Tom Schurr Named SVP, Operations for Cumulus. Longtime iHeartMedia (Clear Channel/Jacor) executive Tom Schurr joins Cumulus Media as part of the senior station operations team as senior vice president, operations. The company says that in his new position, Schurr will oversee Cumulus station operations in multiple U.S. markets, including Dallas and Houston, with additional market responsibilities to be announced at a later date. He will report to president and CEO Lew Dickey, who comments, “Tom is an extremely talented broadcast executive with unparalleled operating experience across all market sizes. We look forward to his important contribution to our success.” While president of operations for iHeartMedia, Schurr had direct responsibility for all major market operations across the U.S. He also managed markets including Houston and Dallas, and as a regional operations executive over the South East and East Regions, was responsible for the oversight of 100 markets and 500 stations. He says, “I couldn’t be more excited to join Lew Dickey and the Cumulus team. This is a dynamic organization stocked with passionate leaders and competitive team members who have assembled a great portfolio of assets and are striving towards a bright future. It’s great to be part of it!”
U.S. District Judge Gives Former Governor and WTIC, Hartford Host John Rowland 30 Months for Campaign Fraud. The Hartford Courant reports that former WTIC, Hartford talk show host John G. Rowland was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for his conviction on campaign fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Rowland was the former governor of Connecticut who was previously convicted of bribery in 2004. He was released from prison in 2006 after serving almost two years for that offense. This time around, via his political consulting company, Rowland worked for Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley, and his crime was hiding that fact from the public, then conspiring to hinder investigators. According to a previous story in the Hartford Courant, prosecutors made note of Rowland’s use of his radio show to criticize his client’s opponent in the Republican primary. The prosecution could have made more out of the use of his radio show and pointed that out in court filings when it wrote, “Although Mr. Rowland’s use of his radio show was an egregious aspect of his conduct and certainly constituted an abuse of the public airwaves and a fraud on his audience, the Government is electing not to seek the two-level enhancement.” Rowland must also pay a fine of $35,000 and serve three years’ probation. His attorneys are vowing to appeal.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of February 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of February 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The February 2015 survey period covered January 29 through February 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. Texas-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (WOAI, San Antonio; KPRC, Houston) is the on-screen narrator for the film adaptation of the John Hagee book Four Blood Moons. Pags tells TALKERS the film opens nationwide on Tuesday, March 23…..On the monthly “Ask the Mayor” show on all-news KNX, Los Angeles, LA Chief of Police Charlie Beck joins Mayor Eric Garcetti in the studios today (3/19). The call-in program is hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman…..XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” morning personality Dan Sileo is the new host of the San Diego Padres pre-game show. “The Mighty 1090” serves as the flagship for Padres baseball…..Vince Russo brings his podcast “Vince Russo’s The Brand” to The RELM Network. The digital platform now features 24 shows, including: “Buzz Burbank News and Comment,” the Kirk McEwen show,” the Marc & Lowell show, Brad & Britt, and “Foodie & The Beast.”…..The New England Patriots and Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston extend their relationship for another three years. The new deal means the continuation of “Patriots Monday” and “Patriots Friday” programming that provides fans weekly access to exclusive interviews with Tom Brady, Coach Bill Belichick and others.
Israeli Elections/Referendum on Netanyahu, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, Iran Nukes/GOP Letter Issue, Obama ‘Mandatory Voting’ Comment, Starbucks Race Conversation Campaign, and Chris Borland Quits NFL Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18). The victory of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party in Israel’s elections; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s recent trip to New Hampshire; the ongoing probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business; the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and the letter sent to the Islamic state by GOP senators; President Obama’s suggestion that voting be made mandatory; the flap over Starbucks’ campaign to discuss race matters with its customers; and the state of the NFL in the wake of Chris Borland’s retirement from the game at age 24 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Morning Show Changes at ‘680 The Fan’ in Atlanta. Some cast member changes are taking place at Dickey Broadcasting-owned sports talker WCNN “680 The Fan” with Perry Laurentino exiting his co-host gig on “The Rude Awakening,” along with producer Josh Vexler. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports the changes noting that Brandon Leak will move to the on-air producer role on the show led by Christopher Rude. Ho also reports that there’s come speculation that the remaining third of the former morning show at crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” – Nick Cellini – may join the station as part of the morning show. Cellini, Chris Dimino (already part of the “Rude Awakening”) and Steak Shapiro (currently heard on WCNN’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show) were notoriously fired from WQXI after a bit on their “Mayhem in the AM” show that mocked former NFL player and ALS-sufferer Steve Gleason.
WBSM, New Bedford Makes Morning Show Changes. Gone after 25 years with the Townsquare Media-owned news/talk station is morning host and brand manager Pete Braley and in is longtime local broadcaster Phil Paleologos. Braley was let go from the morning show on Friday (12/5) and told the SouthCoastToday.com he was shocked by the move. “I’m quite devastated. I never even had the chance to say goodbye to our wonderful audience.” Townsquare management issued the usual statement saying Braley is no longer with the company and they wish him well.
Defense Hopes for Leniency in Sentencing Phase of Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC Host John Rowland. After being convicted in September of violating federal campaign laws, the prosecution is presenting arguments in the sentencing phase of former Connecticut Governor (and former WTIC personality) John Rowland. Via his political consulting company, Rowland worked for Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley, and his crime was hiding that fact from the public. According to a piece in the Hartford Courant, prosecutors are making note of his use of his radio show to criticize his client’s opponent in the Republican primary. The prosecution could have made more out of the use of his radio show and pointed that out in court filings when it wrote, “Although Mr. Rowland’s use of his radio show was an egregious aspect of his conduct and certainly constituted an abuse of the public airwaves and a fraud on his audience, the Government is electing not to seek the two-level enhancement.” Rowland was convicted of bribery in 2004 and was released from prison in 2006. Prosecutors are saying Rowland should be sentenced to 37 to 46 months for his crime but his defense argues a more lenient 18 to 24 months should be sought. Read the Courant piece here.
WMAL, Washington Fisher House RadioThon Nets $350,000. This past weekend, Cumulus Media news/talk outlet WMAL, Washington held a two-day radiothon to benefit the Fisher House Foundation that netted some $350,000 – a record, according to program director Bill Hess. He also tells TALKERS magazine that over the past 11 years, WMAL listeners have donated more than $4.5 million to the charity that supports wounded warriors and their families. Pictured here on remote are (from left to right): WMAL morning personalities Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, and midday host Chris Plante.
Beasley Talkers Celebrate Holidays. The Las Vegas cluster of Beasley Broadcast Group held its annual holiday party over the weekend and some of the talk radio staffers posed for this shot alongside management. Pictured here are (from left to right): Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, KDWN news director and program director John Shaffer, talk host Alan Stock, local sales manager Craig Davis and general sales manager Cory Cuddeback.
Dr. Joy Ought to Be in Pictures! Although she is famous nationwide as radio’s leading relationships doc, GCN nationally syndicated talk host, Dr. Joy Browne has long been considered a mover and shaker by New York City’s showbiz establishment for her stage and screen reviews that work their way into her daily radio show or appear on other media platforms. Listeners to her program know that she has an amazing knowledge and insight into the latest Broadway productions and films of the world. Here she is “pictured” at a recent advance screening of the new “Annie” movie fooling around for the TALKERS camera with Kevin Thompson – a former warm-up man for the “Wendy Williams Show” and current host of BET’s “Claim to Fame” game show. Thompson was recently named Mr. Moviefone, the new face and voice of the iconic Moviefone brand.
