By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — It was revealed three months ago (TALKERS, 3/30) that Hubbard Broadcasting-owned news outlet WTOP, Washington (D.C.) was the country’s leading biller last year (2015).
Further data from BIA/Kelsey noted that three other all-news facilities placed in the top ten: WCBS-AM, New York at #5; Chicago sibling WBBM-AM (#6); and co-owned WINS, New York at #9.
Given that the exceptionally intriguing, highly-charged presidential contest is about to enter the convention phase, we thought it was an appropriate time to present a thorough overview of all-news stations to see how the format performed in PPM-markets in the most recent (May 2016) ratings period.
The following scoreboards list every news station that appears in a PPM-market report (6+, May 2016); there are no minimum ratings criteria for this particular overview.
Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for stations that subscribe to its services; owing to that reason, ratings stats in this exclusive TALKERS analysis are limited to outlets that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.
KRLD-AM, Dallas; WBZ-AM, Boston; and KFBK, Sacramento are “news” most of the day and “talk” the remaining hours.
iHeartMedia Reports New Directors Added; Both with Chapter 11 Experience. In a filing with the SEC, iHeartMedia notifies the commission that it is adding two seats to its board of directors and it is naming Frederic Brace and Charles Cremens to the board of directors. The two are also named to the board of managers of iHeartMedia Capital. Brace is also president and CEO of Midstates Petroleum. Cremens is a Boston-based consultant with 30 years’ experience in restructuring public and private companies. He was most recently president and CEO of Spirit Finance. This certainly indicates the company is preparing for the possibility it will have to reorganize if it loses its current trial in Bexar County, Texas in which it is suing Benefit Street Partners LLC over creditors’ claims the company is in debt default.
Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington Partners with Creative Agency. In an effort to improve the effectiveness of its clients’ marketing strategies, Hubbard Radio DC announces it is entering into a strategic partnership with Yamanair Creative for its WTOP-FM, WFED and WTOP.com. WTOP VP and general manager Joel Oxley says, “Investing in the creative of our clients is now more critical than ever. Yamanair Creative has a proven track record of results for local direct radio clients across the country for over a decade. Their team of experts will handle not only some of our key client projects but also assist us with on-air imaging for our own brands. We are stepping up our game which is exciting both for us and our clients.” In a press release, Yamanair says its “creative sales tools have been used since 2008 by CBS RADIO, Saga Communications, Townsquare Media, Alpha Media, Cherry Creek Radio, Radio One, Connoisseur Media, and in select markets of Entercom Communications.”
The Presidential Race, EgyptAir Crash, TSA Troubles, Facebook Anti-Conservative Allegations, Iran Nuclear Deal, Obama Overtime Regulations, Trudeau ‘Manhandling’ Incident, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The activities of the candidates for president; the crash of an EgyptAir plane flying from Paris to Cairo; long security lines at U.S. airports and allegations of incompetence at the TSA; ongoing concerns over reports that Facebook manipulates its trending stories to downplay conservative issues; the Iran nuclear deal and the White House’s refusal to allow aid Ben Rhodes to testify regarding the report of “manipulating the press” over the matter; the new overtime pay regulations and statements from business leaders that the policy will harm workers in the end; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s manhandling of an MP in the House of Commons; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool Talk Host Opportunity. “Delaware 105.9” (WXDE, Milford) is seeking its next afternoon drive talk show host. This is a full-time position that will require applicants to have actual on-air experience as a working talk show host. They are looking for energetic hosts who have mastered the ability to engage callers on a wide variety of topics, not just politics. Social media skills, blogging, remote broadcast experience and production are also a major part of the job. The successful candidate will work from Delmarva Broadcasting Company’s Milford, Delaware studio location where they strive to be great every day. They are looking for someone who can: deliver exemplary customer and listener experiences; expand the audience while serving the community; provide solutions for their business partners; and grow revenue and operating income by hosting a great radio show! For more info and to apply, click here.
Odds & Sods. At CBS RADIO’s Atlanta sports talker WZGC “92.9 The Game,” late night host Mitch Evans exits the 11:00 pm to 3:00 am slot…..In Miami, the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and CBS RADIO’s sports talk WQAM “Sportsradio 560” announce the signing of a deal to make the station the new radio flagship for the team’s play-by-play. The games will also be heard on the FM band on sister country outlet WKIS “Kiss 99.9.” For the past six years, Dolphins games have been based at iHeartMedia’s crosstown WINZ…..KTIE, San Bernardino “AM 590 The Answer” early morning duo Jennifer Horn (center) and Don Dix (left) from “The Jen and Don Show,” post for a photo with Duf Sundheim (right), one of the two GOP candidates for retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat. The photo was taken at a debate the two moderated in Riverside, California at the Lincoln Club.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — A news item posted yesterday (TALKERS, Wednesday, 3/30) indicated that Hubbard Broadcasting-owned news outlet WTOP, Washington (D.C.) reigns as the country’s leading biller for 2015.
Further data from BIA/Kelsey notes that three other all-news facilities placed in the top ten: WCBS-AM, New York at #5; Chicago sibling WBBM-AM (#6); and co-owned WINS, New York at #9.
As a follow-up, and especially in light of the exceptionally intriguing, highly-charged presidential contest, we present a thorough overview to see how news stations performed in PPM-markets in the most recent (February 2016) ratings period.
Facilities that rank in the top 20 in a PPM market (6+, February 2016) comprise the following news scoreboards.
Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for stations that subscribe to its services; owing to that reason, ratings stats in this exclusive TALKERS analysis are limited to outlets that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.
An asterisk (*) designates stations that are “news” most of the day and “talk” the remaining hours.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Announces News Staff Moves. The changes will mean a higher station profile for Mike Russell and a daypart shift for Becky Lynn. Bonneville’s Phoenix news and talk outlet announces that Russell will assume the host duties for the hour-long “Arizona’s Evening News” program and news anchor Becky Lynn moves from the mid-morning daypart to afternoon drive where she’ll anchor during the “Mac and Gaydos” show. Russell hosts the station’s weekend “Get Outdoors” program and serves as a fill-in talk host. Now, he’ll also be a regular content contributor producing written, audio and video content for KTAR.com, as well as producing daily radio features for “Arizona’s Morning News.” Bonneville Phoenix vice president of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “Mike is a terrific talent and great person who is one of the emerging local voices in Arizona. And Becky Lynn’s veteran news chops and her natural warmth will play perfectly with Mac and Gaydos every afternoon.” Changes take effect on November 30.
WTOP/WFED, Washington Layoffs Official: Four Out, Five Empty Posts to Go Unfilled. On Friday (11/6), TALKERS magazine reported rumors of layoffs at Hubbard Radio’s Washington, DC operations at all-news WTOP-FM and news/talk WFED. The company confirms via memo from market manager Joel Oxley that these moves are financial in nature. As reported on Friday, WFED personality Francis Rose exits, as does traffic reporter Ari Ashe, director of digital media John Meyer, and producer Matt Wingfield. The company won’t fill the reporter role formerly held by Andrew Mollenbeck, the digital post previously held by Kerry Walter nor three open sales posts. Francis Rose tells TALKERS magazine that he has nothing but good things to say about his time with Hubbard Radio and WFED and he’s looking forward to his next opportunity and continuing fill-in work for Westwood One’s John Batchelor program.
Dave Ramsey and Tyler Media Partner for Sold Out Oklahoma City Event. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey was not able to be in Chicago on Thursday to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame – his daughter Rachel Cruze was there representing Ramsey – but only because he was busy bringing his Smart Money live event to the Oklahoma City market. Ramsey and Tyler Media-owned local affiliate KOKC combined their forces to promote the program held at the Crossings Community Church. Tyler Media VP of sales Jim Williston says, “Sell-out crowds have become synonymous with Dave’s Oklahoma City seminars — a testament to the power of his straight forward, real-life messaging. Dave connects in both a personal and personable way with his audience. He artfully combines and shares his knowledge with his wisdom. Those who invest the time always leave well equipped with actionable ideas — their only challenge is to actually have the discipline to employ what they have learned.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Williston, Ramsey; Tyler Media VP Tony Tyler, and Ramsey Solutions speaker Chris Hogan.
Newsweb Radio Gives Up License for WCFJ, Chicago Heights. The 1,000-watt station at 1470 kHz was declared unprofitable by Newsweb Radio, so the company is voluntarily turning the station’s license in to the FCC. WCFJ is just one of eight signals operated by Newsweb Radio in the Chicago market. It had been airing brokered ethnic and foreign-language content.
Salem Hosts Broadcast from Israel. Today and tomorrow (11/9-10), Salem Radio Network personalities Dennis Prager and Mike Gallagher will broadcast their programs from Israel as parent company Salem Media Group brings 500 listeners to the Holy Land on its “Stand with Israel” trip. Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella says, “America and Israel have had a special bond since Israel was originally founded. Our hosts have enormous affection for this country. We decided to invite our listeners to join some of our hosts on a legendary trip to the Holy Land. We are honored to lead this group on a trip they will never forget.”
KGO, San Francisco’s Ronn Owens Inducted into Hall of Fame. Pictured here at last Thursday’s induction ceremony at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago are Premiere Networks’ WHTZ, New York-based CHR morning drive personality Elvis Duran (left) and legendary KGO, San Francisco midday personality Ronn Owens (right). Both were inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame along with fellow inductees: Big Boy, a.k.a. Kurt Alexander, Bob & Tom, Clark Howard, and Dan Mason.
Cooke: NAB Radio Show Wrap Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke wraps his coverage of the 2015 NAB Radio Show in Atlanta with this report. In it find HC’s takeaways from sessions that addressed radio commercial creative, selling radio in the multi-media world, consumers’ views of the state of the automobile dashboard, plus AM revitalization and the FCC. Republican FCC commissioner Michael O’Reilly was the only commish to attend and, regarding the contentious issue of an open window for FM translator applications by current AM station owners, he said, “The AM translator solution is the #1 solution. How could it be left out of any package of reforms?” Read Cooke’s report here.
News and News/Talk Well Represented in NAB’s 2015 Marconi Awards. All-news KYW, Philadelphia picked up the 2015 Marconi Award for Legendary Station, announced last night (10/1) at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held at this year’s Radio Show in Atlanta. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington grabbed the Marconi for Major Market Station of the Year and Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM, Tulsa was honored with the Medium Market Station of the Year award. On the talent side, KRMG morning personality Dan Potter picked up the Medium Market Personality of the Year and WSOY, Decatur, Illinois morning host Brian Byers won the Small Market Personality of the Year honor. In the spoken-word format categories, Cox’s WSB-AM, Atlanta won News/Talk Station of the Year and CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York was honored with Sports Station of the Year. See all the winners here.
September PPM Data and RadioInfo‘s ‘Twelve Takeaways.’ Rather than distributing ratings information for 12-PPM markets apiece over a four-day period as it generally does, Nielsen Audio doubled up its September 2015 schedule. It released data from 23 markets Tuesday (Tampa was delayed) and 24 markets the following day (Wednesday, 9/30). You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations in those 47 markets here. Simultaneous with that, TALKERS magazine’s sister radio trade pub RadioInfo enthusiastically unveils an augmented modification of our already powerful ratings coverage as managing editor Mike Kinosian expands his “Top Ten Takeaways” to encompass all markets every month. In this “Twelve Takeaways” overview, we focus on noteworthy happenings in Riverside, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, Columbus, San Jose, and Austin. The September 2015 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. Check ’em out here.
West Virginia-Based Host Caiden Cowger Becomes ‘Youngest’ Syndicated Talk Personality. Via his own Cowger Nation Media Network, 17-year-old Caiden Cowger embarks on a venture syndicating his eponymous talk show. The program airs on WBUC, Buckhannon, West Virginia; WFSB, Quitman, Georgia; and newest affiliate WXMB, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and others. Cowger says his interest in becoming a talk radio host began at an early age. “When I was around seven or eight, I recall going with my grandpa into a bookstore and picked up a book titled, It’s My America Too, by Ben Ferguson (generally recognized as the youngest talk host – at age 20 – to be nationally syndicated ). I remember thinking, ‘Wow, it would really be neat if I could do something like that.’ About five years later, I began my radio career.” Cowger names Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin as his influences and also recognizes American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer and Fisher’s producer Jeff Reed as being supportive mentors for his talk radio career. See Cowger’s website here.
Odds & Sods. New York City sports pro Jared Max joins the FOX News organization. FOX News Headlines 24/7 brings the radio pro aboard to serve as a sports reporter and provide up-to-the-minute sports coverage for the new SiriusXM satellite radio channel that launches on October 5. Max’s resume includes time working for CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York; ESPN O&O WEPN, New York; WFAN, New York, and Bloomberg Radio…..The newly partnered Ryen Russillo and Danny Kanell are getting a video simulcast for their ESPN Radio sports talk show. Effective Monday, October 5, the Russillo & Kanell show will be simulcast from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the sports giant’s ESPNEWS channel…..A note from E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee – the station announces it has re-signed with the NBA’s Bucks to continue to serve as the flagship station for the Bucks Radio Network. Station vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer comments, “The Milwaukee Bucks organization is in a tremendous building and growing phase, and is a vital part of our community. WTMJ has been a proud partner with the Bucks for many years and we’re excited to continue to serve as the Bucks radio home for years to come.”…..In observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Entercom’s news/talk WORD, Greenville, South Carolina is presenting a two-hour special program on Tuesday, October 6. The program is being hosted by the station’s Jenna Kochenauer – herself a victim of domestic abuse – with special guest panelists Sharon Totherow, director of local non-profit Domestic Violence Assistance; Judy Munson, assistant solicitor, domestic violence division, 13th Circuit Court; and Carl Smith, a local counselor with experience working with batterers through an intensive treatment and counseling program.
U.S.-Russia Syria Tensions Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of Sept 28 – Oct 2. The military action begin taken in Syria by Russia and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin over the matter was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was a tie between Donald Trump’s tax plan and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016. Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., including his reported meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, followed by the House hearing with Planned Parenthood exec Cecile Richards at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Ramsey Solutions Hits ‘Major Milestones’ in 2015. The Tennessee-based company Ramsey Solutions – led by media superstar Dave Ramsey – announces it has surpassed a number of milestones so far in 2015, including hurdling the $100 million revenue mark. Some of the other accomplishments include: Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover, passing 5 million copies sold; the online budget tool EveryDollar acquiring 500,000 users after only five months; Ramsey Solutions having more than 500 team members, and hoping to add an additional 180 team members over the next 12 months (with more than half being in technology fields). Ramsey Solutions has been voted one of The Nashville Business Journal’s Best Places to Work eight times. This fall, Ramsey plans to close on 47 acres in Williamson County, Tennessee for a campus that, when complete, will include three 200,000 square foot office buildings and a 50,000 square foot conference center. Dave Ramsey comments, “God has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams. When I started the company 23 years ago I was selling a self-published book out of the trunk of my car, trying to get a radio show off the ground and teaching our financial classes at night using an overhead projector. I never imagined five New York Times best-sellers, 500 team members and a collection of digital products. It is truly an honor to work with a world-class team and do work that matters every day.”
PPM Analysis: August MLB Flagships. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a report on the performances of MLB flagship stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August PPM survey data. In this report see charts illustrating the AQH shares of stations from July 2015 to August 2015, from August 2014 to August 2015, as well as the market ranks and how the flagships stacked up based on MLB divisions. View the entire report here.
‘Banana’ Joe Montione Named VP of Affiliate Relations for ‘Business Rockstars’; New Air Time Announced. Career radio pro “Banana” Joe Montione is named the new vice president of affiliate relations for Business Rockstars. At the same time, the company announces that the show time for the long-form “Business Rockstars” program is now 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. The company calls itself “the largest content platform for entrepreneurs across broadcast, mobile and social platforms,” and reports that its 60-second, daily feature is now being heard on such major and large market affiliates as WGN, Chicago; WPHT, Philadelphia; WCCO, Minneapolis; and KMOX, St. Louis. Business Rockstars Networks co-founder and chairman Steve Lehman states, “‘Business Rockstars’ continues to attract more listeners, market affiliates, and interest. Our decision to shift to the new airtime was driven by requests from current and new affiliates. The change in time will add 25 new live affiliates to the Business Rockstars affiliate lineup.” On joining Business Rockstars, Joe Montione comments, “Business Rockstars is really a hot place to be right now and this opportunity is a great coming home for me. It’s not every day that you get to work with one of your heroes again, so this reunion with Steve Lehman is exciting to me because of the incredible cutting edge entrepreneurial talk format being pioneered here at Business Rockstars, but also because Steve has been such a great mentor to me in helping to make the transition from on-air personality/programmer to network radio manager and executive.”
WTOP, Washington and CBS News Team for Podcast on Hannah Graham Case. Washington, DC all-news WTOP and CBS News’ “48 HOURS” are launching a new, five-part podcast anchored by WTOP’s Neal Augenstein that reveals the story of murdered college student Hannah Graham. “The Hannah Graham Story,” is the first-ever, five-part, show-specific podcast produced in conjunction with the premiere of a new primetime season. Graham went missing in Charlottesville, Virginia after a night out with friends. The search for her was the most exhaustive in Virginia history and after her body was found, the investigation into her death, which generated national attention, led police to cases of other unsolved attacks against young women spanning a decade. Augenstein comments, “The Hannah Graham story is so tragic, yet compelling, that it takes a news team like ‘48 HOURS’ to do it justice. It’s an honor to collaborate with them on the broadcast and podcast.”
Qerim Adds Mike & Mike Role to ESPN Duties. What was rumored over the summer comes to pass as Molly Qerim joins ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show as a contributor. The first hint of Qerim’s future role on the program came around the time ESPN announced Mike Greenberg’s and Mike Golic’s morning show would soon emanate from New York City instead of its Bristol, Connecticut headquarters. That move has since been nixed – or at least postponed indefinitely. But, now Qerim’s expanded role with the company is announced. Qerim rejoined ESPN in July as interim host of “First Take” (hosted by Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith on ESPN2). She’s also been named full-time moderator of that program. ESPN says that on the Mike & Mike show, she’ll “present a variety of content including news and breaking news updates. She will also focus on the hottest trending topics on the sports social scene and will host a short segment late in the show highlighting the segments coming up on that day’s ‘First Take’ program.”
