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.
Cuttin’ the Cake with Corporate. Staffers from the Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas and the company’s corporate execs show off a tasty looking sheet cake bestowed upon them as the big bosses saw fit to throw a little soiree for the Las Vegas staff to recognize them for the good job they’ve been doing lately. Vice president of corporate communications Denyse Mesnik tells TALKERS, “We all agree that this is what makes Beasley so special!” Pictured here (from l-r) are: Bruce Beasley, news/talk KDWN program director John Shaffer, Mesnik, VP digital Kathleen Bricketto, Brian Beasley, rhythmic oldies KOAS and classic hits KVGS program director John Candelaria, VP digital production Kimberly Sonneborn, vice president and market manager Tom Humm, and country KCYE program director Justin Chase.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System. The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region. It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator. TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable. TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates. These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.” TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.” TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.
WTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations. The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011. The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions): Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).
SiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film. Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming. Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.” The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides. The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show. The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family. Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio. He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can. I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told. I am so excited to begin.” Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life. In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”
Villanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB. The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot. That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’” His program debuts this evening.
New Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame. Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey. Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”
WXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig. Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month. In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989. He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling. Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.” Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all? He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing. It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him. The guy is such an awesome personality.” STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.
The Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference. The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use. Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need for tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.” Some of the speakers appearing this year include: Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media. Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Up 4% in Q4 of 2012; Premiere National Sales Down. The Media and Entertainment division of CC Media Holdings was up 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 on revenue of $821.5 million. But that figure was helped greatly by the $40 million in political advertising the division realized. Otherwise it would have been down by as much as $9 million. During yesterday’s conference call with analysts, CFO Tom Casey also said, “We increased national advertising sales by 17% over last year’s fourth quarter, or 3% excluding political, and local revenues grew 5%. We also saw a nice lift in revenue from digital, with our listening hours up 68% over the fourth quarter of 2011, fueled by increased iHeartRadio usage, which reached 118 million total listening hours in December.” But both Premiere Networks and the Total Traffic Network had down fourth quarters and are off to sluggish starts in 2013. The company does not break down specific numbers for these divisions. Casey did say Total Traffic Network is still struggling with the merger of Metro Networks. As for Premiere, he simply said national sales were weak for the division. For the full year of 2012 Casey reported, “Media and Entertainment revenues grew 3% to $3.1 billion. National revenue rose 9%, driven by both our new national advertising efforts and political. Local revenue was up 2% for the year. Our top advertising categories were auto and telecommunications. Political advertising reached $70 million for the year.”
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Remain on WABC, New York – for Now. During yesterday’s CC Media Holdings conference call with analysts, chief financial officer Tom Casey did not give specifics when asked about the much-speculated-upon move of Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh from his current and longtime home at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR. But he did say, “No decisions have been made…we’re working through our options.” Contracts with WABC for both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity run through the end of 2013 and it doesn’t appear CC is preparing to exercise the 90-out clause and move the shows to WOR. Still, the option to move them to WOR in January of 2014 after their deals with WABC end must seem like a nice, clean way of doing it – if that is the company’s ultimate goal.
Sports Talk in Boston Is “Its Own Breed.” That’s the sentiment from sports talk personality Mike Salk, who is preparing to return to his native Boston to join Michael Holley for the PM drive shift on Entercom’s WEEI in mid-March. He says he can’t say enough about the people of Seattle and how much he’s enjoyed his time at Bonneville’s KIRO-AM co-hosting with Brock Huard. But he also says, “The passion and intensity of Boston sports fans – the frustration when things don’t go as they’d like – those things are different in Boston than anywhere else in the country.” Salk will fill the void in the afternoon show that opened when longtime Boston sports personality Glenn Ordway was let go from the station last week. Salk tells TALKERS the fact that Boston is such an intense sports town helps make WEEI “the gold standard for sports radio. It’s why people have always talked about it as one of the biggest sports stations, if not the biggest and most important sports station in the country.” Salk says the opportunity to work in his hometown at WEEI is one thing, but the goal is to capitalize on it and he’s excited about working with Michael Holley. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to talk sports with him every day. Not just talk sports but ‘banter.’ That’s the fun thing about sports radio, it’s not always arguing, it’s not always angry or fighting; I think of it more as bantering – two guys going back and forth with a smile on their faces. Sometimes it gets heated, sometimes it’s just straight fun, but it’s banter.” Salk is a rabid Boston Bruins fan and he says he’s looking forward to getting back to a hockey town. “It’s in my blood. I grew up watching those games.” Salk and Huard helped build the midday show at KIRO-AM to the point they hit the #1 mark in men 25-54 last September. He’s been a part of the ESPN Radio network since 2007, hosting “SportsCenter Saturday” and serving as a regular fill-in host over the past few years. Prior to going to Seattle in 2009 he worked for ESPN 890 in Boston (WAMG) for four years co-hosting middays with Bob Halloran. Vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “Mike Salk has a proven record of success, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him back home to Boston. He’s a very skilled broadcaster, a fun personality and a passionate sports fan. I’m really looking forward to the new dynamic that he and Michael Holley will provide on a daily basis.”
Emmis Adds FM Translator to Sports WFNI, Indianapolis Brand. The translator W298BB at 107.5 FM is simulcasting part of sister WFNI-AM’s programming but is carrying ESPN Radio’s midday programming of Colin Cowherd and SVP & Russillo from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. In a statement, Emmis Indianapolis SVP and market manager Charlie Morgan says, “The launch of ‘FM 107.5 The Fan’ demonstrates Emmis’ deep commitment to making ‘The Fan’ Indy’s dominant sports brand. Given that Emmis is credited with creating the first sports talk station in the United States, it only seems fitting that we would deliver the city’s first FM sports station to Indy’s sports-loving fans.”
Illinois Attorney and Radio Host Found Liable in Missing Money Case. Illinois attorney Kathleen Niew, her husband and her law firm were found partially liable in DuPage County Court for the some $2.3 million that a local couple claims Niew misappropriated. Niew hosts a brokered financial advice program on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago. The couple, Jamal and Leda Khoury, deposited the money in an account controlled by Niew. According to the Chicago Tribune, her former attorney stated in court filings that the Niews are victims of the same crime as a third party is responsible for the missing money.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington reports a big January in the Arbitron PPMs. Vice president of news and programming Jim Farley says the station went up dramatically from January a year ago in the 25-54 demo. He also says, “WTOP is # 1 25-54 full week and both drives, #2 nights and #3 middays and weekends. Note the incredible 11.4 share in persons 25-54 in morning drive and the even more eye-popping 14.4 women 25-54. Full week we’re also # 1 with women 25-54 and I give the credit on that to WTOP PD Laurie Cantillo.”…..In another note from WTOP, the station announces it is adding Wall Street Journal Network news anchor Joan Jones to its roster of news anchors. Jones has been a network business anchor for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2008, writing and anchoring network broadcasts and customized business updates for major market stations. Prior to joining WSJ, Jones was the morning news anchor at WPHT in Philadelphia and the morning co-host of “Chris and JJ” on Philly’s B101. She states, “What an honor to join this legacy radio station and to work alongside the best in the business.”…..WFLA, Tampa-based news anchor Martin Giles is retiring from Clear Channel on March 1. In a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the 76-year-old Giles says he’s leaving the place he’s been for 28 years due to the workload where the company requires them to do news for Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and other markets as well. “It’s an overload of work they were handing us. I’ve had a little trouble with it…I am really worn out when I go home on Friday.”…..The Heritage Foundation-produced “Istook Live!” talk show – hosted by former Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook – adds C.J. Wheeler as co-host and executive producer. In the additional role of executive producer, Wheeler will oversee the show’s content across radio, digital and TV platforms.
Sequestration/Deficit Reduction, Gun Control Issue, Immigration Reform, Soaring Gas Prices, and Oscar Pistorius Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). The Washington battle over who’s responsible for the looming sequestration; the ongoing dialog over new gun control measures; the Obama Administration’s policy on immigration reform; the fast-rising prices at the pump; and the murder case of Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Conservative Talk Host Steve Malzberg Begins New Project with Newsmax. Longtime New York City conservative talk host Steve Malzberg – he’s worked at WABC and WOR – is joining the talk media initiative of Newsmax, the Florida-based conservative news and opinion outlet. Malzberg is doing an afternoon drive program (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET) that will air online in both audio and video formats and for which Newsmax will seek terrestrial radio affiliates. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “When I first heard Steve Malzberg on WABC he was an innovator in bridging radio content with other media. He developed that talent further at WOR with ratings success and I think he will bring the same type of innovation and success to Newsmax TV.” The program will emanate from Newsmax’s New York City offices and begin on February 4.
Schnitt Versus Bubba: Day 4. The defamation case Compass Media Networks talk show host Todd Schnitt filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) was back in session Tuesday after a break for the Monday holiday. Plaintiff Schnitt took the stand (as did Bubba producer Brent Hatley) and told the jury how his life and career changed after Bubba returned to the air in Tampa in 2008 and the morning show battle began. In order to win the case, Schnitt must convince the jury that he suffered damages and that’s what he tried to do on the stand yesterday as he painted a picture of feeling harassed both via email and telephone and in person through physical confrontations with the “Bubba Army” as Todd Clem’s radio fans are called. WTSP, Tampa reports that when asked if his reputation had been harmed, Schnitt replied, “Yeah, I consider myself, still, a broadcaster in good standing. But um… not as good as it used to be.” That Schnitt and his wife were affected by the battle being waged by Bubba is pretty clear. The goal for Schnitt’s attorney is to get the jury to believe that Bubba the Love Sponge was responsible for their pain and suffering.
WTOP’s Jim Farley to Retire. He’s not going anywhere right away but WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming Jim Farley announces he’ll work full time through 2013 and step down into a consultant role with Hubbard and WTOP after that. In his official announcement, he says he’ll remain dedicated to the brand. “I bleed WTOP blood and am deeply invested in our continued success. I plan to stay involved until I start to drool conspicuously. I’ll be a proactive resource for Joel Oxley, Laurie Cantillo, WTOP, and Hubbard, and I will visit often. I have so many good friends in this building and spent the best part of my long career here. On to the next chapter, but not until 2014.”
Sports Talk Host Paul Finebaum Begins Sitting Out a 90-Day Non-Compete. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum has exited Cumulus’ WJOX, Birmingham and, according to the Birmingham Business Journal, his representatives say he will not entertain any media offers until the 90-day window has closed. Finebaum had been in a legal battle with Cumulus earlier this year but after numerous back-and-forths in court ended up working to the end of his deal with the company. That deal ended Monday. The smart money is on Finebaum landing at Cox Media’s crosstown WZNN but Finebaum’s camp is saying nothing until the 90-day period is over. (WZNN is one of a number of signals that Cox Media has put up for sale.) The paper also reports that Cumulus does have the right to match any offer Finebaum receives within the 90-day period but after that, Finebaum’s a free agent.
CBS Radio to Flip WNEW-AM, Washington to Sports Talk. For four months, CBS Radio aired “1580 Gov.Biz Radio” on WNEW-AM, Morningside, Maryland in the Washington, DC metro in hopes of competing with Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED “Federal News Radio.” Now TALKERS learns that CBS will flip the AM signal to sports talk using the national programming from CBS Sports Radio Network. The station will also apply for the WJFK-AM call letters to match up with sister DC sports talker WJFK-FM.
Clear Channel Gives WLW, Cincinnati an FM Presence. It’s not a big presence – 99 watts on the translator W233BG at 94.5 – but according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, the signal reaches most potential listeners within the market’s I-275 loop. Clear Channel bought the translator from Northern Kentucky University and then moved the city of license from Port Union, Ohio to Cincinnati. Kiesewetter reports there’s been no comment from Clear Channel about why the need for an FM presence for “The Big One,” but speculates getting the market dominating talk station on FM where more people are listening is what local management wants in the long run. Another thing to consider is smart phones with radio receivers get FM, not AM.