Cool Job Opportunity. Public radio KJZZ, Phoenix is seeking a broadcast producer manager for a midday news magazine. The job description states qualified candidate must be able to host and produce radio programs by delivering on-air content and technical continuity among all segments of programming. Deliver on-air news; write conversational copy for newscasts, anchor live on-air reporting; assist in coordinating live interviews, audio elements and other program content; and perform all aspects of live or automated daily board shift operation, announcing and newscasting. Qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, English, Broadcasting, Communication or a related field AND four (4) years of on-air experience in journalism, news, multimedia, and audio board operations in recorded and live situations; including two (2) years of supervisory experience. Read more about the job description here. For more information, contact Craig Curtis at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-226-7814.
WWXX License Renewal Objection Draws Response. The FCC is considering whether it should rule if the team name of the NFL‘s Washington franchise (“Redskins”) is indecent. One of that team’s three radio flagships – Red Zebra Broadcasting-owned WWXX – has filed its answer to objections regarding the renewal of its broadcast license. WWXT (92.7) and WWXX (94.3) repeat the signal of primary flagship WTEM “ESPN 980.” Red Zebra states that its response “makes clear that under the Communications Act and the First Amendment, the FCC should not be in the business of censoring the content of radio stations. Any debate about the team’s name and its meaning should be held in the free marketplace of ideas, not in the halls of the FCC or any other governmental agency.” Red Zebra counsel Andrew McBride of Wiley Rein LLP comments, “We hope the FCC will swiftly reject this transparent attempt to use the license renewal process to intimidate broadcasters across the country with the baseless threat that accurately reporting on the Washington football franchise by using the team’s full name violates any law or FCC regulation.” Many consider the name of the DC franchise a slur to Native Americans and they have called on team owner – and Red Zebra primary investor – Dan Snyder to change it. President Barack Obama is among those asking the NFL to endorse a name alteration, as are at least one-half the members of the U.S. Senate. In a preliminary 18-page formal petition to deny renewal of a station’s FCC broadcast license, petitioner John F. Banzhaf III, “a listener to station WWXX, respectfully requests on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, and who are like himself adversely affected or aggrieved, that the agency deny the renewal of this station’s license and any other requests. It deliberately, repeatedly, and unnecessarily broadcasts the word ‘R*dskins’ during most of its broadcasting day, and especially in prime time where its well documented adverse impact on impressionable young Indian as well as non-Indian children is greatest. Through its licensee and controlling owner Dan Snyder, also actively encourages or indeed forces many other broadcasters to likewise broadcast a derogatory racial and ethnic slur contrary to the public interest.” Banzhaf is an American legal activist and a law professor at George Washington University Law School. The Washington Post editorial board has stopped using the team’s name, and a panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademark registration four months ago. Even so, Snyder vows to keep the name. TALKERS legal editor Steve J.J. Weisman recently wrote a column about this matter addressing the FCC’s jurisdiction to rule on the issue. Read that piece here.
Cooke: Two Weekend Problems, Two Solutions. In a piece written exclusively for TALKERS, radio consultant Holland Cooke addresses two weekend problems that face talk radio stations and offers a couple of solutions. He says ask-the-expert shows – i.e. brokered programming from local attorneys, real estate agents, veterinarians, etc. – don’t have to sound bad! Coach them so their broadcasts are well-executed and informative. Plus, let these clients use your listen-on-demand capabilities to reach more potential customers and they will be more satisfied with the money they are spending on your station. Read Cooke’s entire piece here.
How Mobile Can Save Your Talk Radio Brand. Digital media pro Gabe Barnes says, in a column exclusive to TALKERS, that he’s surprised by the number of radio execs who are put off by the reported amount of radio app usage that takes place outside of the station’s broadcast range. They see primarily the streaming fees for a listener who’s outside the “market.” The Mersoft Media director, business development says that’s not necessarily bad. “Many of those listening out of the broadcast range are actually local residents or have some ties to that local community. A local advertisement would be just as effective, provided the advertisement is compelling and targeted.” But there are more advantages for getting fans of your programming to go “mobile” with it. Read Barnes’ entire column here.
WTIC, Hartford License Renewal on Enforcement Hold. With the conviction of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland – until April of 2014 the afternoon drive personality on WTIC, Hartford – on campaign fraud charges in the rear view, CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford is now waiting out an enforcement hold on his license renewal with the FCC. In a story in the Hartford Courant, Edmund Mahony writes that the hold on the process is due to a “payola” complaint to the FCC related to Rowland’s actions promoting a Republican candidate in a primary race without disclosing – either to the radio audience or the FEC – that he was on that candidate’s payroll. The FCC doesn’t comment on the specifics of these matters and CBS RADIO is simply confirming that the process is on hold but the company does not know why. Rowland is set to be sentenced in January. The station certainly took its share of criticism for hiring Rowland after his first conviction in 2004 on corruption charges related to activities while in the governor’s office. Now, the station may be liable for a fine or reprimand, according to experts Mahony cites in his story. Most experts agree a denial of the license renewal for WTIC is unlikely, to say the least.
ESPN Radio to Air World Series. This marks the seventeenth straight year that ESPN Radio has exclusive radio rights to MLB‘s World Series. ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” lead play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst Aaron Boone will function in those capacities on the radio broadcasts for the best-of-seven series that commences tomorrow night (10/21) between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. Pre-game and post-game coverage will be handled by Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton, ESPN MLB insider Peter Pascarelli, and Marc Kestecher. Meanwhile, for the tenth successive year, ESPN Deportes Radio will broadcast every game for a Spanish-speaking audience. San Diego Padres Spanish-language announcer Eduardo Ortega will be joined by Renato Bermudez, Armando Talavera, and Jose Francisco Rivera.
Cool Job Opportunity. One of the top newsrooms in the country, KMBZ in Kansas City, has an immediate opening for a Morning Show Executive News Producer. This is a unique opportunity for someone with great writing skills, an appetite for everything news, and a desire to create exclusive content each and every day. Candidates need to have a news background, and a good understanding of news-wheel operations. Reporting experience would be very good as well. “Kansas City’s Morning News” and KMBZ are committed to finding the right person to fill this position. If you have what it takes, send a resume, along with anything else that will make you shine to KMBZJobs@gmail.com. KMBZ and Entercom Kansas City are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Salem Personalities in Israel. Four Salem Communications Christian teaching talk personalities are accompanying more than 350 listeners on a trip through the Holy Land. Pictured here from left to right are: Mark Daniels, WFIL, Philadelphia; Frank Sontag, KKLA, Los Angeles; Georgene Rice, KPDQ, Portland; and Kevin McCullough, nationally syndicated and WMCA, New York after a lunch on Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel. Also joining the listeners and personalities on this trip is Salem Communications radio division president David Santrella.
Alpha Media to Buy Buckley’s California Stations. In a deal just announced today, Portland-based Alpha Media enters into a definitive agreement to purchase radio stations from Buckley Broadcasting of California, LLC and Buckley Communications, Inc. The properties are: In Bakersfield, rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3,” CHR KLLY “Kelly 95.3,” and KNZR-AM and KNZR-FM, a simulcast news/talk operation; in Merced, CHR KHTN “Hot 104.7” and country KUBB. Alpha chairman Larry Wilson comments, “The Buckley clusters in California will be a great addition to the West Coast footprint. Merced is a unique city with a thriving arts scene and is an adventurous community. As one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, Bakersfield is a rich and vibrant city full of live and local opportunities.” The acquisition, after FCC approval, will give Alpha Media 74 radio properties.
