Johnson Joins WTEM as PD. More accurately, as of next Monday (2/15), Chris Johnson will again occupy the programming chair at Red Zebra Broadcasting sports outlet WTEM “ESPN 980,” Washington, DC – just as he did from 2005 to 2008. Red Zebra Broadcasting chairman Terry Bateman states, “We are excited to have someone with Chris’ experience and skill to help us build and grow ‘ESPN 980.’ We have a great lineup of talent and great content. We look forward to putting it all together to give our listeners the best sports talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Most recently, Johnson covered MLB‘s Washington Nationals as a reporter for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. He previously was a producer of NFL and NCAA games for Westwood One; Johnson’s prior connection with WTEM lasted from 1996 – 2008. Down for the third straight ratings period (2.3 – 2.1 – 1.9 -1.6, 6+), “ESPN 980” finishes #20 in the “Holiday” 2015 report, while its format challenger – CBS Radio-owned WJFK-FM “The Fan” – also off for the third successive sweep (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.1 -1.9, 6+) – is #18. The market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH (5.9 – 6.1 – 7.0 – 12.0, 6+).
Trevor Carey Promoted to Afternoons at ‘PowerTalk 96.7’ in Fresno. Radio pro Trevor Carey had been hosting the afternoon drive show on iHeartMedia’s sister “PowerTalk” brand in the Stockton-Modesto market – “PowerTalk 1360” on KFIV and KWSX – in addition to hosting the 6:00 pm hour on “PowerTalk 96.7” (KALZ-FM and KRZR-AM in Fresno-Visalia). Now, with Christopher Gabriel’s recent exit from the PM drive slot, Carey takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. He’ll also host the 6:00 pm hour on the Stockton-Modesto duo.
New Hampshire Primary/Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 8-12. Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Hillary Clinton email case investigation. Coming in at #3 was the recent financial markets activity and related concerns about a recession followed by the effects of the Syrian civil war at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and it is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Sean Hannity to Speak and Host Breakfast at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations. In what has become an annual talk media industry tradition, Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will host “Breakfast with Hannity” and preside over the opening keynote discussion at the forthcoming 19th annual installment of the field’s largest, longest-running and most important national convention. In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Sean’s contributions to this storied event, as well as to the industry in general, are incalculable. He has spearheaded discussions about crucial issues attendant to the ratings, consolidation, lowering the demos and free speech, just to scratch the surface. He has provided inspiration and encouragement to new generations of broadcasters coming into the field. When Sean walks in the door at this event, all politics are left outside and he becomes a true statesman of the business offering insight, experience and intelligence about the many issues and challenges we face in common. We are delighted that he will again play such an important role in this conference – especially considering its forward-motion theme of bridging the generations.” Over 60 outstanding speakers will participate in TALKERS 2016, set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
Beasley Broadcast Group 2015 Q4 Net Revenue Up 6.2%. That figure is based on Beasley’s reporting of combined operations – both continuing and discontinued operations – and that’s relative to the 2014 Q4 asset swap with CBS RADIO that saw Beasley exchange five radio stations in the Philadelphia and Miami-Fort Lauderdale markets for 14 CBS stations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Charlotte and Philadelphia markets. Net revenue of combined operations for the whole of 2015 was $105.9 million, an increase of 4.4% over 2014. Beasley CEO and chairman George Beasley states, “Throughout 2015 we implemented a broad range of operating, programming, sales and local strategies intended to extract operating and financial synergies from the stations acquired in the 2014 Asset Exchange. I am pleased to report that we achieved our goal of our clusters outperforming the markets that report to Miller Kaplan for the first time in December 2015 and expect this trend to continue in 2016. Success with our integration and profitability initiatives is also reflected in fourth quarter 2015 station operating income of $9 million and an SOI margin of 31.7%, as well as net income of $3.3 million or $0.14 per diluted share.”
CBS RADIO Revenue Dips 5%. Radio is not the primary focus of CBS Corp. but new CBS chairman, president and CEO Les Moonves has always said he likes the radio business – especially its cash flow. Radio is lumped in with CBS Television Stations to make up the Local Broadcasting category, but the company breaks the two apart in these reports and radio’s revenue was down 5% on “continued softness in the radio advertising marketplace and lower political advertising.” The television sector was down 11% compared to the same Q4 period in 2014 – a period that benefitted from mid-term election political spending.
Odds & Sods. WOR, New York’s “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning” spoke on the radio with GOP presidential candidate and fellow New Yorker Donald Trump yesterday morning (2/11). Responding to criticism that he doesn’t have the temperament to be president, Trump told the WOR audience, “as we get closer, you will be shocked at how presidential I will be.”…..Talk host Bill Carroll had been doing an afternoon talk show for Corus-owned news/talk CFMJ, Toronto from Los Angeles while he was still working at iHeartMedia’s KFI (a gig he exited in early January). Now, he’s also leaving the CFMJ show with rumors he’s soon to land at a new station in Canada…..A special edition of the Joan Hamburg show will air on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York this weekend as the Big Apple radio host covers New York’s annual Fashion Week. For the second year, Hamburg speaks with New York’s fashion elite in “The Business of Fashion Week” airing on Saturday (2/13) from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ( a special replay will air Sunday night at 9:00 pm). Hamburg speaks with New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, “The Real Housewives of New York City” star Countess Luann de Lesseps, New York style icon Nick Wooster, Harpers Bazaar editor Avril Graham, and Ben Stiller, director and star of the Zoolander films…..AccuWeather appoints Sarah Katt vice president of product development and operations for the AccuWeather Network. She’ll report to John Dokes, general manager of the AccuWeather Network and chief marketing officer of AccuWeather.
Time Magazine Recognizes Dave Ramsey Podcast. Dubbing it one of the top 10 podcasts on iTunes in 2015, Time magazine gives the Dave Ramsey podcast recognition for its popularity. The Ramsey podcast averages more than 2 million downloads per week. Numerous publications, including iTunes Charts, Digital Trends and Stitcher, list the Dave Ramsey show among the most frequently downloaded and streamed podcasts. Ramsey Media vice president Brian Mayfield comments on the news. “We are excited to see the development of a completely new audience in the digital space. Our roots are embedded in radio where we began, and our audience continues to grow. This recent success on the digital side allows us to introduce our show to the next generation of listeners. Our goal is simple: we want to be there for our listener when, where, and how they want to listen. Digital distribution allows those constantly on the go the ability to listen to their favorite programs on their time schedule. We offer a variety of solutions including podcast, a dedicated channel on iHeartRadio, online audio streaming, and an online video channel.” Mayfield says that these efforts combined with the existing radio audience reaches a total audience of 11 million listeners every week.
Mike Francesa to Leave WFAN, New York When Contract Expires. New York sports talk radio icon Mike Francesa tells Fox 1’s Katie Nolan that he will exit CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York when his contract ends in December of 2017. On Nolan’s “Garbage Time” podcast, Francesa also tells Nolan that he has spoken with CBS brass about exiting early but the two sides haven’t found terms for an exit that are mutually agreeable. He also says it won’t be the end of his sports talk career, just the end to his time with WFAN. Fox Sports reports the news from the taping of Nolan’s video podcast that will be published tomorrow (1/21).
Cumulus Promotes McCann to Market Manager and Cohen to VP of Sales in Washington. Two are promoted in the executive ranks at Cumulus Media’s Washington station group. Jake McCann moves up to vice president/market manager from his VP of sales post and Beth Cohen is upped from director of sales to VP of sales for the cluster. Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati states, “Jake McCann and Beth Cohen are the leadership team needed to achieve our goals in D.C. In the past year, they’ve accomplished that and more. Both promotions are well deserved. We look forward to their continued contributions as they advance the growth trajectory of Cumulus DC.” Cumulus owns hot AC WRQX “Mix 107.3” and news/talk WMAL-AM/FM in the market.
Presidential Candidates Radio Ads Tracked by Media Monitors; Hillary Clinton Top Spender. Two of the nation’s earliest primary elections – the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary – are just weeks away and Media Monitors reports it is tracking the radio ads for candidates heard in markets within or near those states during the first 15 days of January. Media Monitors reports the following: Hillary Clinton numbers from Des Moines and the Quad Cities show a total of 482 spots run with none run in the adjacent Omaha market. Radio spots for Ted Cruz, whose numbers from Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha totaled 218 that were part of the Cruz For President buy, however, his Super PAC – Keep The Promise ran a total of 26 spots in the three Iowa markets. Donald Trump radio spots that ran in Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha totaled 187 ads. Bernie Sanders did not buy Omaha, but ran spots in Des Moines and the Quad Cities totaling 123 spots. Marco Rubio’s Super PAC – Conservative Solutions – also ran in Des Moines, Omaha and the Quad Cities to the tune of 74 units counted. And finally, Mike Huckabee’s Super PAC – Pursuing America’s Greatness – aired 50 times in Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Omaha. Targeting New Hampshire voters, Hillary Clinton ran 1,110 spots in both Boston and Portsmouth-Dover. Bernie Sanders was next with 899 spots in the two markets. Marco Rubio’s Super PAC aired 358 ads. Next was Ted Cruz with 109 spots appearing in Boston and Portsmouth-Dover. Donald Trump played 76 times in the Portsmouth-Dover and 10 times in Boston. Chris Christie aired 24 spots in Portsmouth-Dover, while his Super PAC – American Leads – ran 21 spots in Portsmouth-Dover and Boston. Mike Huckabee did not run any spots in Portsmouth-Dover or Boston.
Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Oscars Boycott, Flint Water Scandal, 13 Hours Film, Sinking Oil Prices/Tumultuous Financial Markets, and Battle Against Islamic State Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). The activities of the candidates for president; the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server for sensitive State Department business; the Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith-led boycott of the Academy Awards for the lack of black nominees; the lead water contamination scandal in Flint, Michigan; controversy surrounding the Benghazi film, 13 Hours; the continuing drop in oil prices and the activity in the world’s financial markets; and the battle against Islamic State were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dan Zampillo Exiting WTEM, Washington. There are more changes coming to the Dan Snyder-owned sports talker WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” Program director Dan Zampillo – on the job since April of 2015 – is leaving the company, according to numerous reports, including one from the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg. Citing an internal memo, the Post reports Zampillo will stay on as a search for his replacement commences. Recently, station manager Rick Carmean exited and the company has eliminated that position. Zampillo came aboard from SiriusXM’s sports programming division after Chuck Sapienza resigned the PD post during the bizarre “Man Cave” episode. To refresh your memory, “The Man Cave” show – co-hosted by Chris Paul and Jason Reid – got off to an inauspicious start in March. The launch of the show was delayed by two weeks during which there were reports Dan Snyder didn’t like the idea because Reid was critical of the Redskins while writing for the Post. Sapienza quit during this time. The show was eventually cancelled in October. Read Steinberg’s Post piece here.
Round One of Holiday PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of Holiday 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was December 3 – December 30. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Michael Harrison and ‘America’s Digital Goddess’ Discuss the Culture of Technology. Nationally syndicated radio star and newspaper columnist Kim Komando of WestStar TalkRadio Network joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as a special guest on this week’s installment of PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” (1/19). The two conduct an in-depth discussion about the state of the digital era as we are experiencing its unfolding in the early decades of the 21st century from both technological and cultural perspectives. Highlights include a prognostication of where the technology is headed going forward. Will humans increasingly merge (physically, mentally, spiritually) with silicon technology as chips are increasingly embedded not only in our clothing and all around us in the “Internet of Things” – but in our bodies as well? How can parents, who are natives of the 20th century, exercise control and guidance over their digitally precocious children, who are natives of the 21st century? What is the present state and future of privacy? Komando, whom Harrison describes as a “remarkable woman,” discusses her early days as a teenage prodigy in New Jersey who graduated high school at 15, headed west on her own, and went on to build a multi-million dollar empire blazing new trails in radio and contributing greatly to the advancement of this amazing new era. To listen to the entire conversation, click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.
Talk Host Kevin Jackson Named Fox News Contributor. Independently syndicated talk personality Kevin Jackson joins the Fox News organization as a contributor. The news was announced to Fox News Channel viewers on last night’s edition of “The Kelly File” with host Megyn Kelly. Jackson has made numerous appearances on FNC shows over the years, including “Hannity” and “Fox & Friends.” Jackson comments, “I am grateful and proud that Roger (Ailes) appreciates my talent enough to have added me to the Fox News family. What a great honor to have Fox News as part of my distribution platform. My message has been leaking through for some time and this should help me to extend that message a lot further.”
Odds & Sods. As reported by Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch, Emmis Communications’ Indianapolis news/talker WIBC-FM names Chris Davis news director. Davis, who most recently was news director for the News Mississippi Network, takes over for Mike Wilson who left the radio biz…..Westwood One is providing radio play-by-play for this weekend’s NFL conference championship games on Sunday. WW1’s doubleheader coverage begins at 2:00 pm ET.
Armstrong & Getty Top Goal for Fisher House Fundraiser. The weeklong Fisher House Foundation fundraiser held by KSTE, Sacramento-based morning drive talk hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty raised more than $544,000, pushing the show’s five-year total past the $2.3 million mark. The 5th annual Armstrong & Getty fundraiser was held last week with the stated goal of $500,000. Fisher House Foundation CEO Ken Fisher says that the money raised is important. “But just as important is the awareness they have brought to listeners about the needs of our veterans, military and their families – a reminder that as Americans we owe a huge debt to these men and women. The listeners of A&G have certainly taken that to heart. Joe and Jack were the catalyst for this important donation, but it was their listeners who made it happen. To all of you, on behalf of the thousands of lives you will touch, I say thank you.” Armstrong & Getty are also heard in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Honolulu, and San Diego.
Tom Gresham Joins Washington Times as Opinion Columnist. The column will be written on a bi-monthly basis by firearms experts, author and talk show host Tom Gresham for the conservative Washington Times newspaper. Gresham has a lot of experience writing about guns. At age 18 he began working as a columnist and became editor of Southern Outdoors Magazine. He’s served as editor for several other outdoor magazines, authored multiple books, including Weatherby: The Man, The Gun, The Legend, created and, of course, hosts the weekly radio program Guntalk, heard on more than 200 affiliate stations. Gresham states, “I’m delighted that the Washington Times is carrying an opinion column that refutes the constant support for more gun control being pushed by much of the media. Recent polls show that a large majority of Americans disapprove of additional gun laws. These readers are underserved in most papers.”
‘ESPN 980’ in Washington Reports 3 Million-plus Podcast Downloads; Adds New Content. Washington, DC sports talk station WTEM “ESPN 980” reports it notched more than 3 million downloads of its podcasts during the month of October. The Red Zebra Broadcasting station’s Tony Kornheiser show led the pack with more than 2 million downloads for the month. In addition to podcasts of all of its shows being available, the station is adding four new original podcasts and two aggregated podcasts. Director of programming Dan Zampillo states, “Creating original digital content and developing relationships with those doing it successfully is an important part of our mission to bring the best DC sports content to listeners on all platforms.”
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated ESPN Radio morning show Mike & Mike broadcasts live from Ohio State in Columbus this Friday (11/20) prior to the Michigan State vs Ohio State game. It’s the fifth of six stops on the “Fall Football Tour.” It’s tied in to the “Mike & Mike at the College Football Playoff” contest that will allow one grand prize winner to accompany Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg to the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 11…..Sun Broadcast Group announces it is celebrating its 7th anniversary and promises big news at its agency and programming upfront event titled, “2016 – The Preview,” scheduled for this Friday in New York City…..Beasley Media Group announces Bob Turner joins the company’s Southwest Florida radio group to serve as general sales manager. He was most recently president of Azteca America, an international television network and spot sales company. Turner says, “Working with Beasley Media Group is a terrific opportunity. In Southwest Florida, businesses are absolutely thriving. The business surge in this market offers an abundance of untapped potential to my entire sales team. Our timing is ideal for a new level of sales success!”
WPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Makes PolitickerNJ.com’s 2015 Power List. Atlantic City talk radio personality Harry Hurley tells TALKERS magazine it’s an honor and a privilege to make PolitickerNJ.com’s 2015 Power List of the top 100 most politically powerful people in the state of New Jersey. It’s the 9th time the WPGG, Atlantic City morning host has made the list (he landed at #83 this year, up six places from #89 a year ago) and Hurley says, “Considering we’re the most densely populated state in America, with 9 million people, it’s a high honor, privilege and a very difficult list to make. In New Jersey, this Power List is the ‘gold standard.’ It’s the list you want to make in The Garden State.”
WGOW, Chattanooga’s Brian Joyce Assists Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots. WGOW, Chattanooga midday talk show host Brian Joyce (left) poses for a photo at a recent remote broadcast from local mortgage lender Peoples Home Equity at which he was helping collect toys for the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. Joyce tells TALKERS the event resulted in a phenomenal turnout, at which they collected plenty of toys and cash donations for the program. Pictured here with Joyce are Marine Sgt. Donovan Walters (right) and, at center, Philip, whom Joyce describes as his “littlest/biggest fan” who comes to all of his remote broadcasts.
Paris Terrorist Attacks, Battle Against ISIS, 2016 Presidential Race/Democratic Debate, Syrian Refugees/U.S. Immigration Policy, Russian Airliner Bombing, and Charlie Sheen AIDS Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16). The aftermath of Friday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris; military strikes on ISIS strongholds in Syria; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 tied with discussion about the Democratic candidates’ debate on Saturday; the state of Syrian refugees in the U.S. and debate over immigration policy in America; Moscow’s conclusion that the Russian airliner downed in the Sinai Desert was the result of a bomb; and reports that actor Charlie Sheen is HIV positive were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WW1 Partners with CNBC for Tonight’s Republican Primary Debate. The third Republican primary debate takes place this evening (10/28) live from the Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado Boulder and carries a money theme: “Your Money, Your Vote.” The debate is being produced for television by CNBC and the radio partner is Westwood One which reports that more than 160 affiliate stations are signed up to air the debate. WW1 presents some data from its simulcast of the October 13th Democratic candidates’ debate, noting “one out of 10 adults (10.8%), 18+, report listening to the Westwood One News’ Democratic debate coverage, representing over 26 million people ages 18+,” and “one out of 10 Millennials, 18-34 (9.8%) report that they were reached; one of 10 Generation Xer’s, 35-54 (11.5%) report that they were reached.” WW1 EVP of news & talk programming Bart Tessler comments, “We are thrilled to partner with CNBC and to provide voters access to this debate so they can hear the candidates’ positions on their money and other issues. We are also filling a void for those Americans who don’t subscribe to a pay TV service or who live in broadcast-only households. Our radio coverage offers tremendous reach.”
Jeff Sottolano Named VP of Programming for CBS RADIO. This is a promotion from his current director, programming position he assumed in January of this year. Prior to that promotion, Jeff Sottolano had been program director of sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia. He was also program director at rock WYSP, Philadelphia from 2008 through 2011 when he moved to WIP. About his new role as VP of programming, CBS RADIO EVP of programming Chris Oliviero comments, “Jeff has made significant contributions to our content platform, not just over the air, but also to our strong digital and live event assets. With today’s announcement, he will now be better positioned to take a leadership role as we continue to craft our growth strategy, one which is squarely founded on CBS RADIO’s best in class brands.”
WGN, Chicago’s Justin Kaufmann Explains Absence from Evening Show. The host of WGN, Chicago’s 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm program “The Download” pens an explanation/apology for his now-three-week absence from the show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us to Justin Kaufmann’s letter that reads, in part, “I made a mistake. As a husband, I let my wife and my family down. And I will also tell you that this issue is between me and my wife. Also please know that my lapse in judgement was not the reason I have been off the air. The fact that an individual tried to take advantage of my private situation, and make it public, was. That’s the consequence of a bad decision in the first place. And for that I apologize.” Part-time staffers have been filling in hosting the show since October 6. It’s not clear when Kaufmann will return to the air. Read Feder’s report here.
WTEM, Washington Cancels ‘The Man Cave.’ The Red Zebra-operated Washington, DC sports talker WTEM “ESPN 908” will return ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning to the AM drive and has cut ties with Chris Paul and Jason Reid, co-hosts of the seven-month-old “The Man Cave” show. The program had an inauspicious debut. Back in late February it was announced the duo would be joining the station’s programming schedule but then the show’s launch was killed and program director Chuck Sapienza exited the station. Jason Reid is a former Washington Post columnist who’s been critical of the Washington Redskins operation and Dan Snyder owns both the team and WTEM. There was chatter Snyder was not happy with Sapienza’s decision. Then in late March the show debuted, two weeks after it had first been planned. Now, seven months later, the program is cancelled with director of programming Dan Zampillo saying, “Unfortunately we were not able to obtain the consistent level of ratings success needed in morning drive over the last 7 months, and therefore felt the need to make this change.”
