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.
Cumulus Media Brings Sam Rogers Aboard as VP of Political and Platform Sales. Cumulus EVP and chief operating officer Jon Pinch says, “With the anticipated close of Citadel in September and the 2012 political revenue expected to break all records, this is an important new position at Cumulus. Sam is a true broadcast professional with over 20 years’ experience in Washington, DC radio and is uniquely qualified for this role.” On his new role with Cumulus, Rogers says, “To say I’m excited to join Cumulus is an understatement. Cumulus is the sort of apolitical company that others aspire to mimic. It’s a platform that will offer political advertisers ease of purchase through their proprietary software systems and access to well over 100 markets coast to coast.” Rogers most recently served as market manager for CBS Radio in Washington, DC. (August 24, 2011)
Talk Host James T. Harris Begins Daily Show at KQTH-FM, Tucson. Harris has been hosting a Sunday talk show at Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee that’s been airing on KQTH-FM as well. Now Harris moves to Tucson to begin a 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program on KQTH-FM. Harris follows the Jon Justice show giving the station six hours of continuous local talk. Program director Ryan McCredden says, “By adding James T. to our weekday lineup, we’re continuing our commitment to providing the best local talk programming in Tucson. His energy, passion and dedication is the right fit for the top rated news/talk station in Southern Arizona.” Harris will exit WTMJ after September 11 and begins his program at KQTH-FM on October 3. Harris, a former high school history teacher, states, “’The Beautiful Man’ is super excited to be joining The Truth family. I hope everyone in the desert ain’t afraid to be who you is ’cause I’m coming! We’ve spent Sunday nights together for over a year; now, it’s time to take this thing to a whole new level! Tucson, you ready?” (August 24, 2011)
WSJRN’s “The Daily Wrap” Gets Major Market Clear. “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” takes over the evening slot on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston that opened up after Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish moved to middays. WTKK-FM PD Grace Blazer says, “96.9 FM-WTKK is pleased to welcome ‘The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal’ to our evening lineup. Michael Castner is a clever and independent thinker; his enthusiasm and energy fit perfectly with WTKK’s recently updated program schedule.” (August 24, 2011)
Pat LaMarche Named AM Drive Co-Host at Stephen King’s WZON-AM/FM, Bangor, Maine. The famous author doesn’t do many press conferences but he organized this one to announce the hiring of radio veteran and aspiring politician Pat LaMarche as co-host of the AM drive show on his station WZON. LaMarche was the 2004 vice presidential candidate for the Green Party and also ran unsuccessfully for governor in Maine. She’ll work alongside former WABI-TV, Bangor reporter Don Cookson on the show that debuts September 12. LaMarche hosted the morning show at WGAN, Portland for a time during the mid-1990s. (August 24, 2011)
WTMY, Sarasota, Florida Flips to Sports. The Polnet Communications-owned talk station flips to sports as “The Sports Fanatic” and will use syndicated programs including Dan Patrick and Tony Bruno as well as local sports talk including Rich Spedaliere’s “Spitz on Sports” in AM drive and “The Sports Ministry” in PM drive. General manger Phil Russell tells the Herald-Tribune the station will be an alternative to Tampa’s WDAE. Russell tells the paper the format will be good for revenue. “We can pay our bills, and then some, for the first time in the history of the station.” (August 24, 2011)
WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Monsters in the Morning Help Get 2,200 Guns Off the Streets. The Russ Rollins-led morning show at WTKS-FM, Orlando – Real Radio 104 – was instrumental in helping promote the “Kicks 4 Guns” program held August 19 that exchanged a pair of brand new sneakers or gift cards in exchange for illegal weapons. Rollins tells TALKERS Central Florida authorities nabbed 2,230 guns, many illegal and some stolen, during the daylong program. (August 24, 2011)
Actress and Talk Host Janine Turner to Emcee “Constitution Day” Event. Turner – best known for her role on television’s “Northern Exposure” – is also an author and hosts a weekly two-hour Saturday talk show on KLIF, Dallas. She’s also the co-founder of Constituting America and will to host its “Constitution Day” event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on September 17. The program will feature the presentation of prizes to winners of Constituting America’s annual “We the People 9*17 Contest,” which awards prizes and scholarships to students from kindergarten through college for creating original songs, short films, public service announcements, speeches, poems, drawings and essays inspired by the U.S. Constitution. Contest winners – whose names will be announced September 1 – will attend the ceremony to present their award-winning entries. Turner says, “Constituting America’s mission is to positively affect the youth culture of kids in kindergarten through college, promoting an appreciation and understanding of America’s founding principles, and the contest is a fun and educational way of doing that.” (August 24, 2011)
Journal Broadcasting Tucson Names Charlie Mandala Director of Sales. Mandala comes from KGTV-TV, San Diego where he was in sales management. As director of sales for Journal’s Tucson properties, he’ll oversee sales for its television and radio stations that includes news/talk KQTH-FM and sports talk KFFN-AM/FM. (August 24, 2011)
East Coast Earthquake, 2012 Presidential Race, Libya Unrest and Obama Vacation Some of Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/23). The 5.8 earthquake that struck the East Coast, the 2012 GOP presidential candidates, continued unrest in Libya as Gadhafi hides and President Obama’s Vineyard vacation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS. (August 24, 2011)
Play it Again, Sam. The five couples you see pictured here were chosen from e-mailed entries in the KSEV, Houston marriage renewal promotion organized by talk host Sam Malone. The morning show veteran hosted an on-air marriage renewal ceremony and the couples gathered at the Spindletop restaurant on the 36th floor of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston. The “newlyweds” received a hotel room and dinner for their second honeymoon! (August 24, 2011)