KHRO, El Paso Talk Host Hector H. Lopez to run for Mayor. KHRO, El Paso afternoon drive host Hector H. Lopez has filed papers to run for mayor of El Paso. The election is May 11 and at this time there’s no indication when Lopez will step down from his radio show.
The VP Meets the Governor. New Townsquare Media regional vice president Greg Janoff (second from right) meets New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (second from left) on Tuesday, January 22 before he goes on the air on WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for his monthly “Ask the Governor” program. Pictured here with the governor and Janoff are “Ask the Governor” host Eric Scott (right) and New Jersey 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson (left).
Obama’s Second Term Agenda, Israel Parliamentary Election, Benghazi Attack Testimony, and Gallup American Optimism Poll Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The agenda for President Obama’s second term as outlined in his Inauguration speech; the parliamentary elections in Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu’s likelihood to remain as prime minister; the pending testimony from Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attack; and the Gallup poll that concludes American optimism is at its lowest point since the Carter Administration were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Given the extraordinary nature of what has been happening of late, it is highly appropriate to follow up our recent massive talk radio overview with a similar piece on all-news operations.
There is however one obvious difference: Talk can claim tonnage honors, whereas news is one of radio’s most sparsely-represented formats.
Each PPM market has at least one talk outlet within in its top 20 (6+, November 2012), compared to news accomplishing the same feat in only 15 of the 48 electronically measured metros for a conversion rate of just over 30%.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you haven’t already noticed, you’ve got to see this. Grab a copy of USA Today. Any day will do, but it has to be the newsstand hard copy. No digital version will work.
Radio is reeling from another Clear Channel bloodbath, just in time for Christmas. It wasn’t the first, it won’t be the last, and it’s not just Clear Channel. But heartless timing. The nerve of ‘em.
In the words of Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman: “Let me tell you the story of another loser…”
Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke Comments Cited in Dial Global’s SEC Filing. Talk radio has long been saddled with the label of “controversial programming” that makes it a difficult sell on the national level. Agencies have numerous other marketing options through which clients can get out their message. Especially for family-oriented goods and services, why take a chance on “controversial programming?” But Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments last March brought renewed bad PR to the format and, as was discussed at both of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminars this year (June in NYC and October in Los Angeles), the scarlet letter weighs heavy upon the talk radio business. So much so that Dial Global – in reporting to the SEC – cited Limbaugh (not by name) as part of the reason the company is taking a $67.2 million impairment charge. Here’s what the company says: “We normally perform the required impairment testing of goodwill on an annual basis in December of each year. As a result of several factors, which had a significant impact on our fourth quarter bookings and sales, we performed an interim analysis of our goodwill carrying value as required by ASC 350, Intangibles-Goodwill and Other. We believe our 2012 results were adversely impacted by, among other things, late cancellations in ad buys (which we believe was a by-product of the election and renewed economic uncertainty), competitive factors, such as a greater diversity of digital ad platforms (into which ad budgets have flowed) and increased competition from our major competitors, and advertisers’ response to controversial statements by a certain nationally syndicated talk radio personality in March 2012.” Talk radio is unlikely to become “family friendly” in the eyes of agencies anytime soon and talk sellers appear resigned to having to carve out new niches of advertisers and work hard to get and keep them. For big corporations with a lot of debt, that’s not a comforting thought.
Dial Global Voluntarily De-Lists from the NASDAQ. As a result of the company’s low volume of trading combined with other factors, including the associated costs of maintaining its listing on the NASDAQ, Dial Global announces it will undertake the delisting process beginning on or around November 26 and be completed on or around December 6 of this year. Dial Global will remain a publicly traded company – it reports no plans to go private – but the stock will be traded on the OTC Pink Sheets.
Envision Radio Networks Develops “America Weekend” Program. Calling it the “next generation of weekend talk radio,” Envision Radio Networks says the new “America Weekend” program is “a break from the usual brokered programming and rerun political fare of most news/talk stations, ‘America Weekend’ covers the lighter side of news and lifestyle issues facing today’s on-the-go talk listeners while maintaining revenues from paid hosts.” Envision states the show provides six hours of live programming on both Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm EST and accommodates up to four local expert slots per hour, with frequent break-away points for sports, weather or other local programming. Since the programming is broadcast live via satellite, ‘America Weekend’ is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. Anchoring the show will be “top-level, nationally recognized” hosts joined by high-profile guests. Programmer and consultant Kipper McGee is executive producer of the show and he states, “It’s been said that ‘weekdays are for ratings, weekends are for revenue.’ However, now we’re seeing the damage that poorly rated weekend programming is causing weekday shows. Listeners are forced to find other weekend options, and increasingly are not finding their way back to the radio station.” Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “‘America Weekend’ is all about maintaining revenue opportunities for radio stations from long-form brokered programs in a new and innovative way. We have always believed that there is a better way for radio to monetize its Saturday and Sunday programming without sacrificing quality. Finally, ‘Content is King’ again on weekends.” Interested stations can visit www.envisionradio.com or contact Melissa Bachtel at 216-831-3761 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBS Sports Radio Network Names Damon Amendolara Overnight Host. When CBS Radio’s new national sports network debuts on January 2, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” evening host Damon Amendolara — “D.A.” — will be the network’s overnight host manning the 2:00 am to 6:00 am shift. Amendolara has been with the Boston sports talker since it debuted in 2009. He is also the sideline reporter for the New England Revolution on Comcast and a frequent guest and fill-in host for CSN’s Sports Tonight/Sports Sunday. He serves as an anchor on CSNNE’s “Pregame Live” and “Postgame Live,” appears on Fox 25 Boston, while contributing to NFL Films and the NFL Network’s Top 10 series, ESPN News’ Air Check and NFL Films Presents on ESPN. CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “D.A. is an all-star in Boston and his energy and understanding of the sports world will no doubt translate to a national platform. Damon is certainly the man to keep listeners engrossed overnight, and his work at stations across the country, covering a multitude of different sports, will be beneficial to our listeners. His success and following on our local radio station and his charitable endeavors in the community prove he will make a great addition to our already outstanding lineup at CBS Sports Radio.”
WTOP Newsman Donates iPhone to Newseum. It’s unclear whether WTOP, Washington news reporter Neal Augenstein was the first American radio news reporter to use the iPhone as his “sole” reporting tool, but Augenstein sure has attracted a lot of interest after it became known how he was using the device. Poynter.org reports the donation to the Washington, DC museum of news and related technology. Newseum Curator of Collections Carrie Christoffersen tells Poynter.org, “We collect all sorts of things that relate to changes in news technology. It was really interesting to us, since he’s doing all of his audio interviews, editing, video work, all on his iPhone, with some supplement from an iPad. He’s enabled himself to be very, very on-the-go.” There are no immediate plans to display the device but Christoffersen says their exhibits are always changing. Augenstein is pictured here being interviewed recently for Talkers TV about his use of the iPhone for reporting. Check out the cool five-minute video here.
Odds & Sods. Radio pro Turi Ryder fills in on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago for midday talk host John Williams today…..Filling in today for Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries is KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock.
Inside the Locker Room. In the photo here, KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio Network hosts Petros Papadakis (l) and Matt “Money” Smith (r) interview Los Angeles Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (second from left) and Jerry West (second from right) at a recent live listener event. Abdul-Jabbar and West offered Lakers faithful their takes on the team’s new coach and the team’s prospects for the 2012-13 season.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” weekend program is added to the lineup at KAVA-AM/FM, Pueblo, Colorado; WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire; and KOHI, St. Helens, Oregon…..“America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is picked up by WLSC, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…..Fox Sports Radio Network programming is added to new affiliate KOPJ, Portland…..ESPN Radio programming is picked up by Cox Media’s WDBO-AM, Orlando.
Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 12-16. The ever deepening scandal involving ex-CIA director David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. At #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation. At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” Washington lawmakers are facing followed by Obama Administration Cabinet changes at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly ranking of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is published at Talkers.com every Friday. View this week’s entire chart here.
Talkers New Media Seminar LA set for Thursday, October 11 is Sold Out! The agenda is basically set and most of the sponsors announced for the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The venue is intimate and even kind of funky making for a very relaxed and informal environment – conducive to the kind of communicative and networking environment we hope to achieve. The problem, however, is that unlike industry events that are held in convention centers and big hotels, we are working with a finite amount of seating and space which we are obligated by city regulations not to exceed.” TALKERS New Media Seminar LA is scheduled for Thursday, October 11 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Registration has only been open to working media. A registration “stand-by” list is being maintained until this Friday (10/5) for those willing to take a chance. Some sponsorships however are still available. For stand-by registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. The agenda for the event is as follows:
9:00 am – 9:50 am
Bagel Breakfast Party
Sponsored by Brent’s Deli
9:50 am – 10:00 am
Speaker: Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS
10:00 am – 10:15 am
Speaker: Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment
10:20 am – 11:00 am
“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio”
Moderator: Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Phil Boyce, VP/Director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications
Ron Hartenbaum, President, WYD Media
Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC
Don Martin, VP Programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM KLAC, Los Angeles
Mike McVay, Senior VP Programming, Cumulus Media
Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News
11:05 am – 11:20 am
“Interactivity and Video: The Key to Your Business Future”
Speaker: Walter Sabo, Chairman, Sabo Media
11:25 am – 11:35 am
“The Radio Personality as Entrepreneur”
Introduction: Jeff Wasserman, President, Life Coach Media
Speaker: Ken Rutkowski, host, “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles
11: 40 am – 12:20 pm
“The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012”
Moderator: Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief, TALKERS
Jerry Doyle, Host, Talk Radio Network
Heidi Harris, Host, KRLA, Los Angeles
Lars Larson, Host, Compass Media Networks/ KXL, Portland
Doug Stephan, Host, “Good Day”
Alan Stock, Host, KDWN, Las Vegas
Eric Weiss, president, The Weiss Agency
12:25 pm – 12:40 pm
“Woman of the Year Award”
Introduction: Carole Marks, CEO, Talk Media, Inc.
Presenter: Stephanie Miller, Host, WYD Media
Recipient: Robin Bertolucci, PD KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles
Sponsored by TuneIn
12:45 pm – 1:00 pm
“Database Your Tribe…Now!”
Speaker, Holland Cooke, Consultant, Holland Cooke Media
1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Sponsored by Brent’s Deli
1:50 pm – 2:20 pm
“Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities”
Introduction: Michael Zwerling, President, Michael Zwerling Media/Owner KSCO, Santa Cruz
Moderator: Brent Seltzer, Host, Podjockey
Bob Moore, President, Courtside Entertainment
Rusty Humphries, Host, Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta
Michael Zwerling, President, Michael Zwerling Media/Owner KSCO, Santa Cruz
Sponsored by Michael Zwerling Media
2:25 pm – 3:05 pm
“The State of Talk Programming”
Moderator: Kevin Casey, VP/Executive Editor TALKERS
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno
Kevin LaRue, PD KSL, Salt Lake City
Andy Ludlum, PD, KNX, Los Angeles
Garret Lewis, PD/morning host, KNST, Tucson
Dave Sniff, PD, KFMB, San Diego
Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles
Sponsored by Premiere Networks
3:10 pm – 3:45 pm
“The Modern Day Pioneers”
Moderator: Patt Morrison, Host/Interviewer, KPCC, Los Angeles; Columnist, Los Angeles Times
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Ian Freeman, Co-Host, Free Talk Live
Sam Hasson, President/Founder, LATalkRadio.com
Michael Horn, CEO, CRN Digital Talk
Tom Leykis, President/Host, The New Normal
Shadoe Stevens, Host, Mental Radio, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio
Sponsored by CRN Digital Talk
3:45 pm – 4:20 pm
“The Art of the Show”
Moderator: Bill Moran, President, Bill Moran & Associates
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Jerry Doyle, Host, Talk Radio Network
Bill Handel, Host, KFI, Los Angeles
Karel, Host, KGO, San Francisco
Neil Larrimore, PD, KFYI/KGME, Phoenix
Eric Stanger, VP Operations, The Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks
Sponsored by TRN
4:20 pm – 5:00 pm
Afternoon Sessions and Keynote
Americans for Limited Government, BMX/XtreMedia, Brent’s Deli, Christie Communications, Comrex Corporation, CRN Digital Talk, Federation for American Immigration Reform, Focus Communications, Inc., Free Talk Live, LATalkRadio.com, Life Coach Media, Podjockey, Premiere Networks, Talk Radio Network, Talk Radio News Service, TuneIn, WYD Media, Michael Zwerling Media.