Round Two of October PPM Ratings Released – Minus Tampa, Again. The second of four rounds of October 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio is released for 11 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. As was the case in September, Tampa numbers are being delayed. The September delay (ratings came a week later minus WBRN-FM) was due to a ratings tampering charge against WBRN-FM-based Bubba the Love Sponge. This time Nielsen only tells clients the reason is for “completion of additional quality assurance steps.” You can find all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Twelve Takeaways from this round of data at our sister publication’s site here. The October 2015 PPM survey covered September 10 through October 7.
WVNJ 1160 ‘The Voice’ Gets Serious About Competing with Tuned-Up News/Talk Format in Big Apple. WVNJ 1160 AM – licensed to Oakland, NJ but covering a wide swath of the New York Metropolitan Area — has begun making moves that indicate it is getting serious about becoming more competitive in the nation’s number one market. The family-owned-and-operated, (Universal Broadcasting of NY) strategically located (in Teaneck), independent outlet pumps out a formidable 20k signal that can be heard throughout much of the Tri-State area including heavily populated portions of New Jersey, New York City, Hudson Valley, Western Connecticut, and Long Island. Recent additions to the station’s daily lineup, catching the eyes and ears of industry observers, include live clearances of syndicated major league stars Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck (11:00 am – 1:00 pm) and GCN’s Dr. Joy Browne (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm). Both have strong followings in the New York area. Other significant players now on-air include Doug Stephan, Alex Jones, Ian Freeman and Mark Edge of “Free Talk Live,” and Dr. Daliah Wachs, marking a partial departure from the station’s former reliance on brokered programming to constitute most of its schedule. Many of these changes are being initiated by the hiring of radio veteran and consultant Luis Felix as the station’s director of operations under a management/consultant agreement in which Felix is responsible for the day-to-day operations. Felix tells TALKERS, “There is still tremendous value in AM radio stations with large market reach.” He explains, “My plan is to appeal more to local listeners while offering the best national talent. The priority will be to target our local communities and offer opportunities for brokered broadcasts during certain times of the day. It’s a balancing act that can work. Just imagine brokered hosts on the same station with the industry’s leading talkers. Take Jerry Hickey from Invite Health Radio — he’s a pharmacist and nutritionist, but he loves radio. His radio show is produced utilizing professional broadcast ethics. This practice helps us maintain consistency in our quest to offer quality broadcast standards.” Felix adds, “I will also develop and expand our digital offerings so that our advertisers can achieve a better ROI. Combining top radio personalities with brokered programming, I believe, is talk radio’s winning combination. By finding efficiencies in our broadcast operations and enhancing our offerings, I may be able to turn things around. I’ve spent 34 years in this industry and have learned quite a few things. It’s in my blood.” Known on-air as Albert Lewis, the gregarious Felix’s career started back in 1981 as an intern at urban powerhouse WBLS, New York working for the legendary Frankie Crocker and includes subsequent positions at WWRL, WNYG and WGBB – all in the New York/Long Island Metropolitan area. He was also involved in designing the online local news site, DNAinfo.com, for Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts.
Herskovitz: Somebody’s Listening. Radio sales pro Al Herskovitz writes in a column for TALKERS that he believes a lot of talk radio’s “wounds” are self-inflicted. Not that new technology isn’t disrupting radio (not to mention the TV, newspaper, etc. industries), but proving that digital is an effective advertising vehicle is hardly a slam dunk. He provides an example from his work of a client so happy with the return on investment in a national talk radio campaign that he’s currently working on a renewal package for 2016 for that client. Read Herskovitz’s piece here.
Cool Job Opportunities – Howie Carr Radio Network Expanding Personnel Roster. TALKERS has learned that the Boston-based Howie Carr Radio Network – producer and distributor of the mega-successful, regionally syndicated Howie Carr Show — is adding to its staff with openings in the following positions: event planners and facilitators, full-time and part-time sales positions, part-time associate producers, and part-time marketing promotions. Interested parties should email their resumes to Kathy Carr at: Kathy@Howiecarrshow.com.
Talent Search! WGR SPORTS RADIO 550 is looking for the next great personality to add to Western New York’s sports leader. Are you talented, creative, driven and focused? Can you create compelling sports content and do you have a passion for connecting with sports fans? The ideal candidate will have 3 to 5 years sports talk experience, a deep knowledge of sports teams and the business of sports, plus a strong list of sports contacts. Must have excellent written and social media skills, work well in a team setting, and be reliable and disciplined. Are you that next great talent? Tell us your story and submit your materials including resume, aircheck and written samples to program director Allan Davis at: email@example.com.
2016 Presidential Candidates/GOP Debate, U.S.-China Military Tensions, South Carolina School Cop Case, Russia-Syria Relationship, Congressional Budget Deal, European Migrant Problems, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/27). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and tonight’s GOP primary debate; the military tensions between the U.S. and China over a U.S. Navy patrol near disputed islands in the South China Sea; the case of a school cop’s use of force on a disobedient high school student in South Carolina; Russia’s military involvement in the Syrian civil conflict; the proposed two-year budget deal agreed to in Congress; the flood of immigrants into Europe and the strain being put on resources in the affected countries; and the World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS RADIO Announces Market Manager Changes. Taking over for Marc Rayfield at the CBS RADIO Philadelphia cluster as SVP/market manager is current director of sales David Yadgaroff. Rayfield was recently named market manager for the New York market. Elsewhere in the company, current Boston SVP/market manager Mark Hannon adds the same duties for Hartford, replacing the retiring Suzanne McDonald. CBS combines the SVP/market manager post for both Miami and Orlando and appoints Steve Carver, who replaces Joe Bell in Miami and Dave Robbins in Orlando. They both exit the company. Director of sales Tony Perlongo is promoted to SVP/ market manager in Las Vegas, taking over for the exiting Jerry McKenna; and Mike Valenzuela rises from VP/director of sales in the Riverside cluster to SVP/market manager, replacing Harvey Wells who’s returning to the Chicago area to be closer to family.
Orban Addresses Nielsen-Voltair Issue. Audio processor competitor Orban has been very quiet during the industry-wide discussion about 25-Seven’s Voltair processor but breaks that silence with a press statement released on Thursday (7/23). The statement says, in part, “Some have argued that Voltair is ‘just another form of audio processing.’ However, we believe that there is an essential and fundamental difference between audio processing (like that done by our Optimods) that increases the opportunity of the Nielsen encoder to insert audibly undetectable watermark tones and processing that directly manipulates the level of the watermark, potentially breaking Nielsen psychoacoustic masking model and allowing the tones to become audible. Based on their testing, Nielsen concluded that Voltair can degrade perceptual quality. In an environment where traditional radio is suffering ever-increasing competition from new media, we believe that it is unwise for radio to degrade its audio in an internecine battle whose ultimate winner could be non-broadcast providers. Because Nielsen is a large, global business that depends on producing credible audience measurements, we expect that it will soon solve any problem (if it actually exists) by making improvements to its encoder. Accordingly, we have decided not to add processing to Optimods that directly manipulates the Nielsen watermark signal because we expect that any such effort would degrade audio quality and would soon be rendered obsolete by Nielsen’s encoder improvements. Moreover, we trust the Media Rating Council to thoroughly evaluate any such improvements, as they have already done for the Nielsen PPM system in its current form. While it is true Orban’s Optimod processors are compatible with Voltair, we urge caution.”
Doug Steckler Ends Friday Appearances with Tim Conway Jr. on KFI, Los Angeles. For the last four years, Doug Steckler has been co-hosting the Friday evening edition of Tim Conway Jr.’s show on iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles. But that is ending and Steckler says in a statement, “I am leaving the Tim Conway Jr. show on KFI where I enjoyed sharing Friday evenings with the funniest, nicest guy in radio. We had more fun than should be legal. All good things must come to their finish and it’s always better (if still difficult) to get out while you can still hear the laughter. I want to wish everyone connected with the Tim Conway Jr. show the very best in every way. I would like to especially express my profound gratitude to Sheron Bellio, our executive producer, whose creativity, original thinking, laser wit, and supernatural administrative abilities made every Friday a wonderfully conspiratorial caper.” Conway and Steckler co-hosted a talk show on the old hot talk-formatted KLSX-FM, Los Angeles (now CHR KAMP) from 1996 through 2005. Doug Steckler is represented by Jason Insalaco’s Kelton Agency.
WTEM, Washington Adds Craig Hoffman for Redskins Beat Reporter Gig. This will be a year-round gig at Red Zebra Broadcasting’s Washington Redskins flagship WTEM “ESPN 980” for Craig Hoffman as he is named the new Redskins beat reporter. Hoffman was most recently with ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas “103.3 FM ESPN” as a host and update anchor. Red Zebra says he has experience “covering both professional and college teams along with reporting from large national events like the NCAA Final Four. Craig will cover the Redskins year-round and will contribute content to the station’s local shows. He will also be part of the game-day broadcasts on the Redskins Radio Network while producing content for ESPN 980’s website and social media outlets.”
Paul Vandenburgh Takes Top Talk Show Honors in Metroland ‘Best Of.’ WGDJ, Albany owner, general manager and morning talk host Paul Vandenburgh’s daily show was named the Best Talk Radio Program in the market by Albany alternative weekly Metroland. Here’s how the entry reads: “This is the show for local issues. Special mention must be made of the must-listen interviews he conducted with local reporters on scene in Dannemora during the prison break. Standard disclaimer: We’re a bunch of liberals and disagree with 75 percent of his opinions, but so what? Who didn’t enjoy it when he went after Troy’s City Hall clown show during the frozen pipes scandal?”
Odds & Sods. Los Angeles-based talk legend Tom Leykis is streaming his program live from the Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center tomorrow (7/25) from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT from the Aqua Camel booth. What is Aqua Camel? It’s a self-watering plant pot system that uses 65% less water. The company is co-founded by Tim Sabean, former Sirius Satellite Radio and CBS RADIO programmer…..Hearst-owned WBAL, Baltimore “NewsRadio 1090” agrees to a new multi-year partnership with the Naval Academy Athletic Association to continue serving as radio flagship for Navy football. This will be the 11th consecutive year WBAL has broadcast Navy football.
Got Old Radio Shows? Opportunity to Monetize Content in Your Basement. One of the largest independent audiobook companies in the world, Blackstone Audio, is looking to expand its product offerings beyond audiobooks into spoken-word, including comedy, opinion pieces, soundtracks (non-musical), old-time radio and TV shows, sports broadcast highlights, and any other forms of spoken-word or subject matter that would be interesting to the audio-listening public. Blackstone would offer the content owners of recorded audio programs that they choose to license or distribute an arrangement under which the content owners would receive the majority of the net revenue from the sale of their content to the public by Blackstone. If you have recorded spoken-word content and would be interested in having Blackstone Audio consider it for licensing or distribution contact Larry Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 Presidential Candidates and Trump Criticisms Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the criticism of Donald Trump’s recent statements tied for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM for the week of July 20-24. At #2 this week was the Iran nuclear deal. Coming in at #3 was talk about the U.S, immigration policy and the sanctuary city concept followed by threats from ISIS at #4. 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 entire chart here.
Nielsen Audio-Voltair Debate Rages On. The industry is still aflutter with chatter – and quite a few blogs – over Tuesday’s Nielsen Audio webinar in which the ratings giant told clients its tests of Telos Alliance’s Voltair audio processor showed no conclusive evidence that the unit positively impacted the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the embedded codes in any way that could affect ratings. Although Nielsen did admit that in some circumstances, Voltair did give the watermark a boost that would allow the PPM to pick up more codes. Broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich responded to that conclusion in a recent blog post in which he explained that – due to the U.S. system of Quarter Hour measurement – picking up some extra codes via Voltair which might have gone undetected without it, still would not increase ratings because the Media Rating Council testing done on PPM concluded the measurement system “hears” enough of the codes to get an accurate record of listening. The Voltair unit has only been in the field for less than a year and it appears there isn’t enough data, available publicly anyway, to produce sound conclusions about whether – or exactly how – the unit affects the audio and the PPM’s reception of it across all radio formats. Even Telos Alliance doesn’t seem to have all the answers about its product as Kabrich points out in today’s blog post that focuses on contrary opinions about whether certain music “encodes well” for PPM. Read it here.
Cumulus-Commissioned Study Indicates Radio Advertising Helped Drive Awareness of Amazon Prime Day. The Ipsos study commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One analyzing how advertising drove awareness of the July 15 Amazon Prime Day was done to “understand how effective advertising and radio is to drive online purchases.” The study concluded that: 81% of Americans aware of Amazon Prime said they were exposed to some form of advertising for the event; one out of five Americans reported making a purchase during Amazon Prime Day because of advertising; three out of five Amazon Prime subscribers (18-49) exposed to advertising said they purchased something during Amazon Prime Day; and radio advertising was the most effective at converting awareness into Prime Day purchases when compared to TV and online. Of those exposed to radio ads, 52% made a purchase versus TV (39%) and online (48%). Cumulus and Westwood One chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard comments, “Advertising put Amazon Prime Day on the map, and radio was the most effective at converting awareness into purchases. The greatest Amazon Prime Day purchases occurred among Millennials, households with children, and those with a full-time job — precisely the profile of the American radio listener.”
Dave Ramsey Show to Air on WRKO, Boston. The Dave Ramsey program will air in the evening daypart, immediately following the Howie Carr afternoon drive show on Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, effective July 27. Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary says, “After a long day reporting and talking about hard news, Dave’s show invites our listeners into the homes of America’s working class to hear their stories, struggles and triumphs. It’s radio ‘comfort food’ ideally suited to New England values.” This addition comes shortly after other changes to the station’s program lineup that include the move of former morning host Jeffrey Kuhner to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot and the addition of Kim Carrigan as host of the “Boston.com Morning Show.”
WTEM, Washington Inks Clinton Portis for Redskins Coverage. Washington Redskins great Clinton Portis is joining Red Zebra Broadcasting to serve as an analyst for the upcoming football season. Portis played seven seasons for the Redskins. WTEM “ESPN 980” says that in addition to joining afternoon show personalities Chris Cooley, Steve Czaban, and Al Galdi every Monday during the football season, Portis will also co-host a monthly one-hour show, Fridays during the season, where he’ll provide a detailed look at the Redskins performance. Portis comments, “I am so excited to finally be on the air covering the team I love. Chris Cooley was a great teammate and close friend and we promise to make it as memorable as we did during our playing career.”
Odds & Sods. After a Tweet from ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo, we now know that the 10-year ESPN personality will remain with the sports media giant. Russillo reports “I’m staying at ESPN” after his status with the company was being questioned. His former radio partner Scott Van Pelt recently leaving the radio gig for new roles in ESPN’s cable programming and other highly publicized cuts at the company had industry watchers wondering if Russillo would remain…..At Calvary-owned Pittsburgh news outlet KQV, Bruce Sakalik resigns from the station after 15 years — the last 10 as morning news anchor. He leaves radio for a position with Comcast.
Boomer & Carton Host Daniel Bryan. WFAN, New York morning hosts Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) pose for s photo with WWE superstar Daniel Bryan on the show’s set today (7/23). Bryan appeared on the program to plug his new book, Yes! My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania (St. Martin’s Press 2015). During the interview Bryan spoke about his career, his marriage to Bella Twin, Brie Bella, and his story of the couple’s house being robbed.
2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Planned Parenthood Videos, Immigration Policy-Sanctuary Cities, Chattanooga Slayings Aftermath, ISIS Threat, and Sandra Bland Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, the state of the deal with Iran over its nuclear program; fallout over the two recent videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price for human tissue from abortions; the conversation about the immigration policy in the U.S. and the cases of sanctuary cities; the memorials to the Marines slain in the Chattanooga attacks and questions about the radicalization of shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez; the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of the threat posed by ISIS; and scrutiny of the arrest and death of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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.
Talk Radio Superstar Mark Levin Interviewed on New Installment of ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk show host, author and legal scholar Mark Levin joins TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of “Up Close and Far Out,” PodcastOne’s international hit podcast for media freaks. The two outspoken media figures discuss the endless nuances of political labeling, the state of the First Amendment, the U.S. Constitution, the balance of power between the Federal Government and the individual states, the American Civil War, and differences between statesmanship during the American Revolution and today. Levin admits that he is a “media freak” having been a fan of talk radio since his early teens when he listened to all-night shows on his transistor radio. Regarding the nature of the times during which some 56 American “politicians” signed a document for freedom risking certain death if the colonists couldn’t defeat the world’s most awesome military power on the planet, Levin wistfully says, “I actually wish I lived during those days.” To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
WGMD, Rehoboth Beach Cuts Ties with Todd Schoenberger. It appears that Resort Broadcasting has parted ways with talk host and former hedge fund manager Todd Schoenberger. All references to him have been removed from the station’s website. In a follow-up to the story TALKERS reported yesterday (6/8), Schoenberger was to be part of the station’s new lineup hosting afternoon drive and three days into his gig it was reported that he was sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud. Schoenberger admitted to fraudulent conduct in a case in which he convinced four investors to invest $130,000 for a hedge fund he said had $65 million under management, but in reality contained no assets at all. Schoenberger had been a regular guest on FOX News, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg.
WTEM, Washington Extends Deal with Doc Walker. Washington Redskins great Rick “Doc” Walker will remain part of the “Inside the Locker Room” afternoon show with Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson after agreeing to terms on a contract extension with Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” Walker also serves as a sideline reporter for the Redskins Radio Network. Walker comments, “ESPN 980 is my anchor. We’re building a championship team and I’m honored to be a part of it!”
Odds & Sods. Chattanooga talk show host Brian Joyce will interview former Pennsylvania Senator and current presidential candidate Rick Santorum in the studios of WGOW “Talk Radio 102.3” on Wednesday (6/10). Joyce tells TALKERS that his program was chosen for the appearance by Hamilton County GOP officials and that it’s the first time in station history that an active, major presidential candidate has visited the studios. Santorum is in town to speak to a local GOP chapter…..Dallas market talk radio pro Mark Davis renews his deal with Salem Media Group to continue hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program on KSKY “660 AM The Answer” through 2018. Davis also hosts the Friday morning edition of Salem Radio Network’s “Morning in America” with Bill Bennett and will continue in that role. For years Davis was heard on Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WBAP…..At the iHeartMedia Albany cluster, Jeff Wolf is promoted to program director for news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX “FOX Sports 980.” Wolf replaces Josh Everett who recently moved to the company’s Denver station group to serve as program director of talk outlets KHOW and KKZN…..In Washington, DC, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP and WFED receive accolades from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association. WTOP was honored with nine CAPBA Awards, including an Outstanding Website award for WTOP.com. “Federal News Radio” was for best Multimedia/Online Journalism. Hubbard Washington SVP and general manager Joel Oxley says, “We have an outstanding group of journalists here in Washington, and it’s always great to see their accomplishments recognized by our industry peers. It’s particularly satisfying to see us awarded across the board – from commentary, to sports, to online journalism.”