WQAM, Miami PM Show Hits Vegas for Mayweather-Berto Fight. The afternoon drive “Hochman, Crowder, and Krantz” show was in Las Vegas last week leading up to the weekend Floyd Mayweather–Andre Berto fight. While broadcasting from the MGM Grand, the program hosts met Jen Welter, the first female to work as a coach for an NFL team. Welter, on site to help promote the fight, was an assistant coaching intern with the Arizona Cardinals during training camp this summer. Pictured here are (from l-r): Zach Krantz, Channing Crowder, Welter, and Marc Hochman.
Odds & Sods. Business talk outlet WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190” announces the addition of the Eric Holtzclaw program to its daily lineup, effective September 28. The native Atlantan’s show will air beginning at 11:00 am on the Salem-owned signal. Station manager Adam Wattanbarger comments, “Eric was an entrepreneur before being an entrepreneur was cool. He’s a sought-after expert and speaker on what it takes to successfully establish, grow and nurture businesses. In short, he’s the perfect addition to biz 1190 AM.”…..The 8th Annual Imus Golf Outing will take place Thursday, September 24 at the Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, New Jersey. The Imus Ranch Foundation is donating all proceeds from this event to benefit the Tackle Kids Cancer campaign through the HackensackUMC Foundation. In addition to the proceeds from this event, the Imus Ranch Foundation will donate an additional $250,000 to the Tackle Kids Cancer campaign. Don and Deirdre Imus will present the donation check to Robert Garrett, CEO of Hackensack University Health Network, in support of this very important program…..The Boomer Esiason Foundation is announcing its second “Bike to Breathe Event: Jerry and Em’s CF Adventure Continues,” a 500-mile bike ride that begins in Bar Harbor, Maine and ends in New York City. WFAN, New York’s “Boomer & Carton” show will broadcast live from NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, the finish line for the ride, on September 24.
Cool Job Opportunity. This is a rare opening for program director of “News Radio 1040” WHO, Des Moines. After 30 years, Van Harden is passing on the program director reins to (insert your name here). However Van’s not going far; he will still be in the AM driver’s seat. “News Radio 1040 WHO” is seeking our next program director to take this multiple Marconi-winning radio station into the future. Do you have an overwhelming amount of drive for success, vision, ideas and concepts to keep “News Radio 1040 WHO” great? This station has major market pedigree. Have you done some major market things that create talk, action, emotion and drive people to your station? Then let’s talk. Minimum of 5 years of programming experience is required and nonnegotiable. Rush your vision, plan and material to Greg Chance, SVP/programming Iowa at: firstname.lastname@example.org. iHeartMedia is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
WTOP, Washington Names McMearty Program Director. Three months after former programmer Laurie Cantillo and Hubbard Radio parted ways, the company names 23-year staffer Mike McMearty program director for the multi-platform news operation. McMearty moves up from his news director post to the new position of director of news and programming. Hubbard Washington SVP/GM Joel Oxley comments, “Mike has been an integral part of our success for more than two decades. He has led the newsroom to hundreds of industry awards for excellence in journalism, including 18 National Murrow Awards and more than two dozen honors already in 2015. I look forward to him taking the department to new heights.” The station reports that Jim Battagliese continues his role as director of traffic, transit and weather. Mitchell Miller is promoted to senior news director managing the newsroom weekday mornings, Darci Marchese moves up to a full-time news director weekday afternoons, and Jamie Forzato now will manage news operations on the weekends as weekend managing editor. Meera Pal moves to social and digital engagement director reporting to Julia Ziegler, who moves from web and operations manager of FederalNewsRadio.com to become the news director of WTOP.com. All of the changes will take place over the next several weeks.
Talkers New York 2015 Videos Begin Being Posted Today (6/22). Starting today with WFAN, New York superstar Mike Francesa’s opening “Keynote Greeting,” TALKERS will be posting videos of each of the sessions that made Talkers New York 2015’s agenda one of the most successful in the convention’s 18-year history. A session will be added each business day for the next nine days in a row, in the order that they took place at the event, until the entire agenda, video-recorded by Art Vuolo, is posted in a special Talkers TV feature sponsored by independent station owner, Michael Zwerling’s KSCO, Santa Cruz. The entire feature will remain posted for the rest of 2015. To see the opening session with Mike Francesa, please click here. Tomorrow: “The State of Radio Ratings” panel moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel icon Sean Hannity.
Mike Francesa Opens Talkers New York 2015 on Upbeat Note – See Video Today! In a video posted today (6/22), legendary WFAN afternoon drive personality Mike Francesa sets the tone for what proved to be a realistic, but highly optimistic and solutions-oriented, agenda at the recent industry mega-conference, Talkers New York 2015 (6/12). The tell-it-like-it-is broadcaster – who has been ranked at #1 on the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio” for the past two consecutive years – blasted the pessimism that he says permeates the radio industry and offered his assessment of the tremendous opportunities available to radio in the digital era. Francesa drew applause form the packed house stating, “It’s amazing the amount of negativity that exists no matter what part of the business you’re in… I’m here to tell you that even though I am a little closer to the finish [of my career] than I am to the start, back [in 1987] when I was pounding on the door at WFAN with Jeff Smulyan – it took me 18 interviews to get hired, folks — I would be as bullish on radio and as gung ho about getting a career and feeding my family on radio NOW… as I was back then.” Francesa discusses the multi-platform nature of programming content today and the need/opportunity to monetize every element of it. He praises the spread of smartphones as being equivalent to a theoretical resurgence of the old transistor radio and thus providing radio with universal portability… something it hasn’t enjoyed in decades. He discusses the importance of branding in today’s media environment and vehemently champions the importance of “live and local” being the key to radio’s survival and purpose in the coming era. To see Francesa’s entire speech, please click here.
Westwood One Names Ron Russo EVP Northeast Sales. Radio sales pro Ron Russo is named EVP, Northeast Region for Westwood One’s network sales division. In this position, Russo will “manage and oversee the New York sales office and be responsible for revenue growth and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events.” Russo will report to Westwood One president Steve Shaw. In a statement from WW1, the company notes that Russo comes to them from iHeartMedia where he was general sales manager for the NYC station group. “In addition to building and overseeing the sales teams, he was instrumental in managing the transition when iHeart purchased WOR-AM from Buckley Broadcasting. He also played an important role in securing the station’s radio rights to the NY Mets.” He worked for CBS RADIO at hot AC WWFS, “Fresh 102.7” before joining iHeartMedia. Russo says, “I am really looking forward to working with this great team of sellers and collaborating throughout the organization as we look for innovative ways to drive and accelerate results for our clients.”
Rob Ellis Lands at WPEN, Philadelphia. Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia personality Rob Ellis debuts on crosstown Greater Media’s WPEN, Philadelphia, partnered up with Harry Mayes. Ellis exited CBS RADIO’s WIP in March after failing to come to terms on a contract renewal with the station. Ellis, who also hosts “Breakfast on Broad” on cable’s Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, takes over as co-host of the midday show for Eytan Shander, who remains with the company. Former WIP personality Anthony Gargano also joined WPEN late last year as morning drive personality.
Odds & Sods. Both FOX Sports and ESPN are reporting that former San Diego Chargers player and longtime radio play-by-play analyst Hank Bauer has been let go from the radio broadcast team. Bauer served a one-game suspension last season – missing the final preseason game – after he used a Jewish slur during the third preseason game. He later apologized…..Westwood One presents coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s College World Series Finals beginning this evening from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Nebraska. The best-of-three championship series between Vanderbilt and Virginia is being covered by (pictured here in front of the famous Road to Omaha statue standing from left to right) Ted Emrich, Scott Graham, and Kevin Kugler.
Dr. Joy Browne Tours Israel as Guest of Prime Minister – Meets with Victims of Terror. Nationally-syndicated (GCN) talk show host and clinical psychologist, Dr. Joy Browne returns to New York today (6/22) after an intense week-long tour of Israel on a fact-finding/counseling mission that brought her into one-on-one encounters with Israeli victims of terror. Browne (right) is pictured meeting with Israeli citizens at the Jerusalem headquarters of the OneFamily organization during what has been her first visit to the Middle East democracy this week. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, during the emotionally charged encounter, which was hosted by OneFamily CEO Chantal Belzberg, Browne met with former residents of the US, Canada, and the UK who were physically and emotionally scarred in terrorist attacks across Israel during the past few years. “I am delighted and honored to be here,” Browne tells the Post. “After experiencing the aftermath of 9/11, we all share a common echo and I am impressed with the resilience of the people here who have worked or who are working to transcend fear and are getting on with their lives.” The perennially popular radio personality, in addition to interviewing and counselling victims, also interviewed the organization’s various psychologists and therapists for a future segment on her widely heard program. Browne’s trip to Israel was sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister and America’s Voices in Israel. (Photo courtesy of the Jerusalem Post and Sarah Levin.)
FOX News Commentators Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton Honored by Grenada’s St. George’s University. Media personalities Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton were recognized with honorary doctorates from St. George’s University in Grenada for their charitable works. Pinkerton and Ratner – who work together as conservative and liberal commentators, respectively, on FOX News Channel’s “FOX & Friends Weekend” on the “Long and Short of It” segment – are known for separate charitable efforts. Pinkerton has been working with the school assisting with its cure strategy for diseases. Ratner has been working for years to provide some of the basic tools for subsistence farming to people in South Sudan. Ratner (third from left) and Pinkerton (fourth from left) are seen here receiving their honorary degrees.
Dallas Newsman Bob Morrison Dies. Former KRLD-AM and WBAP-AM, Dallas newsman Bob Morrison died yesterday (6/21) after a long illness. Salem Radio Network VP, News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “When I served its VP/general manager, I hired Bob as news director of the USA Radio Network in 1999, and he brought a professional demeanor to reorganizing USA that was nothing short of amazing. His planning and execution of the national political conventions in 2000 remains a highlight, and nurturing his strong delivery and solid journalistic skills will always remain a highlight of my career.”
“Back to the Future” Moments for PodcastOne’s Agovino. As part of his “weird-new” role as PodcastOne executive vice chair, Mike Agovino is discovering more “differences” in the podcast marketplace than “commonalities” to challenges encountered the last ten years by digital music and broadcast streaming entities. “It is much less about the science of advertising and it is much more about the art of advertising,” he remarks to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a 30-minute, one-on-one interview during this past week’s hivio 2015 conference. Having spent ten years inside Triton Digital as its chief operating officer, Agovino recounts that the company had “an ad platform, a content delivery network, and it built apps for people. With hundreds of brand names across the canvass, there is a very scientific approach to connecting the right ad to the right person at the right time to create some kind of results,” he declares. “It is so much ‘science’ that, if you live in it long enough, you lose your feel for the ‘art.'” Approximately 27 years ago, self-described Howard Stern “freak” Agovino was living in New York and faithfully listened to the fabled morning man every day. When it was time for the former president of Katz Radio and ex-chief operating officer of Clear Channel Radio Sales to lease a new car, he drove 15 miles out of his way to the Long Island dealership for which Stern regularly voiced a paid endorsement. “That was me saying ‘thank-you’ to Howard,” Agovino emphasizes. “It was not me necessarily wanting” to give that particular establishment the business but “it was me giving appreciation to Howard for all the laughs.” Stern’s “influence” over Agovino to sign the car lease was considerable and as he hastens to add, that meant he had to drive that extra 30-mile (roundtrip) distance “for every service visit” for a three-year period. “It is love for a show,” Agovino insists. “That was not part of my last ten years but it is very much part of what we do at PodcastOne, so it is “back to the future.’ It is digital media, but it is one-to-one and back to the art form of what made me fall in love with radio advertising.” When Agovino gets together with his former Katz co-workers, he points out there is considerable laughter. “We enjoy what we went through back then and we talk about how much fun the business was. More times than not, when you get in a discussion with someone you have known for 25 – 30 years in the audio business, the closer you get to the present moment in the discussion, the less fun you will be having. That sucks for all of us and it is unfortunate.” He has, however, rediscovered the ‘art’ piece of the business and Agovino did not realize how much he missed it. What he has found to become important on the podcast side is that, “It is almost less about targeting a listener and more about making sure you have a great match of product to host. When you try to apply the science of audio impressions to what is happening right now in podcasting, none of the numbers work. They do not make any sense because … there are no rules. We might say to someone who is the right match with the right host we won’t let anyone else in because the credibility of this voice speaking about your brand will last as long as we can continue to make the acquisition of customers in that model an efficient thing for you.” PodcastOne is looking at having its hosts talk about an advertiser a minimum of two minutes throughout the course of an hour without, as Agovino explains, “doing it more than ten seconds at any point – and there is no copy. It has to start from a place of authenticity. The host has to ‘buy-into’ the product or you move onto the next host because it is not going to work for the long haul.” One of the “most traumatic” days in Agovino’s radio sales career occurred when his rep firm lost WMAL, Washington, D.C. but picked up cross-town WTOP the same day. For years, he had been proudly touting WMAL as “the voice of news” in the nation’s capital. “If you approach this with deep sincerity,” he remarks, “it is difficult” to suddenly knock on doors, talking up what had been the competition. “Traditional” ratings metrics, Agovino opines, will not matter that much in this space, although he concedes, “They will happen” and they are “easy enough to produce.” Much more important will be “attribution metrics and convergent metrics. There are many ways to analyze how a particular show produces results within a specific category.” The most recent stats Agovino has seen indicate there are 21.3 million hours of podcasting listening a day. “It is hard to know how big the universe is and how big a piece of that universe you have,” he mentions. A different economic model exists in podcasting since, as Agovino explains, “For the most part, the hosts are taking risks with you and they are not getting guaranteed seven-figure annual checks: We are in this together.” He suggests, “If you have a talent who has influence and impact on a ‘tribe,’ figure out a way to [do a podcast], but you cannot do what you did with streaming. You cannot move it over to digital and expect it to work. This is an infinite dial with niches and sub-niches. Expansion of shows will be tremendous. Things that we are doing and bringing up are ‘kid-in-a-candy store’ stuff for me.”
Public Relations Maven Defines “GMOOT.” After working as public relations director at the Columbia Business School, Richard Laermer founded RLM PR in 1991. He was among the participants at Los Angeles’ hivio 2015 seminar who maintains the audio world is in a state of flux. “Many brands underestimate their audience,” Laermer notes to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey in a one-on-one interview. “There is no sense of teasing-out the information about that brand, starting with something small; building upon it; and getting people excited about it.” Referring to Google as the “ultimate PR player, author-media trainer-blogger Laermer states, “They have built upon one message, which is the democratization of everything – even their missteps have always been messaged as the democratization of ‘X,’ ‘Y,’ or ‘Z.’ I respect that a great deal.” One major problem with brands is that everything is short-lived. “In the PR and advertising world, we refer to it as ‘GMOOT,'” Laermer points out of the “Get Me One Of Those” acronym. People who stand behind things “get ahead much faster,” he states. “That seems like common sense but as Aristotle said, ‘There is nothing common about common sense.’ Every single person we interact with – regardless of age – is looking for something to talk about and something to report. If we are consistent, we have the ability to give them that.” It is Laermer’s contention that “public figures” such as on-air personalities and podcasters need to convey what they stand for, “what they believe in, and what they are certain about” because, “These are things that people actually care about. People do want to know what a ‘personality’ thinks about ‘the issues.’ In the land of the tease, you want to be certain that people will come back for more.” Advising that, “It cannot be about the technology,” Laermer states, “It has to be about who are you and what you are putting out there.” Featuring 11 Ramsey-conducted interviews and five presentations, the two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood comedy club The Improv.
HEADS UP: Talkers New York 2015 Is Nearing Sellout. Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be sold out sometime next week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.” Casey continues, “There will be no registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT next Friday May 15, if not sooner. That will be the absolute cut off point.” The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Emmis Reports for Fiscal Q4 and Full Year; Net Revenue Flat in Q4, Up 1.6% on the Year. Reporting on its past fiscal year, Emmis Communications Corporation states radio net revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter was $38.8 million, up from $32.3 million from the prior year, an increase of 20%. On a pro forma basis, Emmis’ revenue reported to Miller Kaplan in the markets where Emmis competes (excluding barter and syndication revenue) were up 0.8% in markets down 2.5%. For the full year, radio revenues were $176.3 million, compared to $145.3 million in the prior year, an increase of 21%. On a pro forma basis, Emmis’ revenues reported to Miller Kaplan in the markets where Emmis competes (excluding barter and syndication revenue) were up 1.6% in markets down 3.7%. Emmis likes to frame its revenue in the context of how it performed against the markets. It goes on to say, “February marked the 15th consecutive month in which Emmis outperformed the markets in which it competes. Every measured Emmis market outperformed for full year fiscal 2015. Emmis stations in New York, Los Angeles and Austin all outperformed their markets in the fourth fiscal quarter.” President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments on the company and the NextRadio platform. “Despite weakened markets and a challenged industry, Emmis once again outperformed. The radio industry needs a catalyst for growth, and we are convinced we have it with NextRadio, the Emmis-developed free smartphone app that marries over-the-air local FM broadcasts with visual and interactive features. The radio industry’s consumer awareness campaign for NextRadio has had remarkable results, further validating the promotional power of radio. Consumers exposed to NextRadio overwhelmingly love it. Average Time Spent Listening (ATSL) per session on NextRadio is nearly double traditional listening, all major radio companies are supporting the effort, and we are adding 350,000 activations each month. The momentum is tremendous.”
Townsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Up 2.5%. That’s compared to the same period one year ago. The company’s 2015 first quarter net revenue was $81,118,000. The press release also notes Local Advertising net revenue was flat; Live Events net revenue increased 5.1%, and 59.7% excluding non-recurring festivals; and Other Media and Entertainment net revenue increased 29.%. Townsquare Media chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “In the first quarter of 2015, we delivered net revenue growth of 6.5% excluding political revenue and non-recurring festivals. We are pleased with our first quarter performance, in the face of challenges presented by harsh weather conditions which particularly affected our Northeastern markets. These challenges impacted our Local Advertising segment and were offset by the strength in our Live Events segment and in Other Media and Entertainment.”
Salem Media Group Flat for First Quarter of 2015. As a whole, Salem Media Group reports flat net revenue – down 0.8% revenue of $61.9 million — for the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year ago. Breaking it down by sector, the broadcasting division saw net revenue dip 0.5% to $46.5 million from $46.8 million. The digital sector also reversed course and dropped 4.6% on revenue of $10.8 million. Publishing, on the other hand, rose 6.2% to $4.5 million from $4.3 million.