September PPM Numbers: Some Talk and Sports Highlights. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and notes the movement of some stations of interest to talk and sports radio watchers.
- In market #7 Washington, DC, a nine-tenths August-September improvement helps propel American University‘s WAMU to #1, unseating Hubbard‘s WTOP-FM (#3), which slides -1.1 to 7.1, the news outlet’s lowest point since April’s 6.5.
- For the sixth straight month, Washington Nationals’ flagship WJFK-FM (CBS Radio‘s “The Fan”) bests Red Zebra format rival WTEM (“The Team”), however, WTEM (#20) gains one-half share and WJFK-FM (#18) is down one-tenth.
- In market #8 Philadelphia, gaining one-half share are CBS Radio’s “Sports Radio 94 WIP-FM” (3.7, #12) and public news/talk WHYY (3.5, #13).
- For the seventh straight month, “Newsradio 1060 KYW” is in the 6.1 – 6.7 range (6.5, -.2 from August) and, as in August, the CBS Radio-owned facility is #1.
- In market #9 Atlanta, in August, WSB-AM had a 4.8, which was its lowest 6+ share since registering a 4.2 in September 2010. The Cox Radio talk outlet bounces back though with a +.9 to 5.7 and ranks fifth, versus #9 in August.
- In market #10 Boston, remember “Rush Radio” on WXKS-AM? That was how the Clear Channel talk station positioned itself for about one year, beginning in March 2010. In mid-August of this year, Rush Limbaugh surfaced on cross-town WRKO and the Entercom talker gains nine-tenths to 2.4, its strongest 6+-share since March (2.5).
- For the first time in the last seven monthlies, New England Patriots flagship WBZ-FM (CBS Radio-owned “The Sports Hub”) overtakes Entercom format competitor WEEI-FM. The two sports properties were tied in March (3.5) with WEEI-FM holding the upper hand from April through August. In September though, WBZ-FM gains eight-tenths (4.5, #8) while Red Sox flagship WEEI-FM drops two-tenths (4.1, #9).
For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit the ratings section at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.
FCC to Consider Liberty Media Control of Sirius. The FCC is calling for public comment on Liberty Media Corp.’s application to take de jure (legal) control of Sirius XM Radio. Sirius did not sign that application, filed in August, but the Commission is deciding to move forward anyway. Back in May, the FCC turned down a request for de facto (effective) control by Liberty, which now has an effective 48% stake in the satellite radio company. Petitions to deny are due November 1, initial opposition due November 13, and final rebuttals by November 20, likely to be followed by several weeks of FCC deliberation. The two companies have been at odds for a long time with John Malone’s Liberty looking to takeover Sirius. In 2009, Sirius received a $530 million loan from Liberty to avoid bankruptcy. There’s much speculation about Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin’s plans if Liberty gains control. His contract with Sirius is up at end of this year. As reported yesterday, Karmazin is speaking at Liberty’s 2012 investor conference in New York on October 10, just two weeks before the first public comments are due at the FCC.
Saga Declares Special Cash Dividend. The Saga board announces a special cash dividend of about $7 million — a dividend of $1.65 per Class A or B Common Stock. Shareholders of record on November 15 receive the dividend, funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet, on December 3. Ed Christian’s Saga, headquartered in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, owns or operates radio and TV stations in 26 markets and four regional radio networks.
Upgrade to FREE. Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s latest piece for TALKERS is about some of the tools of the media trade – namely netbooks and tablets. But it’s about more than that if you step back and look at the big picture. He points to digital app expert Beth Ziesenis – AskBethZ – as someone who cuts through with her message (and her business) because she’s clearly focused on her objective. Read what Holland Cooke has to say about these issues here.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM will feature “Pete Dominick’s Electoral College Tour” on its POTUS channel prior to each presidential debate, beginning this evening in Denver. Dominick is a stand-up comedian and regular on the POTUS channel and his special shows will emanate from the University of Denver, Hofstra University and the University of Virginia in which he’ll host a special one-hour forum with students and faculty – before the presidential debate and live from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET – to talk about the issues that matter most to them in this election…..Chicago Bulls home basketball games will be heard in Spanish on Univision’s WRTO, Chicago “La Tremenda 1200” through the 2014-2015 season. Omar Ramos and Matt Moreno have the play-by-play.
Benghazi Security Request Controversy, Presidential Debate Preview, Pennsylvania Voter ID Rule Blocked, and Iran Nukes Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2). Controversy over a report the U.S. consulate in Benghazi requested more security but was denied prior to the attack on the Libyan embassy; Wednesday’s coming presidential debate; a part of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is struck down; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Lionel Joins Morning Show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia. Talk media personality Lionel – known for his years of expanding talk radio’s dimensions with successful stints in national syndication and in local markets gigs including New York City – joins the morning drive show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia beginning today. Lionel, who anchors Tribune’s WPIX-TV, New York’s “Morning News” from 4:00 am to 6:00 am and produces commentaries for the station that air on its 10:00 pm news, will join the program with Al Gardner from 6:00 am to 8:30 am. In addition to these “traditional media” gigs, Lionel has been operating the digital media station LionelMedia.com for the past several years.
Gregg Henson Named PD at WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh. Sports talk and news/talk pro Gregg Henson takes the programming reins at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh and sister sports talk WBGG “970 ESPN.” Henson most recently served as director of programming operations at Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Henson says, “I’m excited to return to the Clear Channel family and I look forward to working with the excellent staff at ‘FM News Talk 104.7’ and ‘970 ESPN.’ Pittsburgh’s passionate and loyal Steelers and Penguins fans make this an exciting new opportunity.” CC Pittsburgh OM David Edgar states, “Gregg has the skills and passion to lead our sports, talk, and news programming on all of our brands in Pittsburgh to new levels of success. His past experience will be a great asset to the Clear Channel Pittsburgh team.” Henson replaces Jay Bohannon who exited the cluster last month.
Dave Ramsey Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Radio with Big Nashville Bash including Affiliate Meetings and Gala Live Broadcast. This past Friday, September 28, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey marked his 20th year in radio with a special episode of “The Dave Ramsey Show.” The program took place before a live audience of more than 2,000 listeners in a huge tent in the parking lot of Ramsey headquarters in suburban Nashville. It included calls from long-time listeners and well-wishes from friends and celebrities such as Brad Paisley, George Stephanopoulos, Mark Cuban, Billy Gibbons, Piers Morgan, Zac Brown, Neil Cavuto, Darrell Waltrip, and Glenn Beck. Video of the show was streamed live online. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declared September 28, 2012 Dave Ramsey Day in the state of Tennessee. He presented the proclamation to Ramsey during the first hour of the radio show (see photo). The show was the culmination of Ramsey’s fifth annual Affiliate Executive Council (AEC) meeting held last week between Wednesday and Friday (9/26-28) in which he and his staff provided some 60 executives from his affiliates across the country with seminars, workshops breakout sessions and entertainment activities experienced in true Nashville fashion. A highlight of the AEC event was an industry trade panel featuring professionals who have never been on one stage together. The panel focused on current industry issues and events and was moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber. Al Peterson from NTS Media Online, Gene McKay from Inside Radio, and Michael Harrison from TALKERS and RadioInfo participated on the panel (see photo). According to Harrison, “Attending the Ramsey event was an eye opener into how this amazing broadcaster and his superb staff have created a viable, productive partnership with their affiliate radio stations as well as a personal bond with them on a level unmatched by any other syndication company or network in the business. Ramsey has created a business model and success story worthy of emulation, indeed!”
Syndicators Hit the Deck Running Today to Promote Shows to Stations Left Unprepared for Savage Exit. After a weekend during which approximately 300 radio station managers who were affiliated with TRN’s Michael Savage Show (“The Savage Nation”) were trying to figure out what to put in the gaping vacancy left in their schedule by the sudden exit of Michael Savage from the airwaves this past Friday, the syndication and network community are readying a mad dash to get to them and have them consider taking any of a number of their available programs as its replacement. Savage left the airwaves without warning after scoring a victory in a fierce legal battle with TRN to get out of his existing contract (see story below). Talk Radio Network has teased that it will name Savage’s replacement (as “radio’s October surprise”) – at least within its stable of available hosts – sometime today.
Talk Host Michael Savage Produces First Internet-Only Broadcast. Former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicate host Michael Savage – who won his arbitration case against the company last week to get out of his contract and left terrestrial immediately thereafter – produced his first Ustream-hosted webcast on Sunday evening (9/30). Savage broadcast for about an hour. His website encourages visitors to check back for announcements of future broadcasts. The video is not being archived for repeat views at this time – so it must be watched live – and chatter on Ustream’s message board reveals some Savage fans are irked by that move. Could it be that Savage is trying to create an appetite for a pay model? The arbitrator’s decision voided Savage’s contract with TRN and allows him to work anywhere he likes. Stay tuned!
TRN’s America’s Radio News Network Inks with Armed Forces Radio Network. Talk Radio Network-owned America’s Radio News Network announces it has signed an agreement with Armed Forces Radio Network to serve as the top-of-the-hour news on the broadcast service for American military personnel. American Forces Radio Network Worldwide director Jef Reilly, tells ARN, “The troops want news, not agendas, and I think you’re delivering that.” ARN/ANN vice president for news John McCaslin says, “Our expanding team of news anchors, producers and board operators is extremely proud to enlist the trust of the millions of men and women of America’s armed forces, who every day put their lives on the line and sacrifice so much for those of us here at home.”
Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington Brings Del Walters Aboard Full Time. Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP announces broadcast journalist Del Walters is promoted to a full-time position with the station. WTOP states, “For more than two decades, Walters has been broadcasting in the Washington/Baltimore area, working as an anchor and investigative reporter for various stations including WJLA in Washington and WMAR in Baltimore. Walters joined WTOP in 2010 as a part-time anchor and reporter but will now step into a full-time role.”
Clear Channel Flips WGST, Atlanta to Spanish Sports Talk. Last week we reported that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment would be dropping the news/talk at heritage WGST, Atlanta and flipping to either a Spanish-language format or all-comedy. CC chose to go with Spanish sports talk and debuted 640 ESPN Deportes on Friday afternoon.
Radio Vet Ron Cutler Shares Secrets of his Financial Success in New Radio Biz Book. Radio veteran Ron Cutler turned a $15,000 investment in this industry into a $10 million payoff and now he’s written a book explaining how he did it. The colorful radio and business book is titled How I Turned $15,000 into $10,000,000 (HIT) and You Can Too, and it serves up a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the radio business. The advice is based on Cutler’s colorful experience as a top-rated Philadelphia DJ “Ron Diamond”; as the original owner and creator of the legendary KOME, the San Jose FM radio station that he sold to Michael Wiener and Gerald Carrus who formed Infinity Broadcasting making KOME Infinity’s first station; as the creator of 15 hit radio shows and services, Cutler was instrumental in launching the national shows of Rick Dees, Tom Joyner and Cousin Brucie; as the owner of Cutler Comedy Networks, a leading comedy programming company that serviced more than 4,000 radio stations and was acquired in 1996 by Premiere Radio Networks; and as an entrepreneur in numerous entertainment ventures. He tells TALKERS, “My path wasn’t an easy one. At this stage in my life, I’d like to help others get a leg up, particularly during this challenging economy. Perhaps the lessons that taught me resilience, determination and self-reliance will resonate with others.” For more information visit www.roncutlerbooks.com. To interview Ron Cutler contact Amir Forester at 310-857-6207 or e-mail email@example.com.
