegas community, such as the Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon, the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, and the 12th Annual ‘DJs for PJs Drive’ held just last month.” Vice president and market manager Tom Humm remarks, “The staff is grateful for the Beasley family’s commitment to us and to the city of Las Vegas. Our new home is one of the finest radio broadcast facilities in the country. It is a proud moment for all of us.” There are 85 employees at Beasley’s five-station Las Vegas cluster, which consists of country KCYE “The Coyote”; talk KDWN “AM 720”; classic hits KKLZ; urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7”; and adult hits KVGS “Bob FM.” Syndicated talk host Jerry Doyle will originate his weekday show (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) from the KDWN studios.
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean both this evening and tomorrow (5/19 & 20) is WTAG, Worcester morning drive personality Paul Westcott…..Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee is being honored by the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers with “620 WTMJ Day” at Miller Park on Monday, June 2. WTMJ serves as the flagship for Brewers baseball and part of the special day means certain seats in the stadium will be available for just $6.20 and the game time for the Brewers-Twins matchup has been moved from 7:10 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. Journal’s VP/GM of Milwaukee radio operations Tom Langmyer says, “Brewers baseball on WTMJ radio has been the soundtrack of summer in Wisconsin for decades. Bob Uecker and Joe Block have a special relationship with listeners and we’re very pleased to join the Brewers in honoring fans for their tremendous support over the years.”
Scottie Nell Hughes’ Roar Due in September. Telling TALKERS magazine that “much of the book is based on my experiences in talk radio,” author Scottie Nell Hughes announces the coming publication of her book ROAR: The New Conservative Woman Speaks Out (2014 Worthy Publishing). The journalist and Tea Party correspondent says that as a woman who continues to defy political stereotypes, she has often found herself feeling marginalized and ignored by establishment political parties and mainstream media — particularly as an outspoken Christian conservative. Yet she emphatically rejects 21st-century labels, choosing instead to emphasize the strength of the new conservative woman in everyday life and politics. From her deep faith and her love for family to her independence, she says she refuses to participate in a manufactured war against men. Hughes says, “I’m delighted to be working with Worthy and to begin a movement that fights back against a modern culture that treats ‘pro-women’ and ‘conservative’ as incompatible. ROAR gives new voice to a demographic that has long been maligned, but whose time for being heard has come.”
Rick Santorum Entertains KSKY, Dallas Listeners. Former U.S. Senator (R-PA) and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum (second from left) was in Dallas Friday, May 16 speaking before a gathering of KSKY, Dallas “660 AM The Answer” listeners at the DFW Sheraton when the photo here was taken. During the event, Santorum discussed his new book titled, Blue Collar Conservatives (Regnery) and chatted with hosts at the Salem Communications news/talk outlet. Pictured here with Santorum are (from left to right): KSKY morning host Mark Davis, Santorum, Texas Attorney General candidate Ken Paxton and KSKY evening host Jon-David Wells.
Chicago Radio Revenue Dips. Yesterday RadioInfo reported the increases in radio revenue in the New York City market and the Los Angeles/Southern California market. The news wasn’t as good for the country’s third largest market (as reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder) as Chicago saw radio revenue for the year 2013 sink 2.5%. Feder reports market radio revenue dipped to just under $420 million from the almost $431 million billed in 2012. The Chicago report is based on Miller Kaplan Arase numbers and in a rundown of the top billers in the market for 2013, Feder notes CBS RADIO’s all news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM simulcast landed in first place billing almost $42 million. At #2 was Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX with $37.5 million and following at #3 was Tribune news/talk WGN with $29.2 million. Check out the entire list here.
Loesch to Launch Nationally Later This Month. Conservative talk host Dana Loesch goes national one week from Monday (1/27) via Radio America with “The Dana Show” airing daily from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET. “She is feisty and fearless without being abrasive and shrill,” comments Radio America chief operating officer Mike Paradiso. “She connects with younger listeners, while still appealing to the core talk demo. We think Dana is everything talk programmers have been looking for, but have not been able to find. We are excited to be partnering with Emmis on her syndication.” Loesch is heard on Emmis talk outlet KFTK, St. Louis and co-owned Indianapolis talker WIBC. KFTK program director Jeff Allen states, “Dana’s unique take on issues, along with her ability to make them entertaining, has made her successful here in a very short time. She has made a huge impact for us in ratings and revenue. No other syndicated radio program sounds like ‘The Dana Show.'” A former newspaper columnist, Loesch is the 2012 winner of Accuracy in Media‘s Grassroots Journalism award and the Breitbart Spirit Award.