Schatz Back with Advantage Systems. The sales consultancy firm Advantage Systems Inc. brings Jeffrey A. Schatz back into the fold as director of integrated sales. Schatz comes to the company from Digity Companies where he was director of revenue development. Prior to that he was vice president of total marketing solutions for Townsquare Media from 2009-14. Schatz comments, “I am excited to be joining Advantage Systems Inc. again! I’ve spent the last seven years helping broadcast companies generate revenue through integrated selling. Advantage offers a variety of integrated sales platforms, which align perfectly with my experience in helping media companies maximize their sales efforts in broadcast, online, digital, and interactive. These platforms will generate an annual revenue base for our media partners in their local markets. I’ve also been involved with Musical Images and Custom Creative and am excited to be able to offer these services through Advantage Systems Creative to enhance local clients’ existing marketing efforts. It’s the perfect marriage!” Advantage president Mike Loconte says, “We are ecstatic to have a veteran like Jeff back on our team. Jeff knows the challenges experienced by our media partners first hand. He knows the ins and outs and he’s worn every hat, so he can relate to our clients in a very unique way. His experience in traditional and digital sales along with his creative experience makes him the perfect fit for this position.”
Sanchez Adds WLZL OM Duties. WNEW-FM, Washington, D.C. program director Robert Sanchez takes on further responsibilities as operations manager of CBS Radio Spanish tropical sibling WLZL “El Zol 107.9 FM.” He succeeds Pete Manriquez, who was the program director of “El Zol.” Senior vice president and market manager Steve Swenson comments, “We have a lot of talented people at ‘El Zol’ who will work with Rob in taking the station to new heights. The experiences of everyone will be of great help to Rob as the team works together. Rob is a straight shooter, he knows CBS Radio, and he is a winner. I would like to thank Pete for his work as one of the executives on my team.” Sanchez remarks, “Pete did a great job in creating a radio station that sounds wonderful. He has been incredibly supportive of his programming staff and it has shown in what comes out of the speakers.” Ever since all-news WNEW-FM debuted in November 2011, Sanchez has been the station’s only PD. Among persons 6+ in Washington, D.C.’s latest Nielsen Audio PPM report (March 2015), WLZL (1.9) and WNEW-FM (1.7) finish at #19 and #20, respectively; meanwhile, Hubbard all-news WTOP (9.1) is the market’s (6+) pacesetter for the third successive survey.
Chicago News, Talk and Urban Radio Pro Ty Wansley Dead at 63. A week after being admitted to a Chicago hospital suffering from congestive heart failure, Ty Wansley has died. Wansley’s career in Chicago spanned more than three decades and included success in urban, news, and talk formats. Wansley had been serving as the news and information director for iHeartMedia’s three urban outlets: hip hop WGCI, urban AC WVAZ and gospel WGRB. He began his career in his native St. Louis. He became news director at the old WBMX, Chicago, served as a talk host on urban talk outlet WVON and was famously paired up with former Chicago Alderman Ed Vrdolyak on news/talk WLS-AM in 1993 – a show that became a ratings smash. That show continued its success on crosstown WJJD.
Baltimore Aftermath, Prophet Drawing Contest Attack, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Tsarnaev Penalty Phase, Gay Marriage SCOTUS Case, Obama Trade Deal, Amnesty Issue, and Patriots Deflategate Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The political repercussions of the Freddie Gray death in Baltimore; controversy over the Garland, Texas prophet-drawing contest that was attacked by purported ISIS sympathizers; the ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Family Foundation operations; the penalty phase of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; the case of four states with anti-gay marriage laws that went before the Supreme Court; President Obama’s foreign trade deal; the controversy over amnesty for illegal aliens in the U.S.; and the NFL’s report on the Patriots’ deflation of game balls were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Nielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%. In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014. CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis. These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth. In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”
SSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland. Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland. Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show. Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.
Odds & Sods. WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service. McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton by being entered into the Congressional Record. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor. McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station. McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23). The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country. Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.” The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
No Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year. The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC. The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity. In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level. As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.” The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either. “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.” So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014? Here are a few of the numbers: president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.
Raising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21). The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WTOP PD Cantillo Departs. Late Friday afternoon (3/13), WTOP, Washington, DC program director (and co-author of “Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World,” 1998) Laurie Cantillo teased her social media followers with this post: “Spring is a time of new beginnings … excited for the future.” That message is actually a follow-up to what was shared earlier in the day with the staff at the Hubbard all-news operation. “The decision has been made to not renew Laurie Cantillo’s contract,” general manager Joel Oxley writes. “The decision was reached mutually by Laurie and me.” In another internal memo, Cantillo states, “Our anchors and reporters have never sounded better and page views for WTOP.com are off the charts. Morale is as high as the International Space Station, where we conducted a historic live interview this morning. We are on ‘TOP’ in every respect, which makes this the right time for me to pursue my next adventure. There is no finer multimedia newsroom in America and I will miss seeing you every day. My immediate plan is to co-create a screenplay and finally get around to writing my next best seller.” Although she notes, “Radio and digital media innovation will continue to be a big part of my life,” she did not indicate if there is a particular station in her future. WTOP news director Mitchell Miller, senior news and sports director Mike McMearty, and managing editor Darci Marchese will share in assuming Cantillo’s duties. WTOP chalked up a mammoth +3.1 to 9.2 (Nielsen Audio PPM, January 2015, 6+) as it progresses from third to first. It is the station’s best mark in exactly one year, equaling the 9.2 it logged in January 2014. WTOP was #1 (6+) for 11 straight monthlies before iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH took the top spot in December and “Holiday” 2014. Simultaneous with graduating from the University of Colorado, Cantillo landed a full-time reporting job in Boulder and she had a 13-year tenure at Denver’s KOA. She was selected to program KTAR, Phoenix in 1997 and was later recruited by cross-town KFYI in a similar capacity. The former WABC, New York programmer joined WTOP in 2011 and officially became program director there upon the retirement of vice president of news and programming Jim Farley.
Positive 2014 Q4 for Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Sector. With the merger with E.W. Scripps expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, Journal Communications reports a positive fourth quarter of 2014 – up 13.6% on revenue of $122 million. For the radio sector, the fourth quarter saw revenue rise to $22.1 million – an increase of 7.7% (excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 5.5%). The company reports that radio political and issue revenue was $0.7 million compared to $0.1 million. Excluding political and issue, total revenue increased 4.9%, local revenue increased 6.5%, though national revenue decreased 0.9%. Automotive revenue, up 13%, was a driver of local growth. For the full year, radio revenue increased 3.0% to $79.1 million. Excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 2.4%. Radio political and issue revenue was $1.3 million compared to $0.4 million. Excluding political and issue revenue, total revenue increased 1.8%, local revenue increased 2.6%, though national revenue, a small component of our revenue, decreased 6.6%. When the merger deal closes next quarter, Journal and E.W. Scripps will merge their broadcast and digital media assets under a company retaining the E.W. Scripps name and be based in Cincinnati. Their newspapers and community publications and related digital products will comprise a firm to be called Journal Media Group, based in Milwaukee.
KJR, Seattle Re-Ups Levy; Adds Powell for Middays. Morning drive personality Mitch Levy — with iHeartMedia’s sports talker KJR-AM, Seattle for the past 20 years – will continue in his morning drive role after inking a new contract. At the same time, the station announces the arrival of Chuck Powell to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. He most recently was with Bonneville in Phoenix at both sports talk KTAR-AM and the former adult hits KPKX. Former Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is also returning to the station this NFL season to serve as NFL expert and contributor.
NSPCA Honors KDWN’s Alan Stock. For the past 10 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has been featuring the Pet Pick of the Week in an effort to get local pets adopted. Earlier this week, the Nevada SPCA surprised Stock with special recognition for his work. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Master Magician Lance Burton (former headliner at the Monte Carlo), Stock, and NSPCA president Kathy Jung. She’s holding Keno, who was in this year’s Puppy Bowl before the Big Game.
Kevin McCullough’s XtreMEDIA to Present Holy Week-Themed Radio Drama Across U.S. and International Radio Networks. The audio drama is based on the one-man play being performed in Chicago by actor and radio personality Stephen Baldwin titled, “Heaven, How I Got Here: A Night with the Thief on the Cross.” McCullough says, “Easter weekend on five American radio networks and the biggest networks in the United Kingdom (our first jaunt into international broadcasting) a compelling ‘audio drama’ of the same role Stephen is portraying on stage, will be aired on both religious and mainstream spoken word stations across Europe and America. Thus far 1500-plus stations have signed on and in some clusters/markets like Salem NYC the drama will air nine times from Good Friday evening through end of Easter Sunday. There is no cost to take the broadcast. We commissioned the Grammy and Dove award winning composer Dick Tunney for an original soundtrack, we created a completely digital sound design, and Stephen re-created the character he will portray on stage to give voice to the ‘thief’ to whom Jesus historically said, ‘This day you will be with me in paradise.'” McCullough says stations wishing to take the radio special can email him at email@example.com and he’ll be glad to add them to the growing surge of stations gobbling it up.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is now heard on Iredell Broadcasting’s WSIC-AM/FM/TV, Statesville, North Carolina, which includes transmission on over-the-air digital TV channel 21.2…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney adds affiliate stations in: WSMN, Nashua; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; KIXW, Victorville, California; KTFL, Higley, Arizona and KLOE, Goodland, Kansas…..Syndication Networks-syndicated “Those Weekend Golf Guys” joins the weekend lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..“Business Rockstars” is added to the program schedule at KTMS, Santa Barbara and KTVA, Oxnard/Ventura.
Iran Nuclear Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 9-13. The controversy over President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and the group of GOP senators who sent a letter to Iran contesting the president’s right to unilaterally make such deals was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Coming in at #2 was the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email for State Department business. At #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects followed by the amnesty/immigration issue at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Dave Ramsey Surpasses 550 Affiliate Mark. Nationally syndicated financial talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey announces his program is now heard on more than 550 AM/FM affiliate stations and, according to the Ramsey organization, is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners weekly. “‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is clearly positioned as the third largest talk radio show in the country behind only Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.” Vice president of Ramsey Media Brian Mayfield comments, “‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ continues to grow and make a difference in the radio world, as well as in the lives of our listeners.” Recently, the Dave Ramsey show experienced upgrades in a few major markets including moving to a live timeslot from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm on KTAR-FM, Phoenix and expanding the timeslot to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm KEIB, Los Angeles. Beginning in February, the show will move to a live timeslot from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on KXNT, Las Vegas.
New AM Host and Talent Shuffle at KCMO, Kansas City. Talent moves will take effect on February 2 at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO, Kansas City. Current morning drive personality Greg Knapp is moving to afternoon drive and new in the morning slot will be Rob Carson. At the same time, WMAL, Washington personality Chris Plante will also air on Kansas City on KCMO in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The rest of the schedule will be: Dave Ramsey from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Michael Savage from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm; Mark Levin following Knapp from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and John Batchelor airing from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Cumulus Kansas City SVP and general manager Mark Sullivan says, “I’m thrilled to have two of the industry’s best joining our lineup. I’m anxious to hear Rob Carson and Chris Plante on our airwaves and I’m sure that Kansas City is going to feel as strongly about their talent to entertain and inform as I am. I’m also pleased to have Greg Knapp hosting our afternoons, as his dynamic and in-depth discussions keep me glued to the radio and I know that the local presence that he brings will be outstanding. These are exciting times here at the broadcast center!” Carson comments, “This is a real homecoming for me and my family. We’ve been away from Missouri too long, and it’s a real blessing to get a spot on one of the country’s premiere talkers, KCMO. I’m excited to join John Dickey, Mike McVay and Mark and [PD] Gary Nolan at Cumulus.”
Round Two of Holiday PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of Holiday 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 December 4 to December 31. 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 on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
WTOP, Washington’s Dave McConnell Celebrates 50 Years with Station. WTOP, Washington reporter Dave McConnell began his career with the station on January 18, 1965. McConnell spent most of his career serving as Capitol Hill correspondent – a title he holds today that makes him the only full-time congressional correspondent for a local radio outlet in the country. WTOP news director Mike McMearty relates, “It is part of WTOP lore that while other kids were skipping school to see the Washington Senators play at Griffith Stadium, Dave was skipping school to hear the real Senators debate on Capitol Hill.” McMearty adds, “Dave McConnell is a class act. He’s a mixture of hustle, honesty and humbleness. Dave lets the members of congress express their point-of-view without inserting opinion or commentary. He is, and has always been known as, an honest broker. I consider it an honor to have worked with him for more than 20 years of his illustrious career.” Even after 50 years, McConnell has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Odds & Sods. Financial talker Ray Lucia inks a deal with BizTV and BizTalkRadio for the companies to exclusively produce and syndicate his programs. As part of the new agreement, the national radio show expands to two hours airing live from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET…..In addition to the almost 400 AM/FM affiliate stations that aired ESPN Audio’s broadcast of the College Football Playoff Championship on January 12, the sports giant reports that the game averaged 69,000 listeners in the average minute across network and affiliate streams. The ESPN Audio Streaming Network audience (including the ESPN Radio website and mobile app, the SportsCenter mobile app, Tune In Radio, Slacker Radio, and Apple iTunes Radio) grew 103% from last year’s BCS National Championship game. The 69,000 listeners is the third-highest network stream in history, trailing only two 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.
Cool Job Opportunity. Legendary KFBK, Sacramento has an immediate opening for a full-time morning news co-anchor and writer. Our ideal candidate has strong news broadcasting experience and is able to multi-task and take direction well. You will work alongside Amy Lewis, our long-term KFBK co-anchor, in a fast-paced, challenging and friendly environment. Must be an aggressive self-starter who can hit the ground running, cut up sound on the fly, report live from the street or in-house, love big breaking news, write conversationally, and stay on top of social media – all while creating and contributing daily content to the web and Facebook. You will need to be able to write short, tight copy, adlib well, anchor short-form newscasts or long-form event coverage when necessary, and understand news coverage in the digital/social media age. Conversational and credible on-air news delivery, creative broadcast news writing skills and the ability to communicate effectively are prerequisites for this position. You must be able to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment, meet deadlines, have a strong knowledge of current events and work positively as part of a team. For more information and to apply, click here.
Covering the State of the State. WKZO, Kalamazoo broadcast its Wayne Powers morning drive show live from the office of State Rep. Aric Nesbitt at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing yesterday (1/21) the morning after Governor Rick Snyder’s State of the State Address. The Midwest Communications news/talk station reports that it was able to talk with Michigan lawmakers and leaders from both parties throughout the morning, including Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley and Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter as well as local senators and representatives including Senators Margaret O’Brien, Tonya Schuitmaker and John Proos and Representatives Aric Nesbitt, Jon Hoadley, Brandt Iden and Dave Maturen. WKZO brand manager Jeremy Lawrence comments, “It is such a pleasure to be able to serve our listeners by talking with our leaders at the Capitol. Being that we are the eyes and ears of the listener, we value our ability to let them know what is happening in our government.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Nesbitt, Maturen, O’Brien, Schuitmaker, Cotter, Lawrence, Midwest Communications VP/Market manager Mike Klein, and (seated) Powers.
State of the Union Address/Obama Tax Plan, ISIS Holds Japanese Men for Ransom, Abortion Legislation Debate, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘American Sniper’ Film Criticism, and the NFL’s Deflategate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). Tuesday’s State of the Union Address and President Obama’s tax proposal; the case of the Japanese nationals being held for ransom by ISIS; the GOP’s decision to drop new abortion legislation; the potential candidates for president in 2016; continuing criticism of the film “American Sniper”; and the controversy over deflated footballs used by the New England Patriots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus talk outlet regaining prominence in nation’s Capital Region
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Even if not somewhat excusably misused, “heritage” is among the buzzwords many broadcasters hyperbolically invoke when proudly discussing their station and/or a particular on-air talent.
Not limited to a particular genre, it could apply to any format, although scores within the industry still choose to link “heritage” to dominant, institutional, full-service stations with larger-than-life personalities.
In the nation’s capital, for instance, the mighty morning team of “Harden & Weaver,” who beginning in 1960, prevailed in DC for approximately three decades, reinforced WMAL as “heritage” calls there.
Simultaneous with “Harden & Weaver” solidifying their own place in radio history (Frank Harden is now 92 — Jackson Weaver passed away in 1992), they were largely aiding to foster the station’s legacy — the Cumulus Media-owned talker is flourishing in 2014.
Morning mall entertainment
Overseeing then Citadel-owned WMAL from Chicago, where he programmed sister talker WLS-AM, Drew Hayes in August 2010 brought in former Air America programming honcho Bill Hess as assistant program director. Approximately one year later, Cumulus acquired Citadel and Hess was elevated to program director.
By Holland Cooke
For radio, “the camera” is iPhone; and nobody knows that better than WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein, a true digital newsgathering pioneer. His first iPhone is in the Newseum!
I left WTOP in 1991 and Neal got there in 1997, so he was amused to hear that, when I did the expense budget there way-back-when, we had a line item for batteries for cassette recorders. And our newsroom’s one portable phone was the size and shape of a lunchbox. And despite how expensive it was to make a call on that contraption, I couldn’t resist, in 1985, when – as I accompanied one of our reporters — I called my parents just to tell ‘em I was calling from the White House lawn.
Ebola Dominates Talk Radio as Matter Is Top-of-Mind with Public. The issues surrounding the outbreak of Ebola in Africa and its spread to other nations including the U.S., make it the ongoing top story being discussed on talk radio. The different aspects of the issue – the political, the medical, the immigration-related and the economic – are making it an ongoing topic worth examining from different angles. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington presented a panel discussion about the issue at Washington’s Newseum on Monday (10/20). Pictured here at the Newseum’s Knight Studio are (from left to right): Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene for the state of Maryland; Dr. Jesse Goodman, professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center (who is also former chief scientist for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration); Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes for Health; Bruce Alan, WTOP midday anchor and Debra Feinstein, WTOP midday anchor. The live event, carried on WTOP, featured the medical experts answering audience questions about the virus, the outbreak and response in the United States. It was attended by more than 100 guests including healthcare workers and media representatives from CNN, BBC, C-SPAN, Associated Press, U.S. News and World Report, WJLA, WUSA 9, NBC Washington, FOX 5, and more.
KTTH, Seattle Sells Out Gun Rights Debate. This is the third panel discussion Bonneville Seattle news/talk KTTH will host in the “Freedom Series.” It takes place tomorrow (10/22) at Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm and the event is sold out. The panel is being moderated by KTTH host David Boze. Also taking part from the station are KTTH pm drive host and New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro and Salem Radio Network-syndicated host Michael Medved. Dave Ross, heard on sister news/talker KIRO-FM, is also taking part. Representing Washington Ceasefire is president and activist Ralph Fascitelli. KTTH program director Jason Antebi states, “There is a conflict between honoring the Second Amendment rights of Washingtonians and tackling the issue of needless gun violence. Without examining both sides of the issue, I’m not sure we can find any solutions. It’s my hope that this panel can provide us all with meaningful information and find common ground among folks on either side of this issue.”