Budget Time Is for Planning Programming Promotions. Syndication and programming consultant Tony Garcia writes in today’s edition of TALKERS magazine that while the newly arrived Fourth Quarter is a traditional budget time in business, it’s also a great time for programmers to plan promotion strategy. Garcia says that even though it seems elementary, the calendar really is a great tool with which to get a concrete grasp on the things that may affect your show during 2015. “The multi-level-marketers have a saying: Plan your work, then work your plan…Look at the dates you want your events to take place, then work backward from there and create a to-do list that is comfortable for you to work with, but leaves enough time for brainstorming your idea and lining up the resources you need, whether that be money, a graphics designer, a direct mail house or a trade publication or conference organizer.” Read Garcia’s entire piece here.
Reverend Will Marotti Steps Away from WTIC, Hartford Afternoons. Operations manager Steve Salhaney tells the Hartford Courant that Reverend Will Marotti’s stint as afternoon drive host was never intended to be permanent. He’d been hosting the show since the departure of former Governor John Rowland – recently convicted of campaign finance violations – back in April. When Rowland first joined WTIC in 2010, he co-hosted afternoons with Marotti for a show called “State and Church” that lasted until 2012, when Marotti left for personal reasons. Salhaney tells the paper that sports radio personality – and voice of the University of Connecticut Huskies – Joe D’Ambrosio will serve as temporary host of the afternoon show while it seeks a permanent replacement.
Pattiz Feted for Podcast Industry Leadership. The founder and CEO of Podcast One, Norm Pattiz, is pictured here with a few of the honors he received for his work in furthering the podcasting industry. Few outside of the broadcasting and podcasting worlds were probably aware that September 30, 2014 was National Podcast Day. But Pattiz certainly was aware, especially after being lauded by legislative leaders for his company’s leadership in promoting the media format. Pattiz, the founder of syndication giant Westwood One, has been acknowledged with numerous radio honors during his illustrious career, including being recognized in June of this year by TALKERS magazine with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Stumping in Iowa. Acclaimed radio host Jim Bohannon is not running for office but he was in Iowa recently speaking at the IowaWatch Free Press Champion Awards, sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. The event honored two Iowa journalists for promoting and showing, by example, the benefits of transparent government in the state. Bohannon, host of Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon show and the news program “America in the Morning,” was a guest speaker at the event. The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan news service, founded in 2010, that collaborates with Iowa media partners to produce investigative and explanatory journalism, and trains college students to do this kind of work at a professional and ethical level.
Where There’s Smoke… Nationally syndicated dynamic talk duo Brent & Meg join Los Angeles City Fire Station 78 in Studio City, California in support of the campaign to put a smoke alarm in every home and business. Of the 20 fire-related deaths in Los Angeles this year, 16 took place in buildings without working smoke alarms. Chances of survival go up 50% when there’s a working smoke alarm. The LA City Fire Department has been running a smoke alarm giveaway at each of its 106 fire stations since March, with home security company First Alert donating 500 alarms a month to the city. Pictured with the good-looking team of brave and dedicated firefighters at Station 78 are the husband/wife team of (l-r) Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald. The Brent & Meg Show – billed as “The kind of Boomers Millennials wish their parents were like” — is syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN) and airs live middays daily 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently described the Brent & Meg show as “a great example of the kind of talk radio available to news/talk stations that breaks the mold of predictable left/right ‘puppet mouth’ politics without losing an iota of compelling social relevance, biting humor and human interest…if I owned a talk station in any sized market, I’d find a spot – live or in delay — for this remarkably fresh and innovative two-hour chat show that appeals to generations born on both sides of the digital divide.”
KCAA, Loma Linda Owner Debuts ‘The Post Hole’ Blog. Getting his columns shot down by publishers for “political or ideological” reasons was the impetus behind KCAA, Loma Linda owner Fred Lundgren’s launching of ThePostHole.com – a news aggregator and public blog that welcomes a full spectrum of written views. Lundgren says that he had articles rejected by both progressive and conservative online publications for apparently varying from the general political philosophy of those publications. Lundgren says this shows how “writers across the political and ideological spectrum are being funneled into small compartments that reinforce reader bias and discourage open debate.” Hence, the birth of ThePostHole.com, which Lundgren calls “the place to go when your editor says ‘NO!’”
TALKERS Affiliate Update. The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” program is added to the lineup at KZNU, St. George, Utah; KRSY, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WNZS, Bangor; and KVLI, Lake Isabella, California.
ABC News Radio Visits with Batman. At the New York Comic Con, ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent David Blaustein had the chance to chat with the original TV Batman, actor Adam West. ABC News Radio affiliates had the opportunity to present to their listeners West’s thoughts about the character, the movie franchise and his role in the history of the superhero character. They also spoke about West’s first-ever meeting with George Clooney who also played Batman, albeit on the big screen.
U.S. Ebola Cases/Pandemic Threat Top Talkers TenTM for Week of October 6. The threat of a global Ebola pandemic and the recent case of Thomas Eric Duncan dying of the virus in Texas were part of the greater topic of the Ebola threat that was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the battle against ISIS and Joe Biden’s remarks that angered Saudi and UAE leaders. Following at #3 was the new Leon Panetta book Worthy Fights tied with the Supreme Court gay marriage cases, and, at #4 was the aftermath of the Bill Maher and Ben Affleck spat on Maher’s HBO show over his comments on Islam. 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Talk Host Found Guilty of Campaign Law Violations. He’d already served 10 months in prison for a 2004 conviction on corruption charges when CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford hired John Rowland to host a daily afternoon drive radio talk show. Now, after Friday’s conviction on seven counts of campaign finance law violations, it appears that Rowland is likely headed back to prison. Sentencing is scheduled for December 12 but his attorneys plan to appeal. According to the Hartford Courant’s account, Rowland, who resigned from WTIC in April just before being indicted on the charges, chose not to take a plea deal for 18 months jail time and tested his luck with the jury. It didn’t work as the jury found him guilty of all charges related to his scheme to consult a Republican political candidate in 2012 and hide the fact that he was accepting the cash for those purposes. Read Edmund Mahony’s Courant story here.
Local On-Air Talent CAN Become Indispensable. Media consultant Holland Cooke revisits (and expands upon!) the point he made the “pages” of TALKERS four years ago that “if you’re in RADIO, you’re in SALES” in a column published today (9/22). It’s easy to pick apart the effectiveness of another medium’s advertising components but radio must look in the mirror for, as Cooke writes, criticism of a lot of radio’s not-so-great spots is justified because “at many stations, including some in major markets, there’s no creative department. Reps write their own copy, a task that’s not sellers’ core competency.” Effectiveness is directly related to quality, so how to up the quality? Cooke offers some suggestions and you can check them out here.