Greater Media Brings Sandra Szoke Back to Charlotte Duo. At the Charlotte duo of news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK, Greater Media announces sales pro Sandra Szoke returns to take on the director of sales role. Most recently, Szoke served as local sales manager at Time Warner Cable in Charlotte. Prior to Greater Media’s purchase of the stations from Lincoln Financial Media in 2008, Szoke had worked with them as senior account executive, assistant director of business development /marketing and public affairs director. Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “We are thrilled to welcome Sandra back in the role of director of sales to the Greater Media Charlotte family. Her leadership, knowledge of the market and familiarity of WBT and WLNK made her the perfect choice for the position.” Szoke comments, “I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead such an accomplished team of professionals. I’m equally excited to represent Greater Media, WBT and WLNK in the community. Charlotte is filled with businesses that have grown and thrived by telling their stories on WBT and WLNK over the years. It’s an honor to represent these legendary stations alongside this talented staff.”
Mancow Issues Statement Announcing Separation from TRN-FM. Talk show host Erich “Mancow” Muller officially announces his separation from former syndicator Mark Masters-run TRN-FM. A press statement indicating Mancow is focusing on new projects including TV and the continued syndication of his Chicago-based morning radio program was released. In it, Mancow says, “I have enjoyed my time with Mark, TRN-FM and the TRN-FM team immensely. I now move on to exciting projects on TV and radio. I deeply appreciate everyone that has helped me to get to where I am today.”
Branden Rathert Re-Ups with WNRP, Pensacola. Award-winning afternoon host Branden Rathert signs a new contract to remain with ADX Communications-owned news/talk station WNRP, Pensacola “NewsRadio 1620” for another three years. Rathert – who joined the station in 2009 – has garnered two awards from the Florida Associated Press for his documentaries. The first investigated the plight of the homeless in Escambia County and the second shed light on the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department Tactical Unit. He has also won two Edward R. Murrow news awards, one for his local coverage of the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. Rathert hosts “Pensacola Right Now” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
WTOP, Washington Adjusts Anchor Lineup. The anchor lineup at Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP, Washington changes on Monday, January 20 as Joan Jones joins Mike Moss to co-anchor morning drive from 5:00 am to 10:00 am. WTOP anchor Bruce Alan, formerly co-anchor of morning drive, moves to middays, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, where he joins current anchors Mark Lewis and Debra Feinstein. Alan and Lewis will share anchor duties across the entire week, with Lewis picking up Saturdays and Alan adding Sunday anchor duties. Rounding out the midday team is sports reporter George Wallace and traffic reporter Reada Kessler on weekdays, with traffic reporter Dave Dildine on weekends. Shawn Anderson and Hillary Howard will continue to co-anchor afternoon drive with Bob Marbourg in the WTOP traffic center and Dave Preston with sports. Veronica Robinson’s role expands to five nights a week, joining Dimitri Sotis at the anchor desk from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight with Bob Immler reporting on traffic and Jonathan Warner on sports. Anchor Dean Lane will continue to host overnights from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “These moves further WTOP’s commitment to inform and engage our listeners with quality information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You won’t find a stronger lineup of dedicated broadcast journalists anywhere in America.”
Odds & Sods. Sports journalist and broadcaster Jason Whitlock debuts his new podcast series via ESPN Audio. “Real Talk with Jason Whitlock” premiered this week with two podcasts – the first featuring ESPN’s Dan Le Batard and the second a discussion with Isiah Thomas about college athletes, how some are not prepared academically for college and who is responsible. The podcasts are available via the ESPN app and iTunes…..WTAG, Worcester morning show host Paul Westcott sits in for Andy Dean on Premiere Networks’ nationally syndicated “America Now” show tonight (1/17).
Miller Fink Joins Regional Reps. Cleveland-based Regional Reps Corp. announces Kathleen Miller Fink will become a member of its account management team on February 10. Regional Reps Corp. calls itself “the country’s oldest and one of the largest independent sales representatives specializing in small and medium market radio stations.” Miller Fink has worked at Interep as well as having served selling time locally in the Atlanta market. She says of her new position, “I am very excited to be joining the Regional Reps team. Their passion to provide the highest quality of service speaks volumes to the commitment they have for their station clients and advertising partners. I look forward to playing an essential part of the company’s growth.”