ABC News Radio, Fox News Radio Set Midterm Election Coverage. Two weeks from tonight (Tuesday, 11/4), Aaron Katersky will anchor ABC News Radio‘s 7:00 pm – 2:00 am (ET) midterm election coverage. Alex Stone is among the network’s team of more than a dozen correspondents – he will be in California; Steven Portnoy will report from Kentucky; and Jim Ryan will report from Dallas. Special contributor Ann Compton joins the coverage from Washington, while Richard Davies will be stationed at the network’s “Decision Desk.” ABC News Radio will provide one-minute Election Day “Status Reports.” It will continue doing so four times an hour for seven hours, starting at 7:00 pm (ET), on (Wednesday) November 5. Meanwhile, Fox News Radio will air an hour-long Dave Anthony-hosted “Balance of Power” weekend special before Election Day. The FNR morning anchor will take a final look at various key races around the country. Fox News Radio’s Lisa Brady and Fox News Channel‘s Kelly Wright are slated to co-anchor election night coverage (6:00 pm – 2:00 am, ET), with additional contributions provided by FNR political analyst Jeff Birnbaum and FNC’s Molly Henneberg. FNR correspondents will report from various election headquarters. FNC’s Eric Shawn and Julie Banderas co-host a two-hour “Morning after Election” on Wednesday, November 5.
LDR Interactive’s TopicPulse Partners with E.W. Scripps TV and WTOP, Washington. The real-time social media monitoring system TopicPulse is now being used by E.W. Scripps Television and Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington. LDR Interactive says that its TopicPulse system “scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, local message boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market.” Additionally, producers can access trending videos and images, and see which primary demo (gender and age group) is most inclined to engage with the topic on social media. TopicPulse also features a Tweetmap that showcases the market’s most popular tweets and hashtags on a local map, enabling producers to create hyper-local content based on up-to-the-minute social trends. LDR reports that E.W. Scripps Television is using TopicPulse to fuel a nationally syndicated show called “The Now,” which uniquely focuses on trending topics and social buzz in each local market. With WTOP, TopicPulse is being used to track social media engagement within the beltway. Hubbard Washington SVP and GM Joel Oxley says, “TopicPulse has been a difference maker and a smart addition to our newsroom toolkit. The more information we have to track what our audience is interested in, the greater the opportunity is to better serve their needs, and TopicPulse helps us get there.” LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig says, “We’ve been quietly deploying TopicPulse in major markets across the US this year. Whether you are creating content for a national TV show or a local market radio morning show, TopicPulse provides the real-time insights that on-air talent and producers need in an instant. It’s a secret weapon for content producers.”
WYD Media Ad Sales Partners with Spreaker. This partnership puts together WYD Media Ad Sales LLC and Spreaker, “an international digital company that provides a diverse community of broadcasters, musicians and producers a platform where they can listen to original content and/or upload their own content and seamlessly distribute it on www.Spreaker.com.” WYD Media Ad Sales president John Murphy says, “Spreaker’s technology is exceptional because it allows broadcast capabilities and sharing of all entertainment genres in both spoken-word and music. This is a great opportunity for our advertising clients because we can actually create and distribute content specifically for them in any format imaginable.” Spreaker CEO Francesco Baschieri comments, “I’m excited to see yet another piece of our vision fall into place. We’re contributing to a new type of media with Spreaker as the internet’s new home for spoken-word content. Thanks to this collaboration with WYD Media Ad Sales, we’ll be able to give our hosts a way to build on their talent and monetize. Anyone who thinks they can step up to this game is welcome to join.” WYD CEO Ron Hartenbaum adds, “The platform is an organic community of people who really want to be there and are actively participating. I’m excited about tapping into that marketplace by creating and aggregating cohesive content with Francesco and our clients.”
Odds & Sods. Longtime Twin Falls, Idaho radio personality Kelly Klaas is retiring after a 45-year career that started on top 40 station KEEP (now KEZJ-AM). Klaas has been hosting a talk show on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KLIX since 2007…..James Crystal Radio’s sports talk WMEN, West Palm Beach “640 Sports” names Steve White afternoon drive host. White replaces Orlando Alzugaray who exited in August to join WQAM, Miami.
Cool Job Opportunity. KARN-FM, Little Rock and the Arkansas Radio Network are looking for the next great news anchor/producer to join Arkansas’ largest radio newsroom! You have to be a great news writer and multi-tasker, because you’ll be anchoring newscasts on “Newsradio 102.9” KARN and the Arkansas Radio Network. You’ll also contribute to our live morning and/or afternoon drive talk shows. Must be able to work nights and weekends. Please send resumes, broadcast writing samples and airchecks to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “Little Rock News” in the subject line. Cumulus Media Little Rock maintains a drug-free workplace and is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.
‘The Beast 980’ to Open Los Angeles Clippers Season with Special Broadcast. When the 2014-15 NBA season kicks off and the Los Angeles Clippers host their home opener, KFWB “The Beast 980” is celebrating the event with a special, live broadcast featuring Jim Rome and Fred Roggin outside Staples Center on Thursday, October 30 from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm. The station says its exclusive Clippers insider coverage kicks off with the Fred Roggin show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm followed by “The Drive,” with Brett Winterble and former NFL tight end George Wrighster from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Rome, who will broadcast his CBS Sports Radio Network-syndicated show earlier in the day from Orange County, makes his way up to Staples Center for a special appearance as co-host from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.
Ebola Pandemic Threat, Mid-Term Elections, Campaign Against ISIS, Pistorius Sentenced, New Green Cards Plan/Amnesty Policy, Monica Lewinsky Speech, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/20). The ongoing threat of a global Ebola pandemic and the Obama Administration’s handling of the crisis; the looming mid-term elections and the potential for a majority shift in the Senate; the political landscape in the Middle East with ISIS gaining more power in Iraq; former Paralympics sprinter Oscar Pistorius sentenced; a reported plan by the Obama Administration to issue new immigrant workers green cards and the possibility of a new amnesty policy; reaction to Monica Lewinsky’s recent speech blaming the Drudge Report for her public reputation; and the weekend’s NFL action were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Comedienne and Talk Host Joan Rivers Dead at 81. Media personality Joan Rivers will be remembered for her work as a comedienne – most notably for her acerbic red carpet commentary shows and her long stint guest hosting “The Tonight Show” for Johnny Carson – but she was also a radio talk show host who worked for five years both on WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network. Former WOR program director David Bernstein – who now serves as GM of TALKERS broadcast operations – hired Rivers for her radio gig to replace Barry Gray at the station. Bernstein says, “Joan loved radio. She understood that timing in comedy translates differently on radio than on TV, or any other medium. And she let me teach. She was hungry to conquer a new medium.” Bernstein says Rivers was unlike stars from other media who dabble in radio. “She may have been the hardest-working person I’ve ever supervised. She showed up at the station to do her show even while on vacation. I asked her, ‘What are you doing here?’ She said, ‘My plane came in early, so why not work? I love being on the radio!’” He says Rivers was also very generous to those around her at the radio station. “She filled in for me in Providence at WPRO. She came to Rhode Island, bought lunch for the entire six-station cluster and did every TV interview I could set up. She also hosted Rush’s show for one of the weeks he was out. She knew she’d upset the apple cart, and that pleased her.” Bernstein says managing Rivers left him with no end of funny stories. “I had to tell her she can’t have her nails done during the show because she is not close enough to the mic, not to mention it screws up her concentration. But, perhaps that most memorable night was when she came in for her show straight from cosmetic surgery, and was…uh, unable to do a comprehensive show. I pulled her off after the first break, and instead of anger, she expressed gratitude that I protected her image by taking her off the air that night. As you can imagine, her language had always been an issue. After three bad words, I had to suspend her for a week. Although she was angry, I convinced her that she should go on the media tour to discuss the FCC language rules, and she hit “Entertainment Tonight,” “The Today Show,” “Larry King Live” and a slew of others. It was a Joan Rivers bonanza – great press for WOR – all thanks to Joan’s skilled use of the word ‘shit.’”
Sean Hannity to Lead WDBO-FM, Orlando Live Event. The live stage production is being called “Red, White, & Truth: Solutions for America,” and is presented by Cox Media Group-owned news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando “News 96.5.” It will take place October 30 at the CFE Arena at the University of Central Florida. Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity, along with Radio America-syndicated personality Dana Loesch, Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade and talk host Herman Cain will present “a dynamic on-stage discussion about current issues in the news, including the 2014 Florida Congressional Gubernatorial races.” Listeners can buy tickets starting at $25 and have the option of a VIP experience that includes a meet-and-greet plus photo op with the hosts. “News 96.5” program director Drew Anderssen says, “We often tell our listeners, ‘when we’re not doing the news, we’re talking about the news,’ and this event gives listeners an opportunity to engage with our hosts in a live, interactive setting, to hear their off-the-cuff remarks on major topics affecting the nation and Central Florida.”
Spencer Hughes Exits KSFO, San Francisco. After a six month stint hosting the late morning show on Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco, talk personality Spencer Hughes resigns from the station. On his Facebook page and website, Hughes says he refuses to be negative about his departure from the station and says, in part, “I am at peace with my departure from KSFO. It was the home of my talk radio debut back on December 31, 1994. I worked and befriended some of the biggest legends in the business. This New Year’s Eve would have been my 20th anniversary hosting the Spencer Hughes show and I had always envisioned it would be behind the mic of the station that gave birth to my vision and dream 20 years ago.” Hughes promises fans his show will be back “even bigger and better.”
Nielsen Audio Today: 68% of Americans Hear Network Radio. The latest Nielsen “Audio Today Report” indicates that nearly seven in 10 Americans – 68% — are reached by network radio that emanates from such distributors as AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and Westwood One. Among the data Nielsen reports includes: Listeners reached by these networks are highly qualified consumers — 74% of all full-time workers listen to network radio; 69% of those with household incomes over $75,000 per year listen to network radio and 66% of college graduates tune in each week, too. Nielsen also says the study indicates 51.5 million Millennials are “engaging with network radio.” Read the entire study here.
Steve Gallagher Launches Creative Talent, Inc. Longtime broadcasting executive Steve Gallagher announces the formation of Creative Talent, Inc. – a broadcast talent agency focused on talent, content management and representation. Most recently, Gallagher was an EVP with Sun Broadcast Group. He says in a statement, “We are in a new age and never before has the power of the personality and content creator been more important. Never before have there been more platforms, distribution channels and opportunities for all creative talent to advance. At Creative Talent, we are committed to representing the most talented personalities and content creation companies and provide them with the individual attention for them to amass huge success and reach their full potential. At the same time, Gallagher announces his company has formed a strategic alliance with ConnectPal – the platform recently debuted by talk media personality Andy Dean. Dean comments, “Steve Gallagher gets it. Steve is a forward thinker and his great talent relationships are the key to unlocking the future of content distribution. I am extremely excited to work with Steve and Creative Talent, Inc.”
Premiere Networks and DirecTV Renew Dan Patrick Deal. The agreement between Clear Channel’s Premiere Networks and DirecTV for the Dan Patrick sports talk show is renewed, though the term of the deal is not announced. The pact means Premiere Networks will continue providing exclusive ad sales representation and radio distribution for the show and it will continue to be part of the Fox Sports Radio Network lineup.
Round Two of August PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of August 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 July 17 through August 13. 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 on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Michael Bloomberg Returns to Bloomberg LP. Nine months after leaving the New York City mayor’s office, Michael Bloomberg has a renewed presence at news organization Bloomberg LP. At the end of this year, current president and CEO Daniel Doctoroff will exit the company and it’s being reported by USA Today that Bloomberg will not seek an immediate successor to Doctoroff but will run the company with the assistance of other company executives. Doctoroff is a close friend of Bloomberg and served as Deputy Mayor until 2008 when he left to become president of Bloomberg LP. He became CEO in 2011. Though the two deny there is any bad blood between them over Bloomberg’s return to the company, it’s being reported that Doctoroff was irked by Bloomberg’s becoming involved again in day-to-day operations.
Odds & Sods. WFAS-AM, White Plains, New York talk show host Lisa Wexler is now heard on WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut as the 4:00 pm hour of her program is being simulcast on the station…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and WTOP.com become the first U.S. radio partner to enter into an agreement with the Waze Broadcast Program – a network of news media using the Waze navigation service’s real-time information to supplement their traffic reporting. The partnership will allow the WTOP traffic department access to a special version of the Waze app to help reporters identify, capture and report the most newsworthy incidents in real-time. In exchange, WTOP is branding Waze user content when the information is incorporated into reports…..WING-AM, Dayton “ESPN Radio 1410” is adding another hour to the program “Dayton Sports Scene with Mark Neal” — doubling the show to two hours. Alpha Media reports the new show time — from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm — comes as the result of Alpha Media’s recent entry into the Dayton market with the commitment of more “live and local” programming.
‘We’ll Miss You, Ann.’ Those are the words on the cake you see being presented to retiring ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton aboard Air Force 1. She was toasted in the press cabin en route to Estonia yesterday morning and treated to the rich, chocolate layer cake in celebration of her final flight after 41 years. Upon landing, Ann was invited for a private visit to the front cabin with President Obama. She was given a peek at his private quarters – complete with double-sink bathroom, full shower, and living area — which Ann says still looks the same as when President George H.W. Bush gave her a tour back when the Boeing 747 had its first presidential flight 20 years ago!
Cool Job Opportunity. If you love pro sports, have the passion to sell and have a track record of winning, WTMJ Radio may have the opportunity for you. WTMJ has a rare opening in its sports marketing group for a sports account manager to drive revenue for flagship WTMJ’s Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers broadcast partnerships. Connect with WTMJ’s director of sales, Tom Sheridan at email@example.com and let him know how you can play a big role on a winning team.
US-UK’s NATO Tactic Against ISIS/Journalist Beheadings, Russia-Ukraine Military Tensions, Hacked Naked Celeb Pics/Apple iCloud Troubles, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat, Ferguson PD to Be Investigated by Justice Department, and Start of NFL Season Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3). The US and UK’s plans to seek a NATO coalition to fight ISIS and the beheadings of American journalists; the ongoing military tensions between Ukrainian forces and Russia; the controversy over the hacking of celebrities’ naked photos and questions about the security of Apple’s iCloud; the looming mid-term elections and prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the threat of an Ebola virus pandemic; the U.S. Justice Department’s plan to investigate the Ferguson, Missouri police department; and the start of the NFL season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
More Sports Content on WTOP’s Digital Platform. Intent on continuing to build its digital platform’s reputation as part of the Washington, DC station’s news brand, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP is expanding sports coverage with the addition of a new beefed-up sports section and the hiring of Noah Frank as digital sports editor. Frank most recently worked with MLB’s Washington Nationals. He’s also worked with the Fresno Grizzlies, San Antonio Missions and the Chicago Cubs. WTOP says its “sports section will go beyond the typical scores and stats of many online sports sites, taking a deeper look into the stories of the people and personalities that make the sports world so compelling.” Director of digital media John Meyer adds, “In order to continue to evolve the WTOP news brand in Washington, we must transform the way we originate our content. Dedicating resources to creating original digital content puts us in a better position to efficiently use this content across other platforms such as radio, social and mobile.” WTOP says the section is the fourth in its online expansion, following the launch of the Living, Technology and Entertainment sections. The sports section will launch the week of June 23.
CBS RADIO Chicago and Cubs Deal Official; Wrigley Field to Be Site of Concert Events. The expected announcement that CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM-AM, Chicago will be the new home for Chicago Cubs play-by-play beginning with the 2015 season is confirmed in a press release from CBS. The terms of the deal are not public yet but one of the facets of the deal includes the Cubs and CBS RADIO working together to present concerts at venerable Wrigley Field. CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason says, “This partnership also capitalizes on the expertise of our local stations to create one-of-a-kind events utilizing the inherent synergies of music and sports. Being able to interact with fans both in and out of the ballpark provides us a unique opportunity to connect with the community and grow our relationships with local businesses and national brands.” Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer will continue to call the action and a weekly, one-hour “Cubs Corner” program will also air on WBBM-AM. The MLB team and Tribune’s WGN are parting ways after this season after 90 years in broadcast partnership.
Radio Mercury Winners Announced. The 23rd annual Radio Mercury Awards were held in New York last night in a ceremony produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau at le Poisson Rouge. This year’s $50,000 Best of Show award was given to Wieden+Kennedy for the spot, “MomSong” for client Old Spice. The Marketer of the Year award was given to insurance giant GEICO. This year’s chief judge, Matt Eastwood, worldwide chief creative officer at JWT, stated, “MomSong was the clear choice and the most engaging spot we heard. All of this year’s winners deserve to be recognized for their inspiring and exceptionally creative spots and campaigns.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “These winning spots and campaigns are true testaments to radio’s ability to engage consumers, build brands and inspire the next generation of creative minds. Our mission is to recognize those storytellers who create an audiophoric world and truly capture our hearts and minds.” Hubbard Radio president and CEO Bruce Reese (left) presented the Marketer of the Year award to GEICO broadcast marketing manager Amy Hooks (right). The ceremony was hosted by Eric and Kathy from Hubbard Radio’s “101.9 The Mix” in Chicago, and included presenters: Jim & Kim from CBS RADIO’s WWFS, New York “Fresh 102.7”; Wendy Wild from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s WKTU, New York; DJ Enuff from Emmis Communication’s WQHT, New York “Hot 97”; and Ino Gomez from Univision Radio’s WADO, New York. DJ Whutevva from Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s WWPR, New York “Power 105.1” served as the guest DJ for the night.
Bubba the Love Sponge and Affiliate Present Fundraiser for Highway Crash Victims. Syndicated, multi-format talk show host Bubba the Love Sponge and country affiliate WTRS, Gainesville/Ocala “102.3 My Country FM” are presenting “Bikes for Badges,” a charity motorcycle run on Saturday, June 14 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala. All monies raised will go directly to the families of fallen Florida Highway Patrol officer Chelsea Richard, as well as civilians George Phillips and John Duggan, who died in a tragic I-75 pile-up on Saturday, May 3. WTRS program director Dave Tyler says, “Bubba the Love Sponge and ‘102.3 My Country FM’ are committed to giving back to our community. This is our hometown. Tragedy can strike anywhere and we want to ensure the families of our fallen heroes are well taken care of. The Bubba the Love Sponge Foundation to date has given nearly half a million dollars in funds to families of these heroes. Now we are honored to take care of the three families affected by this accident.”