Consultant Fred Jacobs Encourages Radio Talent to Learn and Exploit Expanded Array of Available Media Tools. Reaction and commentary continues to buzz throughout the industry on the topic of the role of the aural media arts (non-visual radio and music) in the increasingly multi-media/visual environment of the digital era – instigated largely last week by comments made by TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison in the aftermath of the Clear Channel name/branding change to iHEARTMEDIA. According to Harrison, “I am delighted by the enormous number of responses – mostly overwhelmingly positive – that my comments sparked. Of course, there were those who immediately jumped to the conclusion that I am against the word ‘media’ or that I do not believe radio should be involved in internet, satellite or visual media at all. This is, of course, preposterous! The name of our company that owns TALKERS is Talk Media, Inc.; the name of our convention was the New Media Seminar way back in 1998; TALKERS magazine’s slogan is The Bible of Talk Radio and the New Talk Media; I have championed a concept known as “The Media Station” for more than a decade and the list goes on. All I am saying is we should remain sensitive and respectful to the idea that there is a very important place in this emerging mix for pure audio-only radio and music in terms of the fundamentals of these processes – and that by doing so, we will be serving the best interests of our industry, the people who work in it and the consumers who love radio and music on their basic terms.” Harrison continues, “My friend, noted radio consultant/researcher Fred Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs Media, — also an industry voice who is outspoken on this most compelling issue — has written and posted a blog today (9/22) that I believe adds an important dimension to the subject that warrants attention. Jacobs makes a case, somewhat counterpoint (but not contradictory) to mine, that I find inspirational.” In the blog, Jacobs writes, “I started thinking about this notion that the proliferation of screens will narrow the field for talkers, DJs, and hosts who are great with words, but not so wonderful visually. As he [Michael Harrison] notes, screens of all sizes are becoming dominant parts of how people consume media. Thankfully, radio has been able to participate on most of those screens, whether on smartphones or tablets. Over time as autonomous driving becomes more common, those who ride in these cars will gravitate to entertainment that is visual in origin – at least at a higher percentage than they are able to consume now while dangerously texting and driving. So is this the beginning of the end for radio, or is it simply the beginning of the beginning? Because as we have explored in this blog during the past few years, disruption forces old stars to adapt while bringing new ones to the center stage. Notably, two of the “Best Motion Picture” Oscars in just the past few years have focused on this topic. The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth was a story about changing technology, as the King of England was forced to learn how to communicate on the radio. Of course, he struggled, but in the end he was able to adapt. And in The Artist, the film’s silent film star refused to adapt to ‘talkies’ and is eventually displaced by a new brand of movie icons. Change is uncomfortable and it can be bitter, as depicted in this amazing film. The ending eventually become a happy one, but the road was arduous and difficult because of the tech disruption caused by the advent of movie sound. Change is hard, especially for those who have enjoyed the status quo. It tests everyone in all strata of the organization and the industry. Accepting, adapting, and adjusting is hard work. It can be quite uncomfortable in workplaces that were once always fun and even kind of easy. But these are the necessary skills that radio people need to exude in order to make the transition. We see signs of this every day in broadcast radio. Those who have the ability to connect with audiences – in person and in social spaces – have a unique edge. The old paradigm of the DJ hermit, locked down the hall in the air studio, is breaking apart. Today’s air talent need to be able to mix it up with listeners, clients, and community leaders. Not every film star is handsome. The public appreciates an interesting face, whether it’s Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones or Linda Hunt on NCIS. They may be exceptions, but they stand out because they’re different, captivating, and worthy of our attention. They’re also immensely talented actors. And the same will be the case on the radios of the future. While good-looking DJs like Ryan Seacrest or Bobby Bones may have inherent advantages, Howard Stern proves that must-hear content trumps a pretty face. And he’s not alone. Words matter, and they will continue to in a media ecosphere that is now dominated by visuals. Screens or not, it’s the thought that counts. These are changes that radio need to roll with. Let’s open up new visual doors, new avenues, and new paths for our content. And let’s embrace them because it’s truly a media world.” To read Fred Jacobs’ entire blog, please click here.
Radio Management Pro Warren Named VP/MM for Cumulus Nashville. Jumping from the Austin cluster of Entercom where she was director of sales and taking on the vice president and market manager role at Cumulus Media Nashville is Allison Warren. Cumulus SVP Jeff Brown comments, “Allison was a key part of my team in Denver some years back. She did great work there and has since built a portfolio of successes in vibrant radio markets including Austin, Madison and Milwaukee. Her results-driven, collaborative leadership style will infuse our Nashville operations with the energy and focus needed at this pivotal point in the cluster’s growth. Allison will be an incredible asset to Cumulus’ leadership team.” Warren also served with Entercom at its Madison and Milwaukee clusters as well as with CBS RADIO in Denver. Cumulus operates six stations in the market including news/talk WWTN-FM “SuperTalk 99.7,” sports talker WGFX “104.5 The Zone,” as well as the Tennessee Titans Radio Network.
Cross Platform Media Acquires IRN/USA Radio Network. The president and CEO of Cross Platform Media, Sam Hassell, says the acquisition of IRN/USA Radio Network “rounds out the services of Cross Platform that is already deeply embedded in the national media space.” Hassell continues, “We are very excited to make this announcement. We look forward to fulfilling the original vision of USA Radio Network by providing audience-engaging news and content to the independent and group station owners around the country.” Christian and conservative broadcast pioneer Marlin Maddoux launched the USA Radio Network in 1985 and Hassell adds, “We are very respectful of the Maddoux legacy and proud to continue syndicating ‘Point of View,’ ‘Daybreak USA,’ IRN/USA News and so many other significant programs.” IRN/USA Radio Network currently produces and/or distributes more than 20 nationally syndicated radio programs with audience-targeted formatting primarily for news/talk and Christian radio (both commercial and non-commercial).
BIA/Kelsey Forecast for 2015 Local Media Revenue: Up 1.6%. But, of course, the increase comes as beneficial for those in the online/digital media realm (+13.1%) and, not surprisingly, traditional media is expected to see another dip (-1.7%). BIA/Kelsey is presenting these results and more at its Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing conference in New Orleans this week. The company predicts that in 2015, online/digital will account for more than one-quarter (25.2%) of total local media revenues in 2015. Revenues for online/digital are expected to grow from $31 billion in 2014 to $35 billion in 2015, representing a 13.1% growth rate. Other forecasts include: Mobile local ad revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2015; Local social media revenues will grow from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $3.6 billion in 2015; Local search revenues will grow from $7.1 billion in 2014 to $7.2 billion in 2015; Local display revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $4.9 billion in 2015; and Local online video revenues will grow from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $3.0 billion in 2015.
Dolans and Seaview Radio Hit Home Run with Live Event in South Florida. Proving there is life after WOR, New York, the legendary husband/wife money media team of Ken & Daria Dolan (pictured here, Daria at left, Ken at right) joined forces with WSVU (960 AM/95.9 FM/ 106.9 FM), North Palm Beach “Seaview Radio” this past Saturday (9/20) presenting a successful, day-long listener/sponsor event titled, “South Florida Wealth & Health Expo 2014,” at the prestigious Jupiter Maltz Theatre in Jupiter, Florida. The event brought local businesses and services from the fields of health, finance and better living together highlighted with on-stage financial advice presentations by the Dolans. Seaview Radio general manager Chet Tart tells TALKERS, “The event gave us a wonderful opportunity to establish new and heightened relationships with sponsors from one of the most dynamic business sectors in the market. We immediately received positive response with attendees and vendors already asking about next year’s event. I think we might have to find a larger venue, next time around.” The Dolans, now based in Jupiter, are best remembered for their stunning run of success at WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network in the 90s and early-2000s – supplemented by their hosting hot shows on CNN, MSNBC and other cable news/talk networks as well as penning best-selling books on the topic of personal finance. Known for their entertaining banter and solid advice both on air and on stage, the Dolans went into semi-retirement several years ago – but have had difficulty steering clear of offers that keep coming their way for live appearances and their broadcast sales consulting services. The result has been the birth of the increasingly active firm Dolan Media. CEO Ken Dolan tells TALKERS, “There are huge revenue and promotional opportunities for local radio stations in live events – especially in the areas that strike home to most people – health and money. The two go together beautifully as we have just proven at this event in Florida. Daria and I are strongly considering taking this show on the road and helping stations around the country create a very exciting form of financial and PR synergy so dearly needed by small and middle-sized operators at this time.” Perennial members of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred during their run at WOR, the Dolans have been ranked #75 on the prestigious Heaviest Hundred list of the “100 Most important Radio Talk Show Hosts of All Time.” WSVU, North Palm Beach was recently sold by North Palm Beach Broadcasters to JVC Media. GM Chet Tart – one of the most connected broadcast executives in the market – will stay on as GM of the new expanded operation planned by the acquiring owners, telling TALKERS, “With this transition to JVC, I find myself even more focused than ever… offering leadership, encouragement and inspiration to the staff. That’s my focus!” Chet Tart can be reached by email at email@example.com. Ken Dolan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Odds & Sods. At the iHeartMedia Des Moines cluster, alternative KXDA PD Mike Killabrew takes on the programming responsibilities for sister sports talker KXNO, leaving WHO programmer Van Harden to focus on his duties with the heritage news/talker…..Radio personality Denny Schaffer – most recently with iHeartMedia news/talker WRNO, New Orleans and former host at the company’s WSPD, Toledo – is back in Toledo as morning jock on Cumulus Media’s hot AC WWWM “Star 105.”…..Dallas news pro Jim Ryan joins ABC News Radio full time. Ryan — a current staffer at WBAP, Dallas and part-time contributor to ABC News Radio, makes the switch starting November 1.