WHYN, Springfield Morning Personality Bo Sullivan Battling Cancer. Longtime morning personality at Clear Channel’s news/talk WHYN, Bo Sullivan, has gone public with his battle against testicular cancer. Reported in the Springfield Republican, Sullivan tells the paper he was ultimately diagnosed in mid-December and that the cancer had begun to spread to his lungs. After seeking treatment at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Sullivan is currently undergoing chemotherapy and is half way through that part of the treatment. He says the doctors tell him they are happy with how the treatment is progressing. Sullivan co-hosts the “Brad & Bo Show” with Brad Shepard. He’s been a part of WHYN’s on-air staff for more than 16 years.
Justin Bieber Egg Roulette. In honor of pop star Justin Bieber being investigated for egging his neighbor’s house, the cast of “G-Bag Nation” at CBS RADIO’s KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The Fan” played a game of egg roulette on the air. The concept is simple: the cast members each took turns crushing an egg against his forehead; four of the eggs were hard-boiled, one was not. Here you see cast member Alex Alexander “losing” on his second try. Also playing the game were Gavin Dawson, Chris Arnold and Mike Bacsik.
Live from Las Vegas. Talk radio hosts Mike Gallagher (left) and Alan Stock (right) pose for a photo from the KDWN, Las Vegas broadcast booth at the SHOT show in Las Vegas this week. SHOT stands for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Travel and the huge confab is hosting a number of talk personalities as they broadcast live from the event. Mike Gallagher is heard nationally via the Salem Radio Network and Stock hosts morning drive at Beasley’s KDWN.
WFAS, Westchester, New York Host Lisa Wexler Spearheads Awards Program for Science-Minded High School Students. In addition to her daily afternoon program (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) that addresses general and local issues, talk show host Lisa Wexler created the “Acorda Scientific Excellence Award Program” that airs on the station on Sundays. Wexler tells TALKERS the goal of the show is to spotlight students excelling in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and the research they are doing in related fields. Acorda Therapeutics is a Westchester-based biotech firm that sponsors the program and Wexler serves as host. On Thursday, January 16, a special ceremony and live broadcast was done from the Westchester County offices during which students received plaques recognizing them for the impressive research of which they are a part. The program and event is a collaboration of WFAS, Acorda Therapeutics and the Westchester County Youth Bureau and Office of Economic Development. Pictured here with six of the participating students are: WFAS senior marketing executive Andrew Castellano (far left), County Executive Robert P. Astorino (fourth from left), Wexler (center), and Tierney Saccavino, senior vice president, Corporate Communications at Acorda (third from right).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Network’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage is added to the program lineup at KBHS, Hot Springs, Arkansas…..The daily Kevin McCullough show from XtreMedia is added to the schedule at KOOW, Ft. Collins, Colorado; KSIK/KMKZ, Greeley, Colorado; WMFJ, Daytona Beach; and KNLB, Lake Havasu City, Arizona…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is part of the programming at KVNA, Flagstaff, Arizona; WELW, Willoughby, Ohio; KSET, Beaumont, Texas; and WLOH, Lancaster, Ohio…..WYM Media Management’s Leslie Marshall show is added to the lineup at KPHX, Phoenix…..The “Car Care for the Clueless” feature hosted by Pam Oakes is now heard on CBS RADIO stations including WINS, New York; WBZ-AM, Boston; KRLD-AM, Dallas; and KNX Los Angeles.
Chris Christie Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Second Week. The lane closure scandal that’s rocking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the second week in a row. Coming in at #2 on the Talkers TenTM was the controversy over former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ memoir in which he is critical of President Obama’s administration. Following at #3 was Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016 and at #4 was criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. To view this week’s entire chart, click here.
Phil Boyce Takes on Operations Role at Salem Communications’ New York Cluster. Talk radio programming pro Phil Boyce already serves as VP/director of spoken word format for Salem Communications but he’s adding the operational vice president for the New York cluster title to his business card. That means he’s directly in charge of operations for WNYM “970 The Answer” and Christian talk outlet WMCA. Salem Communications president David Santrella says, “Phil’s innate understanding of the New York market, particularly as it relates to news/talk, as well as his day-to-day proximity to the operation, has led us to the decision to ask Phil to take on the additional role of operational VP for the New York cluster. Phil will continue to work with all of our stations as VP director, spoken word format.” Program director Peter Thiele remains in his position as Boyce’s charge is to oversee the station’s revenue and assist all departments in that effort. Other changes from Salem Communications include Salem regional VP Linnae Young, who has overseen the New York cluster, taking on the oversight of the Tampa cluster that includes news/talk WGUL, Christian talk WTBN, and news/talk WLSS, Sarasota. In Louisville, Salem regional VP Mike Moran will assume oversight of news/talk WGTK, and Christian talk WFIA-AM/FM.