Radio Show Presents a Talk Radio Panel (or Was It Really an All News Radio Panel?). The NAB/RAB Radio Show presented a panel for the talk radio format semi-prejudicially titled “ Is News the New Talk for Radio?” featuring Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Mark Masters, president/CEO, Talk Radio Network; and Ed Shane, CEO, Shane Communications. It was moderated by Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP-FM, Washington, DC. Farley set the topic up by mentioning the Rush Limbaugh ad boycott and asked the question “[With big time advertisers shying away from talk radio and controversial products] is it time to consider all-news as the new talk for the future?” He referenced the success of WTOP which is undeniable. The station has been the #1 biller in the nation for two straight years. Ed Shane gave a case study for what they have done at “92 News” in Houston, a Radio One station. He said there were three things you have to have if you want to create an all-news station: guts, money, and patience. He talked about the expense of running that station, saying they took on $2 million in talent costs and had to re-build the radio station’s facility. Shane played some of the imaging for the station which uses the slogan “All News, No Spin.” TRN exec Jim Watkins subbed for Masters who was unable to attend at the last minute. Watkins said smaller stations can do the all-news format using his company’s America’s Radio News Network. He claimed 500 affiliates when you add them up. (Some are taking the top-of-the-hour product, just under 200 take the morning drive show and the other stations taking some of the other long-form shows, AARN has all-news product from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.) BOYCE STEPS UP TO THE PLATE: After all the conversation about how talk is dead and all-news is the savior, Phil Boyce started by saying “I feel like the last man standing at the U.S. embassy in the Middle East, with the protesters outside calling for my head and chanting ‘Death to Talk’.” Boyce repeated the line “Listeners have a Vote” and did his best to convince the crowd that while there was some short-term damage from the Rush boycott, it did not hurt traditional talk radio. He mentioned that both Sean Hannity and Mark Levin told him this week their sales are up 20%-25% over last year, despite the boycott. “There is a website out there listing all the advertisers Rush still has on encouraging the protestors to go after.” Boyce mentioned some of them and said there were 68 of them on this list. “Not bad for a show that has 18 minutes a day of network commercial time.” He then pointed out, “The Premiere sellers have figured out that there are a lot of advertisers who are bullet-proof when it comes to ad boycotts. They just don’t care because they know talk radio moves product, and they know the 1,000 angry e-mails or Facebook posts do not come from their client base. If the angry tweet says, “We’ll never shop with you again,” they can check their database and discover they never shopped there in the first place. These direct advertisers are who we need to do business with. The transactional big-name advertisers may never come back, but there are plenty out there who can replace them.” Boyce went on to mention the new movie “2016 Obama’s America” had record box office business and used talk radio as its primary advertising medium. He said, “This ad boycott thing is nothing new. They tried to kill Glenn Beck two years ago, and at one point had a list of 100 advertisers who would not advertise with him and they claimed victory in driving him off the Fox News Channel, dancing on his grave. The problem was, he was not in that grave and one year ago this month he went out and formed his own TV news channel with 300,000 subscribers.” Boyce did the math for the panel…$32.4 million a year, from subscriptions. “That does not count his book sales, appearance fees, and the $100 million dollar five-year deal they just did with Premiere. What they meant to kill him only made him stronger.”
2012 Marconi Awards Presented at Radio Show. The 2012 National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Radio Awards were announced last night (9/20) at the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held at the Radio Show in Dallas. Winners in the spoken-word formats included: “Legendary Station” – KSTP, St. Paul; “Network/Syndicated Personality” – Dan Patrick, Direct TV/Premiere Networks; “Major Market Station” – WTOP-FM, Washington, DC; “Medium Market Station” – WHO-AM, Des Moines; “Major Market Personality” – Mike Francesa, WFAN, New York; “Medium Market Personality” – Jan Mickelson, WHO-AM, Des Moines; “News/Talk Station” – WTOP-FM, Washington, DC; and “Sports Station” – WEEI-FM, Boston. Marconi finalists were selected by a task force of broadcasters, and the winners were voted on by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy. The votes were tabulated by an independent firm.
NAB/RAB Radio Show Wraps Up Today. More than 2,000 radio broadcasters from around the nation are wrapping up their gathering and saying their goodbyes at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas this afternoon as the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) comes to its conclusion. Most observers agree it has been a productive and successful three-day industry event. The main topics covered include radio’s pressing need for the smartphone radio chip to be “turned on” as well as debate and concern over music royalty fees; the pros and cons of streaming; the challenges facing commercial spot sales/programming; living in a PPM world; cross platform audience measurement; and the challenge of generating digital revenue. On a basic level, the underlying concern of the conference was the very survival of terrestrial radio in the unfolding digital era and mapping out a course to achieve the industry’s vitality and relevance in it.
Roger Hedgecock to Appear on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” Show on HBO Tonight. Radio America nationally syndicated talk show host Roger Hedgecock will get national TV exposure on a very popular HBO show as he’ll be one of the guests on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Hedgecock will appear on the program with Chris Matthews, Salman Rushdie, Eugene Jarecki and Rana Foroohar. The program airs live tonight from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET.
Mel Making Out Swell. According to an SEC report on insider trading Siruis XM CEO Mel Karmazin has exercised options and sold over 76.7 million shares of Sirius XM stock since April 18 – including 20.36 million shares on Wednesday (919). That brings his overall take to $172 million since April 18. Either he’s raising a lot of money for something, or he’s exercising options before he either leaves on his own or is asked to leave by Liberty Broadcasting head John Malone who has been adding to his stake in Sirius as Mel has been cashing in shares. Definitely fuels speculation that Mel’s days with Sirius might be numbered.
Advice for the Industry in Tough Times. Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey is pictured here speaking to a packed Wedgwood Ballroom inside the Hilton Anatole at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas yesterday (9/20). In this Super Session titled “Succeeding in This Economic Environment,” Ramsey delivered inspirational ideas and strategies for thriving in the radio industry. The Ramsey organization says the proven business concepts discussed were developed over Ramsey’s 20 years in the radio business.
WCOA, Pensacola PD and ND Allen Caudle Exits Station. TALKERS hears program director and news director Allen Caudle leaves Cumulus Media’s Pensacola, Florida news/talk outlet WCOA after four-and-a-half years on the job. He’s looking for his next opportunity and can be reached at 850-324-7149.
Tax Relief for New Jersey Town Credited to Governor’s Show on New Jersey 101.5. A bout of tax relief coming to residents of Monroe Township New Jersey is being credited to the monthly “Ask the Governor” show on Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5. Governor Chris Christie hosts the monthly show with NJ101.5’s Eric Scott and during the August program callers protested high property tax increases. Christie blasted Monroe Township Mayor Richard Pucci and promised to look into the matter. He recently reported on Jim Gearhart’s morning drive show on NJ101.5 that the tax hike violated the state’s property tax increase cap and all residents would be credited for the overage. Christie is pictured here at New Jersey 101.5’s studios. (Photo by Annette Petricionne.)
Premiere Networks Host Clyde Lewis Featured in Portland Magazine Piece. The very popular Portland, Oregon-based nighttime talk show host Clyde Lewis was the subject of a lengthy piece in the city’s About Face magazine on his radio show “Ground Zero” that’s being syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks. The extensive interview covers Lewis’ takes on any and all conspiracy theories and paranormal subjects that can be part of his show content. Lewis’ program is produced by Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland, airs nightly from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am PT and was put into national syndication by Premiere after it became one of the most-listened-to shows on Portland radio. Read the piece here.
New Studios Dedicated. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will officially unveil its refurbished Allstate Showcase Michigan Avenue studio on the Garry Meier show this afternoon. This past May WGN announced the new partnership with longtime sponsor Allstate. Following the station’s move to the 7th floor of Tribune Tower this summer, the Allstate Showcase Studio underwent technical upgrades and an interior studio wrap featuring WGN Radio and Allstate graphics was installed.
Waikiki Weekend. Fox Sports Radio Network “Loose Cannon” Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (r) is pictured here with one of the winners of the show’s annual “Waikiki Weekend” contest getting ready for a canoe ride. “Loose Cannons” Jacobs, Steve Hartman and guest co-host and NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson accompanied the winners to Waikiki last weekend for the trip that included a live broadcast and, of course, lots of fun Hawaiian-style.
Mitt Romney’s 47% Comments Top the Talkers TenTM for the Week of September 17-21. Mitt Romney’s comment that President Obama’s 47% support was dependent on government and the fallout from it was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Following at #2 was the anti-America protests tied with the Libya consulate attacks analysis. At #3 was the cost of ObamaCare for the middle class and at #4 was the presidential race polls. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See the charts in their entirety for this week here.
CBS Radio Flips WNEW-AM, Washington to Government and Business News. The AM side of the CBS Radio Washington, DC all-news duo (licensed to Morningside, Maryland) will become “Gov.Biz Radio 1580 AM” on October 1 – putting it in a head-to-head battle with Hubbard’s WFED, Washington. The station will feature content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and The Hill. Local programming will include host Nancy Lyons on a morning show called “The Daily Briefing” and a midday program dubbed, “The Capitol Report.”
Pilgrim Communications Adds AM Signal to Indy News/Talk WFDM-FM. The new and improved 950 AM signal of WXLW will help fill in the coverage of Pilgrim’s news/talk station in the Indianapolis market. WFDM-FM (“Freedom 95.9”) is licensed to Franklin, Indiana about 25 miles south of downtown Indy. Vice president and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “Hamilton and Hendricks Counties are not only the fastest-growing counties in Indiana, but also the two most Republican counties in the entire state. We wanted to better serve those listeners who love our conservative news/talk format which features five of the top six radio talk show hosts in national syndication. The new 950 AM signal covers two-thirds of Indiana and allows us to expand our audience reach by a factor of 10.” Tipmore says they chose to debut the new signal on the anniversary of 9/11 “the day that reminds us of the preciousness of America’s freedom. It is also the anniversary of Sean Hannity‘s launch into national syndication. On September 12, we’re honored to have Dave Ramsey coming to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre for his EntreLeadership, 1-day business training event. It’s the perfect way to celebrate our new simulcast.”
Cumulus Media to Restore Matching 401k for Employees. The radio operator announces to its 7,000-plus employees that, beginning in October, it will reinstate the matching 401k contribution that it ceased in early 2009 after the real estate crash of 2008 triggered the Great Recession. Entercom and Journal have also reinstated matching 401k programs for employees since suspending them in order to conserve on cash flow.
Two More Panels Set for the TALKERS Los Angeles New Media Seminar. As the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminar nears an early sellout, two more dynamic panel discussions have been added to the growing power-packed agenda. “The Modern Pioneers” will feature (in alphabetical order): Sam Hasson, president and founder of LATalkRadio.com; Mike Horn, CEO and founder of CRN Digital Talk; Tom Leykis, president and founder of The New Normal; and LA-based national broadcasting legend Shadoe Stevens of “MentalRadio” on SiriusXM and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” A talk personality panel titled “The Challenges of Hosting in 2012” will feature (in alphabetical order): Lars Larson of Compass Media Networks and KXL, Portland; Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles; Heidi Harris of KRLA, Los Angeles; Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” morning show; and Alan Stock of KDWN, Las Vegas; with more to be announced. The panel will be moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian. Highlights of the event will include the presentation of the TALKERS magazine’s annual “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient, Stephanie Miller of WYD Media and Current TV. Courtside Entertainment CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz will deliver the morning keynote address. Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke will deliver a special presentation “Database your Tribe NOW!” Other highlights include “The State of Local News/Talk Radio,” with (in alphabetical order); Robin Bertolucci, PD of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, PD of KNX, Los Angeles; Garret Lewis, PD/morning host of KNST, Tucson; Dave Sniff, PD of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler, PD of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. It will be moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS. The panel “Spoken Word Radio; The Big Picture” features (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director ,spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP/programming, Cumulus Media. The moderator will be Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS. Additional speakers include (in alphabetical order: Kevin LaRue, program director KSL, Salt Lake City; Don Martin, OM/GM, KLAC, Los Angeles and VP programming, Fox Sports Radio; Patt Morrison, host/commentator KPCC, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; Ken Rutkowski, host of “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles; and Eric Stanger, vice president of operations, the Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks. As those of you who have been following the development of this amazing conference know, the above is just the tip of the iceberg with a whole lot more scheduled. The complete up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted tomorrow at Talkers.com. In total, the seminar will feature more than 60 leading industry speakers who will examine the key issues facing the talk radio/media industries. It will take place in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club. To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Registration is a recession-era low $99 which includes everything. Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Clear Channel Flips KVNS, Brownsville, Texas to Sports Talk. The station – at 1700 AM – switches from classic hits to sports talk on September 17 airing Fox Sports Radio Network’s lineup of “Fox Sports Daybreak,” Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, and “Fox Sports Tonight” plus will serve the market as a Dallas Cowboys play-by-play affiliate. Clear Channel market manager John Richards says, “There are too many sports fans in the valley to not yet have a sports/talk station in the market. Like advertisers, we know sports fans are passionate about their favorite sports, teams and hosts, so we are very passionate about partnering with Fox Sports Radio for this launch.”
Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel Star Sean Hannity Hits Silver Screen in “Atlas Shrugged: Part II.” When the second part of the Ayn Rand saga hits theaters in October, moviegoers will get a glimpse of Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity as he plays a cable news TV anchor in one scene. A still from the flick is seen here as Hannity (far right) sits on the fictitious cable news network set with actual Fox News Channel correspondents (from l-r) Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, and Tamara Holder. In addition to Hannity’s cameo appearance in the movie, his radio show will be offering exclusive content, movie gear and tickets leading up to the movie’s premiere in Washington, D.C. in October.
Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.” Harrison describes the danger facing terrestrial radio as a “five-headed dragon” of 1) smothering debt, 2) exotic media rivals, 3) blurry ratings methodology, 4) an unprecedented generational divide, and 5) 60 and 30 second commercial spots (which when put together in clusters become “PPM pits of purgatory”). Harrison says “radio must be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.” He states, “The cultural heritage of what we grew up thinking as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.” Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.” He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there. Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.” Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am. All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.
WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina Debuts “Goldy and Jim” AM Show. North Carolina talk host Curtis Wright had been heard on the Cumulus Media station though he broadcast from the coastal market of Wilmington, North Carolina (his show was also heard there on Cumulus’ news/talk WAAV). Cumulus recently dropped Wright’s show for the more general interest “Good Morning Fayetteville with Goldy and Jim” (that’s Jim Gold and Jim Cooke). According to the Fayetteville Observer’s Andrew Barksdale and Paul Woolverton, Wright’s program was very political and, since it emanated from Wilmington, contained a lot of Wilmington political talk. WAAV, Wilmington has filled the slot Wright occupied with Tyler Cralle. As for Wright, he’s embarked on an online-only internet TV venture called “Curtis Wright on the Beat Virtual.”
NRG Media’s Omaha Sports Brand “The Zone” to Air UNO Contests. In a deal brokered by Nelligan Sports Marketing – the exclusive agent for University of Nebraska Omaha sports – NRG Media’s sports talk duo KOZN and KZOT, Omaha – “The Zone” and “The Zone 2” respectively – will air UNO basketball and hockey play-by-play for the next five seasons. Between the two sports, the stations will air more than 60 games during the 2012-2013 season. Zone general manager Andy Ruback states, “This is a tremendous partnership for our stations. Listeners are deeply rooted in the UNO sports tradition and both teams have a following on a regional level. The dual coverage on both Zone and Zone 2 will mean listeners can always stay in touch with the two premiere sports programs.”
WTOP, Washington Promotes David Dildine to Full-Time Traffic Team. David Dildine joined WTOP in 2010 during the launch of its in-house traffic center, taking on the weekend afternoon shifts. Now he becomes a member of the full-time staff where he’ll also work on traffic and weather related features. Interestingly, Dildine has another passion – storm chasing. Dildine is a seasoned storm chaser and weather research analyst having worked in Oklahoma and Texas where he chased severe storms and tornados for a living. WTOP states, “Dildine serves as a valuable resource for WTOP’s traffic, weather and news departments – recently analyzing Hurricane Isaac, flying with Hurricane Hunters into Hurricane Irene and producing popular traffic/news stories such as “DC’s Worst Traffic Merges.”
TuneIn to Be Included in 2013 Chevy Spark MyLink Dash. Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with GM to use Livio Connect technology so its app can be integrated into the MyLink Radio dashboard of 2013 Chevrolet Spark models made globally. According to a release, Livio Connect is a middleware framework protocol that enables hardware devices and mobile apps, now including TuneIn, to connect to and interact with one another. GM uses Livio Connect technology, which allows owners of Chevy Sparks equipped with the MyLink Radio to enjoy 70,000 stations. Livio Connect technology bridges the app, featured on iPhone and Android mobile devices, with MyLink. While connected through Livio Connect, all of the TuneIn buttons and controls from the mobile device will be available on MyLink’s seven-inch touch screen, while the app on the phone itself will be disabled to help promote safer driving.
Schnitt Wows ‘Em in Memphis. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studio at affiliate WREC, Memphis hosting his program on 9/11. The previous evening, Schnitt hosted a sold-out “Right Night with Schnitt” where more than 200 WREC listeners paid to attend the event held at the popular Memphis eatery Owen Brennans.
9/11 Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike, Obama Convention Bounce, and ‘Fast and Furious’ Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11). The anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; the political implications of the Chicago teachers strike; President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the campaign polls; and the inspector general’s report on the Justice Department’s ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Fires Up Digital Audio Network; Jay Severin Among Talk Talent. It’s called – what else? – TheBlaze Radio Network and the new online radio channel will be heard via Beck’s own TheBlaze iPhone and iPad apps as well as via iHeartRadio and at TheBlaze.com. Beck’s company says the network will be the new exclusive home for “renowned nationally syndicated talk radio personality and Marconi Award-nominee Jay Severin.” The lineup will also include a simulcast of Beck’s radio show, a re-launched show hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray as well as audio simulcasts of TheBlaze TV shows. Dom Theodore, through his consulting firm RadioAnimal, LLC, will serve as the network’s program director. When the network launches later this month, the lineup will be: the Glenn Beck program from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET; Pat and Stu from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Jay Severin from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; the simulcast of Beck’s TV show from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and a simulcast of “Real News from the Blaze” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. TheBlaze chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “We are excited to continue making TheBlaze a destination for news, information and entertainment programming across multiple platforms. Jay is an incredible talent and is the perfect host to launch The Blaze Network.”
SEC Charging Financial Talker Ray Lucia with Violating Laws, Conducting Misleading Investment Seminars. The Securities and Exchange Commission announces it is charging nationally syndicated talk host and financial advice author Ray Lucia with violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The SEC says Lucia’s investment seminars, dubbed “Buckets of Money,” mislead potential investors when Lucia claimed his strategy “had been empirically ‘backtested’ over actual bear market periods.” Further, the SEC states, “Lucia and RJL have admitted during the SEC’s investigation that the only testing they actually performed were some calculations that Lucia made in the late 1990s – copies of which no longer exist – and two two-page spreadsheets.” The upshot, according to the FCC, is “Lucia and RJL left their seminar attendees with a false sense of comfort about the Buckets of Money strategy.” SEC Los Angeles regional director Michele Wein Layne says, “The so-called backtests weren’t really backtests, and the strategy wasn’t proven as they claimed.” The SEC is seeking “financial penalties and other remedial action in the proceedings.”
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry’s the Flashpoint of Controversy in Houston After Tweet. Former Houston city councilman Michael Berry and talk host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KTRH is the subject of chatter in Houston after a tweet he sent during Michelle Obama’s speech on Tuesday evening has some charging Berry used racist lingo. Here’s what Berry tweeted: “Several black people were shot by other black people in Chicago while Michelle was speaking.” He hash tagged it #knuckadeads. Some say “knucka” or “nucka” is substitute slang for “nigga.” Berry replies to My Fox Houston reporter Isiah Carey that he meant no racist intent and said Mrs. Obama has used the term to mean hard-headed, like knucklehead. Carey writes Berry said he was trying to show the Obama administration’s lack of concern over the black-on-black violence in Chicago.
KMJ-FM, Fresno Names Jennifer Lipp AM Drive Host. Peak Broadcasting brings popular Fresno radio personality Jennifer Lipp to morning drive on the FM side of its KMJ news/talk duo. Lipp and former co-host Chris Daniel dominated mornings at crosstown rock KRZR in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Daniel moved on to KMJ and Lipp worked at classic rock KKBZ, Fresno until Lotus Broadcasting let her go in November of 2011. Now Lipp will host the morning show and Chris Daniel moves from the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on KMJ-FM. On her new gig, Lipp states, “It is a dream come true to grow with the KMJ brand. This is the most exciting endeavor of my career and I am looking forward to the journey with both the listeners who have joined me in the past and those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.” Lipp begins her new show on September 10.
Use Twitter to Help Save Your Job! Consultant Holland Cooke explains how the Twitter era is forcing talk hosts, news staffers and DJs to “keep it moving” to keep the listener/reader engaged and make money in the process – if those media people use social media efficiently and wisely. Cooke explains how he advised his clients covering the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to use Twitter to deliver content like no one else and how to make money with it. Read this enlightening and smart advice here.
Clear Channel Albany Names Josh Everett Program Director for WGY and WOFX. In addition to programming news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX, Josh Everett will oversee the News Hub which provides news for 10 Clear Channel Media and Entertainment markets in the Northeast. CC regional programming manager John Cooper states, “Josh’s extensive background in news/talk as well as sports programming will be an invaluable addition to WGY’s rich heritage and will help us grow WGY, Fox Sports and our News Hub.” Everett comes to Albany from Clear Channel’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster where he programmed news/talk WLAP and managed local production of the University of Kentucky Wildcats coverage.
Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time in its rich and colorful history is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.” Harrison also believes that it is important for “radio to be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in confident balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.” He states, “The cultural heritage of what we all grew up to think of as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.” Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.” He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there. Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.” Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am. All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.
Day Three at DNC in Charlotte. President Obama’s nomination acceptance speech will cap the three-day Democratic National Convention this evening and talk hosts, news networks and reporters spent yesterday covering the political chatter, campaigning and critiques of this convention. Talk Radio Network O&O news organization America’s Radio News Network is one of the national radio news operations on the ground at this convention. ARNN tells TALKERS co-anchors Lori Lundin and Rachel Crowson along with producers and technical staff, have been supplying live interviews and news updates to all five of the three-hour, long-form news programs the network offers. Guests on the network from yesterday included: Eleanor Smeal, a two-time president of the National Organization for Women; Diana Degette (D-CO), chief deputy whip; Cumulus Media Networks host and journalist Geraldo Rivera; and acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, among others. ABC News Radio and Salem Radio Network are also covering the convention and ABC’s Steve Jones (l) and Salem’s Tom Tradup (r) took a moment to pose for this shot from the convention center for TALKERS.
Talent Shuffle at Alpha Broadcasting’s Sports KXTG, Portland. A programming shift at “750 The Game” in Portland brings DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio syndicated host Dan Patrick to the station for morning drive beginning today. The move bumps morning host Chad Doing to the PM drive slot and current afternoon host John Canzano to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Business and marketing expert Brian Berger gives up his midday show but remains with the station to dispense his wisdom on the station’s various programs and online.
DirecTV Gives “The Nick and Artie Show” a TV Simulcast. The syndicated radio version of the sports and entertainment-centric show hosted by comedians Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange has been produced by DirecTV since its inception. Now DirecTV does for “Nick and Artie” what the company’s Dan Patrick has enjoyed – a TV simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel. Airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET beginning tomorrow night, the company says the duo will “tackle TV with the most outrageous observational humor to be found anywhere. The guys will review and give their unique takes on the day’s top sports and entertainment stories, along with celebrity interviews, movie reviews, live musical performances and a variety of in-studio segments, from cooking with Artie’s Mom to a game of pool.”