Power of WTIC, Hartford Key to Prosecutors’ Case Against Former Governor John Rowland. According to a story in the Hartford Courant by Edmund H. Mahoney and John Lender, prosecutors in Connecticut are contending that former Governor John Rowland, who was working as the afternoon drive talk personality on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford, was “secretly selling the muscle behind his long-running political talk show on” the station when pitching his political consultation services. Rowland is facing conspiracy, obstruction and other charges connected to his setting up of secret consulting contracts. The paper notes that in Connecticut political circles it was known that Rowland’s radio program was used to push his personal agenda, but the court filing is the first time the allegation has been detailed to this degree. Rowland is accused of making a calculated on-air campaign against the political opponent of one of his paying clients. Read the Courant story here.
TALKERS Career Moves. In a promotion for Clear Channel West Palm Beach director of sales Mike Scott, he takes on the new role of regional market manager overseeing the Mobile-Pensacola, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Biloxi and Laurel/Hattiesburg markets for the company. Scott says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to become a part of these five amazing markets — they are filled with great people and fantastic stations. I also owe a big thank you to the incredible West Palm Beach team.”…..Nationally known financial expert and talk show host Chris Markowski is embarking on his first week as host of the new morning show at Genesis Communications-owned Florida news/talk duo WWBA, Tampa and WAMT, Orlando. Markowski is known for his nationally syndicated program, “Watchdog on Wall Street.” He leads the ensemble of personalities including Jenna Laine, most recently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers insider for Sports Talk Florida, news anchor Robert Pankau and entertainment talent Kurt Shriner. Markowski says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be covering all the important news and events in one of the most important areas in the country – Tampa Bay, Orlando and the entire I-4 corridor.”……NAB nabs FCC chief of technical analysis Robert Weller who is joining the organization to serve as vice president/spectrum policy. With the FCC, Weller has led the group charged with rulemaking and analysis of spectrum policy areas, including radio propagation, interference, RF safety, frequency allotments and new technologies.
No Reissue of PPM Data for Los Angeles. A memo to client stations from Nielsen Audio states that after the completion of an impact analysis relative to the presence of a media-affiliated household in the Los Angeles PPM panel for the past year, it has concluded that a reissue of the ratings beyond what has already been done is unnecessary. The memo states, in part, “After comparing the audience estimates without this home in the panel to those we originally published which included the household, we have decided not to reissue currency Los Angeles data for any prior report periods. We have concluded that a reissue of prior currency data would be of limited commercial benefit to customers and would result in further disruption to the marketplace.”
Round Two of June PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings at RadioInfo.com here.
WGAC, Augusta Host Austin Rhodes Threatened; Accused Teen in Custody. The person who threatened KFTK, St. Louis and Radio America personality Dana Loesch via Twitter recently may never be identified because he or she took precautions to hide their identity. The teenager accused of threatening WGAC, Augusta, Georgia talk show host Austin Rhodes via Facebook did not and has been arrested for terroristic threats. WRDW-TV, Augusta reports the teen is not being identified because he doesn’t face adult charges in the case at this point. Rhodes himself reported the threat to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office after seeing a thread that said his show would “be dead” and that he further received a private message saying, “You a dead man.” The suspect also threatened Rhodes’ wife. The suspect is being held at the Regional Youth Detention Center.
Bonneville to Split ‘Arizona Sports’ Simulcast; ESPN Radio to Air on KTAR. The simulcast of KMVP-FM and KTAR-AM in Phoenix – branded “Arizona Sports” – will end on September 15 and KTAR-AM will become “ESPN Phoenix” carrying ESPN Radio shows including Mike & Mike, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and “The Dan Le Batard Show,” along with signature programs like “ESPN Gameday” and broadcasts of the Major League Baseball playoffs, the NBA Finals and other significant sporting events. Bonneville Phoenix vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland says “It’s the best of both sports worlds as we’ll now be providing world-class local programming on ‘Arizona Sports 98.7’ as well as full-time programming from the worldwide sports leader on ‘ESPN Phoenix 620.’” Sutherland adds that “ESPN Phoenix 620” will attract many Valley sports fans who now live in Arizona but closely follow sports news from their hometowns. “This now gives our advertising community a chance to leverage the power of sports marketing from a local, national and even global perspective.”
Odds & Sods. Rhode Island Monthly names WPRO-AM, Providence talk show host John DePetro’s program Best Talk Show in Rhode Island as part of its Best of Rhode Island feature. DePetro comments, “I am honored the people have chosen me, voted for me, and continue to support the work I do on WPRO. I have always wanted to do a talk show that was entertaining and informative, and it is rewarding that so many people enjoy my work, and took the time to vote me ‘Best Talk Show.’”…..A new show will air on cable’s ESPN 2 comprised of the best segments of Colin Cowherd’s daily ESPN Radio-syndicated program. The 30-minute show is called “You Herd Me” and will air at 4:30 pm ET beginning Monday, July 14. ESPN says, “The fast-paced production will be highlighted by Cowherd’s unique opinions and personality. He will introduce the segments from that day’s radio show and at times provide additional context. During football season, the show will feature the best moments from “Colin’s Football Show” including “Cage Confessionals,” interviews with top names in sports and entertainment…..At SiriusXM, a new morning show hosted by the satcaster’s Taylor Zarzour and former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy titled “The First Team” begins airing on July 14 on the College Sports Nation channel. The show will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am ET. Zarzour previously worked with Marc James as co-host of “The Drive” at CBS RADIO’s Charlotte sports talker WFNZ “The Fan” before joining SiriusXM.
PodcastOne Debuts Eddie Trunk Podcast. Rock and heavy metal radio and TV personality Eddie Trunk begins a relationship with Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne producing the Eddie Trunk Podcast with premiere guest Judas Priest. The new, weekly podcast will focus on Trunk’s expertise and connections in the world of heavy metal music and will “bring his insight, commentary, reviews and in-depth, unfiltered interviews to the podcast world in a way like never before!” Trunk comments, “I’ve been asked for many years by fans about adding a podcast to my platforms. Really excited to finally launch one with PodcastOne and see where this new adventure takes me. Look forward to connecting with everyone on this exciting new outlet.”
Child Immigration Crisis, President Obama’s Strained Relationship with Democrats, Israeli-Palestinian Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Obama in Colorado, Hillary Clinton in 2016 Prospects, and Obama Impeachment Talk Subsides Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9). The continuing controversy over the influx of child illegals in the Southwest and the concerns over infectious diseases; speculation about the strained relationship between high-profile Democrats and President Obama in the wake of his sinking approval ratings; escalating violence between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign of ISIS in Iraq; President Obama’s visit to Colorado; chatter over Hillary Clinton’s prospects for the 2016 presidential race; and the subsiding talk about impeachment proceedings against President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES —Journey back to the “Golden Age” of radio and television, and, you will promptly ascertain that, especially in terms of audience acceptance, pairing a real-life husband and wife was a brilliant programming strategy that tended to produce blockbuster results.