Odds & Sods. On tomorrow’s 70th anniversary of the invasion at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France – D-Day – Fox News Radio is providing coverage to affiliate stations. Jeff Monosso and Simon Owen will be reporting from Normandy. Monosso is also hosting a special, “D-Day: We Remember: A Fox News Radio Special,” which takes a look back at the events that unfolded during the D-Day invasion as well as the day’s ceremonies of remembrance…..Mark Halverson is the new vice president and general manager for Journal Broadcast Group’s Omaha station group that includes sports talk KXSP “590 ESPN Radio.”…..At Broadway Media’s Salt Lake City cluster, Corey O’Brien is promoted to digital content director for the six-station cluster that includes sports talk KALL “ESPN 700.”
Holly Williams Talks Music and Sports with Steve Gorman. Pictured here are Fox Sports Radio personality Steve Gorman (right), host of “Steve Gorman SPORTS!,” country music artist Holly Williams (center), and show co-host Jeffrey Gorman (left), in the Nashville studios of Fox Sports Radio. Williams, daughter of country legend Hank Williams, Jr. (and granddaughter of Hank Williams!), stopped by the studios to talk with the Gormans about her new album The Highway and share stories about growing up as the daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. She also told of her failed attempt at playing basketball as a child. Answering the question asked of every guest who appears on the program, Williams announced her favorite musical artists are Jay-Z and Tom Waits.
Dr. Laura Goes to Bat for KidsEmail. Talk radio superstar Dr. Laura Schlessinger – heard daily on SiriusXM Satellite Radio – is encouraging parents to use KidsEmail for their children’s internet communications. A press statement from KidsEmail says, “Recognizing the difficulty parents face with protecting their kids from cyberbullying, predators, vulgarity, spam, pornography, and other internet dangers, Dr. Laura encourages that parents use KidsEmail to help safeguard their kids.” Dr. Laura adds, “KidsEmail is an excellent tool for parents to use when playing an active role in keeping their kids safe from online dangers. It also helps parents teach their kids how to use the internet safely and responsibly.” KidsEmail.org founder and CEO Jacob Andersen states, “We are extremely excited that Dr. Laura recognizes how valuable a service like KidsEmail is in helping parents raise their children in a safe environment. It’s always been our mission to protect children while helping them learn about and enjoy technology in a safe environment.”
Gracie Awards Luncheon to Feature Roberts. ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” anchor and 2014 national Gracie Award recipient Robin Roberts will be a special guest at the 39th annual Gracie Awards luncheon next Wednesday (6/11) in New York City. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) chair Kay Olin states that this particular “memorable” event “honors and shares the compelling work of so many women in media, as well as recognizes the next generation of media stars. We are pleased to award Robin Roberts with a Gracie statue at our luncheon; she is a notable reporter whose work serves as inspiration to all in attendance.” This year’s local, online, public, and student winners include MPR News‘ “Betrayed by Silence,” AARP’s “Beyond the Face of Alzheimer’s — A Few Good Men,” “George Washington University’s Plus Size: The New Normal,” KNX, Los Angeles’ “Healthcare Uncovered,” and Mudbath Productions’ “Satellite Sisters.” Moll Anderson and Nancy Giles will host this year’s luncheon ceremony.
Bergdahl Prisoner Swap/al Qaeda Threats, Slenderman Stabbing Case, Influx of Illegal Aliens in Southwest, New Donald Sterling Allegations, Latest Justin Bieber Controversy and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). The controversy over the swap of five terrorist prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and concerns about the renewed strength of al Qaeda and recent threats by the terrorist group; the case of the 12-year-old Wisconsin girl stabbed by two friends to please a fictitious internet character; recent waves of illegal immigrants appearing in Southwest cities and questions about responsibility for the occurrences; new allegations of racist and sexist behavior by Clippers owner Donald Sterling; another incident of racist language by troubled pop singer Justin Bieber; and the NBA and NHL finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Inside SportsTalkBoston.com. The surprising exit of longtime WEEI sports talk personality Glenn Ordway last year and the departure some months later of station programmer Jason Wolfe saw big changes in the Boston sports talk scene. Those changes are becoming even more high profile with the debut of Ordway’s new multi-platform sports talk destination SportsTalkBoston.com. Regular TALKERS readers are aware Wolfe is signing on with the venture to serve as chief content officer. In this exclusive story, Wolfe goes into a bit more detail about not only what the future will bring to SportsTalkBoston.com, but he writes about Ordway’s place in the hearts and minds of Boston sports media fans and how that plays into the execution of the content. As Wolfe says, “Personality breeds engagement. Engagement breeds loyalty. Loyalty breeds ratings and ratings breed revenue. That is the formula hosts and shows need to embrace today if they want to win.” Read this entire piece here.
WTOP, Washington Takes ‘Top Biller’ Crown for Fourth Year Straight. The annual top radio billers report from BIA/Kelsey is out and although Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington dropped a little over $1 million in billing from 2012 to 2013, at a reported $63.5 million it still was the nation’s #1 biller, beating Clear Channel’s CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles by about $2 million. KIIS-FM had a good year, adding almost $5 million to its revenue total to report in at $61.6 million. Rounding out the top 10 for 2013 were: Clear Channel’s CHR WHTZ, New York “Z100” at $51 million; CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM at $50 million; Clear Channel’s AC WLTW, New York “106.7 Lite FM” at $45.5 million; CBS RADIO all-news WINS at $45 million; Clear Channel’s hot AC KBIG, Los Angeles “104.3 MYfm” at $44.5 million; CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” at $43 million; CBS RADIO’s alternative KROQ, Los Angeles at $42.8 million; and CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago wraps the top 10 at $42 million.
Entercom Loosens Load on ‘ESPN Upstate’ Personality Greg McKinney. In addition to his work at Entercom Greenville’s sports talk duo WORD-AM/WYRD-AM “ESPN Upstate” where he’s host of “In The Huddle with Greg McKinney” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, McKinney had been doing mornings on sister AC WSPA “Magic 98.9.” (He also handles anchoring the “College Football Today” pregame show on rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet.”) The company adds “Murphy, Sam and Jodi” on WSPA for morning drive and relieves McKinney of the daily double duty. Entercom Greenville VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage is unmatched in this market. We are thrilled that the person who will become the local face of ‘ESPN Upstate’ was already in our stable. Putting Greg McKinney on ESPN with a live and local show, not only plays to his strengths and talents, but it provides our clients with an additional and valuable touch point to connect with a highly sought after consumer.”
Entercom Sets Milwaukee and Madison Managers. Former Cumulus Mobile vice president/market manager Chuck Sullivan is tapped for similar duties at Entercom Milwaukee, while Entercom Madison director of sales Ed Schulz is elevated to vice president/market manager of that Wisconsin market. They succeed Michael Keck (see next story), who was overseeing both markets. Regional president Michael Doyle comments, “Entercom is proud to add two of the strongest people in radio to our leadership team. Chuck and Ed bring with them a wealth of experience, unique perspectives and a passion to make their powerful brands and their clusters not only the strongest in the state, but in all of radio.” Meanwhile, Sullivan remarks, “Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands from [CHR WXSS] ‘Kiss-FM’ to [hot AC WMYX] ‘Mix’ to [WSSP] ‘SportsRadio 1250.” Schulz adds, “Madison is a special place and Entercom has distinct brands that not only connect with the community, but deliver results for our clients. I am proud of what we have accomplished in Madison and am excited for the future. Before joining Cumulus, Sullivan spent nine years as managing partner of Wilmington, North Carolina’s Ocean Broadcasting. Schulz joined Entercom two years ago and will be responsible for adult alternative WMMM “Triple M,” classic hits WOLX, and hot AC WMHX “Mix 105.1.”
CBS RADIO Twin Cities Names Keck VP/DOS. As referenced in the story above, sales pro Michael Keck moves northwest from Entercom Milwaukee to the Twin Cities where he’s the new vice president/director of sales at CBS RADIO Minneapolis, effective April 7. The company says that in this role, he will be responsible for overseeing sales in the market for news/talk WCCO, adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM,” and country KMNB “BUZ’N@102.9.” Keck will work closely with Michael Weiss, CBS RADIO’s president of sales and report to Mick Anselmo, senior vice president and market manager for the Minneapolis cluster. Keck comments, “I am thrilled to be coming back to the Twin Cities. It’s a tremendous privilege to be associated with two powerful FM stations and one of America’s most legendary and successful AM brands in WCCO. I can’t wait to be a part of the CBS RADIO team in this vibrant radio and media marketplace.”
Sun Broadcast Group to Rep Envision Networks’ Spanish Content. An exclusive ad sales agreement has been struck between Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. and Envision Networks for Sun to rep Envision’s Spanish-language inventory that includes: CNN en Español, Fox Deportes and AccuWeather en Español. Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Jason Bailey and his team at Sun Broadcast will increase our presence in the Spanish advertising arena. They will represent our programming, services and online audio product lineups to Hispanic advertisers and maximize the scope of our network’s reach and frequency and the amount of impressions it delivers for clients.”
Beasley Honors Pretzello with President’s Club Award. This in-house sales award for the calendar year 2013 goes to Beasley Broadcast Augusta senior account executive Debbie Pretzello for the third time. The President’s Club consists of Beasley sales executives inducted annually for their abilities to meet or exceed individual and market goals, attain accreditation from the Radio Advertising Bureau as Certified Radio Marketing Consultants (CRMC), and over-deliver their clients’ expectations on a daily basis. One account executive in each market in which Beasley operates is named to the Club monthly. At year’s end, each market names a winner based on overall performance. Additionally, the individual with the highest ranking from this notable pool of top-performers is named Beasley’s “President’s Club Overall Winner” for the previous calendar year. Beasley EVP of sales Heather Monahan says, “We are thrilled that Debbie Pretzello continues to lead our Augusta sales team and is recognized for her third time as our ‘Overall President’s Club Winner.’ Retaining talent in our business is of the utmost importance to Beasley. Debbie forges ahead year after year, raising the bar for our sales organization. Her ability to win multiple awards signifies her vast talent for delivering results for her local clients. Debbie Pretzello earned the title ‘Overall President’s Club Winner’ again this year by providing ROI for her customers, that’s something that makes us very proud.”
Odds & Sods. When the New York Yankees’ season kicks off on April 1, Spanish-speaking listeners in the New York area will be able to hear the games in Spanish on Univsion-owned WADO, New York. CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM – the new rights holder for Yankees games, agrees to the deal that will have WFAN producing the games with Rickie Ricardo and Francisco Rivera in the booth for the Spanish-language broadcast…..WMBD, Peoria afternoon duo “Robbins & Markley” – (pictured here) Scott Robbins (l) and Jamie Markley (r) – are sitting in for the vacationing Jim Villanucci on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland this week…..The weekly two-hour “Both Sides Now” program – hosted by Mark Green and featuring talk media personalities including: Ron Reagan, Katrina van den Heuvel, Eliot Spitzer, Bob Shrum, Jonathan Alter, Mary Matalin, Erick Erickson, David Frum, Rich Lowry and Torie Clarke – signs up with Focus 360 to handle ad sales for the program.
Tackling Big Issues. KARN-FM, Little Rock program director and afternoon drive host Dave Elswick (right) poses for a photo with former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger (left) after two spoke on Elswick’s program about Israel and the country’s complex relationship with the U.S., Iran and the Palestinians. Ettinger served as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington. Elswick will be speaking on the “Big Picture” panel at Talkers New York 2014 in New York City on Friday, June 20.
ObamaCare Criticism, Michelle Obama in China, Hague Nuke Summit, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, Mid-Term Elections/ 2016 Presidential Race, NSA Bulk Data Collection Policy and Nick Cannon ‘Whiteface’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip to China and her speech about America’s discriminatory past; President Obama’s comments about Russia and a possible NYC nuclear threat made at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Hague; the possible fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; prognostication about the fall mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; the fate of the NSA’s bulk data collection policy; and musician/TV personality Nick Cannon’s “whiteface” photo controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC Kills CIN Study…at Least for Now. The Federal Communications Commission issued a brief statement late Friday afternoon ending the current form of the Critical Information Needs study that has enraged broadcasters since it was announced last May. Recently, as the beginning of the study approached this spring, broadcasters – and many from the public arena – had re-stoked their disapproval. The FCC’s statement on February 28 was: “The FCC will not move forward with the Critical Information Needs study. The Commission will reassess the best way to fulfill its obligation to Congress to identify barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses.” Commissioner Ajit Pai, who had publicly criticized the scope of the study, said, “I am pleased that the FCC has canceled its Critical Information Needs study. In our country, the government does not tell the people what information they need. Instead, news outlets and the American public decide that for themselves. I look forward to working with my colleagues to identify and remove actual barriers to entry into the communications industry. This newsroom study was a distraction from that important goal.”
TALKERS to Postpone Publishing 2014 Heavy Hundred Until Tuesday, March 11. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication this coming Tuesday, March 11, 2014. It was originally intended for publication today (3/3) but last-minute developments in the industry regarding the contracts and standing of several key hosts has required adding the extra week for consideration and tabulation. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board. It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.
CBS RADIO Adds Baltimore, Maryland Content to All-News WNEW-FM. The two-year-old all-news format on CBS RADIO’s WNEW-FM, Bowie, Maryland-licensed station is getting some tweaking as the station will add more Baltimore and Maryland content to its programming in the form of news and traffic, as the company says, “in addition to its extensive coverage of the Washington, D.C. metro.” The company is opening a Baltimore news center beginning today (3/3), which is located at CBS television station WJZ-TV. Other bureaus will follow in Annapolis and Montgomery County throughout the year. Longtime Baltimore radio news anchor Sarah Jacobs has been named bureau chief, overseeing a team of local reporters. Baltimore Sun columnist David Zurawik reported on the changes last week questioning if the changes are the result of the inability to “put a dent” in the ratings at Hubbard’s crosstown WTOP. Some of the changes beginning today include traffic reports every five minutes during peak travel times plus expanded coverage to include “Beltway to Beltway” traffic spanning the entire Baltimore-Washington corridor, from the Baltimore Beltway to the Washington Beltway, and the major arteries that feed them. CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Steve Swenson states, “WNEW reaches 5.3 million people across Baltimore and Washington, and all the counties in between – more than any other local radio station. We’re thrilled to offer area residents around-the-clock news coverage, and serve as the primary destination for all their traffic information needs. Whether driving the two Beltways, I-95, the Baltimore Washington Parkway, I-97, or Route 50, commuters will only need to listen to one station: All-News 99.1FM.” In the Baltimore Sun piece, Zurawik writes that Swenson concedes the location of the WNEW-FM transmitter – near Annapolis – doesn’t cover the DC metro the way most DC-licensed stations do. Swenson tells the paper WNEW-FM “reaches 38% of the DC metro population while it covers more than 75% of the Baltimore metro.”
Don Geronimo to Exit ‘106.7 The Fan’ in Washington. After returning to his longtime stomping grounds at WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” following a stint at the company’s KHTK, Sacramento, Don Geronimo will again leave the station and his evening show. Geronimo Tweeted that he’s going to be on the CBS RADIO payroll for another 30 days and then “off to brighter pastures. You know I have a lot to say on the entire matter, you’ll hear it all soon enuf, ever 4ward.”
PodcastOne Makes Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ Show Available on Demand. Nationally syndicated radio personality Doug Stephan (left) is partnering with PodcastOne to have the service distribute his podcast and have PodcastOne Sales serve as the exclusive rep for his podcast. Stephan’s “Good Day” is now available in a digital format after the original broadcast of the radio program. PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz (right) says, “Everybody needs a good day. Now we can make sure that Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ is available 24 hours a day, on-demand, from PodcastOne. This is just another example of the expanding radio footprint that makes the best talent available to the largest possible audience, and on a personal level, having Doug on the podcast lineup brings a big smile to my face and assures me of having my own personal good day.”
Talk Radio Personality Rusty Humphries Joins Washington Times. Longtime TRN-syndicated talk radio personality Rusty Humphries is joining the Washington Times for an “expansive role” in which he will be “a weekly columnist, a blogger and a daily video show host.” The organization notes that “Humphries’ appointment is part of the Washington Times’ aggressive expansion into the many platforms that comprise a modern media company. The audio from Humphries’ video show will also be streamed on the Kaliki-based, on-demand network that was recently established in partnership with the Times. Humphries comments, “I’m excited to become part of the Washington Times family. I am proud to add my voice and my ideas to the excellent work that the Times has been producing for decades.” Times editor and vice president of content and business development John Solomon adds, “Rusty is a rare and special talent. We are thrilled to have his wisdom and his good humor as part of our growing menu of offerings.”
New Lineup from TheBlaze Radio Network; Buck Sexton Show to Weekdays. There’s a new weekday schedule from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network as the company announces the Buck Sexton show moves to weekdays in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET slot effective March 17. Sexton is also co-host of “Real News from TheBlaze,” he is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst with hands-on expertise in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations around the world. As a result of the move, the Pat & Stu show moves to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Over the past 18 months or so Buck has emerged as a very strong new voice in media. We’re excited to see what he can do with the expanded opportunity on TheBlaze Radio Network.”
Compass Media Networks Welcomes Susan O’Connell. Affiliate relations pro Susan O’Connell is joining Compass Media Networks as a consultant with the goal of managing and enhancing affiliate relations and strategy related to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. O’Connell has served as senior director, affiliate sales for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2006. Compass exclusively manages affiliate sales and advertising sales for WSJ Radio.
Lawrence Named Director of Sales at Revenue Development Resources. After 14 years of service to the Radio Advertising Bureau, Bob Lawrence becomes director of sales for Revenue Development Resources. He states, “It’s exciting to be representing the valuable services that RDR offers to broadcasters, and to once again team with RDR president/CEO Mark Levy. I look forward to more of the kind of successes that Mark and I achieved during our years working together at the RAB.” Says Levy, “Bob joining us is like old-home week. With former RAB team members Tim Foley and now Bob Lawrence on the team, it’s like working with family again!”