WTOP Promotes Dick Uliano to Full-Time Anchor/Reporter. The veteran Washington newsman has been working with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP part time as well as contributing to SiriusXM’s POTUS channel and doing part-time anchoring at NPR. Now, Dick Uliano joins the full-time staff at WTOP. Uliano’s previous experience includes time spent with the Associated Press and CNN Radio.
Odds & Sods. NFL great Joe Namath – who is part of Michael Kay’s show on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York where he hosts the “Joe Namath Hour” – discusses the upcoming NFL season in a media conference call today at 10:00 am ET….. Former New Jersey 101.5 night host Tommy G returns to host “New Jersey Today” on Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Monday, September 10 and Friday, September 14. He fills in for station PD Bert Baron, who says, “Tommy G is one of the biggest stars in all of New Jersey radio. I’m blessed that a talent of his caliber, record of success and current following is a mere phone call away. He’s a ratings winner that simply makes my station sound better.”…..JC Corcoran has been heard on the airwaves in Chicago as he’s been filling in on Tribune’s WGN. The longtime St. Louis personality most recently hosted a program at KTRS. Corcoran tells TALKERS he’ll have Fox Sports star Joe Buck on his show on WGN on Sunday morning at 10:00 am. Corcoran says Buck is already predicting trouble with the NFL replacement officials, telling him, “I think something catastrophic could happen early in the season that could cost a team a ballgame.”….. Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco will serve as the flagship station for Golden State Warriors basketball through the 2015-16 season, the station announces. It’s been the flagship of the NBA club since the 1976-77 season with the exception of one season in the 1980s. Cumulus president and CEO Lew Dickey and Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob appeared on the Murph & Mac show on Wednesday to announce the new deal.
Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle Featured Speaker at Liberty PAC. The Liberty Political Action Conference takes place September 13-15 in Chantilly, Virginia and funds “Congressman Ron Paul’s political activities as he travels the country to fight for the principles that many hold dear: Liberty, Limited Government and a strong, pro-American foreign policy.” The three-day conference will include training sessions and personal one-on-one meetings with various speakers and supporters. Jerry Doyle will be one of the speakers at the conference.
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Arizona Immigration Ruling and Hillary Clinton in China Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5). The coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the presidential campaign; a federal judge’s ruling that Arizona officers can inquire about immigration status while pursuing information about other crimes; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to China were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pioneering Radio Owner Peter Straus Dies at 89. His Straus Communications owned WMCA, New York when it was a part of the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll radio and after it became a talk radio outlet in 1970 until the time it was sold in 1986. From a talk radio perspective Straus’ WMCA employed legendary talk hosts including Barry Gray, Barry Farber, Bob Grant and Bruce Williams. The station is now owned by Salem Communications and broadcasts a Christian format. Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS he has fond memories of working for Straus as executive producer of the talk shows in the early 1980s. “I worked with Peter at a time when WMCA was a petri dish of talk radio creativity. Legendary hosts like Barry Gray, Bob Grant, Bruce Williams and Barry Farber were all local hosts on WMCA…and our 5,000-watt station (albeit in the middle of Midtown Manhattan!) was the home of every important New York politician including NYC mayor Ed Koch, New York Lt. Governor (and later Governor) Mario Cuomo, New York city clerk (and future mayor) David Dinkins and many more. The hallways of WMCA were always full, and it was a rare day one didn’t run into a guest like Marlon Brando or Woody Allen or Tony Randall or Robert Vaughn.” Tradup says the station was “vibrant but challenged” during his time there as it battled WOR and WABC but Straus was “one in a million. Peter instituted a ‘first radio in New York’ policy, meaning if an author appeared on another NYC station before WMCA, we wouldn’t book him. And son of a gun, we started getting all the big authors first because publishers knew he meant it. This taught me a lesson I’ve never forgotten: If you act as if your radio station is #1, people will treat you like #1. Peter was a winner, an exceptional leader, and the talk radio industry owes him respect and gratitude.”
Howard Stern Appeals Suit Dismissal in Beef with SiriusXM. Talk radio legend Howard Stern and agent Don Buchwald are not going to let one dismissal get in the way of their goal of getting some $300 million in stock bonuses they say is due them as the result of the satcaster’s success. According to the New York Daily News, Stern and Buchwald – through Stern’s 112 Inc. production company – filed suit in the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division. The Daily News reports the suit hasn’t even been processed yet so the documents aren’t available but we have a pretty good idea what Stern is claiming: That he is owed the $300 million in stock bonuses because his program is responsible for a large degree of SiriusXM’s success, even the success that came after the merger of Sirius and XM. In April of this year though, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick disagreed with Stern’s logic and dismissed the case ruling the language in Stern’s contract is “clear” and “unambiguous.” In other words, he’s gotten everything the contract promised him.
Howard Eskin Returns to TV Sports Anchor Role. Longtime WIP, Philadelphia sports talk personality Howard Eskin goes back to the little screen as sports anchor at WTXF-TV Fox 29 in Philadelphia. The station says Eskin helped launch its 10:00 pm news back in 1986 and now he’ll be behind the sports desk for the Fox News 29 at 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm newscasts as well as “Fox 29 Sports Sunday,” “Game Time Live,” and he’ll contribute to “Good Day Philadelphia.” After leaving his full-time talk show position at WIP, Eskin continued to work with the station as part of the Eagles pre- and post-game shows and as a sideline reporter. Eskin will remain with WIP to host programs, the Eagles pre-game show and handle sideline reporting for the station.
Shara Fryer Added to KTRH, Houston AM Drive Show. Longtime Houston market television news personality Shara Fryer will join Matt Patrick as co-host of KTRH’s “Houston’s Morning News.” Fryer is currently director of the World Affairs Council of Houston but served as co-anchor of KTRK-TV, Houston’s 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm evening newscasts for more than 25 years. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Houston president and market manager Eddie Martiny says, “Over 25 years of major-market broadcast excellence combined with her commitment to numerous charities in Houston make Shara the perfect choice for mornings on KTRH.” Fryer says, “I’m excited by the energy and raw spirit of radio. It’s a brand new world for me…There’s a spark with Matt and the entire KTRH team that I hope listeners will feel and join us weekday mornings.” She begins her new duties on September 4.
Al Gore to Anchor Current TV’s Convention Coverage. Former Vice President Al Gore – founder of the cable news/talk channel Current TV taps himself to anchor the channel’s coverage of the two political conventions. Current TV states, “Gore will be joined by former Michigan governor and ‘The War Room’ host, Jennifer Granholm, former New York governor and ‘Viewpoint’ host, Eliot Spitzer and ‘The Young Turks’ host, Cenk Uygur. Additionally, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will join the panel for the RNC coverage.” Current TV hosts Joy Behar and John Fugelsang will also assist in the coverage of the RNC beginning August 27 and the DNC beginning September 4. In a statement, Gore says, “I’m pleased to be participating in Current TV’s impressive lineup throughout the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Cenk, Jennifer and Eliot provide the keen insight and spot-on analysis our viewers have come to expect, combined with decades of experience in public service and a deep understanding of politics. I have no doubt that our coverage will be innovative and informative, and I look forward to working with them.”
Olympian Brings Home the Gold. Bethesda, Maryland teen Katie Ledecky (pictured here with WTOP, Washington program director Laurie Cantillo) stopped by WTOP to talk with the news organization about her experiences at the London Olympics. The gold-medal-winning 15-year-old won the 800-meter freestyle and spoke with WTOP anchors Shawn Anderson and John Aaron about the games and answered her critics who predicted she swam too fast in the beginning of the race and would tire before the end. Obviously, she didn’t.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony bring their program to Chicago for a live remote broadcast tomorrow from the 115 Bourbon Street Bar in suburban Merrionette Park. The special afternoon edition of the program kicks off at 3:00 pm CT…..CBS Radio names Laura Gonzalez local sales manager for sports talk WJFK, Washington, DC…..Cumulus Media splits off the AM side of sports simulcast WLQR, Toledo to go talk using all Cumulus Media Networks programs: Imus, Geraldo, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin, John Batchelor and “Red Eye Radio”…..Clear Channel’s sports WPOP, Hartford will carry Central Connecticut State football and basketball play-by-play for the next four seasons…..Attorney Eddie Gadrix begins hosting a Monday hour-long program focused on senior issues on WVNJ, Washington Township, New Jersey (Philadelphia market) on Monday mornings at 9:00. Gadrix has been hosting the “Divorce & Custody Show” on Fridays at 9:00 am on the station and continues that program…..Talk host Matt Bruce fills in on the AM drive show on the simulcast of WWJB, Brooksville and WXJB, Homosassa Springs, Florida today through August 14.
A Sign of the Times. WRKO, Boston talk host Barry Armstrong – Boston-area financial advisor and host of the daily “The Financial Exchange” program – is pictured here during one of the presentations that was part of the two-day financial seminar event on the economy, social security and estate planning. More than 1,000 people attended the seminars that were only promoted on Armstrong’s show on WRKO. Many listeners decided to also get an inside look into the production of Armstrong’s program as he conducted the entire program in front of a live audience.
Presidential Campaign Ads, Neo-Nazi Hate Groups, London Olympics, Mars ‘Curiosity’ Mission and Randy Travis Arrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/8). The state of the presidential campaign ads in the 2012 election; neo-Nazi groups and the aftermath of the Wisconsin Sikh temple shootings; the London Olympics; the ‘Curiosity’ mission on Mars; and the arrest of country star Randy Travis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sports Talk King Mike Francesa Credits Colleagues at WFAN for his Success with Special Salute to Former Partner Chris Russo. In a special statement issued to TALKERS, afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa – named the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America in the recently released “2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” — expresses his gratitude to “all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become.” He congratulates his teammates at the station that also made the list and particularly credits his former on-air partner Chris Russo (currently at SiriusXM Satellite Radio) saying, “I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.” The TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk has generated enormous mainstream press and internet chatter propelling the Big Apple mainstay into the national spotlight. Here is Francesa’s complete statement: “I commend Talkers for recognizing the importance of sports talk as a viable and efficient format in radio programming. In this the 25th year of WFAN, there are over 600 sports talk stations across our nation. I am honored to have been chosen by your editorial board to top the list. It is a special distinction to be cited by professionals who understand our medium so well. I accept this honor for all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become and congratulate my FAN colleagues who made the list – Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Joe Benigno, Evan Roberts, Steve Somers, and especially my partner of almost 20 years, Chris Russo. I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career. Again, I am very grateful for the honor and wish you continued success.
All the best
2012 Marconi Award Nominees Announced; CBS Radio Sports Talk Hosts Mike Francesa and Angelo Cataldi Up for Major Market Personality of the Year. The winners of the 2012 NAB Marconi Awards will be announced on September 20 at The Radio Show in Dallas. This year’s nominees include sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa of WFAN, New York and Angelo Cataldi of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia for Major Market Personality of the Year. Both Francesa and Cataldi were named to the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this week – Francesa at #1 and Cataldi at # 10. DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio Network personality Dan Patrick is the lone sports talk figure up for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year. He’s up against talk hosts Neal Boortz and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and music radio hosts Elvis Duran of Premiere Networks and Reach Media’s Tom Joyner. Other spoken-word nominees include: KYW, Philadelphia; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WFAN, New York for Legendary Station. Jan Mickelson from WHO, Des Moines is the lone talker up for Medium Market Personality of the Year. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is nominated for Major Market Station of the Year. News/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit are up for Large Market Station of the Year. WHO, Des Moines and WTIC-AM, Hartford are nominated for Medium Market Station of the Year. The nominees for News/Talk Station of the Year are: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KFGO, Fargo; WBBM-AM, Chicago; WGN, Chicago; and WTOP, Washington, DC. Nominees for Sports Station of the Year are: KTCK, Dallas; WEEI, Boston; WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia; WSCR, Chicago; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.