Consider such instantly familiar classic examples as George Burns & Gracie Allen; Desi Arnaz & Lucille Ball; Ozzie & Harriet Nelson; and Jim & Marian Jordan as “Fibber McGee & Molly,” whose 24-year radio run concluded in 1959.
Contemporary “Windy City” radio partisans will surely cite “Don Wade & Roma,” who were staples on WLS-AM, Chicago for over 25 years; Don Wade succumbed to brain cancer last September.
Fairly recently (then-married) couples Chet Curtis & Natalie Jacobson on Boston’s WCVB-TV, and Jim Lampley & Bree Walker on Los Angeles’ KCBS-TV co-anchored the news together on their respective stations; 74-year-old Curtis lost his fight against pancreatic cancer five months ago.
These are simply representative examples (certainly not approaching a definitive list) of the effective, albeit not now revolutionary concept.
Consequently, while it will hardly be precedent setting when Los Angeles-based Brent Seltzer and his wife Meg McDonald debut next Monday (6/23) on the Genesis Communications Network for their daily, two-hour (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, ET) broadcast, it nonetheless promises to be a wonderfully refreshing burst of fresh air to talk radio.
Limbaugh Commenting on Colbert’s Hiring: “War on the Heartland of America.” Clearly – not everyone was doing cartwheels regarding yesterday’s announcement that CBS-TV has selected Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman as “Late Show” host when Letterman departs sometime next year. Colbert will gear up for the new assignment by retiring his fake conservative persona (which he has described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot”) on Comedy Central‘s “Colbert Report” at the end of this year. Perhaps the most vociferous and vitriolic public comments concerning the late-night succession involving Colbert were made by Rush Limbaugh on Thursday’s (4/10) Premiere Networks broadcast. He claims that CBS-TV’s hiring of Colbert has, “declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservative values. Now it is just out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny, and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format.” Limbaugh and Letterman are hardly allies, yet Limbaugh noted that, “The world is changing – people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman gave us. It is the media planting a flag. There is no unity in this hire.” Furthermore, Limbaugh contends that CBS-TV has, “hired a partisan, [a] so-called comedian, to run a comedy show.”
WABC, New York’s John Batchelor to Debut Author Video Series on WABCradio.com. WABC, New York and WestwoodOne syndicated talk show host John Batchelor begins a new online video program titled “John Batchelor Author Series” (sponsored by online bookseller Entitle) in which he “takes his appreciation of literature, history, and political intrigue to a new level” via long-form interviews with today’s most intriguing authors. Batchelor comments, “I used to be an author, and I enjoy the enthusiasm of hearing in depth of a new book, well told by the person who survived the research, the writing and the publishing. It’s fun for me to learn the stories of the making of the stories.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “No one does books better than John Batchelor, and the ‘Author Series’ proves that. This is a natural extension of John’s passion and we hope that his listeners in New York and across the country will enjoy it.” The program launches with an in-depth interview of Thomas Cahill the author of Heretics and Heroes. Future episodes include: Robert Klara author of FDR’s Funeral Train, Eri Hotta author of Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy and George H. Nash author of The Crusade Years 1933-1955. Fresh episodes will appear weekly on wabcradio.com.
KARN-FM, Little Rock Names PD; Seeks Afternoon Host. Little Rock news/talker KARN-FM names Adam Thomas program director for the station and the Arkansas Radio Network. Thomas takes over for longtime PD and PM drive host Dave Elswick who, along with morning host Bob Steel and news director Jack Heinritz, exited the station last week. Thomas is seeking a new afternoon drive personality for the station and says, “The afternoon show should be a compelling blend of information and entertainment. Opinion and point-of-view are important, but this program must appeal to a broad segment of the Little Rock community. Candidates must have a mastery of current events, a relentless curiosity, and the ability and desire to talk about more than politics. A willingness and ability to engage the audience outside the show via personal appearances, digital media and other channels is a must.” Send resumes and airchecks or links to email@example.com with “Little Rock PM Host” in the subject line. Cumulus Media is an EOE.
Former Governor, WTIC Host John Rowland Indicted on Federal Elections Violations Charges. A week after former Connecticut Governor John Rowland resigned from his afternoon drive talk show on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford, he has been indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts related to alleged illegal campaign activity. Rowland, who resigned from the governor’s office in 2004 and eventually served 10 months in prison after being charged with corruption, is this time accused of scheming to work for two Connecticut political campaigns and trying to conceal from both the public and the Federal Elections Commission that he was being paid by the campaigns.
WTJK, Janesville to Flip to News/Talk. The newly acquired Janesville, Wisconsin sports talker that Scott Thompson’s Big Radio purchased from Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting is flipping to news/talk as “The Big AM 1380” beginning Monday, April 14. The station – an ESPN Radio outlet under Good Karma’s ownership – will focus on local content and Scott Thompson will host the morning drive show. The rest of the day will feature: Glenn Smith from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Andrew Liebetrau & Andy Gannon from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Tony Huml from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Sly from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Program director Andrew Liebetrau comments, “We are incredibly excited to do more for our local listeners, partners and communities. Not only will we have a lot of great new and local content, but we will continue to offer some of the great local programs we have had for years.”
Odds & Sods. Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer is producing a weekly podcast for Sports USA Network. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Jake Plummer is a true superstar with a huge following in the college and pro football sports world. We are excited to add Jake’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs as we continue to produce current, fresh, and informative sports programming.” Plummer is currently an NFL game analyst on Sports USA’s “Sunday Doubleheader” package as well as a college football analyst on the Pac-12 Television Network…..Alison Cuddy exits Chicago Public Media-owned WBEZ, Chicago where she has been serving as arts & culture reporter and producer. She leaves to become program director for the Chicago Humanities Festival…..The “Sports Business Radio” show, hosted by creator Brian Berger, celebrates its 10th year on the air. It debuted on KXL, Portland and then moved to national syndication via Sports Byline USA Network.
Meet the New Boss. The New York-based staff of ABC News Radio poses for a photo with newly named ABC News president James Goldston (at center). Goldston was given a standing ovation by the ABC News Radio staff when he visited them today just hours after getting the top job at the network. Goldston, most recently senior vice president overseeing content and development, succeeds Ben Sherwood who is stepping down from the president position in a few weeks after assisting Goldston during the transition phase.
ObamaCare Criticism Top Talk Story for Week of April 7-11. The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the 2016 presidential race tied with this fall’s mid-term elections. Following at #3 was global warming and at #4 was the move to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with contempt tied with Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation as Health and Human Services Secretary. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland Resigns from WTIC, Hartford Show as New Corruption Probe Intensifies. The former Connecticut governor resigned from office in 2004 amidst corruption charges to which he eventually pleaded guilty and served 10 months in federal prison. He began a talk show host career on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford in 2010 – for the first two years with co-host Pastor Will Marotti of the New Life Church in Meriden before going solo – but now that gig is over as Rowland stepped down yesterday without addressing the new allegations. The Hartford Courant reports that testimony from local businessman Brian Foley and his wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley (a former congressional candidate) stated in federal court that they used a phony consulting contract with Rowland to pay him for political assistance to Wilson-Foley’s failed 2012 campaign. Rowland faces possible indictment by a grand jury. WTIC program director Jenneen Lee tells the paper Pastor Will Marotti will step into the afternoon drive slot beginning Monday. Read the entire Courant piece here.