Odds & Sods. Imaging and voice-over pro Pete Gustin leaves his gig with Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO after 18 years with the stations. Gustin, who recently launched his own imaging and voice-over service, writes on his Facebook page, “I’ll be partnered with dozens of major national brands, programs, radio stations, TV networks, sports franchises and agencies like Solid Talent with Micaela Stepanovich, CESD Imaging — affiliates and Paul Wintner and Jason Helzner, who are both very much responsible for this new path I’m on.”…..WOLB, Baltimore morning show host Larry Young is honored as a recipient of the 2014 Verizon Community Innovator Award. The company says that Young was the only recipient of the award in the communications field. “We here at Radio One Inc. are very proud of Larry’s many accomplishments and this shows the great works he has done for the community and how he represents his community.”…..Center Post Holdings announces it is re-branding the Business TalkRadio Network to BizTalkRadio to reflect its new partnership with sister network BizTV. Center Post Holdings purchased BTRN last October .
Rick & Bubba Read to 50,000 Kids in 13 States! Nationally syndicated morning show Rick & Bubba (Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey) recognized the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” day today by using technology to read Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham to an estimated 50,000 students in 800 schools across 13 states. The SSI-syndicated show has made an annual tradition of creating the “world’s biggest classroom” on this day. In the photo here, Rick & Bubba are seen on a screen in one of the classrooms taking part in the event.
Going for Woman of the Year. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) is pictured here with two-time cancer survivor Dominic (left) as Wachs gears up to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Las Vegas. Wachs was nominated for Woman of the Year so her goal is to raise $20,000 during the campaign that runs from March 21 through May 31. Wachs tells TALKERS the funds go to cancer research and financial assistance to families with children afflicted with blood cancer. Listeners can help by going to her website at www.drdaliah.com and hitting the “Fight Blood Cancer” link after March 21.
ABC News Radio at the Oscars. Just a couple of hours before winning the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in “12 Years a Slave,” last night in Los Angeles, Lupita Nyong’o (right) stops on the red carpet to talk with ABC News Radio’s David Blaustein (left).
Clear Channel Releases Results of ‘Audio Space’ Study; Growth in New Platforms Means Audio Consumption Is ‘Additive.’ The study was a combined effort with MediaVest and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and surveyed “thousands of audio listeners who use one or more of the following audio sources personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads), broadcast radio, streaming AM/FM radio, custom online playlists, satellite radio, online music videos and digital music channels on TV shows.” Among the results of the study is the conclusion that “because of the use of alternate audio devices, time spent across audio platforms continues to increase and growth in audio is predominantly additive.” The goal of the study was to determine when, why and how consumers choose different audio platforms and some of the conclusions reached are: afternoon drive (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm) generally sees the highest usage; the car remains the most popular location for audio listening throughout the day; 63% of teens listen to more than two audio platforms a day – the highest of any demographic; broadcast radio is the most popular audio platform; listeners choose broadcast radio to stay connected to “the world,” top drivers for radio usage are its accessibility, timely news, traffic, weather, engagement with radio personalities and discovering new music; personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads, etc.) are about control with 81% choosing the platform to control or customize their listening experience. Custom playlists are also about control and follow with 67% choosing the platform for this reason; 41% of consumers are willing to listen to ads in exchange for free online audio. Ads related to the music consumers like and optimized for the time of day are most powerful. MediaVest EVP and research director David Shiffman states, “In the audio space, most measurement focuses on a single audio platform, rather than a complete view of the landscape. Our goal in working with Clear Channel – with its extensive experience in both live and digital radio – was to generate a real-time and accurate view of the audio space, which we believe is going through an evolution similar to television. Marketers have embraced the concept of multi-screen consumer behavior, but audio media also provides a tremendous opportunity for them to connect with their target audience throughout their day.”
2014 CES: Innovate or… Reporting for TALKERS from the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas is media consultant Holland Cooke who writes that one of the hottest topics during CEA CEO Gary Shapiro’s interview with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was spectrum auction; that all of the five FCC commissioners where there and he was able to ask a question or two about AM revitalization of Ajit Pai; about some very revealing stats that show why smart broadcasters are taking advantage of posting video to YouTube (and why you should, too); and even more about the ‘connected car’ that is the focus of so much of the audio and information sector at the show. Read Holland Cooke’s report here.
Saga Portland President Pahigian Prepares To Exit. Fifteen-year Portland Radio Group president Cary Pahigian broke the news to his staff yesterday (1/8) he will soon be leaving the Maine operation. According to Pahigian, he told Saga vice president Warren Lada about a year ago that he was evaluating his next professional challenge. “I was certainly happy and fortunate to be working with the finest group of people I have ever met,” Pahigian wrote in a staff memo. “Still, the impending 15-year mark was activating an area in my brain that had been quiet for years. Warren asked me to forge ahead and see how I felt at the end of 2013. The only way to properly examine what I wanted to do and aggressively pursue that opportunity, was to focus on it 100%. It would be impossible to conduct that process and still remain at my best with the demands of this job.” Pahigian continues his duties at the operation until his successor is hired. Prior to his 15-year Portland, Maine tenure as president of the eight-station cluster, Pahigian was a 26-year-old station manager at heritage Boston outlet WBZ-AM; corporate vice president of operations for Sconnix Broadcasting; and he programmed Philadelphia’s WIP.
WABC, New York to Air Bob Grant Special. The longtime home to late talk radio pioneer Bob Grant will air a special broadcast in his honor this weekend. Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – where Grant worked daily from 1984-1996 and again weekly from 2009-2013 – is airing the special program that “will feature notable moments from the talk show host as well as comments from broadcasters inspired by Mr. Grant. Also, included in the special are thoughts and comments from members of Mr. Grant’s immediate family.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb said, “WABC is proud to produce this special to honor the late Bob Grant, a true legend in our industry. We hope our listeners will enjoy this opportunity to remember his contribution to WABC and to the city of New York.” The show will air Saturday 1/11 at 5:00 pm and Sunday 1/12 at 4:00 pm. Grant died on December 31, 2013 after an illness at age 84.
WEEI.com Keeps Its Team Intact. All contributing writers and columnists of Boston’s WEEI.com have signed new contracts for this calendar year. Alex Speier, Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean, Christopher Price, and Jerry Spar will continue blogging, opining, and reporting breaking sports news for the site, as well as appearing regularly on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI-FM. They join Kirk Minihane and Celtics beat writer Ben Rohrbach. Last week, “Dennis & Callahan” morning show co-host Minihane signed a long-term deal as the site’s opinion editor. “It is a privilege to work alongside such a talented and dedicated group of sports journalists,” comments site editor Rob Bradford. “There isn’t another sports radio station in the country with WEEI’s commitment to enterprise journalism. Boston sports fans have come to expect us to be first with breaking news and commentary wherever they engage with our brand.” WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham remarks, “[These guys] live and breathe Boston sports and they are respected throughout the Boston sports landscape for their journalistic integrity. In this sports-crazed market that boasts some of the most esteemed writers in the business, they stand among the best-in-breed.” WEEI.com recently won the 2013 RAIN Internet Radio award for “Best Streaming Radio Station in America.”
WTOP, Washington Touts Page View Growth. Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP, Washington, DC reports that it realized “a 30% overall increase in page views to WTOP.com, averaging more than 22 million page views and reaching more than 1.8 million unique users per month.” The organization adds that “a number of major news stories in the nation’s capital contributed to this growth, including sequestration, the government shutdown, and the Navy Yard shooting. WTOP.com also strengthened its commitment to unique local content with the launch of two new verticals – Living and Technology – and the introduction of the live blog for breaking news…WTOP’s growth can also be attributed to its strategic use of social media. Traffic to WTOP.com from Facebook and Twitter grew by 150% in 2013, making WTOP one of the top five social media players in the DC market.” WTOP director of digital media John Meyer says, “While news judgment will always be the primary factor in story selection, we have editorial meetings throughout the day, using a variety of statistical tools to determine how our homepage is performing. Armed with the most recent data on what people are searching, clicking, and sharing, we can adjust accordingly.”
Mark DePrez Named VP/GM at Farm Journal Media. Former longtime WOWO, Fort Wayne general manager and Federated Media COO Mark DePrez joins Farm Journal Media as VP/GM of the company’s radio business. In this position DePrez will oversee such shows as “AgriTalk with Mike Adams” and “American Countryside with Andrew McCrea.” The company also reports that a new commodity markets-focused show hosted by Chip Flory is being prepared to launch in the early spring. Farm Journal Broadcast SVP Brian Conrady says, “We are thrilled to have Mark join our team. Radio has quickly become an important part of Farm Journal’s integrated go-to-market media strategy, and Mark has the experience, the talent and the tenacity to further spur this growth.” DePrez comments, “It’s fascinating to see the role radio plays as part of an integrated marketing solution in agriculture. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about Farm Journal’s cross-platform content and how radio can fit. I’m excited to be part of this expanding radio business.”
Jimmie Kaska Named Sports Director at WBIZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The new title for Jimmie Kaska comes as he takes over the sports director role at Clear Channel’s WBIZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin from Mike Sullivan who held the position for the past 40 years. The station notes that during Sullivan’s tenure, “he was responsible for getting games on the air involving local teams performing in over 200 venues in 30 states, one territory and two foreign countries. Of those roughly 8,000 games, only two did not get on the air. Sullivan also negotiated rights fees and made other arrangements for airing over 10,000 games involving professional and college teams in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as nationally broadcast events. WBIZ-AM was the first 24-hour sports station in Wisconsin, and one of the first 10 in the United States when the format debuted in 1992. The station format was switched in 1994-95, but then returned to the all-sports format in 1996, and has remained all-sports since then.” Kaska serves as PD for WBIZ and sister news/talk WMEQ. He states, “It’s crazy to think that the first job I had in my life when I was 17 would be the same one I’m doing today. It seems like every year I find something else to take charge of, and of all the roles I have here, this one will be the most visible and most important. It’s my goal that I continue the long tradition of being one of the best and most active sports radio groups in the country. The mentoring I’ve received from Mike Sullivan has been invaluable to both my career in broadcasting and to life. I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity.”
Advantage Systems Brings Reed Bunzel and A. Darryl Davis Aboard. Sales and marketing firm Advantage Systems Inc. announces Reed Bunzel and A. Darryl Davis join the company as revenue development managers. The company says, “Bunzel has been leading a charge for the radio industry to use digital media to grow revenue since digital first appeared, and he has joined Advantage Systems, Inc. to help stations do just that. Bunzel, current president of Bunzel Media Strategies, will be working with broadcasting groups throughout U.S. and Canada to help them with a revenue generation program designed to incorporate traditional media with new interactive solutions provided by Advantage Systems, Inc.” Bunzel comments, “What I find interesting is that RAB’s just-released data shows that radio’s digital revenue was up 3% in the previous quarter and 7% in the first half, but I saw another study today predicting 16% growth in digital advertising next year. That tells me that radio is severely underperforming in the digital era. It needs to be smart and catch up.” Regarding Davis, Advantage Systems VP for sales Frank Kulbertis states, “Darryl has a history of doing programs similar to our Advantage Plan program that included schedules and digital products for television so he was a perfect fit as a new revenue development manager for us.” The company says Davis will work with broadcast groups to grow their advertising revenue. The program includes extensive sales training, new business leads in the local market, a focused workshop to educate local business owners on traditional and new media, 12-month advertising commitments along with turn-key creative services and the ability to generate digital revenue thru inclusion of interactive solutions.
Odds & Sods. Consumer finance expert Rodney Anderson is hosting a daily, one-hour program on Clear Channel’s news/talk KFXR, Dallas airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore inks the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles for another two seasons. The O’s have been heard on WBAL for all but 15 of the team’s 60-year history in the city…..WestwoodOne has the national radio rights to the remaining NFL playoff games – including Super Bowl XLVIII – that resume this weekend. While Scott Graham hosts the pre-, post-game and halftime shows for all four games, the WestwoodOne stable of in-game announcers and analysts are lined up for the four games airing this weekend.
Chris Christie Bridge Traffic Scandal, Robert Gates Book, War on Poverty Anniversary, and Dennis Rodman North Korea Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8). The scandal involving New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s staffers allegedly closing lanes in Fort Lee New Jersey near the George Washington Bridge as a form of revenge against the town’s Democratic mayor; the new book from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in which he’s critical of Obama Administration officials and the president and vice president; the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s “war on poverty”; and former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s tumultuous return visit to North Korea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio. Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals. The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR. WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them. The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good. Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it. Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday. Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever. Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!
Cumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt. According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan. The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan. The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans. Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service. They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”
CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies. NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year. That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts. Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley. The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action. This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content. Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.
KYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show. Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9. The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts. Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there. Has the 2 party system totally failed you? Yeah, me too! Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.” Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”
Vali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii. The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities. Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market. He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.” Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster. During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii. Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.
PodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable. Titled after her best-selling book Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne. The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.” The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’” PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from. We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”
WTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire. Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year. Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned. He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business. By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.” Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause. Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them. He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless! He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf. For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP. He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.” RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
A Farewell to Jim Farley. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC. After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies. Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end. Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash. Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd! YOU did it. YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit. I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue. The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up. According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there. After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code. Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence. In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site. Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.
Credit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment. He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest? CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today. Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams. “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off. After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe reigns supreme. At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition. The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week. Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday. The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.
Holiday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.” The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today. The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000. The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.
Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest. That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design. Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City. He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less. The movie also stars Jane Seymour. Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming. He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast. I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film. This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”
ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Southern California Broadcasters Association Touts Big July for Radio Sales. According to the July 2013 X-Ray revenue report from Miller Kaplan Arase, radio advertising revenue in Southern California was up 3.8% over the same period a year ago. SCBA president Thom Callahan says that eight of the top 10 advertiser categories grew over the same period. “On a YTD basis, impressive category growth was recorded in education up 41.5%, transportation up 32.6%, department stores/shopping centers up 40.7% and appliances/electronics up 82.8%. The depth and breadth of July’s results cannot be showcased enough. The critical auto category alone was up 9.6% over last July with beverages, financial services, concerts, grocers, casinos, and professional services all showing double digit growth.” Callahan states the new business acquired over the past year tells the real story with “an astounding 485 new clients who invested a record $30,550,000 through July 2013.” Callahan adds, “Month after month, these documented revenue growth reports starkly conflict with all the ‘radio is dead’ noise we continue to read about in the press. The facts are obvious: Southern California Radio is a potent advertising partner and 485 new advertisers found that out in the first seven months of 2013.”
Still More Rumors of CBS Radio Selling. These rumors about CBS selling its radio stations seem to pop up once or twice a year and they, obviously, have yet to amount to anything. The latest has Cumulus Media supposedly considering making an offer for the CBS Radio stations. So far, Cumulus is not commenting on the speculation but that doesn’t mean anything, either. Although it’s true that if the price is right, everything is for sale. But Les Moonves has stated during numerous investor conference calls that the company likes the radio business because it’s a cash business. Remember, at the Deutsche Bank DbAccess 21st Annual Media and Telecom Conference in March of this year he said, “We like radio. Once again, low-single digit growth, revenue, OIBDA. It’s still a very great cash business with great margins. We still like running it. We have no intent to sell it as many people are watching terrestrial radio today as watching 10 years ago, even with all these things going on with satellite and everything else. It is what it is. We like the business, it produces cash every year. We like having the amount of cash we have, where our balance sheet is certainly in great shape, partially because of radio.” Yes, companies do change their minds, but industry watchers tell RadioInfo any deal for CBS’ stations would have to include off-the-charts money.
Creating a Worldwide Radio Network One “Hobby” Station at a Time. When you think of syndicators, you think of giants like Premiere or Talk Radio Network. When you think of radio stations that carry syndicated programs, heritage stations like New York City’s WABC and KABC in Los Angeles come to mind. What you don’t think is a syndicator setting up their operation, or their entire radio station’s operation, in a bedroom in their home located in rural Oklahoma. You also don’t think anyone working out of a room about the size of a one-car garage distributing 24-hour programming, seven-days-a-week on three continents. What you also don’t think is that anyone can do all of this with an operating budget that equals the pay before taxes of a young adult working full time at a fast-food restaurant. Welcome to the world of radio iconoclast Jan Starks (pictured here in the studio). If you have not heard of Jan Starks, it may be because you’re not one of the 155 people who live in Cowlington, Oklahoma, a tiny town with about 55 households nestled near the Arkansas border. This is the town that Starks calls home, and is also the home of Star Com Media, LLC. Cowlington is also the home of KKRP-AM (1610), a low-power radio station broadcasting with 100mw of power, the same milliwattage that can power a small laser pointer, and just enough to reach the rural population of Cowlington. However, thanks to modern technology, the internet, a few computers, an unusually strong passion for radio and an equally unusual business plan, KKRP-AM is now a part of a legion of stations across the nation just like it, and he hasn’t stopped there. Welcome to the micro-level of today’s broadcasting scene – a provocative mix of over-the-air broadcasting on the smallest, most local of levels boosted to international reach by the power of the internet and human ingenuity. To learn more about Jan Starks, Star Com Media, LLC and micro-broadcasting, read TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay‘s entire article posted today (8/27) by clicking here.
Beasley Broadcasting CEO George Beasley Cuts Ribbon on Appalachian State University Media Complex. Named the George G. Beasley Media Complex, the state-of-the-art broadcasting complex on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, was officially opened during a ceremony held last Thursday, August 22. Beasley chairman and CEO George G. Beasley (pictured here at the ceremony) received an undergrad degree in 1958 and completed his Master of Arts in educational administration in 1960 at the school. He stated, “I not only envision Appalachian being one of the top schools in communications in North Carolina, I think that over the next few years it will become the premier school of broadcast communications in the Southeast and maybe one of the top 5 in America…This building isn’t about George Beasley and his family, it’s about the many hundreds of students we expect to come through this building.” The complex is an 18,000 square-foot media facility that houses the Department of Communication’s radio and television studios, classrooms, labs and faculty offices. The department’s 24-hour, student-managed radio station is 90.5 WASU-FM.
Ken Matthews New Afternoon Host at WHP, Harrisburg. The search for a replacement for the recently retired Bob Durgin is over at Clear Channel news/talk outlet WHP, Harrisburg. Ken Matthews, a frequent fill-in host for Durgin, is named the permanent afternoon drive personality. Matthews says, “I’m thrilled to be joining the WHP580 family. The WHP team is an outstanding group of broadcasters and part of a wonderful Pennsylvania community. I’m looking forward to many great conversations with local listeners on and off the radio.” Matthews was morning drive host at Clear Channel’s CHR WAEB, Allentown “B104” from the early 1990s through 2006. CC regional program manager Jeff Hurley states, “Ken is poised and talented – I’m confident he will become one of Pennsylvania’s great newsmakers during the afternoon slot on WHP 580. He’s the perfect host to drive political discussion in Central Pennsylvania. He brings energy and excitement that’s infectious to everyone around him.”