TalkersRadio Launching a New Talk Program about Animal Rights. TalkersRadio is launching a new show today (6/9) designed to “raise consciousness about the rights, feelings and dignity of our fellow earthly creatures.” The magazine/interview program, titled “Vox Animali,” is produced and hosted by award-winning radio journalist Lori Lundin. It will investigate industrial, corporate and domestic examples of institutionalized animal abuse in our society and spotlight progress being made in the animal rights movement to reverse the situation. Upon making the announcement of this new program’s launch, TALKERS GM of broadcast operations David Bernstein states, “This is the kind of creative, leading-edge talk show that TalkersRadio was initially conceived to spawn and incubate. It is a subject that addresses a huge moral, societal need and there’s a significant audience ready for it.” TalkersRadio is an experimental, online radio platform launched two years ago to serve as a workshop for new, innovative programming concepts. Michael Harrison adds, “It is a privilege and pleasure working with so gifted a radio journalist as Lori Lundin. She brings tremendous experience, intelligence and integrity to all her work. Her compassion for the mistreated and suffering creatures of our world runs deep with authenticity and she brings an uncommon passion to this worthy project that is compelling indeed.” Lori Lundin is a news anchor for WTOP, Washington, DC and a reporter for the Washington Examiner. She joined WTOP after hosting a national news program for the now-defunct America’s Radio News Network. Prior to that she spent four-and-a-half years anchoring morning drive for FOX News Radio. She credits her reporting skills to the years she spent in Sacramento with heritage news/talker KFBK. Lundin has received a number of journalism awards, including a recent national Gracie, a regional Edward R. Murrow and National Headliner Award for a hard news feature, as well as the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association Award for breaking news coverage. She is also a recent breast cancer survivor who works to help and support other women “find meaning from a meaningless disease.” Vox Animali episodes will feature new installments produced monthly and all will be available on demand on TalkersRadio (www.talkers.com/talkersradio). On launching the program, Lundin tells TALKERS, “I am so grateful to TalkersRadio for giving me this wonderful platform to talk about issues I care deeply about. I hope listeners find it interesting and informative as we talk to amazing people working to make this a more compassionate world. If being a voice for the voiceless can in some small way open hearts and minds, this will be a success.” Vox Animali features a new theme intro/outro written and recorded for the program by Gunhill Road pianist Steve Goldrich. TalkersRadio is presently home to “Healed Planet,” a monthly show about the human consciousness movement hosted by FOX News Radio host Alan Colmes and a variety of programs hosted and produced by Lionel of LionelMedia.com. It launched “American Family Farmer” hosted by Doug Stephan and “The Brent & Meg Show” hosted by Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald – both now doing well in terrestrial radio syndication. To visit TalkersRadio, please click here.
Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson to Host ‘Gratitude and Trust’ Podcast. The “Gratitude and Trust” podcast featuring Oscar and Grammy-winning songwriter, and recovery advocate Paul Williams, and screenwriter and author Tracey Jackson, is available on PodcastOne. The two hosts are adapting ideas from their New York Times bestselling book Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life to an audio program “through spirited conversation that educates and entertains, as much as it inspires and enlightens listeners with new insights on how to get what you want and how to keep it.” The first episode features comedian and media personality Chris Hardwick followed by producer, director and screenwriter Judd Apatow on June 16. PodcastOne founder and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “I’ve known Paul forever and Tracey is someone you feel like you’ve known forever after spending 10 minutes in the same room. The stories, the guests, and the service that will permeate this new podcast make us all proud. I’m more than happy to welcome Paul and Tracey’s ‘Gratitude and Trust’ podcast to our network.”
Police Protests/Dallas Pool Party Incident, SCOTUS Born in Jerusalem Decision, Escaped New York Convicts, 2016 Presidential Race, ISIS Military Progress, TSA SNAFUs, Dennis Hastert Case, Obama Trade Deal, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The controversial video of police breaking up a pool party in Texas and protests over police brutality against minorities; the Supreme Court’s ruling on Jerusalem-birth certificate matter; the hunt for two murderers who escaped from a New York State prison; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the military progress of ISIS in Iraq and Syria; the TSA’s missing 73 airport/airline employees on the terror watch list; the legal case surrounding former House Speaker Dennis Hastert; the controversy over the TTP trade deal; and the NBA and NHL Finals action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jason Barrett to Leave KGMZ, San Francisco for Family Reasons. In an emotional-yet-reasoned blog post, sports talk programmer Jason Barrett explains the reason for his imminent departure from the PD position at Entercom’s KGMZ “95.7 The Game.” Barrett has been travelling from California to Upstate New York every two or three weeks to visit his son who is living with Barrett’s parents. He says the physical and psychological toll on the arrangement is too much and, as much as he loves his gig in San Francisco, he’s moving to New York to be with his son. Read the entire blog post here.
KCBS-AM, San Francisco’s Cavagnaro Sets His Retirement. After spending 37 years at KCBS-AM, San Francisco, Ed Cavagnaro will retire in early-April as the station’s director of news & programming. Senior vice president and market manager Doug Harvill states, “Ed Cavagnaro built and led KCBS-AM into its status as the Bay Area’s number one radio station. He did this by hiring and managing an intelligent and capable news staff and empowering them to do their very best. Personally, I will greatly miss working with Ed. He’s truly an inspirational leader and one of the best news people on the planet.” The 63-year-old Cavagnaro comments, “There is a lot more to do and see – I didn’t want to wait too long to try new things. I have been lucky to work at [KCBS-AM] for so long. It has been an honor to be the news and program director at such a great radio station working with so many talented people.” The San Francisco native has a Masters degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He previously worked for the Medill News Service and he was an aide to a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors before joining KCBS-AM in 1977 as a promotion assistant. Cavagnaro subsequently held a variety of jobs at the station – including managing editor and assistant director of news & programming before being promoted to his present role in 1988.
Sports Talker Steve Czaban Celebrates 25th Anniversary. Sports talk personality Steve Czaban is celebrating his 25th year in the sports talk biz this year. Czaban co-hosts the afternoon drive show on Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington (with Chris Cooley) and also hosts the morning drive show on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network. Czaban comments, “Twenty five years presiding over some of the dumbest arguments in sports has flown by in a blink. I guess that’s what happens when you are just trying to have fun with listeners every day on the radio. I am thankful to Yahoo! Sports Radio and WTEM for letting me do the kind of radio that is fun and engaging, and doesn’t take itself or the sports we cover, too seriously.”
Odds & Sods. Former KOTV-TV, Tulsa anchor/investigative reporter Tami Marler joins Journal Broadcast Group‘s KFAQ “Tulsa’s Talk Radio” as executive producer/news director. Elsewhere at the station, part-time technical producer David Prock is boosted to full-time and will handle afternoon news updates…..After a year off terrestrial radio in the wake of the changes at Talk Radio Network, Rusty Humphries announces, via a video at The Washington Times, that he’s beginning a weekly podcast called “The Rusty Humphries Rebellion.”…..According to a story in The Oregonian, iHeartMedia’s sports talk KPOJ will add a local morning drive show to the lineup beginning in March. The paper reports that current KIRO-AM, Seattle evening personalities Justin Myers and Andy Bunker will host the program. Myers tells the paper, “It’s a huge opportunity because Portland doesn’t have a morning show. That’s the biggest thing – having a local morning show that people can listen to on their way to work is huge.” An official announcement is expected in the next week…..Amanda Gifford is promoted to senior director, daytime programming, ESPN Audio. The sports giant says that Gifford will continue to oversee all aspects of “Mike & Mike,” in addition to “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “SVP & Russillo,” and the Dan Le Batard show.
The Continuing Evolution of Dr. Joy Browne. The outstanding talk radio career of psychologist Dr. Joy Browne has spanned more than 35 years but the GCN-syndicated, nationally-known personality says her show is not the same as it was at the beginning. “The show has evolved so much in the last 30 years and I would argue that it even evolves on a day-to-day basis. It is never the same.” Having survived a variety of movements and trends within the news/talk genre, including the present one marked by the domination of partisan politics, the Dr. Joy Browne show has remained a mainstay of talk radio programming in New York City as well as across America. “That,” in the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “is a remarkable accomplishment, considering how timid programmers can be about stretching the boundaries of their stationality and a stunning tribute to the universality of this remarkable talent’s appeal.” Now, Dr. Browne is again expanding her horizons with the enormous undertaking of entrepreneurship by assuming ownership of her show and all the responsibilities that such a commitment involves. In the words of TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In an era when so many ‘talent’ are now facing the viable option of being in business for themselves, Dr. Joy Browne is setting an inspirational example of how it can be done.” In a profile piece by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, Browne says that taking on the task of owning her show (as opposed to being an employee of a station or network) in today’s business climate is challenging, but something she’s set out to do because she loves what she does and successfully helping people is not only what makes the show work, but gives her satisfaction. “The only behavior I can help change is yours, but that isn’t what a caller wants to hear. They want me to tell them that the other person is to blame. I have to change their mind but I don’t have a lot of time to do it. We talk about the guts of a person’s life – their job, income, relationship, sex life, kids, or a next-door neighbor. My job is to get through and when I do, there is nothing else like it in the world.” Read the entire piece here.
Matt Patrick Helps Raise $$ for Fisher House Houston. Texas talk show host Matt Patrick (left) accepts a couple of awards from Fisher House manager Frank Kelley (right) on behalf of his listeners who pledged close to $40,000 to Fisher House in Houston last Veteran’s Day weekend during the annual radiothon Patrick spearheads. Patrick is heard on iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston; sister talk station KPRC, Houston and the company’s talk KFXR, Dallas. The funds raised go to the two Fisher Houses in Houston’s Medical Center.
Former Chicago Attorney, Talk Host, Sentenced on Fraud Conviction. Former attorney Kathleen Niew was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison after defrauding a Chicago-area couple of $2.3 million. At one time Niew hosted a brokered, weekend call-in show on Salem Communications-owned WIND. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Niew led the couple to believe their money was being held for closings on commercial real estate deals. Instead, Niew was using their cash for wildly speculative gold mining operation investments around the world. Niew, who lost all of the couple’s money, pleaded guilty last June to the fraud charges.
Brian Williams Suspended, ISIS Violence/Death of Kayla Mueller, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Net Neutrality Proposal, Bobbi Kristina Fate, and Jon Stewart to Leave ‘Daily Show’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The controversy surrounding NBC’s Brian Williams and his suspension from the network’s news department; the violence being waged by ISIS and the death of American missionary Kayla Mueller; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the FCC’s proposal to regulate the internet; the fate of Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina; and Jon Stewart’s announcement he’ll leave the “Daily Show” this year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus talk outlet regaining prominence in nation’s Capital Region
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Even if not somewhat excusably misused, “heritage” is among the buzzwords many broadcasters hyperbolically invoke when proudly discussing their station and/or a particular on-air talent.
Not limited to a particular genre, it could apply to any format, although scores within the industry still choose to link “heritage” to dominant, institutional, full-service stations with larger-than-life personalities.
In the nation’s capital, for instance, the mighty morning team of “Harden & Weaver,” who beginning in 1960, prevailed in DC for approximately three decades, reinforced WMAL as “heritage” calls there.
Simultaneous with “Harden & Weaver” solidifying their own place in radio history (Frank Harden is now 92 — Jackson Weaver passed away in 1992), they were largely aiding to foster the station’s legacy — the Cumulus Media-owned talker is flourishing in 2014.
Morning mall entertainment
Overseeing then Citadel-owned WMAL from Chicago, where he programmed sister talker WLS-AM, Drew Hayes in August 2010 brought in former Air America programming honcho Bill Hess as assistant program director. Approximately one year later, Cumulus acquired Citadel and Hess was elevated to program director.
Chip Franklin Named Midday Host at KGO, San Francisco. The next step in returning KGO to its talk roots from the newsy experiment that began a few years ago comes as Chip Franklin takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning December 8. Franklin has had long talk radio stints – most recently with KOGO, San Diego from 2007 to 2013 and with WBAL, Baltimore from 1999 to 2007 – and is also working writing position pieces and prep for guests on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Good Morning America” and “Face the Nation.” He also regularly appears at comedy clubs across the U.S. On his new gig, Franklin comments, “The current narrative is that San Francisco is all liberals, progressives and Democrats mixed in with the occasional 4.9. Maybe, but I see it more as a city that simply embraces freedom and more to the point, the free expression of ideas regardless of ideology. Whether it’s politics, art, music or comedy, it all starts with a passion for discovery – discovery of life here in the Bay area, the wider world, and our inner lives.” Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming John Dickey says, “KGO strives to inform and entertain the Bay Area with relevant news and compelling talk hosted by big personalities. Chip Franklin’s point of view, intelligence and wit are going to drive some amazing conversations on KGO.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York and CBS “Inside Edition” special correspondent Rita Cosby celebrated her 50th birthday hosting a special benefit for the Wounded Warriors Project at the Hotel Edison in New York City recently. Among the 1,000-plus guests and celebs attending the fundraiser were fellow WABC personalities Curtis Sliwa and Geraldo Rivera. Cosby is pictured here in this photo, (courtesy of Nicole Vranjican), with Broadway’s Tomaczek Bednarek at the event. Read more about the party here…..WPGG, Atlantic City talk show host Harry Hurley is named to the PolitickerNJ’s “2014 Power List.” This is the eighth time Hurley – morning personality on the Townsquare Media news/talk station – has been named to the list…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds former Sun-Times columnist and critic Dave Hoekstra who will host his weekly “Evening Journal” radio program on the station beginning in December. The program will air Saturday evenings.
‘Sports Fix’ Celebrates Five Years on WTEM, Washington. Washington, DC midday sports talk show “The Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro is celebrating its fifth anniversary on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM “ESPN 980.” The station says the program “has been a ratings leader, achieving #1-ratings in its time slot throughout the five-year run.” Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza adds, “‘The Sports Fix’ has been a constant performer. Kevin, Thom and producer Marc Sterne perform at a high level every day and it shows in their consistency and ratings success.”
Clear Channel Satellite Services to Serve iHeartMedia Only. In a story by Leslie Stimson at Radio World, iHeartMedia, the parent company of Clear Channel Satellite Services, is informing clients that it will no longer provide satellite services to non-iHeartMedia operators. Contracts currently existing will be honored until they expire and the company will not accept new ones. A memo from CCSS reads, in part: “In the coming weeks, our team will be working with the existing customers to discuss the best way for a smooth transition to a new provider. Customers with soon-expiring contracts will have the option to continue their service on a month-to-month basis until we’ve found a suitable assignee for the business.”
October Revenue Gains Reported in Los Angeles, San Diego. According to Miller Kaplan Arase‘s October summary report, Los Angeles posted increases of 3% for local spot and nearly double that (5.7%) for national spot. Meanwhile, San Diego was +1.3% local spot and a substantially higher +18% for national spot. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan comments, “Our entire region produced a very robust October as the critical fourth quarter began. The sluggish third quarter performance we had is a distant memory, as advertisers once again looked to Southern California radio for increased market share and real revenue results. Our combined market growth in October should set the stage for a dramatic and positive finish for [fourth quarter] and 2014. Our members’ efforts to provide proactive solutions to client challenges really came together in October. We see enormous positive energy in our markets and our continued regional focus on radio’s ROI is making a difference for all of our member sales teams.” Revenue in the “NTR/Network/Other” category improved last month by a whopping (approximately) 63% in Los Angeles and 26.3% in San Diego. October’s total market revenue for Los Angeles was 7.1%, while San Diego’s was 8.8%. Year-to-date total market revenue though is -2.2% (Los Angeles) and 2.9% (San Diego).
Ferguson Grand Jury Tensions, Jerusalem Terror Attacks, Keystone Bill Vote, Early Cold and Snow, ObamaCare/Gruber Controversy, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The simmering tensions in Ferguson as the public awaits the grand jury’s decision whether to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown; Tuesday’s slayings in a Jerusalem temple; the failed vote in the U.S. Senate to move ahead with the Keystone Pipeline project; the six feet of snow that blanketed Buffalo and the cold affecting the rest of the country; the ObamaCare controversy surrounding plan architect Jonathan Gruber; and the new allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
ESPN Suspends Kellerman. There is yet more fallout related to the ugly domestic violence incident that led to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice‘s two-game ban for domestic violence. As we have already reported, ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith for a week after the commentator suggested that women should be careful not to “provoke” domestic violence incidents. Smith labeled those comments the biggest mistake of his career and he apologized for making the inference. The network has now reportedly handed out a suspension to ESPN Los Angeles (KSPN) and “SportsNation” host Max Kellerman, who acknowledged hitting his girlfriend quite a few years ago. Kellerman was talking with Steve Mason & John Ireland, whose radio program precedes the one co-hosted by Kellerman and former NFL player Marcellus Wiley (“Max & Marcellus,” weekdays 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm). Kellerman was recollecting a college-era incident involving his then-girlfriend. She and Kellerman had been drinking and according to Kellerman, they slapped each other. Kellerman stressed that the two have been happily married (for roughly 20 years). In a statement ESPN released last Friday (8/8), the network would not confirm the suspension, but stated, “Max Kellerman will return to ESPN Los Angeles Radio and SportsNation on Thursday [8/14].” In addition to his ESPN duties, Kellerman is an HBO Sports boxing analyst. As you might recall, Rice and his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, who is now his wife, were involved in a physical altercation with each other this past February. Rice was suspended by the NFL for violating its personal-conduct policy.
Cumulus Rumored to Be Eying Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra DC Properties. The story is reported by Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com that Cumulus Media is interested in the four signals that make up the Red Zebra Washington, DC-area cluster, including WTEM, Washington; WSPZ, Bethesda, Maryland; WWXT-FM, Prince Frederick, Maryland; and WWXX, Buckland, Virginia. The station group has been on the block for a while and DCRTV.com speculates that Cumulus would like to get its country “NASH FM” format into the Washington metro.
Joe Pags to Be Interim ‘America Now’ Host. The 130 affiliates of Premiere Networks’ “America Now” program will be getting San Antonio-based talk personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo. Joe Pags tells TALKERS magazine that the syndicated program – which until recently featured Andy Dean as host – will carry his daily show based at WOAI and that is also heard on Clear Channel-owned stations KPRC, Houston; KEX, Portland; KHOW, Denver; and KTLK, Minneapolis, for the foreseeable future while a new host for the show is sought.
Saga Communications Reports Flat Q2. On 2014 second quarter operating revenue of $33.8 million, Saga Communications announces it was compared to the same period a year ago. Other figures reported include: operating income from continuing operations was $8.2 million; net income for the period was $4.8 million; and free cash flow was $5.9 million. Station operating expense was $23.5 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations). Net operating revenue for the period ended June 30, 2014 increased 0.7% to $63.3 million compared to $62.8 million for the same period last year.
WRHD, Greenville Flips to Sports Talk. Dropping the adult contemporary format for sports talk is Inner Banks Media-owned AC WRHD, Greenville, North Carolina “Star 94.3” which begins a new life as “94.3 The Game.” The station is using regional sports talk from Capitol Broadcasting’s Raleigh-Durham sports stations “ESPN Triangle” and Fox Sports Radio content. Morning drive features WDNC, Durham personalities Mike & Mark (Mike Maniscalco and Mark Thomas) and WCMC, Raleigh afternoon drivers Adam Gold and Joe Ovies. Middays include FSRN’s Andy Furman and Mike North followed by Jay Mohr. Evenings and weekends feature FSRN programming.
New Production Facility to Coincide with Kim Komando TV Show Evolution. As the Kim Komando program continues its evolution from a pure radio program to a combo radio/digital TV show, WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment announces it is procuring a new 24,000 square foot live facility in central Phoenix to be the new home of the company. WestStar president and CEO Barry Young says, “Over the past year, we have been experimenting with a live HD video production of the Kim Komando show. While we cannot envision any scenario whereby we would move away from our core product, radio, we also realize that the ‘core product’ is changing rapidly. Radio producers who rely on a ‘one-camera web-shot’ video product will be caught short of the new standard. For this reason, we believe that nothing less than a full digital HD video production, suitable to network and broadcast syndication, is appropriate for an established benchmark program such as the Kim Komando show. That level of production, together with future projects still under wraps, is not possible with anything less than a major-league production facility, such as the one we are building here in Phoenix.” The company says that the new facility (seen in the artist’s rendering here) will be fully operational by May of 2015 and will serve as the new home to WestStar Corporate Offices, broadcast, digital sales, entertainment, film operations, 24-hour network broadcast operations center and all online operations. The plant will incorporate five digital radio broadcast studios, two voice-over studios, two digital radio production rooms, three digital video production edit rooms, radio master control, television master control, a 2,500 square foot television sound stage and a high-security server hosting facility.
Setting Up WordPress and PodPress for a Podcast. Syndicated talk show host Michael W. Dean began his radio program as a podcast. He writes a brief column for TALKERS today (8/11) that introduces his philosophy of podcasting and provides a link to a step-by-step video that shows talk show producers how to navigate WordPress and the PodPress plugin to get their programs up and running. Check it out here.
Kenny Loggins Guests on ‘The Saturday Café’ on WABC, New York. Music icon Kenny Loggins was Laura Smith’s guest on WABC’s “Saturday Café” this past weekend. The show aired at 7:00 pm on Saturday during which Loggins talked about writing songs as a teen, touring the world with his new shows, and his passion for music. He also promoted his latest project – a new album with a country/rock trio called The Blue Sky Riders – that is being released through a Kickstarter campaign. Pictured here are Loggins (left) and Smith (right).