Big Changes at KARN-FM, Little Rock; PM Driver Dave Elswick Out along with AM Drive’s Bob Steel and ND. Longtime afternoon drive personality and program director Dave Elswick announces via Facebook that he’s out at Cumulus Media’s KARN-FM, Little Rock. Here’s his post: “I ask for your prayers tonight. After nearly 14 years on KARN I was fired by Cumulus Media. Bob Steel and news director Jack Heintz were also fired. I have no idea what will be on the station tomorrow. Know that I love every one of you who have supported me over these years. God Bless.” There were rumors of change at the news/talk outlet swirling but nothing concrete had been put out. As of now, the KARN-FM website lists the AM and PM drive dayparts generically. It’s possible Cumulus is clearing the afternoon deck to move Michael Savage into a live slot from the current late night delayed broadcast.
Criticism of Mets Infielder’s Paternity Leave Reversed as WFAN’s Boomer Esiason Apologizes. The decision by New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy to miss two games to be with his wife in Florida after she delivered their son on Opening Day was a hot topic of conversation on New York sports talk radio and both WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa and morning drive co-host Boomer Esiason opined that two games was too many to miss. But during the initial chatter, Esiason said that he’d have asked his wife to schedule a C-section in order to be with his teammates for the games. The MLB CBA allows for up to three days of paternity leave. Esiason apologized on WFAN’s morning show today (4/4), calling his comments “insensitive” and expressing contrition for having put the Murphy family’s personal lives “under a spotlight.” He also said his C-section comment was not intended to mean he was telling women what to do with their bodies.
Nielsen Audio Quantifies the Obvious: Opening Day Is Big for Radio. What’s well known to radio practitioners is put into numbers by Nielsen Audio from this season’s Opening Day. While baseball – from a ratings standpoint – will be good to most MLB flagships this year, some of the Opening Day numbers are truly spectacular. In Cincinnati, flagship WLW pulled a 46.6 share with Men 25-54 on a 12+ cume of 270,700. Also, it’s interesting to note the difference in cume and share from the Cubs at Pirates broadcasts where the woebegone Cubs fans in Chicago didn’t appear to have the same passion (via radio, anyway) as the recharged Bucs backers in Pittsburgh. Check out the data here.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network Reports Streaming Success. The digital side of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network reports that it makes its debut as one of the top 20 most-listened-to streams in America, according to Triton Digital‘s February 2014 ranker. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “When we launched TheBlaze Radio Network in January 2013 we did so with the goal of being one of the top online radio stations in America. In our first month of accredited measurement, it is exciting to see our single stream on the same list as these established multi-stream services.”
Entercom Boston Boosts Mozdiez to Director of Integrated Media Strategies. It is a position the cluster specifically crafts for Carlson Mozdiez, who is elevated from director of digital operations. New responsibilities for the Syracuse University graduate include developing/executing customer-facing brand messaging, including live events, contesting and promotions, external advertising, websites, video, and social media. Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Phil Zachary comments, “Streamlining our ever-expanding array of digital and marketing channels, which connect the most valuable radio consumers in New England to our brands and our advertisers, makes logistical sense. Carlson is the ideal leader to spearhead these innovative efforts.” Mozdiez remarks that, “It is an exciting time as we continue to develop and optimize the ways people interact with our stations while creating new means for advertisers to access our audiences.” Entercom Boston consists of rock WAAF, sports WEEI-FM, sports WEEI-AM, news/talk WRKO, the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and their respective web properties. Mozdiez joined Entercom in 2002 as promotion coordinator for WEEI and WRKO.
Dennis Miller Celebrates Radio Anniversary. Today marks the seventh anniversary of entertainer Dennis Miller’s nationally syndicated WestwoodOne radio program. The “Saturday Night Live” alum is commemorating the day with special guests including: Mark Steyn, nationally syndicated columnist and author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon; Bob Saget, comedian and author of Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian; Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky; David Spade, comedian; Frank Sinatra Jr.; and fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey.
KDKA-AM’s Larry Richert to Be Roasted for Charity. Pittsburgh talk radio personality Larry Richert – co-host of the “KDKA Morning News on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA” will be the guest of honor at a Roast & Toast on Friday, April 25 to be roasted and toasted by friends and co-workers to benefit the Roxsan Betters Albanese Foundation. This foundation helps financially challenged families with children who are terminally ill or face a life threatening situation. Fellow KDKA-AM talk host Rob Pratte will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Odds & Sods. When Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” hits the air tonight, WTAG, Worcester morning drive talk show host Paul Westcott will be in the host chair. Westcott has become a regular fill-in for Dean when he’s away…..This weekend’s NCAA Final Four is being covered by SiriusXM. The satcaster says it’ll offer subscribers comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s action plus analysis on the College Sports Nation channel from hoops experts such as three-time ACC Coach of the Year Bobby Cremins, Hall of Fame Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves, former Villanova and UMass coach Steve Lappas, former University of Vermont coach Tom Brennan, plus Tim Brando, Mark Packer, Chris Childers and Jason Horowitz…..Birach Broadcasting’s sports talker KXRQ, Des Moines announces it’s the newest affiliate for Kansas City Royals baseball play-by-play……Sunrise Broadcasting strikes an agreement with Sea-Comm Media to use the latter’s translator W240AS, Wilmington at 95.9 FM to augment the signal of its sports talk WMFD “ESPN Wilmington,” heard on 630 AM.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains Atop Talkers TenTM. The major political issue of the past year – the passage of the Affordable Care Act – continues to be one of the top news/talk radio stories and was again the most-talked-about topic this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 this week was the deadly Fort Hood Shooting. At #3 was the looming mid-term elections tied with the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential election, and at #4 was this week’s Supreme Court campaign donation ruling. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
End of an Era at KLOS-FM, Los Angeles as Mark Thompson Announces Retirement. The duo Mark & Brian have hosted their very successful morning drive show on Cumulus Media‘s classic rock KLOS-FM, Los Angeles since 1987. But as Mark Thompson tells LARadio.com‘s Don Barrett, he and his wife want to take time to enjoy the things that retirement brings. Thompson’s last show will be August 17. That gives KLOS time to figure out what to do with the morning show. Thompson’s partner Brian Phelps wants to keep working at the station in the morning and reportedly Cumulus is working on making that happen.
Columbus Gains All-Newser. Two Columbus radio outlets drop their formats to become an AM/FM all-newser. North American Broadcasting Co. flips classic hits WTDA-FM and standards WMNI-AM to all-news as WMNI. The station is airing a local morning drive news program hosted by news director Mark Nuce, anchor Kelly Quinn and sports director Mark “The Shark” Howell. The rest of the day will use America’s Radio News Network programming with local news inserts. Evenings and overnights will air Dial Global‘s Jim Bohannon and Cumulus Media Network‘s “Red Eye Radio.” The station is filling the weekends with newsy and business-related programming including Cumulus Media’s “Moneytalk with Bob Brinker” and “Bloomberg Businessweek.”
Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Host John Rowland Draws Ire of Unions. The former Governor of Connecticut hosts the station’s PM drive show and today the CBS Radio news/talk station will face some sort of protest at its Farmington studios by a collection of construction, public sector and building and trade unions for Rowland’s opposition to the CTfastrack project – a controversial road, light rail and bike path project between Hartford and New Britain. Connecticut Laborers District Council business manager Charles LeConche states, “The John Rowland that I remember as Governor of Connecticut always supported public projects and understood how to grow the local economy. His present show is now all trash talk radio. It’s really become ‘hate’ radio every weekday afternoon. We’re supporting a boycott of his advertisers and the radio station as well. Our organization will also be petitioning the Federal Communications Commission about this CBS Radio outlet’s handling of trash talk and biased information without offering the opportunity to present different points of view.”