Mike Gastineau to Exit KJR, Seattle. Longtime sports talker Mike “Gasman” Gastineau announces he’ll leave Clear Channel’s sports KJR, Seattle where he currently hosts the PM drive show with co-host Elise. Gastineau has been with KJR since 1991 and was originally partnered with Rick DuPree in middays. He’s been in the midday slot for the past 19 years. In a statement explaining his departure, Gastineau says, “Since 1991 I have hosted more than 5,000 shows on KJR and I’ve reached a point where I’d like to explore other creative options. KJR’s management has been incredibly understanding and supportive of my decision. I’m proud to have been able to give Seattle fans a voice in these incredibly important debates. I always strived to do three things on the show – be funny, entertaining and give people a place for reasonable debate on sports issues of the day.” His last show is tomorrow (12/6) and KJR has not announced plans for the PM drive slot as of yet.
Robin Bertolucci Honored at PIRATES Event. KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci was honored at the holiday fundraiser of the Print Interactive Radio and Television Educational Society (PIRATES) at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California. The PIRATES’ “Golden Buccaneer” award is given annually and was awarded to Bertolucci in recognition “of her remarkable ongoing commitment to public affairs, the community and education as one of the media’s most outstanding role models for students.” This annual holiday fundraiser benefits the Ruth Collander Endowment Fund which enables PIRATES to provide scholarships to college students majoring in communications, journalism, radio or television. Pictured above (from l-r) are: Brent Seltzer (Still at Large) who emceed the event, KOST 103.5 program director Stella Prado, Bertolucci and KFI director of marketing/brand manager Neil Saavedra.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Partners with Production Companies for Competition Reality Show. The name of the series is “Pursuit of the Truth” and the goal of the show is to bring together 20 selected filmmakers from across the country to prove to a panel of expert judges that their project is worthy of the grand prize – financing and worldwide distribution for their feature documentary film idea. Go Go Luckey Entertainment and Wild West Productions are working with TheBlaze on the project. The 20 contestants will be asked to perform a series of tasks during the 10-week production period for the panel of expert judges. Contestants will be asked to not only prove the validity of their idea for a documentary but also their filmmaking abilities. They will either survive or be eliminated based on that criteria. For example, contestants might be asked to produce a sizzle reel, procure and execute a key interview, or pitch scenes to the panel of judges. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood says, “We are excited to continue to expand our programming with producers like Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Gary Auerbach. The documentary film, particularly those that seek the truth with no agenda, is an important art form that is struggling to survive in this media environment. We will be looking for stories that simply need to be told.” The nine-episode series debuts on TheBlaze in late spring 2013.
WMMS, Cleveland Dismisses PM Drive Co-Host Chad Zumock. The rock station’s Alan Cox afternoon drive talk program is without air talent Chad Zumock after the 38-year-old comedian and radio co-host was arrested following a recent incident in which he crashed his car into a tree while returning home from a gig at a local comedy club. Zumock refused a breath test but authorities are charging him with DUI. According to Cleveland.com, the incident violates a clause in Zumock’s contract with Clear Channel and host Alan Cox addressed Zumock’s dismissal on the program on Tuesday, December 4.
WTAG, Worcester Morning Host Jim Polito Exits for Boston TV Gig. Jim Polito returns to his television roots beginning December 10 as he’ll handle commentary for Fox TV O&O WFXT, Boston’s evening newscasts. Polito left WGGB-TV, Springfield, Massachusetts in 2008 to join Clear Channel’s WTAG, Worcester for the morning drive program. No word from Clear Channel what its plans for the morning show are.