Los Angeles Radio Mourns George Nicholaw’s Passing. Owing to the fact that George Nicholaw was among a rare group of radio general managers who passionately and regularly delivered on-air editorials, listeners to Los Angeles all-news operation KNX were very familiar with his name and voice. The longtime Southern California broadcaster was 85 when he passed away this past Saturday (8/9). Nicholaw had been with CBS Radio-owned KNX for 36 years (1967-2003), including when the station adopted its all-news format in 1968. Exiting the station at the age of 74, he filed what proved to be an unsuccessful lawsuit against KNX ownership for age discrimination. Regarding Nicholaw, veteran KNX business anchor Frank Mottek commented, “He was a fine gentleman and a broadcast pioneer. He took an enormous amount of pride in journalism, and in excellence in broadcasting.” On his Facebook page, former KNX anchor Larry Van Nuys notes, “I am saddened by the passing of broadcasting giant George Nicholaw. While I can’t claim to have known him well, I can say it is a great loss to all of us who admired him. I, along with so many others, benefitted from his journalistic integrity, broadcasting courage and lasting legacy. He had talent, great understanding, and class.” Nicholaw died at his home after being hospitalized with an infection.
Dan Mandis Hosts Early Afternoon Show at WWTN, Nashville. Talk radio pro Dan Mandis is the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality at Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7.” Mandis, who spent years as executive producer of the Dr. Laura Program, has most recently been programming such talk radio outlets as Clear Channel’s KHOW and KKZN in Denver and Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne. He also hosted the Saturday morning show on KOA, Denver. With Mandis’ arrival at “SuperTalk 99.7,” the station is now live and local from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. He’ll follow morning host Ralph Bristol and late morning personality Michael DelGiorno while leading into PM drive host Phil Valentine. WWTN program director Brian Wilson states, “We think Dan’s view of the world is just familiar enough to be comfortable for our audience and at the same time just different enough that he’ll make a lot of people stop and think twice about the disease behind the symptoms. As the fourth leg to the table, we think all our core shows will complement each other. The effect is that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.” Mandis comments, “There are so many reasons to be excited about this opportunity. Being part of an amazing talk radio station on FM is one, and living in a great city like Nashville is another. I honestly can’t wait to get started.”
‘PowerTalk 96.7’ Fresno Host Bill Manders Receives Kidney from Teen Suicide Victim. Afternoon drive personality Bill Manders returned to his show on Clear Channel’s news/talk duo KALZ and KRZR in Fresno after kidney transplant surgery three weeks ago. According to local TV station KFSN, Manders received a kidney from a local teen who had just committed suicide. It turns out 17-year-old Lexi Morris’ father Jason is a regular listener to Manders’ program and made the unusual request that Manders receive his daughter’s kidney. As the story notes, this is not the usual procedure but the kidney was a perfect match. Manders tells the TV station, “I was in tears when I heard her story, but I would rather concentrate on the plusses in her life. She was smart, athletic, she has a great family, and I know she’s there looking down on me, so I’ve got to honor her.” Read the whole story here.
Marc Hochman Officially Signs with Beasley to Host PM Drive on WQAM, Miami. Nothing is ever official until the contract is signed but Marc Hochman’s departure from Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WAXY last fall with the intent on sitting out his non-compete and landing in PM drive at WQAM was one of radio’s worst-kept secrets. As soon as it was legal (at 12:01 am on 4/1), Hochman (second from left) inked a pact with WQAM to begin his run as the station’s afternoon personality. The new Marc Hochman show will also feature Zach Krantz (right), former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Sha Tabb (second from right), and longtime WQAM producer Victor Bermudez (left). WQAM program director Andy King says, “Marc is an incredible talent and one of the most creative minds in radio. His ability to blend sports, pop culture and humor into an entertaining show has led him to tremendous success throughout his career and I’m excited for him to continue that success here at 560 WQAM.” Hochman adds, “I am the quintessential ‘radio nerd,’ so the opportunity for me to host an afternoon drive show on the most legendary sports talk station in Miami was one that I couldn’t pass up. When I first moved to Miami in 1987, I listened to WQAM all the time. Now, a little over 25 years later, I’ll be sitting behind that microphone, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!” The station also announces that one of the most legendary voices in South Florida sports history, Howard Schnellenberger, has signed on as the imaging voice of the Marc Hochman show. All the show intros and production will be voiced by Schnellenberger.
Melanie Morgan Returns to Radio in Santa Rosa. Long time Bay Area news radio and talk radio pro Melanie Morgan (formerly with Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco and, for a time, with TRN’s “America’s Morning News”) joined Sonoma Media Group-owned KSRO, Santa Rosa, California as news director and morning anchor. She began her news director duties yesterday (3/31) and starts on-air next Monday (4/7). Melanie replaces a heritage morning news anchor, David Wesley Page, who retired from radio about a month ago after nearly 30 years on the KSRO morning news. Morgan is married to former longtime KGO program director Jack Swanson.
Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson Re-Up with WTEM, Washington. Two of Doc Walker’s co-hosts on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN980” are in the fold for another three years. The company announces that Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson have extended their contracts with the station, keeping them on the “Inside the Locker Room” with Walker through 2017. The mid-afternoon show teams former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with veteran talk show host Scott Jackson. Mitchell has been a part of the “ESPN980” family for five years. Brian also is a contributing member of the Washington Redskins Radio Network, offering analysis pre-game, post-game and during halftime. Jackson has worked at WTEM for nine years and will serve in many additional roles, including hosting “Redskins Recap,” Mondays after Washington Redskins games and as the station’s lead NBA analyst. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “’Inside the Locker Room’ has been a ratings success. To have all three guys under contract for the next few years makes our station stronger. Doc, B-Mitch and Jack have so much fun on the air, you can’t help but laugh along with them while listening.”
Business Rockstars Radio Affiliates with CRN Digital Talk Radio. This week “Business Rockstars Radio,” hosted by Ken Rutkowski began an affiliation relationship with CRN Digital Talk Radio. The program that features “Rockstar” CEOs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups targeting the 30 million “Wantrepreneurs” in the U.S., joins CRN’s integrated audio platform combining television, radio and social media. CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO Mike Horn says, “We’re thrilled about our new partnership with ‘Business Rockstars Radio,’ a show with such compelling content, we’ve decided to air it three different times across our platform. ‘Business Rockstars Radio’ is the only national entrepreneurial radio show that brings in ‘Rockstar’ CEOs and entrepreneurs combined with the magic of Ken Rutkowki’s talent and continuing with each guest on the show. We are also excited to partner with the legendary Steve Lehman, a name synonymous with cutting-edge talk radio.” Lehman adds, “We’re excited to expand the Business Rockstars Radio footprint by joining Mike Horn’s renowned CRN Digital Talk Radio Network. This new alliance will add an additional 11 million television households across the U.S. to the Business Rockstars Radio Network, allowing us to reach more ‘Wantrepreneurs’ with fun, fast-paced, and compelling content about growing, starting, and funding businesses.” Business Rockstars Radio guests include some of the biggest CEOs and entrepreneurs daily, including: Nolan Bushnell (Atari and Chuck E. Cheese Founder), Akon (musician and entrepreneur), Daymond John (Host of ABC’s “Shark Tank”), Cheryl Tiegs (model, actress and entrepreneur), Thom Beers (CEO of Freemantle Media), Scott Painter (Founder and CEO of TruCar) and many others.
Sports Talk Post-Super Bowl. The American sports (and money!) juggernaut that is the National Football League plays a huge role in the success of sports talk radio in America. Not to disparage the MLB, NBA, NHL and NCAA, but it’s clearly the most successful and popular league in professional sports in America. So, what effect does the end of the NFL’s season the first weekend in February have on sports talk stations? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at sports talk radio’s performance in PPM markets leading up to the Super Bowl and in the month that follows. Check out his report here.
McHale Named VP/CTO for Journal Broadcast Group. The Milwaukee-based company announces Brian McHale is its new vice president and chief technology officer, overseeing “the leadership, management, implementation and long-term planning of the company’s technical and physical infrastructure across its 13 television stations and 35 radio stations in 11 states.” Journal Broadcast Group also says McHale will “ensure the efficient and on-schedule delivery of media content, identify emerging technologies and how to profitably deploy them, and work closely with Journal’s leadership team to develop the company’s operational and strategic direction.” McHale comes to Journal from Seattle’s Fisher Communications where he was vice president of technology.
How to Help Your Remote Guests Shine. Radio is a busy business and sometimes hosts must process guests with a level of assembly-line speed that doesn’t always allow for the kind of attention to detail that can make the difference between a quality broadcast and a tune-out. Many interviews on radio sound like there was no forethought to audio quality. And many guests sound like they were thrown into an unfamiliar situation with no preparation. In a very helpful, extensive advice piece posted today (4/1) Genesis Communications Network (GCN) talk show host Michael W. Dean (“The Freedom Feens” and “Michael Dean After Dark”) offers advice on how to maximize the quality of your remote guests covering everything from programming content to technical delivery in today’s frenzied radio environment. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
ObamaCare Criticism, Russian Aggression, North and South Korean Tensions, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Discrepancies, Global Warming, and “Noah” Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the international implications of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Eastern Europe and President Obama’s dealings with Vladimir Putin; heating tensions between North and South Korea; conflicting information from the Malaysian government about the disappearance of Flight 370; renewed debate about global climate change; and criticism of the new film “Noah” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bid4Spots: Auction an Alternative to Unsold Inventory. In a piece published today (7/23), TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian profiles Dave Newmark’s successful Bid4Spots digital auction initiative. There was a time when numerous players were getting into the business of using the internet to deal with unsold inventory on radio stations. Dave Newmark tells Mike Kinosian why the others failed and how he struggled to find the right business model that would eventually lead to success. It was during a casual conversation with a software developer when he had an epiphany. “I immediately thought of those ad exchanges and I realized what they all had wrong. They had the supply and demand equation backwards. Forward auctions work well only when the demand is high and the supply is low. If I could figure out when demand would be at its lowest point – when regular airtime buyers were pretty much gone from the store – it would be as close to ‘next week’ as possible.” Newmark’s road to success was not a smooth one. In this fascinating piece he details his trials and tribulations. He also explains why stations and advertisers are happy with his model of moving unsold inventory. Read it all here.
Are You a Thinker or a Feeler? More importantly, are your listeners and callers thinkers or feelers? In a new TALKERS column posted today (7/23) by branding specialist Dr. John Tantillo, he states that understanding the difference between these two approaches to the issues of the day can have an impact on your show and determine how effectively you orchestrate discussions of them on the air. Using the examples of the current Zimmerman verdict and Rolling Stone cover controversy, Dr. Tantillo examines the relationship between branding and controversy pointing out that the most important thing to focus upon is how the controversy directly impacts the customer’s (or fan’s) loyalty to the brand and nobody else’s. He says we should be less concerned about public relations and more interested in “targeted relations.” To read the entire column, please click here.
Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan Named Among ‘Giants of Broadcasting’ Honorees. This is the 11th annual staging of the “Giants of Broadcasting” that is sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting. It celebrates “distinguished leadership or performance in television and radio” and will take place October 16 at New York’s Gotham Hall. Smulyan is among 11 honorees this year including Anne Sweeney, Alex Trebek, Barry Diller, Morley Safer, Dick Cavett, Robert L. Johnson, David E. Kelley, Richard E. Wiley, Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper. The Library of American Broadcasting is located at the University of Maryland and the organization states it is “entering its 42nd year serving as the national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise. Its collections of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive.”
Red Zebra Re-Tools Afternoons on WTEM, Washington. Recently retired Washington Redskins star Chris Cooley becomes part of the new “The Drive with Cooley and Czabe” afternoon program on Red Zebra-owned sports talk outlet WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980”. Cooley – who just joined the station for Washington Redskins game broadcasts with the company – joins Steve Czaban and WTEM weekend host Al Galdi for the new program that will debut August 1 and will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Czaban currently hosts “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin in the afternoon drive slot. Red Zebra says Pollin remains with the station and will sub for the vacationing Tony Kornheiser beginning August 5. About the new show, Czaban jokes, “I will work tirelessly to make Chris Cooley the second-most-beloved ex-Redskin tight end on radio in the DC market.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage of Greenville, South Carolina. Jorgenson was a 12-year veteran of television sales and radio ownership in Southeastern markets before deciding that he liked putting deals together better than he did operating stations. He says, “I enjoy matching people up with great opportunities and that’s what the brokerage business is all about.” Jorgenson describes today’s radio station market as “sluggish due to a lack of capital to finance deals.” He says, “There are plenty of potential buyers and even more potential sellers but without institutional financing to make the deals happen, we won’t see the volume of transactions we’ve seen in the past. Brokers have to be creative and persistent to make deals happen in today’s financial climate.” He continues, “There are even radio deals where some portion of the purchase price might be handled with a seller note. The key is for the buyer to have access to at least some cash. Private investors, family, and friends are the most likely source to finance new ventures these days.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Is Set for Thursday, October 10. The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10 and its outstanding agenda is shaping up to be a blockbuster. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering. It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.” The event – open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York). Speakers already set include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more to be announced in the coming days. The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and the event is expected to be a very early sellout. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
WFAS, White Plains Afternoon Host Lisa Wexler to Run for Judicial Office. Lisa Wexler is an attorney and currently the PM drive talk host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WFAS, White Plains, New York. She tells TALKERS magazine she’s being nominated to run as a Republican for the Probate Judge of Weston and Westport (Connecticut) in November. “I’ve practiced this area of law for many years, and I’m very excited to run and be able to serve the people with knowledge and compassion.” Wexler notes the position is part time and, if elected, she will be able to continue her radio work.
WRSB, Canandaigua, New York to Flip to Business Talk. The station was purchased earlier this summer by Genesee Media Corporation and has been serving the area south of Rochester with a religious format. According to YNN.com, GMC will brand the station “Business 1310” and will use programming from Bloomberg, NBC News and Marketwatch. The report also indicates that Genesee intends to add the programming to other AM signals in the region.
Sonoma Media Group Announces Kevin Wodlinger Is New Local Business Development Manager. The company says Kevin Wodlinger comes to its five-station Santa Rosa, California cluster from his most recent position in Grand Junction, Colorado as market manager for the Cumulus Media cluster that is now owned by Townsquare Media. Wodlinger replaces longtime employee Jeriann D’Elicio, who recently announced her resignation. Michael O’Shea, president of Sonoma Media Group, comments, “Kevin is the real deal – a consummate sales executive with a great track record of teaching, coaching and leading in local business development. We are delighted to have his expertise and leadership in our building.” The company operates news/talk KSRO, country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” classic rock KVRV “97.7 The River FM,” hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9,” and CHr KHTH “Hot 101.7.”
New Motor Sports Network to Begin Operations. The Midwest Racing Radio Network announces it is preparing to begin operations and has named Brian Douglas vice president of broadcast operations. Douglas also serves as host. The company states it will initially feature one two-hour motorsports show via live audio stream and podcast in a format for broadcast stations to air daily five days a week. Also, the network will feature a live one-hour Sunday evening program and a national highlights podcast show containing results, interviews, and the upcoming regional racing schedules as submitted from tracks across the country.
Cigar Dave Goes Live on TV. Nationally syndicated media personality “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz is pictured here (at right) hosting the first-ever live televised broadcasts from the 2013 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Convention at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. The telecasts aired live on Sunday, July 14, Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. Cigar Dave reports his telecasts featured new premium cigar releases and accessories, interviews with premium cigar manufacturers and personalities, and presented viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the IPCPR Convention, that up to now, has been closed to the general public and only open to the trade. “Cigar Dave” says, “This marks the next evolution of the Cigar Dave Show as we transition into a digital, multi-platform provider of relevant content for Alpha Males. Eighteen years ago, I was the first broadcaster to host a radio show dedicated to cigars and the Alpha Male-lifestyle. This year’s live IPCPR telecasts commence a major expansion into televised and digital content that appeals to Alpha Males and a new generation of Millennial Males who enjoy cigars, spirits, manly pursuits, and the Good Life.”
Odds & Sods. Public radio station WKSU, Kent, Ohio drops some of the daily classical music programming to add NPR’s “The Takeaway” with John Hockenberry and “On Point” with Tom Ashford to the midday schedule…..Sun Broadcasting changes the news/talk trimulcast of WFSX-AM and FM and WNOG-AM in Fort Myers. It keeps WFSX-FM news/talk as “92.5 Fox News” and pairs up the AMs as a sports talk duo “The Fan.”
ObamaCare Implementation, Detroit Bankruptcy, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Race, U.S. Syria Policy and British Prince Born Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The delay of the employer mandate and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the bankruptcy case of the city of Detroit; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential race; the United States’ policy regarding Syria; and the birth of the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Arbitron Files Complaint Against Renda’s Jacksonville Stations. Renda is a subscriber to Arbitron in some markets but hasn’t been a subscriber for its Jacksonville stations since 2010. In the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division, Arbitron alleges that Renda Jacksonville general manager Bill Reese received printed and emailed data from a senior executive at a local advertising agency of whom Reese is a professional and personal friend on numerous occasions throughout 2011 and 2012. The complaint also cites sales manager Charlie Jennings, program director Chuck Beck and air personality Arthur Crofton as receiving the data. Arbitron is seeking $150,000 per act in an amount not less than $500,000 plus attorneys’ fees.
Possible Sports Talk Shake-Up in Dallas. The Dallas Morning News’ Barry Horn is reporting that sports KTCK, Dallas early afternoon duo Bob Sturm (l) and Dan McDowell (r) – known as BaD Radio – are in negotiations to move to CBS Radio’s crosstown KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot. Horn reports that “Ticket types” are not confident the duo will remain with Cumulus Media’s KTCK and expects that the deal could be done as soon as today (6/24).
Tavis Smiley and BlogTalkRadio Ink Deal. According to a report in The New York Times, public radio broadcaster Tavis Smiley is entering into a deal with Alan Levy’s BlogTalkRadio in which Smiley will produce and anchor a daily program for the internet talk radio site and will produce shows for other contributors under his Tavis Smiley Network banner. Levy tells the paper Smiley is the first broadcaster to be paid to work for BlogTalkRadio. As with the other talk show hosts on the service, Smiley and BlogTalkRadio will split any revenue that is brought to the programs. Smiley’s program – which will last 20 minutes or as long as he feels like talking – will consist of interviews and interaction with listeners.
You Only Need 1,000 Fans to Make a Living in this Business. That was one of the eye-opening facts presented by radio consultant Holland Cooke at the recent Talkers New York 2013 conference (6/6). In a concise, information-packed presentation titled “Resourceful and Remarkable,” Cooke outlines the tremendous benefits talk radio broadcasters can achieve and exploit by properly and effectively using Twitter. Now, you can see the entire not-to-be-missed Holland Cooke presentation, power point slides and all, at TalkersTV by clicking here.
Sam Huff Retires from Washington Redskins Radio Network. Washington Redskins great Sam Huff announces that after 38 years in the radio booth broadcasting the team’s games, he’s ending his regular work with the team’s network. Huff states, “I’ve enjoyed every game that I played, coached and provided color commentary over the last 50 years with the Washington Redskins. I look forward to joining Larry, Sonny and Doc on the pregame show a few times this season.” Red Zebra Brodcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “This is truly the end of an era. You cannot think Redskins Radio without Sam and Sonny. We support Sam’s decision and look forward to having him as a special guest during the season.” The team says Huff will be honored during a pregame ceremony at a to-be-determined Redskins game. Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” serves as flagship for the network.
Seattle Broadcast Legend Pat O’Day to Host Seafair Hydro Race Special on KIRO-FM. The news was shocking to many Emerald City residents when it was announced that local broadcast legend Pat O’Day would not host television coverage of the Hydroplane Race that takes place during the city’s Seafair in early August – something he’s done since 1966. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is bringing O’Day aboard to host the coverage of the race on the radio. The announcement was made on the station’s “Ron and Don Show.” The show’s Don O’Neill states, “Pat is a Seattle broadcasting legend, and we’re really excited to share his longtime experience as the voice of Seafair on our airwaves. Pat and the Seafair hydros have both been a part of our community for many years and we’re not ready for that to end.” O’Day became known as the “Godfather of Northwest Rock” while making his name as an afternoon DJ in the 1960s. He says of joining KIRO-FM for the race, “It’s been my joy to make contributions to the sport, but above all to make a contribution to our great, treasured festival called Seafair. I feel very honored to be a part of Seafair for the past 46 years and am looking forward to sharing my perspective with KIRO Radio listeners.”