Eliot Spitzer Appears with David Paterson and Curtis Sliwa on WNYM’s ‘Political Roundtable.’ Two of New York’s former governors – David Paterson (l) and Eliot Spitzer (c) – are pictured here at the Statler Grill in Manhattan with Curtis Sliwa (r) on last Friday’s edition of “Political Roundtable” on Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York “AM970 The Answer.” Paterson and Sliwa host “Curtis & the Gov.” and Spitzer appeared to talk about his run for comptroller of New York. The station says “the format all NYC mayoral and comptroller candidates an unfettered hour of prime airtime to articulate and explain their positions and policies, without the constraints of conforming to a 30-second sound bite. Candidates take questions from Sliwa and Governor Paterson and share their vision for the city as patrons chow down on juicy steaks and fresh seafood.” Curtis Sliwa adds, “This is live and local at its best. No media outlet in New York is covering these important races the way AM970 is.” Others that have participated in the round table have included John Catsimatidis, Joe Lhota, George McDonald, John Liu, Sal Albanese, Bill Thompson, John Burnett, Scott Stringer and Kristin Davis.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Dave Garland of Dave Garland Media Brokers. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Dave Garland of Dave Garland Media Brokers located in Woodville, Texas. Dave Garland has an extensive background in radio saying, “I spent many years in radio grunt work… on air, sales, etc. My first paid non-college broadcast job was as a photographer for a TV network affiliate and I really got bit hard by the radio bug by hanging out with the folks on the radio side. I now say I have done every job at a station from sweep the floors to being an owner.” Dave says that the buying of a radio station in today’s tight banking environment is a “tough business” but he is available to talk to first-time buyers and see if the right deal can be located for them.” There are lots of stations that are not officially ‘for sale’ but can be acquired if the right buyer comes along.” Per the custom of this feature, Sandi Bergman offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
WTOP Expands Website with Technology Section. Hubbard Radio-owned all-news WTOP, Washington launches a new technology section added to wtop.com with director of digital media John Meyer stating, “Technology touches everything we do today. We are going to tell the stories of how it is affecting lives in our area at work, home, school, and in government.” WTOP veteran award-winning reporter Neal Augenstein is the technology editor and will produce multimedia coverage of the tech category – on-air, online, and via social content. WTOP notes Augenstein is a pioneer when it comes to journalism and technology; he was the first major market radio reporter to do most of his field production on an iPhone, and has written about and hosted multiple seminars on using the latest technology for audio, video, photography and writing. WTOP Tech is the latest expansion of WTOP’s digital footprint following the launch of its Living section earlier this year.
NAB Ups Cumming and Ingram. National Association of Broadcasters promotes Ann Marie Cumming from vice president to senior vice president of communications, reporting to Dennis Wharton. Cumming joined the NAB full time three years ago and her duties have included supporting the department’s public policy outreach and managing media-related activities at the NAB show. The promotion includes new duties but she will continue to oversee the newsrooms at the Radio Show and the NAB Show. Also, Shermaze Ingram is promoted to senior vice president, marketing and creative services. She continues to report to NAB marketing executive vice president Michelle Lehman. Ingraham handles much of the marketing for the Radio Show.
WEEI, Boston Teams with NESN for 12th Annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Today begins the 12th annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The annual two-day event is being broadcast live from Fenway Park on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston and simulcast on regional cable network New England Sports Network. Last year’s broadcast raised $3.4 million bringing the 12-year total to more than $31 million.
U.S. Syria Policy, Miley Cyrus MTV Appearance, Race Relations in the U.S., Financial Markets Activity, and California Wildfire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/26). The United States’ policy regarding Syria; Miley Cyrus’ controversial performance at the MTV VMAs; the increasing discussion about race relations in America; financial markets activity; and the threat to Yosemite National Park and San Francisco’s water supply as the result of the wildfire in California.
Talkers New York 2013 a Success. Approximately 500 media pros from talk radio (AM/FM, satellite, internet), talk television, the music industry and press gathered in New York City yesterday for the 16th annual installment of the national Talkers Convention. The highlights of this event were too numerous to immediately enumerate (more than 55 speakers, presentations, award ceremonies, and exhibits packed into nine dynamic hours) but the somewhat exhausted editorial staff of TALKERS magazine is busily working on sorting out the stories, photos, video, and comments from the day for a series of articles and coverage beginning this coming Monday. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “It was a historic day for the talk radio industry. We can proudly say this conference was pitch-perfect and we are going to have tremendous content for coverage next week. All of us at TALKERS are extremely humbled and grateful for the widespread industry support and valuable individual participation marking this milestone in our long series of conferences dating back to the early 1990s.” Next on the agenda: Talkers Los Angeles 2013 set for Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles, presented in association with the LA Press Club. Also a working-media-only event, registration opens at 10:00 am ET on Monday, June 10. Registrations – $149 per person – are only taken by phone for this conference at 413-565-5413 and it is expected to be a very early sellout.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Taking Place Today. The seventh annual installment of “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” is presently underway (6/7) and proceeding smoothly. This ambitious mega-radio row features approximately 25 radio talk show hosts from across the US and around the world (including China International Radio) broadcasting live and/or recording interviews with UN officials, ambassadors, international issues experts and leaders from the iconic headquarters of the world organization on Manhattan’s East Side. A presentation of TALKERS magazine produced in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and the United Nations Foundation, participants in the event include such broadcasters as Alan Colmes, Doug Stephan, Dr. Joy Browne, Thom Hartmann, David Webb, Lisa Wexler, Ethan Bearman, Mark Riley, Dr. Evelyn Higgins, Martha Zoller, Ed Woodson, Timothy Spangler, Vinnie Penn and many more. TalkersRadio is broadcasting from the event as well. To listen, click here. Full coverage in TALKERS coming Monday (6/10).
Sports Talk WKRD, Louisville Names Jody Demling Morning Host. Clear Channel Louisville announces Jody Demling is the new host of the daily “Early Birds” show that airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on WKRD “SportsRadio 790.” Demling comes from the publishing world as an award-winning sportswriter for the Courier-Journal. The University of Louisville alumnus also writes for CardinalAuthority.com. In the past he was honored with the Kentucky Sports Writer of the Year award.
WTOP, Washington Correspondent Dave McConnell Honored by RTCA. WTOP Radio Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell is honored by the Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association with its first-ever “Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Reporting on Congress.” McConnell is a veteran journalist with more than 50 years of reporting in Washington who has covered decades of presidential elections, White House administrations, Watergate and more. He joined WTOP in 1965 and became the station’s full-time Capitol Hill correspondent in 1981, a position which he still holds today. WTOP vice president of news programming Jim Farley says of McConnell, “As a kid, Dave and his classmates used to cut class to go see the Senators. His buddies went to Griffith Stadium to see the Washington Senators play but Dave actually went to The Hill to watch U.S. Senators debate. Dave is admired by members of Congress from both parties because of his fairness. Now his colleagues on ‘The Hill’ have chosen him as the first-ever recipient of their new lifetime achievement award. Dave is the ‘EverReady Bunny’ of Congressional correspondents and the hardest working Septuagenarian covering Congress and trying to keep them honest.”
KSCJ, Sioux City Talk Host Sam Clovis to Announce Intentions on Monday. Talk show host Sam Clovis has scheduled a press conference in conjunction with his radio program for Monday, June 10 to his intentions regarding the United States Senate seat for Iowa. Senator Tom Harkin announced he will not seek re-election for the seat in 2014. Clovis is a talk show host at KSCJ and is chair and professor of Business and Economics at Morningside College. Clovis tells KTIV-TV, Sioux City, “I have done my due diligence in both prayer and counseling with friends and family and I believe it’s time to step up and announce my decision on my intentions for the United States Senate seat. I felt it was only fitting to make this decision amongst the folks who have followed my platform both on the radio and at other ‘coffee’ get-togethers over the years.”
CC Launches ‘iHeartRadio’s Show Your Stripes’ Program. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces the debut of a new public service campaign designed to help America’s veterans returning from service find employment in the private sector. Describing it as “a company-wide community service initiative to address the issue of unemployment among U.S. military veterans and encourage businesses to hire skilled veterans,” the company announces it will spend more than $75 million in radio, digital and out-of-home resources to highlight the skills brought back by returning servicemen and women and their value to employers in the workplace. “iHeartRadio’s Show Your Stripes” – with the tagline “Hire Smart – Hire Vets” – is a long-term effort to help guide veterans back into civilian life by highlighting their valuable training and experience. It will include radio, digital and out-of-home public service announcements (PSAs) from the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture that will reach Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s audience. Artists across all music and entertainment genres, including Elton John, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Ryan Seacrest, Mario Lopez, Trace Adkins and LL Cool J have recorded a series of PSAs that showcase stories from veterans who have successfully found jobs.
Talkers Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Freedom Feens” featuring Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi and syndicated by Genesis Communications Network is added to the program schedule at KYDT-FM, Sundance, Wyoming and KBFS, Rapid City, South Dakota…..Talk Media Network’s “The Financial Fitness Show” hosted by Chip Cummings and Tony Rubleski and its “Frontlines of Freedom” show with Denny Gillem are both added to the program schedule at WCUZ, Bear Lake, Michigan and WMTE, Manistee, Michigan.
DOJ Journalist Investigations Tops Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week. The Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists – including the Associated Press and Fox News reporter James Rosen – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the second week in a row, landing it atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 this week was the IRS scandal. At #3 was the child lung transplant case followed by the immigration amnesty program at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
The Next Round is on Charlie! KMOX, St. Louis talk show host Charlie Brennan (third from the left) is pictured here at a VIP bash celebrating his very own brew – Charlie Brennan’s 1120 Lager – made by the Krikwood Station Brewery in St. Louis. CBS Radio St. Louis writes of the project, “For as long as KMOX has been broadcasting in St Louis, there has been a rich beer culture in the city. Breweries of all shapes and sizes, mega to micro, have come to America’s undisputed home of beer to craft their version of the perfect brew. To celebrate that heritage, The Voice of St Louis joined forces (and taste buds!) with the people of St. Louis to create The Beer That St. Louis Brewed – a limited release craft beer in honor of our great city. Over a five week period, St. Louisans had the opportunity to share in this collaborative journey that ended with a St. Louis-styled VIP Launch Party.”
KIDO, Boise Morning Host Kevin Miller Back in the Kennel. Morning show personality Kevin Miller is broadcasting his daily show on Peak Broadcasting’s news/talk KIDO, Boise from this kennel at the Canyon County Animal Shelter to raise awareness of the importance of pet adoption as part of a nationwide program from the ASPCA and television personality Rachel Ray. Last year, the Canyon County Animal Shelter came in second place the national contest (based on the number of successful pet adoptions) and Miller is doing his part to help the shelter finish in first place this year. With his help, the shelter raised $57,000 and saved the lives of more than 2,200 animals.
Pioneering Talk Radio Host Gene Burns Dead at 72. Longtime talk radio host and broadcasting pioneer Gene Burns has died, succumbing to a long illness marked by a series of strokes. In the words of TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, “Gene was one of the greatest of the great and classiest of the classy – a true ‘wordsmith’ and gentleman who symbolized everything good about talk radio and served as one of the major engines that drove the ascent of its modern era.” Until recently forced by illness into retirement from on-air performing, Burns had spent a decade and a half as a key host on KGO, San Francisco where he did a general news/talk program as well as a very popular restaurant and entertainment show. The veteran of a number of great stations, he made his mark in the late-1980s and early-1990s as a member of the legendary lineup at WRKO, Boston that also included the late Jerry Williams. That was followed by a brief but high-profile stint at WOR, New York and national syndication on the WOR Radio Network. Harrison adds, “Gene Burns practiced a brand of libertarian-based, intellectual populism in his approach to political news/talk that set the standard for the format’s emergence as a voice for the average person to stand up to big government, big business, big media and big anything. Although ‘conservative’ in his orientation, he eschewed blatant partisanship, avoided banal cookie-cutter left-versus-right talking points and dealt with each issue in an academically probing and credible manner.” Burns’ ground breaking work in the early-1990s stood as the inspiration for TALKERS magazine’s annual Freedom of Speech Award and the tradition of the annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at the publication’s conventions. He is ranked the 23rd most important radio talk show host of all time by TALKERS in its “Heaviest Hundred” feature which is updated twice a decade. Harrison concludes, “His rich, baritone voice coupled with the artistry of his word selection and ability to construct a logical argument was about as close to music as one could hear within a spoken word context.” A special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns aired on Sunday, May 26 on KGO hosted by David Weintraub and a special tribute will be presented honoring his legacy at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.
Adult Contemporary is a Relatively Low-Involvement Format on Facebook. According to digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on. As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format. At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post. The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it. When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three ‘Likes’ on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.” In a new column posted today (5/28) Miller suggests that although consistency is basically a good and necessary thing, there is a dark side to it and to avoid falling into a rut, radio broadcasters of all formats should make changes to approximately 10% of their posts on a regular basis. To read the details and Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Kent Sterling Returns to Indy on Sports Talk WFNI. News/talk and sports radio pro Kent Sterling re-surfaces on the air at Emmis’ sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis for a weekend program with Chris Hagan called, “Ahead of the Curve with Hagan and Sterling.” He most recently served with Bonneville at its St. Louis sports talker WXOS but exited that post to return to Indianapolis. Prior to his work at WXOS, Sterling served as program director at Emmis’ news/talk flagship WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Sterling’s and Hagan’s weekend program airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.
NBA on Radio Is a Different Breed of Sports Play-by-Play. Major League Baseball is the sport that could be called radio’s best friend and the NFL’s astounding popularity makes its games and surrounding programming popular with listeners. While the NBA’s regular season games are not generally thought of as “programming gold” across the country, it appears that having even a moderately successful team combined with a flagship station with a strong nighttime signal, can be a recipe for success with basketball play-by-play. According to information from Arbitron based on PPM data from 27 NBA teams in 25 PPM markets, certain places are simply basketball towns – the Los Angeles Lakers rule Los Angeles on KSPN with average game estimates larger than the Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Ducks grabbing a 4.0 share with Men 25-54 (average of all 82 games). And perennial contenders the San Antonio Spurs dominated on WOAI with a 9.8 share with Men 25-54. However, less successful teams on strong flagships performed well during the regular season: the Milwaukee Bucks just squeaked into the playoffs but on heritage WTMJ garnered a 10 share with Men 25-54; the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs yet grabbed a 9.7 share (M 25-54) on WTAM; and the Detroit Pistons also missed the playoffs but notched an 8.0 (M 25-54) share on the highly rated WXYT-FM. Considering games in the East and Midwest air in the evenings, numbers for the stations cited above – and others not cited here – are impressive nighttime ratings.
Flagship Stations Should Capitalize on Cross-Promotional Opportunities within Baseball PBP. According to Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl, “If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another daypart on your station.” Arbitron reports that MLB drives cume increases as much as 50% to 65% during baseball season. Pendl tells TALKERS, “This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming. In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play-by-play is the closest thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.” In an exclusive article posted today (5/28) Pendl describes and shares a production/promo technique conducted by Bonneville to cross-promote the station via the baseball audience that he calls “situation baseball return liners.” To read the entire piece and hear examples of its execution, click here.
Buckley to Sell KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. Buckley Communications announces it is selling sports talk KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. The price is yet to be announced. KYZZ is the FM side of the sports talk simulcast that also airs on Buckley’s KIDD, Monterey and Buckley says it will continue with its ESPN Radio affiliation on KIDD. Mt. Wilson has not announced its format plans for KYZZ. Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson also owns country KKGO, Los Angeles and classical simulcast KMZT-AM, Beverly Hills and KMZT-FM, Big Sur, California.
WTOP Hacking: Why You Should Worry. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the recent hacking of the websites of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED “Federal News Radio.” Weisman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on scams, he operates the website Scamicide that presents up-to-date information about scams, fraud and identity theft, and is the author of The Truth About Avoiding Scams (FT Press 2008). In this column, Weisman explains the methods used by the WTOP hackers and explains the steps users can take to avoid becoming the victim of similar attacks. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Martz Communications’ WPDM, Potsdam, New York flips from a simulcast of FM sister WSNN to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network…..Wilks License Company’s sports talk WZOH, Columbus becomes part of the Cleveland Browns radio network based at CBS Radio’s WKRK, Cleveland…..WTOP, Washington crowns Nathan Stanford from Harrington, Delaware the 2013 winner of “Commuter Idle” – an “extreme commuter” competition for listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington. Stanford’s commute begins with a 3:00 am alarm and a one-hour drive. He then boards a commuter bus for a 90-minute ride from Kent Island to Foggy Bottom, rides the Metro, and hustles on foot to his office in Rosslyn. Stanford’s travels from Delaware to Virginia average more than five hours a day, though the commute can be much longer in the summer months with Friday beach traffic. He receives $1,000 in gas money and will enjoy a limo ride to and from work from Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “The question that we hear most often is, ‘Why do these people do it?’ It’s fascinating to hear their personal stories and accompany them on their crazy commutes. We feel their pain, and as DC’s traffic authority we’re here to help.”
KOIL, Omaha’s Mulberry Lane Meets the Beach Boys and John Stamos. Musical act Mulberry Lane opened for the Beach Boys (which includes actor and musician John Stamos) in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, May 25. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bo Mulberry, Bruce Johnston, Rachel Mulberry, Mike Love, Allie Mulberry, and John Stamos. The Mulberry sisters – based in Nebraska – also host a weekend talk show on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha called the “Mulberry Lane Radio Show.” The station describes the ladies’ program saying the sisters “decided to bring their busy lives to live radio with a show based on sisterhood, womanhood, motherhood, and the humor and mishaps of trying to juggle it all – woven together with music, harmony and a dash of wit.” It airs Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Longtime KNX, Los Angeles Anchor Harry Birrell Dies. Longtime Los Angeles news personality Harry Birrell died on May 26 after a battle with lung disease at age 85 in Thousand Oaks, California. Birrell was an anchor at all-news KNX, Los Angeles for more than three decades – beginning in 1968 when the station flipped to the all-news format and ending with his retirement in 1999. Birrell switched from his anchor role at the station to Ventura County correspondent in 1993.
Kevin Miller Stops By TheBlaze. KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller was visiting Dallas – home of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – and took some time to stop by the studios to check out the production of the Glenn Beck program. Here’s a shot of Beck (l) and Miller (r) inside the spacious former movie/TV studios that are home to Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts production facility.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — As reported in Talkers earlier in May, Washington D.C. radio stations WTOP and Federal News Radio had their websites hacked resulting in the possible infection of anyone who accessed the two websites using the popular Internet Explorer web browser prior to the discovery and correction of the problem.