Glenn Beck Plans Major Expansion at TheBlaze. The talk media superstar and digital media pioneer tells WXKS-AM, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz during a recent appearance on his program that he intends to hire as many as 200 new staffers for TheBlaze in the coming months. TheBlaze – the multi-media news and programming initiative of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – already has approximately 120 employees. The news came within the context of an on-air conversation between Katz and Beck about the state of business in America under the Obama administration. Beck also alluded to the ease with which he’s been able to build his business – and create jobs – since moving away from New York City to the Dallas, Texas area.
Tai Irwin Hosts Final Morning Show on Alternative Rock WFNX, Boston. Radio personality (and faculty member at The New England Institute of Art) Tai Irwin reprising the role he played for 10 years at alternative rock WFNX, Boston today (7/20) as the station broadcasts its final day of alt-rock before Clear Channel takes control later in the day. Irwin and other personalities were invited to do one last show and Irwin tells TALKERS WFNX “launched me into the national talk scene due to my talk show and industry convention presence where I met and befriended Gene Burns and Jerry Williams, before I eventually left to work for Kevin Straley at WRKO. During my time there I interviewed everyone from Noam Chomsky and Jerry Brown to Mitt Romney.” In addition to his work at the NEIA, Irwin is involved with tom Leykis’ New Normal where he’ll debut a new podcast called, “The Tai-rade” very soon. As for what Clear Channel will do with the new FM signal, speculation runs the gamut from an FM signal for news/talk WXKS-AM to a brand new classic hits format. We’ll know soon enough.
Washington, DC Talk Host Andy Parks Gets Multi-Media Marketing Initiative. Washington talk radio personality Andy Parks – a long-time figure on crosstown WMAL – is heard in PM drive on Metro Radio Inc.’s WTNT as well as on WashingtonTimes.com. The show is called “Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times” and the paper is devising a multi-media marketing ploy to create awareness of the show. Using the line, “Online. On the Air. On Your Doorstep.” The Times is promoting Parks’ show with a reference to President Obama’s controversial statement about jobs creation not belonging to builders of small businesses and employs the phrase, “Andy Begs to Differ” in bold print in an ad in the newspaper. The Times says it plans to begin a digital initiative using the same campaign technique in the near future.
Flip to Talk for Florence, South Carolina FM; Station Nabs Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh. Miller Communications moved its plans to flip to talk up a couple of weeks when Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh became available after crosstown WJMX-AM/FM dropped Limbaugh’s program. WFRK-FM added Limbaugh to the schedule three days after WJMX dropped the show declaring to SCNow.com that decreased listenership, advertiser skittishness and increased costs associated with the show forced the decision. WFRK-FM CEO Harold Miller says the station will launch as a talk outlet officially on August 1 but could only say “Kinard and Koffee in the Morning” will be part of the lineup as other deals for programming are still in the works.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cox Media Group names Ben Reed vice president and market manager for its Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/FM. He takes over for Dan Kearney who moved south to become VP/market manager for Cox Media Group Miami…..Houston talk radio personality Matt Patrick hosts the final live debate between Texas Senatorial candidates Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and former Texas State Solicitor Ted Cruz on his PM drive show on The 9-5-0 KPRC this afternoon at 3:20. The primary election is July 31…..New England Patriots football great Gino Cappelletti announces he is retiring from his post as color man for radio broadcasts of Patriots football games – a job he’s held for the past 32 years. Cappelletti has worked alongside Gil Santos for the past 28 years. Comcast SportsNet is reporting WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 The Sports Hub – host and former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will likely be named Santos’ partner in the booth…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago hosts the 2nd Annual Taste of WVON neighborhood festival tomorrow from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park in Chicago. The event features more than 60 food and craft vendors and live entertainment…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago has a weekend full of special broadcasts planned to celebrate the induction of Cubs legend Ron Santo into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. WGN’s Dave Eanet will report from Cooperstown throughout the weekend and a special Ron Santo Hall of Fame edition of Cubs Confidential will air Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm featuring broadcast clips from the Ron Santo Cubs Legend CD. The station will also delay broadcast the induction ceremony after Sunday’s Cubs game…..ESPN Deportes brings Mexican soccer great Francisco Gabriel de Anda aboard to join the network’s team of expert analysts. De Anda will be integrated into Futbol Picante’s table of analysts Fridays and Saturdays, and become part of ESPN Futbol Center, the program dedicated to Mexican and International soccer.
Talk Host Tom Becka Calls on Nebraska Listeners to Protest Penn State. November 10 is the date of the Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Penn State and Fargo, North Dakota-based talk host Tom Becka is rallying his listeners who hear his show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on KKAR, Omaha to donate their tickets for the game to local kids who may never get the chance to see a big game. Becka says, “I am calling on my listeners in Nebraska to donate their Penn State tickets to any children’s group or give it to some kids in the neighborhood that normally wouldn’t be able to go. I’d love to see the stands loaded with children for any Penn State away game. That way kids get to see a game and the fans get to protest in a civil manner the neglect of Joe Paterno and the Penn State program.” The NCAA is currently reviewing the Penn State situation and although the “death penalty” is a possibility for the football program, it probably would not go into effect until next season.
2012 Presidential Race Remains Atop Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week. The various storylines relative to the November presidential election were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 16 – 20. Coming in at #2 this week was the report of increased jobless claims. At #3 was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the state of the U.S. economy and at #4 was President Obama’s unveiling of the $1 billion Master Teacher Corp program. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from Talkers. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Mike & Mike on David Letterman. ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic recently made their 9th appearance on CBS TV’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and the day was documented by Greenberg’s wife Stacey – aka Mrs. Greeny – for ESPN Front Row, where fans get a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite personalities. Pictured here are (from l-r): Mike Greenberg, Stacey Greenberg, actress Kyra Sedgwick, and Mike Golic taken backstage.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh and WERC-AM/FM, Birmingham…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show featuring host Chris Hill adds affiliates WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.
By Holland Cooke
MCVAY/COOK & ASSOCIATES
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Admittedly, I had a tough time hearing these stations objectively, for two reasons:
• By the time I heard ‘em in-car, I had been predisposed by terms like “abortion” and “crib dead” in published reviews.
• Having programmed WTOP, Washington for seven years, I’m an aficionado, a tough grader for this format.
These conspicuous flops should NOT suggest that news doesn’t belong on FM, where some 80% of Time Spent Listening now occurs, and with music radio’s days now numbered. Heck, WTOP is the USA’s top biller, something no other station outside NY/LA/Chicago ever accomplished.
Salem Builds Up the Morning Show at KRLA and KTIE in Southern California. Las Vegas-native Heidi Harris has been hosting the morning drive show on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles and sister KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino (positioned as 870 The Answer and 590 The Answer, respectively) since late April. Now, the company brings Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro aboard to build a morning team. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “We’re committed to providing L.A.’s morning commuters with a show that informs, entertains and makes them want to stay in the car once they get into the parking lot at work. We think that Heidi, Brian and Ben create a unique mix for L.A. that will do just that.” Brian Whitman is a 15-year Los Angeles resident who worked at CBS Radio’s KLSX-FM when it was a hot talk outlet. Ben Shapiro is an L.A. native, editor-at-large for Breitbart News and a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. Boyce says, “Creating an on-air radio team is tricky, but these guys all developed chemistry and camaraderie instantly. You would think they had been on the air for years together. Heidi continues to drive the bus on the air, and the guys seem to bring out the best of her many talents.” KRLA/KTIE program director Chuck Tyler says, “When we threw these three people together we honestly weren’t sure what would happen, but we knew that each of them brought a unique and important element to the mix. After hearing a week of shows we realized that something very special was coming out of the speakers.”
George Plaster Returns to Nashville Sports Radio July 23. Nashville sports talk personality George Plaster and co-host Willy Daunic left WGFX, Nashville when Cumulus Media closed on the Citadel purchase back in September of 2011. Since then, the Tennessee sports talker has been off the radio due to a non-compete. Daunic joined Cromwell Group’s crosstown sports talk outlet WPRT in November of 2011. Now, the stage is set for Plaster (pictured here with Cromwell Group market manager Tincy Crouse) to rejoin co-host Daunic on the PM drive show on July 23. A report in The Tennessean says the program is headed for regional syndication as “Sports Night on The Game Radio Network,” although affiliates are not being announced just yet. Station manager Jeff Kolb tells the paper, “George has been the biggest radio sports personality in this market for 20 or so years and carries a huge fan base. We started this station last year by getting ESPN Radio (as the national network affiliate) and the Predators broadcasts, and then we added the Nashville Sounds. George is a staple of Nashville sports talk radio, so adding him is huge.”
Why Not Just Say, “Don’t Listen?” Consultant Holland Cooke cringes at amateur mistakes made by talk hosts bemoaning working during a holiday week. Are you (or your staff) making those same mistakes? Plus, a new study sheds some light on the public’s sentiments about civility in American political discourse (or lack thereof). Read Holland’s entire piece here.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Genesis Communications sports talk WHOO, Orlando adds Central Florida News 13 sports anchor and reporter David Baumann to host the daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am show…..Grantland.com features another of its “oral histories,” this time writers Alex French and Howie Kahn write an oral history of sports talk pioneering station WFAN, New York. Grantland.com is a sports and pop culture website founded by ESPN.com writer Bill Simmons…..In response to the recent weather-related power outages, WTOP, Washington is hosting an “Ask the Utility Execs” live Q&A hosted by WTOP investigative reporter Mark Seagraves today at 10:00 am and will include reps from Pepco, BG&E, SMECO, NOVEC, Potomac Edison and Rappahannock….. WXKS, Boston morning drive talk host Jeff Katz is pictured here speaking at a Greater Boston Tea Party rally at Christopher Columbus Park at Boston Harbor to encourage the repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care law…..Tampa-based Bubba the Love Sponge calls on his Bubba Army for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the beating of a 17-year-old in Land O’ Lakes, Florida on July 2 that sent him to the emergency room with multiple injuries. Bubba is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of those involved…..Talk show host and candidate for Congress in Georgia’s 9th District, Martha Zoller, picked up some momentum in her bid for the seat as she won the Fannin County Tea Party Patriots’ Primary Preference Poll this weekend and earned the endorsement of the American Conservative Union PAC (ACU-PAC).
On a Pilgrimage. KARN-FM, Little Rock program director and PM drive host Dave Elswick (c) is pictured here with his wife Lynda (r) and Cumulus Media Networks talk host and Fox News Channel personality Governor Mike Huckabee (l) during a visit to a production of Huckabee’s FNC program. Elswick tells TALKERS he was in New York City with 50 listeners on his “Dave Elswick Patriot Tour 2012” and the group landed tickets to the taping.
ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic Raises $1 Million for V Foundation. The 12th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic was held at the Industry Hills Golf Club in Industry Hills, California as part of the V Foundation events that happen in conjunction with the 2012 ESPYS which air tonight on ESPN. The golf outing helped raise $1 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Pictured here are (from l-r): ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer, ESPN’s Mike Golic, Olympic Skiing Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn, actor Joe Mantegna and ESPN’s Stuart Scott.
House to Take Up ObamaCare Repeal, Bush Tax Cuts Repeal for Wealthy, 2012 Presidential Race, and Russia-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/10). The U.S. House plans to vote on repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the response to the president’s plan to repeal the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000; the 2012 presidential campaign; and Russia’s sending of warships to aid Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS TV: WTOP Reporter Does All Field Reports on iPhone or iPad. Things have changed, at least technologically, since WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein joined the heritage all-news outlet in 1999. The newsroom was still equipped with reel-to-reel tape recorders and the portable bag phones that weighed as much as 15 pounds. Since 2010, Neal has earned the distinction of being the first major market radio reporter who does all of his field production on an iPhone or iPad. This week TALKERS TV presents the final installment of an exclusive three-part feature on the inner workings of all-news giant WTOP with an interview with Neal Augenstein in which he explains the theory behind and the method of using Apple’s smart phone as an extremely innovative and convenient tool for gathering, producing and presenting news in a multimedia venue.