KODI, Cody, Wyoming Host Arrested for Voting as a Convicted Felon. “Speak Your Piece” co-host David Koch was arrested on Friday, June 21 state officials for allegedly voting in elections in the state as a convicted felon – a crime in Wyoming. Koch was convicted of first-degree burglary and second-degree theft in Alaska in 1993 and he admitted to voting in elections over the past couple of years after taking an oath in 2009 that he had never been convicted of a felony. The issue came to light when a caller to his radio program who had obviously researched Koch’s past, pressed him on the voting issue and he admitted to the convictions and to voting. The Casper Star Tribune reports Big Horn Radio Network general manager Roger Gelder states Koch is still employed with the radio station and will let the legal system decide his fate. Each count is punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Conclusion of Election Raises Inevitable Questions. The dramatic and contentious election of 2012 has finally come to a conclusion. As President Barack Obama prepares to begin his second term as the nation’s chief executive with control of the House and Senate split between the parties, inevitable questions arise about the path and positioning of news/talk radio in the new political environment. How does the re-election of Obama impact the agendas of conservative and liberal talk radio? How long will it take before political presidential jockeying overtly begins as the periods between election cycles grow shorter? What are the economic implications of this election? How will the economy affect the radio industry in general? Will the current advertising agency hostility toward conservative talk radio intensify or dissipate? What will be the new, unexpected issues that dominate on-air conversation as we move beyond the deafening chatter of Election 2012? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has already begun fielding these questions from the nation’s radio-watchers in the mainstream press. According to Harrison very little will change in terms of the on-air party lines: “As much as I encourage talk radio to expand the menu of its subject matter and spread out into a diversity of formats and subjects – which I actually believe will happen in the coming year or two — don’t expect to see a sudden change or modification of positioning among the ranks of established, opinionated political hosts. These next two years will be no picnic for the president. If you look back at Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon – two polarizing figures in American politics – their second terms were far more turbulent generating more contentious media conversation than their first. Even Ronald Reagan had his Iran-Contra issue in his second term. You can probably expect the same with Obama.” Harrison expects the next congressional election to start immediately and the next presidential election to begin shortly thereafter. “Biden might be flirting with the idea of running in 2016 but you can count on all eyes and ears being focused on the Clintons and perhaps another Bush.” As far as the economic picture is concerned, Harrison is optimistic stating, “I think things are destined to improve regardless of who is president. Let us all do our best to make the radio industry relevant and prosperous in the exciting days and years ahead.” Of course there will be a spectrum of contrasting views on this subject. For example, TRN talk show host Jerry Doyle tells TALKERS that he plans to call out a number of his fellow conservative hosts on his show today for “being cheerleaders for the GOP and not questioning some of their positions that are tarnishing the Republican brand.” He uses the analogy, “I love Corvettes, but I won’t be buying one because of all the as***les driving them today. The same thing with the Republicans – I find it hard to call myself a Republican because of so many of their ridiculous opinions and terrible candidates that fly in the face of today’s reality.”
Will Obama’s Re-Election Cause Programmers to Reflect? Consultant Holland Cooke makes strong statements about what the re-election of Barack Obama should mean to talk radio hosts and programmers. He says, “Heavy early voting and long lines yesterday say ‘Hear me!’ to talk radio’s default I-talk-you-listen model,” and Cooke states that voters didn’t conform to the prevailing talk radio narrative. Do you agree or disagree that there’s a lesson in the election results for talk radio? Before you answer, read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
Radio One to Flip WMOJ, Cincinnati to Sports in January. Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WMOJ, Cincinnati “Mojo 100.3” has gone all Christmas but after the holidays the station will not return to “jammin’ oldies” but will be an outlet for CBS Sports Radio Network’s new 24/7 sports talk format. Program director Steve Harris tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that the opportunity to do sports on FM was too great to pass up. The station is expected to carry the bulk of the national lineup – John Feinstein, Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and Scott Ferrall – but Harris says there has been no decision made about whether to do a local AM drive show or take what CBS Sports Radio Networks has to offer in that daypart. Cincinnati currently has two AM sports talk outlets – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate, and WCKY, an ESPN Radio affiliate – in addition to news/talk WLW which airs a fair amount of sports programming as well.
New Jersey 101.5 Partners with Governor’s Office in Storm Relief. Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is announcing its own “Restore New Jersey” and restorenewjersey.com are officially working with Governor Chris Christie’s and his wife Mary Pat’s “Sandy NJ Relief Fund.” The station’s group marketing director Ray Handel says the station is immediately beginning to inform listeners about donation efforts. He issues this statement: “New Jersey 101.5 will continue to be involved with restoring New Jersey from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. We informed millions of Jersey listeners on news and survival information before, during and after the storm. The station served as a lifeline to millions who lost power, and gave those millions a voice. Now as our attention turns to long term recovery, we introduce ‘Restore New Jersey,’ an on-going fundraising effort that will be featured on New Jersey 101.5 and nj1015.com for at least the next six months. We will be working with Governor and Mary Pat Christie so we can partner with their ‘Sandy NJ Relief Fund.’ Governor Christie is very much a part of NJ101.5, as he has a monthly show on our station. The governor has received much praise in his leadership during this crisis. This past Saturday the governor introduced this state wide charity, and we feel this will merge perfectly with the state wide help New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Restore New Jersey’ will provide. All funds raised will stay right here in New Jersey, and we think New Jersey 101.5 can really take the lead with this effort.”
NAB ‘Licensed to Serve’ Newsletter Recognizes Broadcasters Covering Sandy. The National Association of Broadcasters released its most recent “Licensed to Serve” newsletter detailing many of the efforts of broadcasters – both radio and television – that provided news and information to the regions affected by Hurricane Sandy. NAB EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton and his staff have put together an excellent summary of the work done by over-the-air broadcasters in serving the needs of their communities. Wharton is passionate about the role of radio and television broadcasters in times of crisis and the NAB’s work showcasing it in this regard serves the broadcasting community well. See the NAB’s “Licensed to Serve” page here.
Radio Personality Robinson to PM Drive on KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Tall Cotton Media’s new sports talk KCJF, Jonesboro, Arkansas “103.9 The Game” names radio personality Robinson PM drive host. He comes to sports talk radio after a career in rock radio at Entercom’s Rochester, New York music outlets classic rock WCMF and rock WBZA. Tall Cotton took over ownership of the outlet in September from Catherine Joanna Flinn. The station is a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate.
Red Zebra Extends Play-by-Play Deal with Georgetown. The Hoyas will be heard on Red Zebra’s Washington, DC sports talk duo WTEM and WSPZ “ESPN 980 and SportsTalk570; Powered by ESPN” for seasons to come as the two partners extend their contract. Under the terms of the deal, Red Zebra will broadcast the school’s men’s basketball games. Red Zebra president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “We are excited to team with Georgetown University and Coach Thompson’s squad as they continue the tradition as one of the best teams the area has to offer.” The Hoyas open their season Friday, November 9 aboard the USS Bataan in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators. All Hoya games will be broadcast by Rich Chvotkin who is in his 40th season calling Georgetown games.
Longtime KSL, Salt Lake City Weekend Gardening Show Host Larry Sagers Dead at 63. Horticulture expert and radio talker Larry Sagers, whose weekend gardening program the “Greenhouse Show” co-hosted with Tim Hughes was a mainstay for years on KSL, Salt Lake City has succumbed to his long battle with mesothelioma, a form of cancer often associated with exposure to asbestos. Sagers was a horticulture agent with the Utah State University Extension and an extremely popular local figure.
The 2012 Election and Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Dominate News/Talk Radio Yesterday (11/6). As is usually the case on a presidential election day, the election itself – not only the presidential race but the Senate and House races as well as controversial ballot issues around the nation – dominated the discussion on news/talk radio on Tuesday. Additionally, there was still considerable talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, especially in the Northeast where New Jersey and New York are still recovering from the storm.
Talk Media Personality Ed Schultz Reveals Wife Wendy is Battling Ovarian Cancer. Syndicated talk radio host and MSNBC personality Ed Schultz has been off of both of his programs for the past week and took the time yesterday to call in to his radio show to speak with guest host Mike Papantonio to announce that his wife Wendy is being treated for ovarian cancer. Schultz told his audience they received the diagnosis last Wednesday and Wendy underwent surgery on Tuesday of this week. “The doctors feel like they got all of it. It was a very successful surgery, but we got a long way to go.” Schultz took the opportunity to thank the staffs of both of his programs for their help in covering while he’s been away and said he will be missing from both programs for some time, although how long is not known. “Doing a radio and TV show isn’t exactly what I’m thinking about right now. I’m going to be with my wife through all of this…We both feel like we’ve been through the wringer and you lose track of time, you lose track of what you’re doing. And everything changes, but we’re going to be OK. We’re going to get through it.” The staff of TALKERS magazine wishes the best to Ed and Wendy at this challenging time in their lives.
Clear Channel Names Clay Hunnicutt EVP of Programming. This is a big move up for the SVP eastern region and VP of country as Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces Clay Hunnicutt becomes executive vice president of programming for the company. The promotion also puts Hunnicutt in charge of programming in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Washington, Baltimore and San Diego.
Morning Hosts, Former Employer Settle in Potentially Precedent-Setting Case. When Q92 (WDJQ, Canton, Ohio) morning hosts Pat DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco left the D.A. Peterson, Inc.-owned station after their contracts expired in February of this year and began an internet radio show, Peterson demanded the two cease their project saying it was in violation of their non-compete. The two sued Peterson and in April Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. ruled the two forms of communicating – webcasting and terrestrial radio – were different enough that the duo were not in violation of their non-compete. Peterson responded by asking they be prohibited from webcasting or streaming within a 60-mile radius of the station (although TALKERS is not sure how that would be accomplished or enforced). Judge Brown denied that request but did rule DeLuca and DiFranco may not use tapes of programs they did while working for Peterson and that they must return the tapes. Also, Brown ruled Peterson owes the two back pay for vacation. As it stands the sides are agreeing to settle the dispute and Peterson says the two will be paid when all the tapes have been returned. Whether this case sets any sort of precedent regarding the difference between terrestrial and internet broadcasting in future disputes is obviously unknown at this point, but is nonetheless an interesting ruling as far as talent and employers are concerned.
Courtside Entertainment’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew Pinsky” Clears Boston. The twice-daily medical advice and “life enhancing insight” feature from Courtside Entertainment gets a major-market clear on Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston, adding the city to its other major markets — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington DC. Courtside Entertainment Group president Bob Moore says the power of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s brand is astounding. “There are 15 million Google searches related to health and wellness every day, and 75 million related to celebrities. Calling Dr. Drew! Drew knows what listeners want and we are pleased to partner with the legendary WTKK to ensure they get it.”
Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Brings Fox 5 Washington Sports Director Aboard for Football Show. WTTG-TV, Washington, DC acting sports director Dave Ross will join Red Zebra’s ESPN980 — WTEM – for the month of August to fill in for Tony Kornheiser in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and host the “NFL This Morning” program. WTEM says the show will cover everything Redskins and the entire NFL. “Over the five weeks, Dave will have daily Redskins guests as well as live reports from all 32 NFL cites while going in-depth on every team in the league. The show will originate from Redskins Park, where ESPN980 has an exclusive studio.” WTEM president and CEO Rick Carmean states, “Redskins coverage is our wheelhouse and this show will continue our dominance in that area. There is no better way to begin that coverage than with Dave Ross at Redskins training camp.”
Delmarva Broadcasting to Debut FM Talk Station on September 4. The station will be positioned as Delaware 105.9 and former WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Maryland program director and morning host Dan Gaffney – who just last week announced his departure from that station – will be part of the new station’s lineup. Delmarva is splitting the FM simulcast of country WKTT, Salisbury, Maryland – currently broadcast on both the 97.5 signal of WKTT and WZKT’s 105.9 licensed to Lewes, Delaware to the northeast.
WTKK, Boston Adds Andelmans for Friday Middays. The Andelman brothers – Dave, Dan and Michael – have hosted “The Phantom Gourmet Radio Show” on Saturdays on the station since April of 2007. Dave Andelman is CEO of Phantom Gourmet, Inc. which produces not only the radio show but a TV show of the same name that airs in Boston, Providence and in Maine in addition to some of Beantown’s biggest food-centric public events. Now, the three will host a Friday show from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm that will “cover anything that’s topical,” according to Dave Andelman. Program director Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “The Phantom Gourmet and the Andelman Brothers are staples on Boston radio, TV, and genius at throwing big events all over New England. Over the past five-plus years, the Andelman brothers have connected on-air, online and in person with 96.9’s listeners and advertisers and we’re delighted to bring their family to yours on Fridays in addition to Saturdays. Let the fader begin.” The three are the sons of well-known Boston sports media personality Eddie Andelman. Doug Meehan continues to host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show Monday through Thursday.
Mark Tauscher Joins Journal’s Packers Broadcasts. Retired Green Bay Packers lineman Mark Tauscher becomes part of the broadcast team for Journal Broadcast Group’s radio and TV coverage of the team’s games this season. Tauscher will provide pre- and post-game analysis on the Packers Radio Network and pre-game analysis on the Packers TV Network. Journal director of network operations Carl Moll states, “Mark brings listeners and viewers a fresh perspective on how players think and react to game situations in the NFL. His knowledge adds dimension to the Packers coverage originated by Journal’s radio and TV networks.”
Midwest Communications Buys Backyard Broadcasting’s Sioux Falls Cluster. There’s no price on the transaction being disclosed yet but the seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KELO and sports KWSN but the stations will become part of Midwest Communications’ portfolio pending FCC approval. The sale leaves Backyard Broadcasting with stations in three markets: Muncie, Indiana; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Olean, New York.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough, host of his own nationally syndicated daily talk radio program and co-host of the “Baldwin/McCullough Live” weekend program with Stephen Baldwin, announces his company is producing a new TV program beginning in September called, “Hannah Help Me.” The show stars former PBS personality and mother of seven Hannah Keeley who will help mothers who are wrestling with the mess of life to gain insight and strategies in coping with the worries of parenthood…..WFED, Washington AM drive co-host Francis Rose is filling in for Cumulus Media Networks talk host John Batchelor on his Saturday evening WABC, New York-based program this weekend…..Cloud-based advertising software company Abacast announces veteran media executives Ivan Braiker of Hipcricket and John Maffei of Playsino are named to the company’s board of directors…..The syndicated weekend automotive show “America on the Road,” hosted by Mike Anson and Jack Nerad, ends production this weekend after 23 years. Anson says, “Weʼve been contemplating shutting down for about a year, but wanted to wait until all of our current advertising contracts had concluded.”…..NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart will be guesting on the United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated program, “The Final Lap Weekly” this coming weekend. The program is produced and co-hosted by Kerry Murphey in California…..SiriusXM delves into the vast “Twitter-verse” with its newest program, “Politics Powered by Twitter,” heard on the satcaster’s POTUS political talk channel. The one-hour daily show airs live at 6:00 pm ET and is described as a “new radio format that reports to listeners exclusively what politics are being talked about on Twitter, including trends and Tweets from politicians, journalists and celebrities who have active voices on the key political issues, electoral races and breaking news.”
Overflow Crowds Attend Dallas Premiere of Obama Movie. The Dallas premiere of the Dinesh D’Souza-produced political film “2016: Obama’s America” was a huge hit as two theaters in a local multiplex were filled with viewers for the film that goes into national theatrical release the first week of August. Pictured here with D’Souza (c) are Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (r) and Salem Communications talk host Mark Davis (l) who is hosting morning drive on the company’s 660 The Answer – KSKY, Dallas.
Presidential Campaign, Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Syria Instability, and Jobs Market Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/25). The ongoing presidential campaign; the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting; the violence and political implications associated with Syria’s instability and the flat jobs market were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
“Independence Day Wednesday” Provides Talk Radio with Interesting Programming Opportunities. According to a TALKERS magazine survey of talk stations across the country, the rare occurrence of July 4th falling on a Wednesday this year and not lending itself to a convenient four-day weekend, gave talk radio programmers an array of options in filling the schedule. Many gave their star performers the day off and replaced them with their own “best ofs.” Others used fill-in hosts – some cleverly taking it upon themselves to create their own Fourth of July “specials.” Others just did their shows as per the usual schedule. Almost all report that they spent extra time and attention revisiting the meaning of the holiday and the historic roots of American independence. Independence Day gives radio stations the opportunity to become engaged with local military, public safety, emergency response, community service and charitable organizations in their regions. WHYN, Springfield, Mass. morning co-host Brad Shepard performs his annual ritual of serving as master of ceremonies at the local East Longmeadow Independence Day Parade – a major two-hour regional tradition in Western Massachusetts drawing thousands of people. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, a resident of the area who attends the event each year, states, “Brad Shepard does a wonderful job announcing the details and color of this superb local parade for a large crowd of people who line the sidewalks and pack the town square in an idyllic New England small-town setting. It is an example of a beloved hometown radio personality engaging in true community involvement and a joy to behold.” Harrison (l) is greeted by Shepard (r) at the parade reviewing stand during a break in the action for a quick TALKERS photo.
When Is a Death Threat Free Speech? TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman explains some of the legal background in the murky area of free speech and language that can appear to be a threat to someone’s health or life. In the wake of the case of Timothy Demeuse – a Milwaukee man charged with a misdemeanor for writing threatening language about WIBA, Madison-based talk host Vicki McKenna – Weisman says what is considered a punishable offense is not always easy to predict. Read his column here.
Red Zebra’s Washington Redskins Radio Network Re-Inks Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen. National Football League Hall-of-Famers Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen have both re-signed with the Washington Redskins Radio Network for the 2012-2013 football season. The two will be in the booth with play-by-play man Larry Michael and WTEM, Washington’s Rick “Doc” Walker will serve as sideline reporter. Due to the rigors of travel, the 78-year-old Huff will work 12 of the 20 games – all home games and two road contests. Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff have been broadcasting Washington Redskins games together since 1981 – a span of over 600 broadcasts, including 25 playoff games and all three Super Bowl victories.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment promotes programmer Tony Travatto who moves from his post as OM and PD at CHR WNCI, Columbus to Detroit where he’ll serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes progressive talk WDTW and sports talk WDFN…..Spanish-language broadcaster Univision unveils the Univision America national talk radio network lineup that debuted on July 4. The lineup – which is expected to be heard on all of the company’s AM talk stations – includes a morning drive news block; relationships expert Dra. Isabel; current events talk with Fernando Espuelas; political talk with Helen Aguirre; and a sports talk show featuring Rafael Hernandez Brito…..Carl Amari’s “Hollywood 360” weekly nostalgia and trivia show is being syndicated nationally via Syndication Networks Corp. and Salem Radio Networks. The WIND, Chicago-based show is expected to be carried on many Salem Communications-owned stations.
Newspaper Decline Spells Opportunity for Talk Radio Sales. The problems facing daily newspapers are opportunities for local talk radio sales executives writes H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz. In this column, Herskovitz explains talk radio’s proven ability to drive traffic to the web combined with the unique personalities on the stations give it a one-two punch of marketing effectiveness. Read Al’s column here.