The hacking of these two websites is particularly insidious because unlike infections that occur when a computer user is lured to a phony infected website set up for the specific purpose of infecting unwary computer users — a technique called “phishing” — in this case, the computer users were infected when they went to legitimate websites that they believed were trustworthy.
Mike Huckabee Sounds Positive About Radio to Newsmax. After appearing to sound less than eager to continue his talk radio career in a piece published in Arkansas Business last week, Cumulus Media Networks talk host (and former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee tells Newsmax he’s hoping to continue his daily talk show. “I’m hoping that we’re going to continue right on. That’s my plan and my hope and so there’s nothing to report other than I’ll be on the air today and next week and, as far as I know, for the long term to come. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a terrific outlet for me.” In last week’s piece, Huckabee sounded as though he was considering the cost and benefit of his daily radio show when he told Arkansas Business, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not. I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is. How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully, disgustingly, profitable. That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.”
Catching Up with Laura Ingraham. A dozen years have elapsed (April 2001) since Westwood One filled its 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET slot with a then-36-year-old, meteoric-rising, dynamo. Association with the Norm Pattiz-founded syndication powerhouse would last more than two years before the conservative-slanted talk talent segued to 9:00 am – 12:00 noon duties for Talk Radio Network in September 2003 where her star continued to rise to national prominence for the next decade during which time she ascended to the position of the most listened-to female political radio talk show host in the country. As of the first of this year though, five-time author and TALKERS magazine “Woman of the Year” recipient Laura Ingraham has reunited with Pattiz, as the illustrious broadcaster, 2009 Radio Hall of Fame inductee, and iconic Los Angeles Lakers fan is distributing Ingraham’s daily talk program through his recently minted Courtside Entertainment Group. “I was off the air for six weeks and I needed to build back my station base,” Ingraham recounts. “We are doing a pretty good job of that thus far. It has been fun, and we have a great team spirit. I treasure that and think we are onto something quite special. Norm and I have known each other since I started in radio, so we have come full-circle and are good friends. After all these years, it is exciting that he and I have started this new venture together.” Multi-media talker Laura Ingraham is not only one of the most successful talk show hosts in America, she is an extremely interesting human being. Read about this attorney’s, cancer survivor’s, and single adoptive mom’s colorful past, transitional present and bright future in an in-depth profile by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (5/13) by clicking here.
Ben and Skin Take Over PM Drive on “105.3 The Fan” in Dallas. As many in the Dallas market had predicted when Greg Williams and Richie Whitt were let go from the afternoon drive show on CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” a month ago, it’ll be Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – Ben and Skin – hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift at the sports talker beginning this afternoon. CBS Radio Dallas vice president of news/talk/sports Gavin Spittle says, “We are really excited to bring the energy and excitement of the Ben and Skin Show to our listeners. They are a perfect fit for our lineup and are well known in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, having spent their whole lives here cheering on and suffering alongside fellow sports fans.” Ben and Skin were most recently heard in the Dallas market on ESPN O&O KESN-FM. They exited that station earlier this year after failing to come to terms on a new contract with KESN-FM.
Michael Harrison Tapped to Keynote 38th Annual Conclave Learning Conference. “Radio in the Digital Age: Where Does Talent Fit In?” In what will be a comprehensive-yet-fast-paced overview of the state of broadcast radio and its integration into the digital media world of the 21st century, Talkers publisher Michael Harrison approaches these issues of this new environment from the perspective of the changing role of talent in a keynote address that will take place during Conclave Learning Conference 38 on Thursday, July 18 at 9:00 am. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon says of Harrison, “A visionary, an inventor, a trailblazer, and a writer of powerful words and ideas. Michael is all of these things and more, and the Conclave is very lucky to have him on our teaching faculty this year.” Upon being named keynote speaker at this year’s Conclave Michael Harrison states, “It is an honor to be involved with such a positive organization and participate in its mission to educate and inspire the upcoming generation of radio broadcasters. I can’t think of a better use of all these years of experience that I have been blessed with attaining in such a wonderful industry.” Harrison’s presentation is of importance to both radio personalities and management alike and will examine and offer solutions for what he describes as: 1) The number one problem threatening the survival of FM/AM radio, as we’ve known it – DEBT – along with several other existential threats facing the medium. These include generational/cultural shifts, exotic new media competition, audience measurement shortcomings, and emerging obstacles impairing commercial placement and presentation; 2) The increasing importance of intellectual property as a bargaining chip in talent/management relationships and negotiations. “Who owns what?” will be a key question and consideration in all radio business relationships including those between employees and employers; 3) Talent as entrepreneur. The new media offers today’s talent the opportunity to go into business for themselves on a level never enjoyed by their predecessors of the age gone by; and 4) The human element. Harrison provides an uplifting and inspirational case for radio’s greatest asset – human-to-human communication – as its most vital tool in maintaining a purpose for the medium to continue to play an important role in society and continue to be needed as a cultural institution for many years to come. Michael Harrison is the editor and publisher of two of the radio industry’s leading trade publications, TALKERS and RadioInfo. Mr. Harrison founded Talkers in 1990 and today manages its many divisions and services which include its website, its annual conventions, its regional conferences, and its positive social initiatives. In late 2012, Mr. Harrison assumed the duties of publisher of the major broadcasting trade journal, RadioInfo, which serves a wide spectrum of popular music formats. Among the initiatives being promoted in the revamped publication are a call for radio stations to “reclaim ownership” of the music culture by restoring and nurturing the DJ to prominence as well as the development of music charts that are “specifically targeted to the interests and needs of radio listeners and presentations.” He is an influential pioneer in the radio trade publishing field having served as the first managing editor of Radio & Records during its formative years and radio columnist/record chart consultant for Billboard in the early 1980s. A graduate of Hofstra University where he currently sits on its Department of Communications Advisory Board, Michael Harrison’s background in radio broadcasting and trade journalism is extensive. In a career dating back to 1967, he has served as an on-air program director of such heritage stations as WLIR-FM, Long Island; KPRI-FM, San Diego; KMET-FM, Los Angeles and WZLX-FM, Boston. He was an owner/operator of WSPR in Springfield, Massachusetts. He has been an air personality on a range of stations including the legendary WNEW-FM in New York as well as WCBS-FM and WPIX-FM in the Big Apple, plus, WTIC, Hartford, WWRC, Washington, DC and others. He has hosted and produced hundreds of hours of syndicated radio series and specials for most of the leading networks and syndicators. Conclave Learning Conference 38 takes place in Minneapolis July 17-19, 2013. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com. Also found on the Conclave website is hotel room reservation information for the Doubletree Park Place Hotel. The Conclave, a 38-year-old 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation offers year-round learning to the industry including webinars, a Speaker’s Bureau, and the annual national media summit Summer Learning Conference. Since 1979, The Conclave has provided over $1 million in media scholarships.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Claims 30 Million-plus Registered Users. The digital audio platform iHeartRadio developed by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has surpassed the 30 million registered users mark, according to the company. CC states that iHeartRadio has achieved this in less than two years since its launch. Further, since iHeartRadio listeners are not required to create an account to stream broadcast radio stations, the number of registered users reflects only a small snapshot of the service’s overall reach, particularly given the175 million downloads of the iHeartRadio mobile app and more than 60 million monthly uniques across its digital network. Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “iHeartRadio sets the standard for how radio continues to fit into people’s everyday lives. This latest milestone is another clear indication how our full-featured iHeartRadio experience resonates with tens of millions of people — with more coming every day. Being able to draw on Clear Channel’s unparalleled range of resources allows us to continually innovate and improve on the user experience, while giving listeners access to both live radio and custom stations. When you combine this with the strong promotional power of Clear Channel’s broadcast properties across the nation, iHeartRadio is well-positioned to continue or even surpass our current adoption rate.”
Have You Hugged a Lawyer Today? Radio consultant Holland Cooke asks this metaphorical question because if you haven’t, you may be missing out on a great sales – and programming — opportunity. He suggests you consider a targeted approach to pitching attorneys to advertise on your talk radio station, in this case, a female lawyer who specializes in family law (a.k.a. divorce). He even provides some pretty compelling copy in this piece. But it shouldn’t stop there, as Cooke says, “Admittedly, divorce is the legal category’s low-hanging fruit. It’s the back end of ‘The Wedding Industrial Complex,’ fueled by human nature and recession resistant. But there’s plenty else lawyers do that radio sells quite well, and radio has lots more to offer ‘em than :60s.” Find out more, read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
WTOP, Washington’s Websites Get Clean Bill of Health. The websites of Hubbard Radio’s WTOP and WFED in Washington were the victims of cyber attacks that left some users of Internet Explorer vulnerable. Hubbard reports that as of Saturday, May 11, the sites were deemed safe for users no matter which browser they use. Hubbard Washington SVP and general manager Joel Oxley states, “Getting the websites back up and running safely for all users has been our top priority. We take our users’ privacy very seriously, and we have taken steps to prevent similar occurrences. We apologize to our user community for any inconvenience that this incident has caused.” The company says that when the attacks were discovered, an investigation was launched immediately, the malicious code was removed, additional security measures were installed, and federal law enforcement officials were notified of the incident. Hubbard is recommending that users of their sites run security scans on their computers.
Compass Media Networks Announces College Football Schedule. The 2013 college football broadcast schedule for Compass Media Networks is being announced and the 17-game schedule kicks off on August 31 with Georgia at Clemson and ends with the Big Ten Championship game on December 7. Compass notes that all of the games lined up this season include top-ranked teams from the ACC, BIG TEN, SEC and PAC-12. Other big match-ups on the schedule include Alabama at Texas A&M (9/14), Oregon at Stanford (11/7), and LSU at Alabama (11/9).
Lew Dickey Talks Limbaugh on Bloomberg TV. Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey went on Bloomberg TV on May 9 and he spoke – although not in detail about the ratings and sales numbers at his news/talk stations that carry the Rush Limbaugh program – but about the general effect Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments had on his stations. About the loss, he told Bloomberg’s Betty Lu, “It was in the millions of dollars and what we said was our news/talk segment…represents about 10% of our business and it’s indisputable that it took a hit because of those events. We’ve moved on, we’re growing again.” Speaking to charges that Limbaugh says Dickey is still blaming him for news/talk problems at Cumulus stations and he might take his program elsewhere when the contract is up, Dickey says, “Sometimes contract negotiations get handled in public, we prefer not to do that…we have the premier talk distribution platform in the business and if you want to be on a big stage in this game, you need to be on our stations in the largest markets. They’re the biggest signals, the heritage brands and everybody knows that.” In what might have been a move to downplay the importance of Limbaugh’s midday show to his stations, Dickey stated that half their revenue comes from morning drive. Lu asked Dickey if he thinks conservative talk hosts are not as big as they used to be and he answered, “I think everything has to evolve…we have to make sure these radio stations do a wonderful job of reflecting the local communities in which they compete and that’s what we’re focused on.”
NAB Crystal Award Winners Named; Dave Ramsey Inducted into NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Radio Luncheon on Monday, nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Ramsey’s induction was part of the program that included the announcement of the winners of the 2013 NAB Crystal Awards. Spoken-word stations that claimed the honor included Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and Bonneville International’s KIRO-FM, Salt Lake City. Here is the list of winners: KIRO-FM, Seattle; WKDZ-FM, Cadiz, Kentucky; KSFI-FM, Salt Lake City; WPEG-FM, Charlotte; KUZZ-FM, Bakersfield; WQHT-FM, New York; WCVQ-FM, Clarksville, Tennessee; WTOP-FM Washington; WHUR-FM, Washington; and WYCT-FM, Pensacola. Since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. The 2013 NAB Crystal Radio Award recipients listed above were chosen from among 50 finalists honored at yesterday’s NAB Show Radio Luncheon. The NAB Show Radio Luncheon also featured a presentation of the NAB Crystal Heritage Award to KNOM-AM/FM, Nome, Alaska. The Crystal Heritage Award honors those stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards. Entertainer, musician, author and broadcast personality John Tesh provided a keynote address. The luncheon was sponsored by ASCAP.
2013 NAB Show: “It doesn’t feel like 2009.” Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the NAB Show in Las Vegas: Cue tympani roll for the official attendance count: 92,414, up from 91,565 in 2012. Notable: Exhibit space is up 10% over last year, and exhibitors I’m speaking with say that stations are here shopping, not just window shopping. That tracks my conversations with station people here, who came with shopping lists. The vibe is upbeat generally, despite some cold water thrown on radio:
“Right now, whether FM is on the phone is a very small issue for our customers and it’s not going to be a priority until I hear that’s what consumers want.” That’s from Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam being interviewed by NAB President Gordon Smith indicating that his company isn’t ready to make the kind of deal Sprint has agreed to: FM receiver chips in wireless phones, in exchange for radio spot inventory. McAdam is unconvinced that his target prospects think radio when they think music: “It looks to me as if the trend is among younger folks customizing the station or getting the playlist they want [from streaming sources]. They will be the ones consuming this stuff and we have to be responsive to what they want.” They’re also consuming billable data time, which is, after all, what wireless carriers sell; whereas listening to over-the-air radio via a receiver chip would stop the clock. Recent blizzards and other incidents have demonstrated wireless networks’ limitations, and AM/FM radio’s value as first informer. Nowhere was that more obvious than in Hurricane Sandy’s path, and New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella is gung-ho for the Sprint deal. I asked him about some broadcasters’ concern that spot inventory Sprint would turn over to a rep firm could end up competing with member stations’ own sales efforts, and Rotella agreed that’s a key deal point.
Programming Changes at Entercom’s Sports KCSP, Kansas City. Entercom’s “610 Sports Radio” moves Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison from middays to the PM drive slot for a new show called “The Drive with Danny Parkins” that features Harrison and former Kansas City Chief Jayice Pearson. At the same time, the station brings Henry Lake aboard to host the midday program alongside Jay Binkley for “The Dayshift with Lake and Bink.” Lake comes to the station from Clear Channel’s “KFAN” in Minneapolis where he’s been working since 1998. There he hosted “Sludge and Lake,” and more recently “The Lake Show.” He also hosted postgame call-in shows following Minnesota Vikings, and University of Minnesota football games. KCSP program director John Hanson states, “Minneapolis was sad to lose him and we’re glad to get him. He’s earned the respect of his listeners and colleagues alike. ‘610 Sports Radio’ is the most-listened-to sports station in Kansas City, and we know Henry’s experience, sports knowledge and energetic personality will help solidify that position.” Regarding the move of Parkins and company to afternoons Hanson states, “Listeners have been asking for this move. Danny and Carrington have built a great chemistry over the past year, so this move is a great one for us. And to add the player perspective and unique life experience Jayice provides, it will offer a great dynamic to the show.”
Odds & Sods. It’s been a busy week for WHO, Des Moines PM drive talk host Simon Conway. The London, England native was an in-demand guest this week commenting on the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He appeared on radio shows in Texas, Florida, Arkansas and others as well as with Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” – a program on which he regularly fills in. On Friday of this week, Conway will fill in on the AM drive show on Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA.”…..As CNN continues to re-tool under the guidance of CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker, Deadline.com reports that in addition to bringing back the old “Crossfire” political debate program, the cable news/talk channel is planning to air a 10-week interview program this summer hosted by CBC personality George Stroumboulopoulis. The show would be taped in Los Angeles before a live audience…..Boston Sports Media Watch’s Bruce Allen is reporting that the Boston Red Sox Radio Network – based at Entercom’s WEEI – is losing studio host and fill-in announcer John Rish who resigned his position and will leave by April 24. Rish is a fill-in play-by-play voice when Dave O’Brien is away on his ESPN duties. Rish has been with the network since 2006 and in 2008, he was appointed as the third announcer in the booth to fill in for either O’Brien or Joe Castiglione…..This Saturday, April 13, WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Stephanie Miller brings her Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour to Chicago for a stop at the historic Chicago Theatre! As usual, Miller is joined on the tour by comics and radio show cast members John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks.
WGOW-FM, Chattanooga’s Wally Witkowski Passes Away. The man known on the radio as “Wally Witkowski,” whose real name was Tom Bolden, died in Nashville at the age of 59 after a battle with cancer. Bolden, who co-hosted “The Village Idiots” with partner Jim Reynolds on WGOW-FM, Chattanooga for years, had suffered with a variety of illnesses over the years but was working as recently as several weeks ago. According to WRCB-TV, Chattanooga, Bolden was long active in local advertising sales and promotional businesses and became “Wally” in the early 1990s doing traffic reports for the radio station each morning. WRCB-TV reports that Bolden partnered with Reynolds some 20 years ago and the chemistry between the two was apparent from the beginning.
Talk Show Host is Huge Fan of the Comrex Access. Technology has changed every part of our lives and that is especially true for those in the arts, particularly broadcasting. What it used to take a truck to do, now takes less than a briefcase and cost 1/100th the original price. Radio today is changing; no longer is it just terrestrial, it’s the stream, it’s the podcast, Twitter, YouTube, it’s moving at the speed of sound. But, as one talk personality points out in a post today, many hosts are not. They are stuck in their studios doing the same type of radio that worked 20 or more years ago. According to Charles “Karel” Bouley, host of “The Karel Show” (KGO, San Francisco; GCN and CRN), hosts need to be out interacting with the community. They need to be at events, not just covering them. They need to be creating events, not just advertising them. They need to show up at unexpected places and do unexpected things. They need to be entertaining and relevant, and that means they need to get out of the studio. Karel states, “The Comrex Access unit makes that possible in ways never before imagined.” To read his entire article, click here.
New Affiliates for the Leslie Marshall Show. WYM Media Management’s Leslie Marshall show adds some new affiliates to the nationally syndicated talk show. Beginning April 22, KMA Broadcasting’s KMA-AM/FM, Shenandoah, Iowa starts carrying the program live 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Also, Saga Communications’ WHMP, Northampton and WHMQ, Greenfield – both in Massachusetts add the show to their schedules beginning April 15.
North Korea Missile Threat, Gun Legislation Proposals, Washington Budget Battle, Brad Paisley ‘Racist’ Song Flap, Obama White House Concert, and Hillary Clinton in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The ongoing threats by North Korea to launch a long-range missile at the United States; the battle over new gun legislation; the Washington tug-of-war over the nation’s budget and the deficit; controversy over country singer Brad Paisley’s song “Accidental Racist”; the recent White House soul concert; and chatter about Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.