Branson, Missouri Gets FM Talk Station as Earls Family Broadcasting Makes Changes. In making programming changes to its cluster of stations in Branson, Missouri, Earls Family Broadcasting consolidates its two country outlets on one signal, freeing up KRZK at 106.3 to become a news/talk station. The new format is branded as “Your News. Straight Talk. 106.3.” In a statement, the company says news/talk is “a perfect fit for our traditional, informed and community-minded citizens of the Branson area. Since KRZK has always been popular for local news, talk, and community service, an all-news/talk format is the perfect evolution of this beloved station.” The station is carrying Fox News Radio for top-of-the-hour news. The program schedule includes: Steve & Janet in the Morning for 6:00 am to 9:00 am; “At Your Service” with Scott McCaulley from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; Dave Ramsey from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and “The Ozark’s News Hour with Greg Pyron” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The Expert Radio Network Launches. A new San Diego-based terrestrial radio network is getting off the ground. The Expert Radio Network, “a multi-media radio platform for experts to deliver their content, expand their audience and explode their product sales” is opening for business. Vice president of business development Susan Ram explains the network’s approach. “Experts will have the opportunity to host a weekly radio show in major markets across the country, complete with marketing guidance from co-founder Scotty Saks. Experts will also work directly with award-winning talent coaching specialist and ERN co-founder Cliff Dumas and his business partner Randy Lane of The Randy Lane Company. Cliff and Randy will teach the same communication secrets Randy has personally taught Ryan Seacrest, Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly and hundreds of other entertainment, sports and business clients. Finally, Experts will be able to leverage the power of a fully produced, online marketing sales funnel custom designed to monetize their product and brand.” Identifying “experts” as those who’ve committed three years or 10,000 hours to knowledge of their subject of expertise, ERN says it has identified several “key verticals,” including: finance and business, health and wellness, and personal development. “The timing could not be better, as ‘real,’ terrestrial talk radio is experiencing explosive growth, and attracting millions of listeners who seek critical investment, business, and personal development advice from experts across the country. The power of ERN will massively expand an individual or corporate brand’s audience and deliver valuable advice and information to consumers.” ERN will utilize SpotMedia’s new Synchronicity platform for its program distribution, eliminating satellite distribution expenses while automatically customizing shows and commercial insertions on an affiliate by affiliate basis for both over the air and digital audiences.
Good Karma’s WEFL, West Palm Beach Renews Local TV Partnership. West Palm Beach sports talk ESPN 760 extends its content-producing partnership with local television stations WPTV-TV and WFLX-TV. The stations had been working together for the past three years and have agreed to terms on a new multi-year contract. WPTV-TV vice president and general manager Steve Wasserman says, “Since teaming up with ESPN 760 in 2010, the profile of local sports has risen to an unprecedented level. With the powerful combination of the region’s top-rated television station and the area’s unrivaled leader in sports radio, we will continue to set the standard for sports coverage in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.” The stations say that over the years they have produced quality content with unique local coverage and programming that includes: “Football Night in South Florida,” “5 Sports Live” on WPTV and “Wayne Akers Sports Zone” on WFLX. ESPN 760’s anchor team of Joe Girvan and Emerson Lotzia will continue to be seen nightly on WPTV NewsChannel 5’s 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts as well as WFLX Fox 29’s 10:00 pm newscast. WEFL vice president and general manager Steve Politziner states, “We are thrilled to continue to share stories about sports in our local community with the passionate fans of WPTV and WFLX. ‘Football Night in South Florida’ has become a franchise unto itself and the way in which schools, players, coaches, administrators, parents and fans have embraced our coverage, it’s more than exceeded our expectations.”
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington raised more than $290,000 during its radiothon on Friday and Saturday to benefit the Fisher House Foundation. It was the 9th annual such radiothon and program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS the total was up $50,000 from last year’s total and that, to date, WMAL listeners have raised more than $4 million for Fisher House over the past nine years…..Herman Cain subs for Neal Boortz on the Cox Media-syndicated national talk program December 10 – 19. Cain, who hosted a program at flagship WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta prior to his run for president, will take over hosting the Neal Boortz show on January 21, 2013…..WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo subs on the morning show at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston December 26 – 28.
Talk Producer Colin Brady Dies at 43. Florida-based radio producer Colin Brady passed away at age 43 after a struggle with cardiovascular disease. Brady worked as a talk producer and host in both Tampa and Orlando. He worked with Shannon Burke at WTKS, Orlando and on his internet show at RadioIO.com. Burke tells the Orlando Sentinel that although Brady was the butt of jokes (as producers often are) his listeners were shocked. “They all loved him very much. Last week, they were calling the show crying. He was beloved, no doubt about it.”
Washington ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria Chemical Weapons Threat, Egypt Unrest, Obama Cabinet Nominees, and Jovan Belcher Case-Costas Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/4). The fight between GOP leaders and the Obama administration over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; charges Syria is planning to use its chemical weapons on rebels; the unrest in Egypt as citizens protest Mohamed Morsi’s policies; speculation over the shape of the new Obama Cabinet; and the murder-suicide case of Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun commentary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.