Fourth of July Holiday, SCOTUS ObamaCare Decision Aftermath, 2012 Presidential Race, Mid-Atlantic Storm Damage, and National Malware Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/4). Holiday topics discussed on news/talk radio on July 4th included the holiday itself; the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the 2012 presidential race; the lingering effects of the recent Mid-Atlantic storms; and the threat of a nationwide malware attack on internet users, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tom Leykis and Lionel to Discuss Their High-Profile Pioneering Digital Efforts at NMS. Two questions (or variations thereof) regularly fielded by the TALKERS editorial staff these days are “How’s Tom Leykis doing with his new online talk show?” and “What’s Lionel up to these days with his online project?” Both will be answered in detail straight from the horses’ mouths at the New Media Seminar’s Digital Workshop in New York City this Thursday, June 7. As West Coast-based Leykis approaches the two-month mark into the launch of his “New Normal Network” online project and East Coast-based Lionel chalks up two years of operating “LionelMedia.com,” both individualistic graduates of the terrestrial talk show scene continue to gain traction on both the audience and revenue fronts as the industry watches with great interest. Leykis tells TALKERS, “We had over 1.1 million sessions from our debut on April 2nd until April 30th. That number would most closely approximate cume. In our first week of 24/7 streaming, we had exactly 401,180 listeners. That was more listeners than the weekly cumes of 14 L.A./Orange County radio stations in March.” On the revenue front, Leykis is also very pleased with immediate results saying, “At the current pace, we will make over 100K in revenue, but we are conservatively estimating 100K for the year.” Leykis explains the key to making an online radio operation work is to provide specific listeners something they cannot get anywhere else. He tells TALKERS, “You really have to super-serve your P1s…even in the process of selling advertising. We go out into the marketplace and ask radio-friendly businesses the question, ‘Are you being priced out of radio?’ Because our operating costs are so much lower than radio we can offer these small businesses very affordable deals. And when you specifically target business owners who are already in your audience as listeners, well it just makes a lot of sense. This is what we are doing and it is working.” Lionel describes his digital effort to TALKERS as follows: “This month is the second anniversary of the launch of LionelMedia.com, a paid subscription podcasting outlet. I podcast an hour daily of uninterrupted, unedited, commercial and break-free freeform-yet-structured spoken word. It, frankly, knows no peer. Every day I post news stories, columns, ideas, opinions and the like that supplement the subject or content of that day’s podcast. I’ll also attach a YouTube video of my latest PIX11 commentary on myriad subjects. To be most precise: I do exactly what I want. Let that sink in. My podcasts are not profane or blue in the least — in fact they could be played in their entirety on terrestrial radio. That, I feel, is a drawing point and basis for much of our success.” Although Lionel no longer does a terrestrial radio talk show, he does regularly scheduled commentaries on Tribune television stations including New York’s WPIX channel 11 and Merlin Media’s all-news FMs in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago in addition to appearing as a regular guest on a number of terrestrial radio talk shows…exposure that helps drive traffic to his online media station. The Digital Workshop will be moderated by Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News Service and Dan Patterson of KoPoint. The June 7 industry-only New Media Seminar/NYC is an advance sellout. For information call 413-565-5413.
Wisconsin Recall Spurs Question of “Equal Time” on Milwaukee News/Talk Outlets – and Beyond. Progressive political groups are charging Clear Channel‘s WISN, Milwaukee and Journal Broadcasting‘s WTMJ, Milwaukee with violating the FCC‘s “Zapple Doctrine” which mandates “equal time” to all qualified political candidates within 60 days of an election under certain circumstances. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that talk hosts often benefit from exemption from the “Zapple Doctrine” by qualifying as a “news interview program.” But that exemption is not always a slam dunk. Read Weisman’s column about how the courts tend to interpret this section of FCC regulations here.
WPLJ-FM, New York OM Tony Mascaro to Program WABC? Some posts on the New York Radio Message Board indicate inside sources are reporting Cumulus Media New York is naming CHR WPLJ-FM operations manager Tony Mascaro program director of its news/talk WABC. As of the posting of this item, there is no confirmation or denying of the report from Cumulus. WABC APD Chuck Armstrong has been serving as interim program director for the station filling the role left vacant when Laurie Cantillo exited the post last fall. Stay tuned.
Tony Kornheiser Re-Ups with WTEM, Washington for Two Years. The Red Zebra Broadcasting station announces high-profile personality Tony Kornheiser renews his deal to remain host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on ESPN 980 WTEM, Washington, DC. As part of the new contract, Kornheiser will contribute to the Washington Redskins Radio Network‘s “Official Pre-Game Show” during the football season. WTEM CEO Rick Carmean states, “Tony’s unique brand of humor and entertainment fits perfectly into our strong and highly rated midday lineup.” Kornheiser is joined weekdays by a rotating cast of co-hosts including Gary Braun, Jeanne McManus, Torie Clark, David Aldridge and longtime producer Nigel. Frequent contributors include Tony’s “Pardon the Interruption”co-host Michael Wilbon.
WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Gives Adam Goldfein Nightly Program. Local attorney and auto dealership owner Adam Goldfein has hosted a weekend program about cars on Cox Media‘s WSB-AM/FM for some time. Now, the station adds more air time to his schedule. The consumer issues expert begins hosting a program airing nightly from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Goldfein had been filling in for Clark Howard on the station and Cox Radio Atlanta VP and market manager Dan Kearney tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “He was doing a great job filling in for Clark Howard and his Sunday show was getting great ratings. We wanted him on more consistently.”
Stephen King’s WZON, Bangor Drops Local Sports Talk; Dismisses Two. Give WZON, Bangor owner Stephen King credit for manning up and personally delivering the news to sports talk hosts Dale Duff and Clem LaBree that they were being dismissed for financial reasons. Duff and LaBree hosted the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm sports talk show on WZON-AM as well as covering a slew of local sports events, including high school and college games. The Bangor Daily News reports King told the two the change had nothing to do with the quality of their work but because the programming was losing money. WZON-AM had ceased being a full-time sports talk station in November of 2010 and was carrying much of the progressive talk format from sister WZON-FM - The Pulse. Duff had been with the station for 19 years. Both are receiving severance from the company. Duff and LaBree’s show will be replaced by a simulcast from WZON-FM although the station will continue to air sports play-by-play.
SRN’s Tom Tradup Makes Statement on End of “Richard Land Live” Program. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention issued two reprimands to Dr. Richard Land for comments he made about the Trayvon Martin case that it deemed “irresponsible, insensitive and racially charged.” It also ended his radio program that it produced that was distributed via Salem Radio Network. The controversy surrounding the statements was enhanced further by allegations Land read them from another published opinion that was not cited. SRN vice president of news/talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “Theologians have a different perspective on talk radio than the rest of our industry does. What some see as “hurtful language” on the Trayvon Martin case is, in reality, part of a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions that is the keystone of talk radio. And by talk radio standards, nothing Dr. Land may have failed to “fully attribute” on the air or on his website rose to the level of so-called plagiarism. Nevertheless, we respect the ERLC’s decision and thus the final edition of ‘Richard Land Live’ aired Saturday, June 2.
Twin Cities Radio Personality Dark Star Dies at Age 66. Longtime Minneapolis radio personality Dark Star – real name George Chapple – was found dead in his home in Minnetonka, Minnesota. He co-hosted the “Sports Show” along with Sid Hartman on CBS Radio‘s WCCO, Minneapolis during part of his 25 years on the air there before accepting a buyout from the station in November of 2010. Recently he had been working at crosstown KFAN. He failed to show up for his Friday show there and authorities found him dead in his apartment.
Compass Media Marketing Named Exclusive Radio Sales Agent for Point-of-Purchase Service. This story is really about the acquisition of InStore Broadcasting Network by POP Radio and the new company becomes InStore Audio Network. It delivers in-store advertising messages to more than 33,000 retail outlets – grocery, drug stores, etc. – and provides music content to some 14,000 stores. The company is enlisting Compass Media Marketing as exclusive national radio sales agent. Compass CEO Peter Kosann says, “I have been a longtime partner with POP Radio and the expanded footprint of the new company creates an exciting and compelling media product that network radio buyers will need to consider.”
KSFO, San Francisco Listeners Help Raise $135k for Fisher House Construction. Cumulus Media‘s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco held a Memorial Day weekend fundraiser for the Fisher House Foundation that began with a live remote broadcast of Brian Sussman‘s morning drive show. Sussman (r) is pictured here interviewing Fisher House representative Cindy Campbell (l). Fundraising continued over the Memorial Day weekend and more than $135,000 was collected for the construction of the Palo Alto Fisher House which provides no-cost housing and the comforts of home for family members of military personnel while their loved ones rehab and recover from various injuries and ailments. Sussman states, “This gift of over $135,000 illustrates the abundant generosity of our KSFO radio family. The Fisher House provides our troops and their families with genuine American hospitality and it’s an honor to be associated with their vital endeavor.”
Iowa Farm News Broadcaster Mark Pearson Dead at 54. Mark Pearson worked at Iowa Public Television where he hosted the “Market to Market” show and at Clear Channel‘s WHO, Des Moines where he co-hosted “The Big Show,” a program that highlighted agricultural news. Pearson died of an apparent heart attack at his home on Sunday. WHO talk show host Jan Mickelson told the Des Moines Register, “Everyone at every level in the farm community respected the guy.”
Clark Howard Takes on Expanded Role at HLN. Consumer affairs expert and nationally syndicated talk radio host Clark Howard is going to get more face time at Time Warner’s HLN cable channel. Howard, who does a weekend program at HLN and contributes to the channel’s “Morning Express” program, will be part of an ensemble weekday afternoon news program titled, “Evening Express” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. Howard will be partnered with TruTV’s Ryan Smith, who will handle lead anchor duties, and British journalist Isha Sesay who has worked for CNN International and serves as a correspondent for CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” In a statement, HLN says the new program is designed to take a “solutions-oriented look at the day’s news, accompanied by deeper discussions and reporting on stories and issues that resonate in the American household – including parenting, education, health, personal finance and relationships.”
Utah Jazz Owner Confirmed to Buy Salt Lake City Sports Talk Combo. The reported sale of the former Simmons Media sports talk duo KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City to the Larry H. Miller Group is being confirmed by broker Patrick Communications. The price for the two signals is $3.25 million. The deal means Utah Jazz play-by-play will move to the new stations after being heard on Cumulus Media’s KFNZ which the Larry H. Miller Group had been operating under an LMA. At the same time, Fox Sports Radio Network announces it will continue to provide programming for the stations under the new ownership with both the AM and FM sides airing “Fox Sports Tonight,” JT the Brick and the slate of weekend Fox Sports shows. Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome will also be heard on the stations. The FM side of the broadcast will also carry “Fox Sports Daybreak” and the “Petros & Money” show. Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment SVP of broadcasting Chris Baum states, “We are very pleased to continue our affiliation with Fox Sports Radio as we move to 1280 The Zone and Fox Sports Radio 97.5. The FSR shows complement our local lineup very well on our new 50,000-watt AM signal, and the additional coverage on our FM signal will allow us to better reach and serve sports fans, and Jazz fans in particular, all along the Wasatch Front.”
Kevin Sheehan Extends Deal with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington. Red Zebra Broadcasting announces midday co-host Kevin Sheehan – who co-hosts “The Sports Fix” with Thom Loverro – has signed a two-year deal to remain with the company. Sheehan also continues with the Washington Redskins Radio Network where he hosts the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show.” Sheehan will also contribute to the Tony Kornheiser program and co-host the “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins game. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin is as versatile as anyone in the field. He does so much for us. I look forward to working with him through 2014 and many years to come.”
Former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro Co-Hosting with WOR’s Governor David Paterson. As per New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams, former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro is sitting alongside former Governor David Paterson as he hosts the PM drive show on WOR, New York as a sort of tryout to see if a duo concept works for the program.
ESPN Hosts Affiliates at “Audio Avenue II” Day in Bristol, Connecticut. The outdoor quad at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut will be busy today as the company hosts talent from its four O&O stations and from 12 affiliate stations for a daylong live broadcast event. ESPN Audio SVP Mo Davenport states, “Audio Avenue brings the concept of ‘ESPN Everywhere’ to life. Each of these shows and markets represent what our listeners love, the opportunity to hear from experts locally, nationally and globally.” Along with the hosts and producers broadcasting from “Audio Avenue,” participants will include network and affiliate management, account executives, program directors, clients, ESPN employees and those involved with ESPN Audio’s promotions, marketing and sales. The day will also include two “Block Party Breakout” luncheons focusing on the production of “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and listener demographic research.
Courtney Smith Promoted to Director of New Business at Beasley Las Vegas. The Beasley Broadcasting Las Vegas cluster names Courtney Smith director of new business development and marketing & events manager. Smith has served at the company since 2006 when she joined as a promotions assistant. She was promoted to marketing director and added events coordinator to her duties in 2009. Vice president and general manager Tom Humm states, “I’m constantly amazed with the promotions and events that Courtney conceptualizes from scratch and pleased by the successful results they achieve. She always makes Beasley shine. Courtney has earned this promotion and I’m very proud of her for that accomplishment.”
Facebook IPO Case, 2012 Presidential Election, Euro Zone Instability and Georgia Teacher Criticizes Student for Questioning Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22). Securities regulators investigate Facebook IPO; the 2012 presidential election and questions over whether Hillary Clinton will replace Joe Biden as vice presidential candidate; Greece’s status as a member of the European Union; and the case of the Georgia teacher who bullied a student for criticizing President Obama were some of the most talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FM Talk Winning in PM Drive with Alan Cox Show on Cleveland’s Legendary Rocker WMMS-FM. The Alan Cox show is quietly defying the conventional wisdom about what talk targeting younger demos on FM is all about. Ensconced in afternoon drive on Clear Channel’s legendary rock outlet WMMS-FM, Cleveland, Cox’s success is not a widely told tale in the radio industry, in part because it doesn’t appear to be a piece of a corporately directed programming puzzle with companywide ambitions. Cox credits local management for daring to be innovative with spoken-word programming outside the realms of news/talk and sports talk. “’MMS, everybody knows, is a legendary station and management had the foresight to realize music on FM is kind of going away and to see if it can work with two talk products and it has worked amazingly well. The foresight that brought them to try this hybrid station also makes them realize that you have to honor the heritage the station has but everything has to move forward.” Read this entire story here.
Gil Gross Replaces Gene Burns in PM Drive at KKSF, San Francisco. Talk radio legend Gene Burns is not going away from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment San Francisco as he continues to rehab from a stroke he suffered last December but cluster director of operations Don Parker gives the PM drive slot to Gil Gross, who’s been one of those filling in for Burns since January. Parker states, “I’m thrilled to have Gil Gross aboard full time for the Bay Area’s only live and local afternoon drive talk show. With his extensive background in network news, everyone in news/talk radio knows the name Gil Gross. I couldn’t be happier to have KKSF be his new home. NewsTalk 910 has been very fortunate to have the highest caliber of talent filling in for Gene Burns since January. I’d like to thank John Rothman, Ed Baxter and Rosie Allen for their contributions and for continuing to play a role on NewsTalk 910 moving forward.” Burns will continue to blog at newstalk910.com and his Saturday “Dining Around” program will remain on the program schedule with Joel Riddell hosting . Additionally, John Rothman is named the station’s political analyst. He’ll contribute to the station’s talk shows and newscasts as well as serve as host for KKSF’s 2012 election coverage. Baxter and Allen will remain with the station for fill-in and blogging duties. On his new position, Gross states, “I am thrilled to keep the live, local talk flame alive in the Bay area. From the Occupy movement to Oscar Grant or the struggles of our economy, it’s important for the Bay area to have a platform to discuss today’s most pressing topics. I look forward to having my friend and colleague, Gene Burns, back in the line-up. I also look forward to building the future at NewsTalk 910, a unique station that will not be one point of view all day long.”
Tony Kornheiser Negotiating for Long-Term Deal to Remain on WTEM, Washington. Washington, DC-based sports media personality Tony Kornheiser tells his audience he hopes to be assured his radio talk show will be heard on Red Zebra’s WTEM – ESPN 980 for “another two years, at least.” The Washington Post reports director of programming Chuck Sapienza hinted the two sides are negotiating, quoting him saying, “Our goal has always been to have Tony with ESPN 980 long term, and we hope to have an official announcement soon.” Kornheiser will take much of the summer off from his radio show telling his audience he will do a few weeks of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” but will not do radio in July or August.
Terry Gross Celebrates 25 Years of National Syndication for “Fresh Air.” Tomorrow “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross will celebrate her 25th anniversary in national syndication via NPR. Gross began the program on WHYY-FM, Philadelphia – where the show is still based – in 1975. Gross tells the Philadelphia Daily News’ Dan Gross (no relation), “I fell in love with radio the moment I started doing it. I still find it a privilege to be able to talk to and engage in a pretty personal level with people whose work I respect.” Surprisingly for some, Gross tells the paper she counts Howard Stern among those whom she’d like to interview but has not. She says she’s a fan of his radio show.
Carmichael Dave Out at KHTK, Sacramento. The producer and sidekick to morning host and PD Don Geronimo and host of his own midday show exits the CBS Radio sports outlet. His tweets about his exit are vague but it appears Carmichael Dave is the victim of a budget-related maneuver. He tweets, “As of today I am no longer a part of CBS Radio…I’m getting a lot of response that this was contract related. I asked for nothing. I can’t go into details. Just know that I love the station and the people.” The station is airing DirecTV/Premiere’s Dan Patrick show in middays.
Analysis: The Legal Basis for the Bob Lonsberry Decision. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reviews the recent ruling by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department of New York in the defamation case filed against WHAM, Rochester talk show host Bob Lonsberry. Weisman writes that for talk hosts who make a living expressing their opinions, it’s important to note that “not all opinion is protected, but when it is made about a matter of public concern, the speaker is protected by the First Amendment.” Read Steven J.J. Weisman’s piece here.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio names Brian Thomas vice president of programming for its Tampa cluster that includes sports talk WQYK – 1010AM Sports…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc. begins distribution of Chuck Woolery’s “Save Us Chuck” political commentary feature on June 4. The game show legend states, “I started in radio and just love it! During all my years on television, I’ve come to realize that radio is truly the only medium where I can connect one-on-one with the audience and help to create real change.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles visits the foothill cities of the San Gabriel Valley as part of its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series. The broadcast will emanate from the Monrovia Coffee Company in the heart of Old Town Monrovia on June 1…..WTKK-FM, Boston midday talk host Doug Meehan’s listeners are launching a campaign to get the host an on-air audition with Kelly Ripa on ABC TV’s “Live! With Kelly.” Meehan has recorded his pitch to be on the show and posted it on WTKK’s website. He’s encouraging listeners to visit the “Live! With Kelly” website touting Meehan for a shot at a guest host appearance…..Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte regular fill-in host Wayne Powers wins his primary contest for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
First Caller Puts Curse on New Talk Show Host. What a way to start a new gig! Gregg Henson, the station’s program director who replaced afternoon drive host Pat Miller on WOWO, Fort Wayne, was greeted with a first call that sounded like something out of a Steven King novel. Not only did the listener with a heavy accent voice his disapproval of Henson and insult him by saying he is “a snake” who “doesn’t bring anything to the table” — he went on to actually put a curse on him! Check THIS out. Listen to the audio here.
2012 Presidential Race, Obama Gay Marriage Issue, Feds to Sue Arizona Sheriff Arpaio, and Putin Snubs Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9). The 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama’s change of heart on the gay marriage issue, the federal lawsuit being filed against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s backing out of meeting with President Obama and the G-8 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Media Veteran and Fenway Park Announcer Carl Beane Dies in Auto Crash. Fenway Park’s voice of the Boston Red Sox, Carl Beane, died Wednesday at age 59 after suffering a heart attack and crashing his car while driving. Beane won the Fenway Park gig after the 2002 season. He was a radio sports announcer, talk host, news reporter and more during his long career. In addition to stringing for AP, ESPN and SiriusXM, Beane had worked at WBZ, Boston and spent many years in the 1990s working at then talk/music hybrid WESO, Southbridge.
Entertainment Industry Mourns Passing of Dick Clark. The music, television and radio industries are mourning the passing of pioneer broadcaster Dick Clark, who died on Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack at age 82. In addition to his numerous other contributions to the entertainment industry, Clark co-founded United Stations Radio Networks with Nick Verbitsky in 1981. Verbitsky says, “Dick was an icon to many, but a true friend, partner and mentor to those of us who worked closely with him. His impact on broadcasting is immeasurable, and his entrepreneurial spirit will be a part of our world at United Stations forever.”
Talk Host Scott Hennen to Purchase WZFG, Fargo. The conservative talk-formatted WZFG, Fargo – positioned as “1100 AM The Flag” – will return to the control of talk host and station manager Scott Hennen upon FCC approval and the closing. Hennen announces he’s struck a deal with Great Plains Integrated Marketing to buy back the station he founded in 2008. Hennen was fired by his investors as president and CEO of GPIM in the fall of 2010. His program remained on the air at WZFG until May of 2011. Hennen is currently hosting a nationally syndicated radio show but is not heard in the Fargo market at this time. His program will return to the station when the new deal begins.