Three Broadcast Groups Join TuneIn for Strategic Digital Alliance. Digital audio distribution service TuneIn announces Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media are aligning with the service to bring more than 100 stations to its more than 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “We want to make the best audio available to anyone, no matter where they are. Aligning with Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media gives our listeners unlimited access to some of their favorite hometown stations, while increasing the listener bases of these three major U.S. Broadcasters.” Midwest SVP Michael Wright states, “At Midwest Communications, Inc., we’ve received numerous requests from our radio brands’ listeners asking how they can listen to our content via mobile phone streaming. Our new alliance with TuneIn allows us to give our listeners exactly what they want – their favorite personalities and music, whenever they want, wherever they want. TuneIn gives Midwest Communications another way to superserve and grow our audience.”
CNN Cancels John King USA; Adds Another Hour of Wolf Blitzer. Executives at Time Warner have reportedly become impatient with the performance of cable news/talk channel CNN in the evening and prime time. Now, it appears John King‘s program is the first casualty of a programming shift as “John King USA” is being dropped and another hour of “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” picks up the 6:00 pm ET hour. John King remains with CNN as lead national campaign correspondent. CNN/U.S. chief Ken Jautz states, “John will be providing reports for ‘SitRoom,’ ‘AC360′ and other programs and CNN platforms. This is John’s seventh presidential campaign – fourth with CNN – and making him available across our programming lineup allows us to better tap his skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Compass Media Marketing announces the hiring of Bob O’Connor as account director. O’Connor comes to Compass with experience working in the sales and marketing departments at CBS Radio, Eastman Radio, ABC Radio Networks and Cumulus Media…..WQAM, Miami afternoon drive host (and TALKERS contributor) Dan Sileo will fill in at Yahoo! Sports Radio on June 21 and 22 on the morning drive program…..Entercom‘s sports talk WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts grabs the broadcast rights for University of Massachusetts football and men’s basketball for the next five seasons. In addition to play-by-play, the station will air “The Charley Molnar Show” and “The Derek Kellogg Show’ – the weekly coach’s shows for football and basketball, respectively…..The Radio Television Digital News Association announces ESPN is honored with two 2012 Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for excellence in electronic journalism. “E: 60″ won the Outstanding Sports Reporting award and “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” won the Audio Sports Reporting award…..Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington is awarded five 2012 Edward R. Murrow awards including Best Newscast and two for Overall Excellence.
2012 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Arms Connection, NYC Snack Food Ban, Eric Holder-‘Fast and Furious’ Case and EU Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/13). The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s unapologetic supplying of arms to Syria; more considerations of snack food bans in New York City; the GOP’s move to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; and the state of the debt crisis in the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WBZ, Boston Hosts Scott Pelley. The anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News” visited Boston on Tuesday, June 12 as a special guest at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast where more than 500 people packed the Boston Westin Copley Hotel. WBZ anchor Joe Mathieu interviewed Scott Pelley about topics including the presidential campaign, healthcare, the economy and his career in the news business. Pelley arrived in town the evening prior to the event and brought with him a full staff of producers and writers to produce the Monday evening news. Pictured here are (from l-r): CBS Radio Boston VP & market manager Mark Hannon, WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu, Scott Pelley, and WBZ news and programming director Peter Casey. (Photo courtesy of Jodi-Tatiana Charles, La Capoise Galerie)
Severe Nor’easter Cuts Power to Millions in Northeast; Radio’s Response to Disaster a Mixed Bag. Many TALKERS readers are aware that the bulk of our editorial staff is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and we are smack dab in the middle of the massive power outages and road closures so many in the Northeast are dealing with in the wake of the Nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of wet snow on the region on Saturday. As the region digs out, deals with the tremendous amount of downed trees, and utilities crews work to get power back TALKERS editors have been able to do a preliminary analysis of how radio handled the storm and its aftermath. There were stations that did an exemplary job providing round-the-clock information about road closures, dangerous areas due to fallen trees and power outages. We must recognize CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford whose morning drive host Ray Dunaway manned the overnight Saturday on the air with meteorologist Joe Furey keeping listeners up to date. However, there were many stations and station clusters that – due to manpower issues, in many cases caused by previous decisions to cut staff – were able to provide little local content and defaulted to syndicated programming. It is times like these that it becomes tragically clear that – apart from some shining examples of excellent public service – most radio groups have surrendered radio’s position as the first destination for news and information in exchange for bottom-line efficiency.
WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Exits. The popular local Asheville, North Carolina talk host may not have been part of the mandated staff cuts Clear Channel handed down last week. The Asheville Citizen-Times indicates it appears Matt Mittan left of his own accord, citing a statement from CC Asheville to that effect. Mittan is tight-lipped about his exit but Citizen-Times writer Jason Sandford hints it might have been done in protest of the cuts that affected his show and other co-workers in the cluster. Sandford goes on to compliment Mittan for the excellent work he’s done in the past handling public emergency situations that affected the station’s listenership.
Rush Limbaugh to Play Town Hall in NYC. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh makes no bones about his disdain for New York City’s politician and public policies but he’s returning to the Big Apple for a live event on November 29 at the historic Town Hall on West 43rd Street. Dubbed “Rush Live,” tickets go on sale today at 12:00 noon for the 90-minute show. A press release from Cumulus’ WABC, New York states, “The last time El Rushbo visited his New York audience was in 2005 to a sold out crowd. While Rush isn’t bashful about criticizing New York politicians and tax policies, he jokes that he’s going ‘behind enemy lines’ because he loves his New York listeners and his flagship station.”
Radio One to Put All-News FM on in Houston. This is the first time Radio One has programmed an all-news format and they’re doing it with the help of consultant Ed Shane. Radio One will drop the gospel music on KROI-FM at 92.1 and debut “News 92 FM” around November 14. The station has reportedly hired a stable of news pros including the former crosstown KTRH morning news team of J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes. Denise Bishop has been tapped to serve as the news director.
WCBS, New York Inks the Yankees to One-Year Extension. MLB’s New York Yankees will remain on all-news WCBS, New York for the 2012 season. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick speculates that the one-year deal gives the two sides time to explore a long-term deal but he also states that the Yankees’ $14 million-per-season pact has not been profitable. Whether CBS Radio views Yankees baseball as a cume-building loss leader or a drain on its finances may be answered if and when the two sides agree to a longer extension or the Yankees broadcasts come onto the open market.
WWRL, New York Adds LGBT-Targeted Programming. Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York adds programming called “Equality Pride Radio” to serve the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered community. The programming airs from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and debuts this evening (10/31) following the Al Sharpton program. WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “WWRL 1600 has created ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ a media platform where the LGBT community will convey information and be celebrated for their ideas, energy and accomplishments. We take great pride in the culturally diverse audience we serve with our current liberal talk line-up. With the addition of ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ we further reinforce ‘RL’s format of informative and entertaining radio.”
Jim Ladd to Host “Farewell Show” on KFI, Los Angeles. Southern California radio legend Jim Ladd will get a chance to say goodbye to his many listeners this Saturday afternoon from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm – although not on Cumulus classic rock KLOS-FM from which he was let go last week. Ladd tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan that KFI program director Robin Bertolucci asked him to do the show to give him the chance to say goodbye. Regarding Ladd’s one-time show, Bertolucci says, “Jim is synonymous with great music and Southern California and I know a lot of his friends and fans want to connect with him. Jim is a legend and it will be an honor to hear him rock KFI.”
Clear Channel Promotes Keriann Worley to Market Manager for Melbourne, Florida and the Keys. Keriann Worley moves from her general sales manager post at Clear Channel’s West Palm Beach cluster to become market manager for the company’s Melbourne, Florida and Florida Keys markets. Worley says, “I’m really honored that Hartley Atkins and Sherri Sanchez chose me to lead our Melbourne and Florida Keys markets. It’s an exciting time to work at Clear Channel, and we have a tremendous opportunity to expand our market share with integrated solutions and iHeartRadio. I am fortunate to lead a team that will embrace and utilize all our resources for continued growth and development.”