Internet and Terrestrial Radio Are Different Businesses When it Comes to Non-Competes. That’s the ruling of Stark County (OH) Common Pleas Court Judge Charles E. Brown in the case of two Canton jocks who started a radio show on the internet and were sued by their former employer for violating the non-compete. Radio hosts Patrick DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco (pictured here) left their highly rated morning program at WDJQ-FM, Canton after failing to agree to terms on a contract renewal with station owner Don Peterson III. They started their own station at www.theradiosucks.com and began broadcasting three shows per week after exiting in February and Peterson sued, claiming they violated the non-compete. Attorney Steve Okey argued his clients were prevented from operating a business that was “the same or essentially the same as a radio station” and their venture does not fit that description. The judge agreed. Peterson tells the Youngstown Vindicator he’s disappointed with the decision and will review his options. This is a case others in the radio and internet radio businesses will be watching closely.
Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Inks Deal for Sports Content with Dial Global. Red Zebra Broadcasting announces it has signed a two-year deal with Dial Global Radio Networks to have exclusive rights to March Madness, the NFL package, the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft, Golf’s Majors and the Olympics in the Washington, DC market. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says of the deal, “We want to thank Greg Leader and Sean Thompson of Dial Global for being such great partners. We could not be more pleased with the relationship and all the great programming Dial Global brings to our listeners. When you team the Redskins Radio Network with Dial Global’s NFL Package, NFL fans in DC will receive extensive, exclusive coverage of the National Football League on ESPN980.”
Current TV to Add Show Hosted by California Lieutenant Governor. Former San Francisco mayor and current California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will debut a new talk show on the Al Gore-founded Current TV network beginning in May. The New York Times reports the move is designed by Current TV to “keep its progressive agenda on track.” In a statement announcing the move, co-founder Al Gore states, “He touches many worlds – business, politics, entertainment and activism. We are honored that Current TV will be bringing his curiosity, intelligence, insights and enthusiasm to television.” Newsom will continue to serve as lieutenant governor of California. Current TV is rebounding from the high-profile battle – now in the courts – with former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann. It also recently added video simulcasts of talk radio stars Stephanie Miller’s and Bill Press’ nationally syndicated morning radio programs.
TALKERS Publishes 2012 Heavy Hundred. The 2012 installment of TALKERS magazine’s signature feature, “The Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred,” is officially posted. This long-running talk radio industry institution also titled, “The 250 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America,” is compiled by the TALKERS editorial board based upon a compilation of both objective and subjective elements including (in alphabetical order): courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness. Although the list is traditionally drawn from a wide variety of genres representing the breadth of spoken word radio from commercial to public and including everything from traditional news/talk to specialty programming, this year’s installment of the popular feature marks a departure from the custom of including sports talk hosts. According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “Because of the explosive growth of sports talk radio and the number of excellent hosts participating in it across the country, TALKERS will be publishing the genre’s own Heavy Hundred beginning in 2012.” The TALKERS Sports Talk Heavy Hundred is scheduled for publication this coming June. To see this year’s entire “Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred” click here.
23rd Annual Imus Radiothon Begins Today. 77WABC, New York-based Don Imus broadcasts the 23rd Annual Imus Radiothon beginning today and running through tomorrow. The Radiothon is airing on 77WABC, radio affiliates around the country and on the Fox Business Network. The two-day event benefits the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer, the Tomorrows Children’s Fund and the CJ Foundation for SIDS. Guests on the program for the Radiothon will include various sponsors and children/siblings who have visited and experienced the Imus Ranch in Ribera, New Mexico.
Warren Ballentine Interviews First Lady Michelle Obama. Syndication One nationally syndicated talk host Warren Ballentine is pictured here at the White House on April 16 interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama. Ballentine visited the White House as part of the Summit on Entrepreneurship for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. The White House Summit offered the opportunity for Ballentine to provide a national African-American audience for small business owners, government experts and leaders from a variety of HBCUs/MSIs to discuss their numerous opportunities and facilitate solutions to challenges in underserved communities. Ballentine states, “Doing my show from the White House was such a great honor for me. The staff was outstanding and the chance to interview First Lady Michelle Obama was truly a blessing and honor. The First Lady is not only gracious, she is wise, funny, empathetic and truly in tune with the people of America. This is an experience that I will never forget!” Ballentine’s interview with the First Lady will be highlighted on his program today (4/19).
2012 Presidential Campaign, U.S. Soldiers Photos Scandal, North Korea Military Ambitions, Trayvon Martin Case Developments and Ted Nugent Comments Concern Secret Service Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/18). The 2012 presidential campaign; the problems being caused by U.S. soldiers taking photos with the bodies of dead Taliban insurgents; ongoing concerns over North Korea’s military ambitions; judge steps down from Trayvon Martin case; and Ted Nugent’s comments to NRA group draws concern of Secret Service were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jim Graci Named Program Director at KDKA, Pittsburgh. CBS Radio announces the new program director for its news/talk KDKA, Pittsburgh several months after it chose not to renew its contract with former PD Marshall Adams. Jim Graci – who previously programmed crosstown WEAE – comes north from Cumulus’ KLIF where he’s been serving as PD. Also at KDKA, longtime KDKA news staffer P.J. Kumanchik is promoted to news director at the station.
WAXY, Miami Announces Tod Castleberry Takes PD Role at Station. Program director and Dan LeBatard show executive producer and cast member Marc Hochman is probably almost as happy about this hire as Tod Castleberry is. Hochman’s been handling both roles and agreed with Lincoln Financial Media to continue in both until a successor for his PD position could be found. Hochman wants to put his total concentration on the Dan LeBatard show and now he can do that. Tod Castleberry has worked at Red Zebra’s sports WTEM, Washington and most recently has been working as partner and executive producer of the John Riggins internet show.
ABC News Radio to Produce Special Program Sparked by Trayvon Martin Death. The special one-hour broadcast will take place tomorrow night (3/28) at 7:00 pm ET and will be hosted by “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts. Titled, “Race and Justice: A National Conversation,” the show will focus on the national dialogue that’s been spurred by the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. ABC News Radio says the show will feature “Robin Roberts leading a town hall discussion with prominent newsmakers and an audience of high school students and parents. The program will further the national discussion involving all racial and ethnic groups stirred by the circumstances of Trayvon Martin’s death.” The show is available to ABC News Radio affiliates.
TRN’s Michael Savage to Publish New Non-Fiction Book. Nationally syndicated talk sensation Michael Savage’s new book hits the bookstore shelves on April 3 – with major booksellers currently taking pre-orders. In Trickle Down Tyranny: Crushing Obama’s Dream of the Socialist States of America (Harper Collins 2012), Savage examines the state of the nation and especially how he believes the Obama Administration is on the wrong path. He writes, “Obama is actively creating a populace ever more slavishly dependent on the federal government.” Other topics include punishing success, “The president has openly declared war on those who have worked hard all their lives to achieve the American dream.” Savage discusses how we treat our enemies and allies, “He treats radical Islamists in the Middle East as friends, then stiffs Israel and our Western European allies.” He says that the military is used like pawns, “While Obama uses proud Navy SEALs for a publicity stunt, and the overall strength of the military has been decimated.” Other topics including the Southern border chaos and corporate cronyism are covered in a way that only Michael Savage could reveal. Savage is the author of 26 books including four New York Times bestsellers.
Arbitron and California Agree to Settlement in PPM Suit. The State of California and the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco are settling their suit against Arbitron for its practices regarding the Portable People Meter that the entities alleged underrepresented minorities and minority-targeted radio stations. Arbitron states, “As part of the settlement, Arbitron has agreed to continue a number of measures already an integral part of the company’s current PPM methodology and of its continuous improvement program for the Portable People Meter ratings services in all markets. These measures include the already completed transition to address-based sample frames, cell-phone-only sampling rates, reporting country of origin for Hispanic households and certain other sample performance and demographic information to subscribers by individual zip code, continuing efforts to maintain or achieve specific in-tab rates and Sample Performance Indicators, and continuing the company’s commitment to using all reasonable measures to achieve Media Rating Council accreditation for the data produced by the PPM ratings service in all California markets. These commitments are generally consistent with the company’s agreements with other states and are in force through December 31, 2014, or until MRC accreditation is granted, whichever comes first. The Company also agreed to pay a total of $400,000 in settlement of all claims and costs.” Arbitron states the settlement is not an admission of fault.
Dennis Miller Celebrates His 5th Anniversary Week with Special Guests. Dial Global talk show host Dennis Miller is celebrating his 5th anniversary hosting his nationally syndicated talk show this week and he’s scheduled some high-profile guests for the event. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney joins the show today (3/27). Other guests this week include: AMC’s “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, National Review editor Rich Lowry and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. On Thursday’s special anniversary show, good friend and “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Jimmy Fallon of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” will join Miller. Also coming on the show that day will be actor/comedian David Spade, who’s currently on CBS’s “Rules of Engagement” and Adam Carolla, who’s on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” Dial Global EVP of news and talk programming Bart Tessler states, “Dennis consistently brings together such an eclectic and interesting group of guests. Only he could seamlessly switch from a compelling political conversation with a presidential candidate to tapping into the zeitgeist with a late night comic.”
Cumulus Media Networks to Syndicate Medical Feature with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The vignettes to begin distribution in May through Cumulus Media Networks are broken into two target demos: one style for news/talk stations and another for a younger audience on music and entertainment stations. Two features per day for each variety will be available. Cumulus chairman, president and CEO Lew Dickey says, “Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a unique and profoundly talented individual. His insights and experience will bring compelling content to our affiliates and create powerful new vehicles for our advertisers. We look for Dr. Gupta to be an important component in our overall content strategy.” Dr. Gupta is a practicing neurosurgeon and serves as chief medical correspondent for CNN.
WOR, New York’s Former Governor David Paterson to Host Political Roundtable Event. Afternoon drive host former Governor David Paterson will moderate a special roundtable discussion from the famous Russian Tea Room broadcast live on WOR, New York on April 5. Taking part in this “State of the Tri-State” three-hour expanded edition (to be broadcast from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on WOR) of the Governor’s show are: former New York Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey, United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew, New York City Councilman Robert Jackson, New Jersey Association of School Administrators executive director Dr. Richard Bozza, Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), national security expert K.T. McFarland, and Abdur-Rashid, religious and spiritual leader of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “There is no one more uniquely qualified than Governor Paterson to bring together these top names on one radio broadcast to discuss the issues that are most important to our listeners and our community. Headlines are sure to be made during this very special program.” The broadcast is open to members of the press but not to the public.
Salem Communications Buys Detroit-Area Translator for News/Talk WDTK. Salem Communications is paying $250,000 for the FM translator currently at 97.5 and licensed to Harrison, Michigan. The seller is Tim Martz’s Radio Power and there’s currently a construction permit to move the translator to Detroit proper and to the 92.7 frequency. Salem intends to use the FM signal to assist its news/talk WDTK, Detroit.
ObamaCare Goes Before Supreme Court, Pressure Heightens for Charges in Trayvon Martin Case, GOP Primary Race and Obama-Medvedev Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26). The first day of arguments at the Supreme Court over aspects of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act; the growing pressure on authorities to arrest George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin; the GOP primary race; and the flap over President Obama’s remarks to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Makes Changes at KLIF, Dallas. The move toward more news in commercial spoken-word radio continues. Cumulus Media Group announces talk station KLIF, Dallas will add morning and afternoon drive news blocks and changes its slogan to “News & Information 570 KLIF.” The AM drive news block begins today (3/26) and features Amy Chodroff (from sister WBAP) and Dave Williams co-anchoring the program. Williams most recently worked at Merlin Media’s all-newser in Chicago. The PM drive news block is expected to begin on April 2. The changes mean morning drive talk host Jeff Bolton is out and PM drive talk host Chris Krok will move to sister WBAP-AM/FM for an evening talk show.
Current TV’s Bill Press and Stephanie Miller Simulcasts Debut Today. The new one-two punch of progressive radio talk stars hitting the air at Al Gore-founded Current TV begins this morning (3/26) as Dial Global syndicated talk hosts Bill Press and Stephanie Miller air TV simulcasts of their morning drive radio programs on Current TV. “Full Court Press: The Bill Press Show” airs from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and “Talking Liberally: The Stephanie Miller Show” follows from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET. The network announces that Senator Chris Coons, (D-DE); Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post; Faiz Shakir of Think Progress; and Lara Setrakian of ABC News and Bloomberg are all scheduled to appear during the premiere week of “Full Court Press.” The first week of “Talking Liberally” will feature Senator Byron Dorgan (ND – Former U.S. Senator and Chairman of The Senate Committee on Energy), as well as comedienne Kathleen Madigan.
Hubbard Broadcasting Names Emily Kopp WFED Morning Anchor. Hubbard Broadcasting announces a permanent addition to the morning drive show on WFED, Washington – the station dedicated to serving the many federal government workers living in the region. Emily Kopp joins host Tom Temin on the morning drive program. Kopp joined Federal News Radio in 2011 after living in the Netherlands where she reported on a freelance basis for various radio network and print outlets. Prior to her promotion, Kopp served Federal News Radio as a federal workforce reporter. Since July 2011, Kopp has produced several compelling series that focused on key human aspects of working for the federal government. WFED program director Lisa Wolfe states, “Emily had been filling in as co-anchor while we’ve been conducting our talent search for the next morning anchor. Her talents were obvious and when we got together to discuss the possibility of making it permanent, it just made sense. I look forward to Emily bringing her well-crafted interview style to mornings. I think she will uncover a lot of news.”
WTEM, Washington Launches New Afternoon Sports Talk Show Today. Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington announces the debut of “Inside the Locker Room with Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell” today (3/26). The show teams up former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with broadcast pro Scott Jackson. Walker continues with the station after 15 years, most recently serving as co-host of the John Thompson show. Both Mitchell and Jackson return to WTEM after several years’ absence. VP of programming Chuck Sapienza states, “With Doc and B-Mitch, ESPN 980’s lineup includes the two most prominent former players in Washington, DC media today. Listeners of the show will receive opinions and insight from professional athletes that is rarely offered on local radio. In addition, Jackson gives the show a ‘point guard’ that every successful program needs.” The show airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
KXTG, Portland Re-Signs John Canzano. “The Bald Faced Truth” host re-ups with Alpha Broadcasting’s sports KXTG on a multi-year deal to remain with the station. John Canzano also writes a column for the Daily Oregonian and is a commentator for KGW-TV, Portland. Upon announcing the deal, Canzano commented, “Sports talk listeners of ‘The Bald Faced Truth’ radio show are smart, educated, good looking, influential and relevant. I love my audience, my sponsors and this station. I’m staying right here because ‘The Game’ is the place to be. Period.”
Southern California Public Radio Names Melanie Sill Executive Editor. The former editor at the Sacramento Bee and the Raleigh News and Observer takes over the executive editor role at Southern California Public Radio. Her duties include overseeing the daily news gathering operations across KPCC, Pasadena’s broadcast, digital and social media platforms. KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton states, “Sill brings a wealth of news and managerial experience to this new position. Most importantly, she has been a force of change in two newsrooms, leading efforts to restructure staffs to better compete in the digital age.” The Southern California Public Radio website announces the non-profit is aggressively working to build out its online news service with ambitions to become the region’s pre-eminent source for information across multiple media.
Jacksonville Gets FM Simulcast for Sports WJXL. Seven Bridges Radio LLC buys the former Gospel WFJO-FM, Jacksonville (a class A FM signal at 92.5) from receiver Scott Savage for $1.95 million and begins an LMA immediately simulcasting its sports station 1010 XL (WJXL). The station was formerly owned by Tama Broadcasting.
Smerconish Visits Boston. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (center, standing) chats with WTKK-FM, Boston listeners at a private meet & greet on March 20 prior to the national screening of his movie, “Book Club with Michael Smerconish Featuring Chris Matthews’ Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.” In addition to the meet & greet, Smerconish conducted a curtain call speech before the showing of the film at the Cinema De Lux in Dedham, Massachusetts before a sold out theater. The film appeared at more than 100 theaters across the country on that evening.
America’s Radio News Network Develops Second Radio Network Featuring 24/7 News Reports. The long-form news venture crafted by Talk Radio Network known as America’s Radio News Network – which is successfully distributing three-hour blocks of all-news content to more than 275 affiliate stations – is announcing the creation of a second network dedicated to top- and bottom-of-the-hour news, breaking news bulletins, special reports and newsmaker interviews. ARNN executive vice president for news John McCaslin states, “‘Journalism Without Agenda’ is not just a marketing phrase at America’s Radio News – it’s a code we live by – and the marketplace has responded so strongly to our long-form, all-news product that the second news network of our short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news (plus audio actualities, special reports, news maker interviews etc…) was a natural outgrowth of this demand. We are honored to be the fastest-growing brand in news radio. We truly are ‘Journalism Without Agenda.’ This is something stations not only deeply appreciate, but have a need for like never before.” CEO Mark Masters says this means affiliate stations will not have to “break away” for news. “Bottom line, ARNN is now the complete ‘go-to’ radio news network for urgent breaking newscasts on the hour and half-hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, along with our intriguing and diverse lineup of newsmaker interviews in addition to our large array of three-hour, long-form weekday news blocks our listeners enjoy each weekday.” The new service begins April 2.
Dan Sileo Let Go from WDAE, Tampa After “Monkeys” Comment. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Tampa Bay sports talk outlet has parted company with morning drive sports talk host Dan Sileo after he referred to three NFL free agents as “monkeys.” During an exchange with producer Darek Sharp about whether the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should go after Cortland Finnegan, Jonathan Vilma and Vincent Jackson in free agency, Sileo reportedly said, “No! No! If they get those three monkeys, I’m good! I’m ready, man. I’m ready. I want those guys. Those guys are great players.” WDAE program director Steve Versnick confirmed to the Tampa Bay Tribune that Sileo is no longer with the station but would not comment on why due to the station’s policy of not discussing personnel matters. The Tampa Bay Times reports the station apologized specifically for Sileo’s remarks. As for Sileo, he tweeted to the Times’ Eric Deggans that he didn’t even realize what he’d said until someone told him. Versnick told the Tribune Rock Riley will fill in for Sileo and the station is seeking a permanent replacement. Dan Sileo has written about sports talk radio for TALKERS in the past.
Aggressive Agenda Being Set for New Media Seminar. The first of several key panel rosters for the New York installment of this year’s New Media Seminar has been announced and it promises to provide a powerful overview of the state of talk radio. Titled “Spoken Word Radio 2012, the Big Picture,” the lineup includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Chris Oliviero, senior VP programming, CBS Radio. Michael Harrison, publisher of TALKERS will moderate. According to Harrison, “This year’s New Media Seminar will tackle a number of pressing issues facing the industry during this most transitional and turbulent year.” The 2012 version of the industry’s longest-running and most important national convention will feature a new, innovative format designed for the times – broken into two separate events: New York on Thursday, June 7 and Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11. Each will present a power-packed agenda and offer affordable, accessible registration fees to its attendees. Registration, however, is limited and only open to members of the working media. For details, click here.
Dial Global and Dennis Miller Celebrate the Host’s Five-Year Anniversary with a New Contract. The announcement from Dial Global doesn’t get specific – it calls it a long-term deal – but Dennis Miller’s gig as a nationally syndicated talk show host will continue. He began in 2007 with Westwood One and is currently heard on more than 300 affiliate stations and, according to DG, in 24 of the top 24 markets. Dial Global co-president/CEO David Landau says, “We are ecstatic about our relationship with Dennis and thrilled to be associated with a rock star and national treasure of this magnitude.” Miller is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.” Miller and O’Reilly have been involved in a live event series dubbed the “Bolder & Fresher Tour 2011-2012” and have added new dates to that tour including June 22 in Indianapolis and June 23 in Chicago. Miller says of his radio success, “It has been a fine five years with a great and growing audience that I enjoy riffing with. As I bask in the glorious wake of modest achievement, I look forward to many more years behind the microphone.”
Saga Communications Reports Revenue Down 3.6% in Q4 of 2011. But for the entire year of 2011, Saga Communications was down just a hair – to $127.3 million in net revenue. The good news for Saga is free cash flow was up 3.6% for the quarter and 9% for the year. Also, Saga was able to reduce its debt by $27 million to $69.1 million. One thing Saga is enjoying that many other broadcasting companies surely covet is a healthy stock price. Saga’s stock closed at $41.40 per share on Tuesday – up 6.7%.
Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Locks Up Doc Walker for Three More Years. The midday sports talk host was most recently partnered with John Thompson at WTEM but Thompson left his daily talk show host role at the station last month. Now, Red Zebra vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says the company has signed Rick “Doc” Walker to a three-year contract extension and the station will feature Walker in a new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program beginning March 26. Walker is also part of the broadcast team for the Washington Redskins Radio Network. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean states, “Doc has become an integral part of WTEM and its success for the better part of 15 years. We are excited for him to be a part of the new show and our Redskins broadcasts.”
Cumulus Media Networks Partners with APM Music for Production Library Services. Music library giant APM Music – a joint venture of EMI Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing – partners with Cumulus Media Networks to offer its music library services to client stations. APM’s collection of music is described as offering “every imaginable genre including music from current indie bands to big sound orchestral trailer cues to a full classical music repertoire.” CMN SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green says, “Cumulus Media Networks is proud to add the APM music production library to its growing stable of products and services available to stations all over the country. APM’s library is the largest and best in the industry which will provide stations the foundation for outstanding commercial production.”
Dan LeBatard Show Markets Content via CDBaby. The WAXY, Miami PM drive show Dan LeBatard with Stugotz & Hochman is marketing some of its best-of material via CDBaby. The program has a sizable podcast following but this is the first foray in to digital media marketing. As the deal is structured, the show and station owner Lincoln Financial Media both share in the revenue. The “CD” is available through CDBaby.com, iTunes, Amazon and several other digital media sites. Marc Hochman (who is currently also program director of WAXY but is stepping down to focus on the LeBatard show) reports LeBatard’s national profile has “grown exponentially since the debut of his daily TV show, ‘Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable,’ on ESPN 2 which is aired every day at 4:00 pm ET.” Pictured here is the “CD cover” of the digital download. Hochman says there will be no physical CDs, just the download.
GOP Southern Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Soaring Gas Prices, Afghanistan Killings Aftermath, and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13). Yesterday’s southern primaries for the GOP contenders and the 2012 presidential race in general; the nation’s soaring gas prices and its impact on President Obama’s approval numbers; the aftermath of the killing of 16 Afghanistan civilians by a U.S. soldier; and the ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Forges into Future of Entertainment; Names John Sykes President of Entertainment Enterprises. If there comes a time in the future when radio companies are forced to address why their business plans failed as technology and media tastes were changing all around them, for Clear Channel it certainly won’t be for lack of trying to use its enormous radio station base from which to move forward. On the heels of last week’s announcement of the name change – jettisoning the “radio” part and tacking “media” and “entertainment” onto its name – the company announces it is bringing entertainment pro John Sykes aboard to serve as president of entertainment enterprises. In announcing the hire, CC states, “Sykes will use the unparalleled assets of Clear Channel – including its 238 million monthly broadcast radio listeners, the 141 million people it reaches with Outdoor in the United States and the 374 million internationally, as well as the more than 75 million monthly listening hours for its digital properties – to develop new businesses for the company across a range of media, including television and live events, as well as create value for Clear Channel advertisers and key partners.” Sykes has served as president of VH1, president of network development for MTV, CEO of the old Infinity Broadcasting, president of Champion Entertainment, president of Chrysalis Records, and an agent for Creative Artists Agency. Most recently he was with the private equity firm Pilot Group – the connection to Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman. Pittman says of Sykes, “John’s experience and relationships in so many sectors of the entertainment and media business make him the perfect choice to lead this new initiative.” Clear Channel doesn’t have a lot of time. It has some $20 billion in debt hanging around its neck that comes due in chunks over the next four years and the pace at which media and technology is changing is faster than anyone can anticipate – including those new-tech operators who say they’re ahead of the game. But, in so many words, Clear Channel is making the statement it is bound and determined to use its large base of radio listeners to build something that will exist – and hopefully make money – in the future. And bringing in connected players from outside the traditional radio business could be the strategy that helps it survive.
CBS Radio Detroit Brings Bob Wojnowski and Jamie Samuelsen Back to the Airwaves on “The Ticket.” Detroit sports media pros Bob “Wojo” Wojnowski and Jamie Samuelsen are being paired up for a 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show on WXYT-FM “The Ticket.” Both have worked on sports talk radio in the market previously on Clear Channel’s WDFN. WXYT-FM program director Jimmy Powers says, “We are extremely pleased to have Jamie and Wojo join our line-up. They are a natural fit. They have been dialed into the Detroit sports scene for many years, giving fans information on their favorite teams. Jamie and Wojo will continue to entertain listeners on their way home from work or to the stadium.” Wojnowski is also currently a columnist for the Detroit News and Samuelson is a regular blogger for the Detroit Free Press.
KMBZ, Kansas City Makes PM Drive Changes. Mike Shanin leaves his role on the “Shanin and Parks” afternoon show at Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City and takes the business editor role at the station. The station says it will continue to rely on Shanin’s “expertise and knowledge for political commentary.” Filling his seat alongside Scott Parks is KCTV-TV investigative reporter Dana Wright. She says of her new radio role, “This is really a dream opportunity for me. Journalism is my passion and I look forward to this exciting new step in my career.”
When Radio Was Insanely Fun. Beleaguered by the contemporary world of corporate radio? Pining for the days when radio stations were inhabited by creative and (quite possibly) unstable personalities? Talk radio host, WPIX-TV, New York commentator and LionelMedia.com “podcast titan” Lionel re-lives a bit of crazy radio history from his uniquely skewed perspective and personal experience. Prepare to laugh your tuchus off and click here.
CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington Launch Delayed. Various trade and consumer reports indicate the launch of CBS Radio’s new all-newser in Washington, DC will be Monday, January 23 and not tomorrow as had been planned. The cause is being reported as engineering issues related to the new studios.
Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington, DC Adds College Hoops Expert. ESPN 980 (WTEM) announces former University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams joins the station to serve as its college basketball insider. Williams takes the temporary post through the NCAA finals during which he’ll join the station’s “Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro and “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban for weekly college basketball reports. PD Chuck Sapienza says, “Adding Gary to our team solidifies our dominance in the area of college basketball coverage. He is ‘must listen-to radio’ and adding his expertise on the entire sport of college hoops is a big win for ESPN 980’s listeners.”
ESPN Audio Re-Aligns Management. At ESPN, Jim Roberts moves from his senior director, affiliate sales to senior director, Deportes local radio group. He’ll continue to lead the Deportes Dallas Radio station and in addition be responsible for the on-going relationship with all Deportes Radio affiliates. Patrick Polking, senior director audio national accounts, will transition to senior director II, distribution and business development. Polking will oversee the development and execution of strategies to further monetize ESPN Audio’s products. The company also says that because of the growth in usage of ESPN Audio properties, Scott Masteller, senior director II, radio content, will collaborate with Dave Austin, who was recently promoted to manager, ESPN Digital Audio Group, to ensure ESPN Audio is aligned in the production of its digital audio.
GOP Primary Race, Internet Anti-Piracy Bills, European Debt Crisis and Italian Cruise Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17). The battle to win the GOP presidential primary race, the internet anti-piracy bills being debated in Washington, the continuing European debt problems and the Italian cruise ship disaster were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Filling in for the Holidays. Today marks the beginning of “holiday fill-in season” on talk radio which pretty much runs through the rest of the year. It is the time when a significant percentage of full-time hosts working at individual radio stations (and even syndicated hosts for that matter) take all or part of their annual vacations. This process provides fill-in hosts and part-time weekend and bench hosts with the opportunity to get out there and hopefully shine. It also has the potential to provide listeners with fresh voices and perspectives. And it always presents already overworked programmers with the challenge of keeping their schedules flowing and appealing. They want someone who is professional and interesting – but they also want someone who won’t upset the applecart of stationality or listener expectations. WGN, Chicago PD Bill White explains, “I equate a fill-in host to someone hosting a dinner party in someone else’s home. Fill-in hosts should be respectful of the regular host’s audience but not rearrange all the furniture. We also look for fill-in hosts who will be comfortable and compliment the regular host’s audience.” Thus, qualified substitutes are a valuable commodity at this time of year when the demand for their services is drastically increased, especially when most stations’ air staffs have been cut back or depleted due to the economy and PDs must look for help from outside. For example, one of the industry’s most popular substitutes, former congressman and KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt on 12/20 and 12/28. He’ll be heard on hosting local shows on KXNT-FM, Las Vegas on 12/23 and 12/29-30; WLS, Chicago on 12/24, 28-30; WGST, Atlanta on 12/26; KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego on 12/27; and WPHT, Philadelphia on 12/28-30. Demand for quality substitutes is so high that some hosts already doing full-time work use it as an opportunity to pick up extra income and exposure. As if he is not already doing enough on his “regular” gigs, hard working and extremely talented Clear Channel talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (KPRC, Houston; WOAI, San Antonio; KOA, Denver; and “The Weekend”) fills in for Premiere Networks syndicated star Glenn Beck on 12/20, 23, 28 and 30. This year’s holiday season coming in the thick of the big election cycle creates even more pressure to keep stations on track. Greater Media-owned WTKK-FM, Boston PD Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “It’s important at 96.9 FM-WTKK to provide our audience with relevant shows throughout the holiday season that are timely and topical. Our host vacation schedules are scattered and their fill-ins are often regular participants to their shows and share similar philosophies. Since January 2012 is a huge month for presidential politics and New Hampshire is our neighbor, I think it’s imperative to keep 96.9 Boston Talks ‘primarily’ intact and compelling.” At Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno, PD Skip Essick likes to avoid throwing curves to listeners, “I try and keep programming as normal as possible. This year it will not be as much of a challenge with Christmas Eve and Day on the weekend – same thing over New Years. But, for instance, the day after Thanksgiving – which was designated as a company holiday – I ran full staff with regular programming. I’ll do the same for Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and the numerous Monday holidays throughout the year. In a nutshell – if our listeners are at work, so are we.” Some hosts prefer to work over the holidays and at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York, program director Scott Lakefield tells TALKERS that’s the case. “For instance, John Gambling began a ‘tradition’ of sorts of taking his ‘holiday’ vacation in January. He will be live 12/27-30. Generally speaking, though, my theory is to try to do ‘best-of’ compendium shows during vacation times, with the exception of drive-time when information is a bigger component and it is thus necessary to be live. Guest hosts in my experience drive far more listeners away than hearing some ‘classic’ moments from their favorite hosts does.” In the sports talk radio world this situation can be particularly compelling since so many outlets have a high percentage of local full-time hosts and thus more slots to fill. Plus, opinions and personality categories in sports talk are often more idiosyncratic than general news/talk, making it more challenging to find the proper fit. CBS-owned Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh PD Terry Foxx tells TALKERS, “Holiday fill-in for us is very important. I match up our part-time hosts based on how I feel they will entertain and incite opinions from our fans in certain day parts.” Some stations have fill-in hosts with a history at the station such as veteran TV/radio personality Wayne Powers who subs for Keith Larson on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte 12/26-30… and the list goes on. J.D. Hayworth, who is looking to get back into the business on a regular basis as either a local or syndicated host, tells TALKERS, “As a genuine ‘broadcasting baby boomer,’ I remember the ubiquitous Robert Q. Lewis on TV game shows: most frequently, a panelist…but quite frequently, a guest host…and eventually a regular host! So, I’m being ‘Lewis-like’ over the holidays! During my years at N.C. State, the joke was Lou Holtz recruited me at right tackle, but I ended up ‘left out!’ So…I’m used to waiting on the the bench, but very happy to get loads of holiday airtime. I’m certain these appearances will help me leave the bench and get back in the game full time!”
John Thompson Ends Regular Talk Show at WTEM, Washington. The iconic former Georgetown University basketball coach and talk host in the DC market since 1999 will step away from his regular show on Red Zebra’s WTEM in February to pursue other interests. Red Zebra director of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “While a sad day for the station, we fully support Coach Thompson’s decision to move on to other projects. As Coach and I discussed at the time of his decision, this is not a retirement. His fans will still hear Coach Thompson on ESPN980 from time to time. Thompson’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm daily with co-host Doc Walker. Sapienza doesn’t state what the station’s plans are after Thompson steps down.
Chattanooga’s Brewer Media to Drop News/Talk on WPLZ-FM Citing Expense of the Format. It’s been three years since the locally owned Brewer Media put a news/talk format on WPLZ-FM, Chattanooga. Owner Jim Brewer II tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press he would have needed more staff to be competitive in the market. “I think we offered a good product and I will miss having news/talk in our building…being a small, single market cluster, it’s exceedingly difficult to compete against national broadcasting companies who have so much syndicated programming and infrastructure.” The station will flip to an unspecified music format in the new year and will lay off talk hosts Robert T. Nash and David Karnes as well as PD Gary Poole, news director Louis Lee and a couple other employees. Brewer Media owns three other FMs in the market including sports talk WALV – ESPN 105.1.
Birach Broadcasting Flips WWCS, Pittsburgh to Sports; Affiliates with Fox Sports Radio. Birach Broadcasting has been airing a Spanish music format on the signal but flips to sports on January 1 as Fox Sports 540. It’ll take most of the Fox Sports Radio Network-distributed lineup – Zakk & Jack, the Dan Patrick show, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT the Brick plus Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome. FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin states, “After a short hiatus, Fox Sports Radio is thrilled to be heard again in the great city of Pittsburgh!” The network was previously affiliated with Clear Channel’s WBGG. In addition to CC’s WBGG, CBS Radio operates sports KDKA-FM in the market.
Dr. Jenn Berman to Host New VH1 Program “Couples Therapy.” Los Angeles-based psychotherapist and host of the Sirius XM talk show, “The Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn,” is the host of a new cable TV show produced by Irwin Entertainment, the producers of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” The program will follow the travails of five celebrity couples and they go through therapy with Dr. Jenn Berman. Shows hit the air in the spring. Dr. Berman tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this exciting venture on VH1. I’m looking forward to being that connecting link between viewers and the process of examining the challenges of a celebrity relationship. I think people will be very surprised by how much they identify with these celebs and their personal struggles.” Couples taking part in the program are: DMX (Rapper) & Tashera Simmons, Linda Hogan (“Hogan Knows Best”) & Charlie Hill, Chris Nirschel (“The Next Food Network Star”) & Angelina Pivarnick (“Jersey Shore”), Kasey Kahl (“Bachelorette”) & Vienna Girardi (“The Bachelor”) and Reichen Lehmkuhl & Rodiney Santiago (“The A-List: New York”).
Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Named to State Travel Commission. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announces WJIM, Lansing-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels – heard throughout the state via the Michigan Talk Network – will serve on the Michigan Travel Commission. “One of the key components to building a better and stronger Michigan is to continuously promote all the attractions our state has to offer, including our beautiful lakes and great landmarks. Michael Patrick Shiels is a great addition and uniquely positioned to be a great asset to the commission.” In addition to his radio work, Shiels is a travel writer and founder of TravelTattler.com. Subject to approval by the Michigan Senate, Shiels will serve the remainder of Jim Berryman’s term through September 2014. Berryman recently resigned.
Ira Weintraub Takes PD Role at WTKA, Ann Arbor. Cumulus Media Ann Arbor names APD and morning show producer Ira Weintraub program director for sports talk outlet WTKA – The Ticket 1050. Market manager Matt Spaulding says, “Ann Arbor is a market with a tradition of providing compelling, passionate and relevant broadcast products to the listeners of southeast Michigan. Ira Weintraub has absolutely earned this promotion and we are confident that he will help lead WTKA to many more years of broadcasting success.”
WGN, Chicago’s Milt Rosenberg Hosts 2011 Retrospective Tonight. “Extension 720” host Milt Rosenberg hosts a special edition of his program this evening (12/19) titled, “WGN Year in Review” with fellow WGN personalities Garry Meier, John Williams and David Kaplan. The hosts will look back on the stories that made the year 2011 from the Rod Blagojevich case to the death of Osama bin Laden to the hiring of Theo Epstein as the Cubs’ general manager. The program airs at 10:00 pm.
Fisher’s Plans for KVI, Seattle Outlined. An e-mail to clients of Fisher Communications’ oldies-formatted KVI, Seattle announces the former talk stations will revert to talk – but not as a conservative talk station. After the holidays, KVI will be called “Smart Talk 570 KVI” and will be positioned as “Smart talk for a Sound life.” The memo states the station will feature “lifestyle, health, local and entertainment news.” In addition to Friday’s story about Dial Global’s Clark Howard joining the station, the morning show will be called “Sunrise Seattle” hosted by Mark Christopher and Elisa Jaffe of KOMO TV 4. TRN’s Phil Hendrie and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” are on the schedule along with a local program, “The Buzz” hosted by Scott Carty.
Political Influence of Conservative Talk Radio Analyzed in Timely Politico Article. A hard-hitting article posted this morning (11/18) on the popular political news and opinion website Politico presents a particularly insightful and fascinating analysis of the role conservative talk radio hosts play in the process of presidential elections. The story written by Keach Hagey and Glenn Thrush looks specifically at the meteoric candidacy of Herman Cain – a former radio talker – and examines the direct influence radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity,Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin have had and are still having on his unexpectedly prominent position in the polls and national conversation. The interesting and timely article appearing in one of the political world’s leading news websites poses the question, “How long will the love last now that Cain is on the rocks?” — referring to radio talk show hosts’ reaction to Cain’s propensity toward gaffes such as the Libya incident and embroilment in an alleged sexual harassment scandal. Read the Politico story here.
RAB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase Data Shows Radio Revenue Up 2% for Q3. That increase is due in large part to gains in digital for the radio industry. The Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. report data that shows spot revenue for the third quarter was flat, network revene up 2%, digital up 17%, and off-air up 10%. The data also indicates that total revenue for the first three quarters of the year is up 2% as well.
“Christopher Walken” Interview on WTEM, Washington Spooks AP After Natalie Wood Case Re-Opened. It wasn’t exactly a “War of the Worlds” situation but apparently WTEM, Washington producer Marc Sterne does a pretty good Christopher Walken imitation and someone at the Associated Press bit. The back story is that Sterne does a regular Friday segment on the Red Zebra Broadcasting sports talk station in which “Walken” talks fantasy football. With the re-opening of the Natalie Wood case in the news and Walken’s link to the case, Sterne referenced the investigation during the segment last Friday and the AP reported it as a real interview, then realized what happened and reported it as a hoax. However, the Washington Post writes that WTEM PD Chuck Sapienza says the “hoax” part bugs him because it implies underhandedness. “No one [from AP] called us to see if it was real, and then they call it a hoax,” he told the Post. “A hoax makes it sound like it’s our fault. We’ve been doing this [impersonation] for two years. They’re taking no responsibility for shoddy journalism.” The AP isn’t identifying the person who heard the segment and reported it as fact.
Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy Inducted by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. The non-profit Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia honors people from every aspect of the broadcasting industry who’ve contributed to the business for at least 10 years. On Friday, the organization recognized WIP, Philadelphia sports personality Howard Eskin – WIP’s very first talk show sportscaster – and KYW news anchor Wally Kennedy. Eskin began hosting sports talk radio shows in Philly in 1986. He recently stepped down from his daily PM drive show to concentrate on Eagles game day coverage and other projects. Kennedy – who’s worked in Philadelphia radio and television for 30 years – is morning news anchor at KYW. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “CBS Radio is fortunate to showcase incredible talent on all of our properties. Legends like Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy have been heard in the Philadelphia area for decades. It’s no surprise that they would be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. Both have contributed greatly to the success of our radio stations.”
Thom Hartmann Co-Authored Kennedy Book to Be Made into Movie by Leonardo DiCaprio. According to columnist Liz Smith, the book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (Counterpoint 2009), authored by Lamar Waldron with Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann, will be made into a movie by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way film company. Smith reports that DiCaprio would play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham and Robert De Niro will play Carlos Marcello. According to its Amazon description, the almost 950-page book suggests three Mafia bosses used John F. Kennedy’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s plan to stage a coup against Fidel Castro to murder the president.
Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” to Be Produced in New, Street-Level Studios. Dave Graveline’s nationally syndicated consumer technology program will begin broadcasting and shooting video podcasts at new street-level studios in the Miami Lakes Broadcast Center. The move will allow passersby to view the program as it’s being produced.