WTOP, Washington’s Jim Farley: “We’re Engaged Across All Platforms.” Hubbard Broadcasting’s Jim Farley, vice president of news and programming at WTOP, Washington, speaks with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison in this TalkersTV video interview. Farley tells Harrison that although WTOP is a heritage radio station, they think of it differently, “We don’t think of it as a radio station; we think of it as a digital news organization…we compete with everybody who does news.” Farley praises WTOP ownership – both current and past – for having the foresight to invest in staff and equipment to compete in the 21st century news game. Farley says they recently added a digital editor for the overnight shift so the organization has a radio and digital editor on the clock at all times. “Whenever there is a story – middle of the night or on weekends – we’ll be engaged across all platforms.”
WTOP’s Jim Farley Accepts 2012 “Freedom of Speech Award” at Talkers New Media Seminar; Honor Presented by CBS Radio’s Harvey Nagler. The 2012 “Freedom of Speech Award” was presented at the 15th annual Talkers New Media Seminar held yesterday in New York City to Hubbard Radio‘s vice president of news and programming at WTOP, Washington, Jim Farley. In presenting the honor to Farley, CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler noted that when one enters the WTOP newsroom the First Amendment is written in large, bold letters on the wall. Nagler described Farley as part P.T. Barnum, one part Edward R. Murrow and one part cheerleader. “He’s steeped in journalism and his journalistic ethics are unparalleled. Just think how many newsrooms have the First Amendment written on their wall. Very few I suspect. He has a very strong sense of principles. His favorite statement is, ‘First get it right, then get it first.’” In accepting the “Freedom of Speech Award,” Farley recounted to the standing-room-only crowd the story of the ACLU taking the principled stand of defending the rights of a group of neo-Nazis to march through the largely Jewish suburb of Skokie, Illinois in 1977 even though it cost the organization 30,000 members. “I’ll never forget that kind of defense of the First Amendment contrasted with people today who want to silence opposition and controversial voices. A big damned difference!” The “Freedom of Speech” ceremony was part of the New York edition of the New Media Seminar attended by a sold-out crowd of 400 talk media practitioners. TALKERS magazine will have more coverage of the event in the days and weeks to come. The Los Angeles edition of the NMS takes place on October 11. Visit Talkers.com for updates about the coming exciting West Coast event
CBS Radio Prepares to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Sports Talk WFAN, New York. The country’s first full-time sports talk radio station is preparing for the July 1 25th anniversary of its debut as a sports station with events and retrospectives commemorating the groundbreaking format birth. Operations manager of WFAN and vice president of sports programming for CBS Radio Mark Chernoff states, “We are proud to be a part of the fabric of New York sports. WFAN has appreciative and engaged listeners who are the backbone of the station. Our audience, along with our sports talk personalities have allowed WFAN to achieve such groundbreaking success and helped the station become an institution in the Big Apple. It is no coincidence that the station is nicknamed ‘The Fan,’ acting as a mouthpiece for die-hard sports enthusiasts.” The station will celebrate all summer long with special programming and highlights will include “Subway Series” ticket giveaways and live broadcasts from New York sports events and locations. Also, the station is asking its loyal fans to vote on the top 25 New York sports personalities of the past 25 years for a chance to win $500, along with a key which could start the grand prize, a brand new Kia from Global Auto Mall. In July, the station will hold auditions for its annual “Fantasy Phenom” contest at locations throughout the Tri-State area, where single entrants, and this year, teams, can try out to become a host on the station.
Mancow Does Midday Show on Merlin’s WIQI-FM, Chicago. The speculation is beginning about the future formatting of Merlin Media‘s WIQI-FM, Chicago after Mancow was heard hosting a talk show in the midday hours this week. Industry watchers suggest Merlin is thinking about going to a news/talk format with newswheels in the AM and PM drive with talk programs in the midday and possibly evening dayparts as well. Stay tuned!
“Broadcaster” Makes #10 on CareerCast’s Worst Jobs List. Don’t tell this to WTOP’s Jim Farley but CareerCast‘s list of the 10 Worst Jobs for 2012 as published by CNBC places “broadcaster” – meaning on-air TV or radio talent – as one of the 10 worst jobs for 2012. CareerCast writes, “The news business has always been high stress for comparatively low pay, which makes it a shoe-in for the ‘worst’ list. Add to that the changing digital times and you’ve got your No. 10 worst job…The broadcast industry has gone through a lot of shrinkage as much of the news is moving to digital formats including online or mobile, which has shrunk demand for broadcasters as well as salaries and compensation. Many radio and TV stations are relying heavily on young talent and interns (i.e., lower pay) as opposed to experienced broadcasters.” CareerCast lists the median pay as $27,324.
KFWB, Los Angeles Debuts Ken Rutkowski’s “Business Rockstars” Program. A new afternoon talk program debuts on KFWB, Los Angeles beginning June 18. Ken Rutkowski hosts “Business Rockstars” daily from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm – a program that promises to focus on business successes including CEOs of high-performing companies and money-making start-ups. KFWB general manger Valerie Blackburn says in a statement, “Listeners are about to hear one of the most original and compelling programs to hit talk radio. Ken is incredibly informed and well-connected with people in the media, entertainment and world of technology. This show will provide invaluable information for anyone starting a business, running a business or dreaming of being on their own.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the weekend schedule at KXLE, Ellensburg, Washington…..Doug Stephan‘s “Good Day” joins the program lineup at WFOY, Jacksonville; WISW, Jackson, South Carolina; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; KQTY, Amarillo, Texas; KMAS, Shelton, Washington; KBND, Bend, Oregon; and WONW, Defiance, Ohio…..Magic Broadcasting‘s Burnie Thompson show picks up affiliates WORL, Orlando; WGWD, Tallahassee; WINK, Ft. Myers; WNPL, Naples; and WLSS, Sarasota…..United Stations Radio Networks‘ “Our Time with Kim Iversen” is added to the nightly lineup at KTMY-FM, Minneapolis…..Malcolm Out Loud‘s “Malcolm Minute” is airing on KOGO, San Diego…..The Cigar Dave show becomes part of the weekend programming at WXYT, Detroit; WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; and WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois.
Wisconsin Recall Election Tops Talkers Ten for Week of June 4-8. The recall election of Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker edged out the 2012 presidential campaign (which was #2 on this week’s chart) as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from Talkers. Coming in at #3 this week was financial markets activity followed by the Bush tax cuts debate at #4. The Talkers Ten is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
New Media Seminar Takes Place in NYC Today. The first of this year’s two one-day installments of the New Media Seminar kicks off at 9:00 am ET today on Manhattan’s East Side with more than 70 industry leaders set to address a capacity crowd of more than 350. Attendees include professionals from all aspects of the talk media industry including talk radio, television, satellite and internet shows, stations, networks, syndicators and companies. The keynote speaker is Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity with solo addresses being presented by MSNBC‘s Ed Schultz, Cumulus Media‘s Governor Mike Huckabee, WFAN morning co-host Boomer Esiason, TRN and CRN legend Barry Farber, consultants Walter Sabo and Holland Cooke, CBS News VP Harvey Nagler, WTOP VP Jim Farley and WOR afternoon drive host Governor David Paterson. Panels will tackle such topics as the “General State and Future of Spoken Word Radio,” “Challenges Facing News/Talk PDs,” “How to Make Money Doing Talk,” “Managing a Talk Hosting Career,” and “Finding Digital Success in Talk.” The event will also feature the ever-popular “Talk Rumble” moderated this year by Dial Global star Jim Bohannon. TALKERS magazine will provide full coverage of the event in the days and weeks ahead.
G. Gordon Liddy to Retire from Talk Radio Career; Financial Expert Peter Schiff to Fill Time Slot for Syndicator Radio America. It’s been almost 20 years since Watergate figure G. Gordon Liddy got behind the microphone to do his first talk radio show. He began a regular program with then-Infinity Broadcasting‘s WJFK-FM, Washington, DC before moving into national syndication via Westwood One. His program began a syndication run with Radio America in 2003. Radio America announces the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET daypart will be filled by financial expert Peter Schiff – investor and author of three best-selling books including his most recent, The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy – and How to Save Yourself and Your Country (St. Martin’s Press 2012). In fact, today (6/7) Schiff is testifying before a Congressional subcommittee giving about the potential negative impact of more generous FHA loan guarantees currently being considered by Congress. Radio America states, “Schiff’s program combines his unique outlook on current events, economics and political developments. Unlike other radio hosts who only view the world through the prism of politics, Schiff connects today’s news to the world’s of business and finance. Schiff’s daily program has been airing on Radio America since August, 2011. Liddy’s last program for the network will be July 27 although he will still work for the network as a commentator and on special projects.
Michele McPhee Returns to the Air at WRKO, Boston. Former Boston Herald crime reporter and author Michele McPhee gets back on the Boston talk radio scene when she takes over the midday slot on Entercom‘s WRKO, Boston Monday, June 11. McPhee hosted the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WRKO in 2011 for seven months and worked at crosstown WTKK-FM for three years prior to that. Program director Jason Wolfe says, “It’s great to have Michele back at WRKO. She did a terrific job for us before and I’m very excited about getting her back on the air in this expanded midday role. Michele is Boston. An outstanding reporter with tremendous credibility, she will provide our listeners with high energy and passion every day.” On returning to WRKO, McPhee says, “While I loved breaking stories for ‘Team 5 Investigates’ and worked alongside some of Boston’s legendary TV personalities, I missed fighting for the common man in the Commonwealth on WRKO. So much outrage, so little time. I’m looking forward to engaging in the conversation again.”
Program Director Steve Holbrook is Out at WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando. No comments yet from Cox Media‘s Orlando cluster or from Holbrook, but Radio-Info‘s Tom Taylor is reporting that the Orlando message board is full of comments about the departure of Holbrook from the program director role at the news/talk station. The report is Holbrook’s exit was not voluntary. He’d been with Cox for 30 years and also programmed the cluster’s two country stations WCFB-FM and WWKA-FM.
Sun Broadcast Group to Handle Network Sales for Ben Ferguson Show. The Sunday evening Ben Ferguson show is produced by Ferguson’s own ICON Radio Network and is heard on more than 100 stations across the country. Now, Sun Broadcast Group announces Ferguson’s program joins its roster with Sun handling network sales for the program. Ferguson also hosts the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program on Cumulus Media‘s WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington, DC and sister station WFED pick up more than a dozen Associated Press awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association. WTOP was recognized for Outstanding News Operation; Outstanding Website; Year Round Sports Coverage; Outstanding Spot News and more…..Football writer and SportsUSA game analyst Ross Tucker begins writing an exclusive column for the SportsUSAMedia.com website. Tucker, a popular NFL expert, is writing a Tuesday column and will add a Friday column once the NFL season begins…..SiriusXM is providing coverage of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as Euro 2012, offering play-by-play broadcasts of every match to listeners nationwide. Subscribers will have access to both English and Spanish-language broadcasts, provided by ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio, from the Group Stage matches starting Friday, June 8, through the Final on Sunday, July 1…..Entercom‘s sports KGMZ-FM, San Francisco is giving listeners a chance to win “The Ultimate Bay Area Baseball Package” that includes 4 tickets to the entire As vs. Giants series June 22-24, the chance to meet players and two Southwest Airline ticket round-trip vouchers for being the contestant who uses Facebook, Twitter or some other means to get a celebrity to call 95.7 The Game on their behalf and go on the air next week. PD Jason Barrett says, ““It will be fun, unpredictable and the winner will get an amazing baseball experience.”…..WITF-FM, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is the latest non-commercial station to drop its music format – in this case classical – to air a news/talk format. The change takes place on June 25.
Walker Survives Wisconsin Recall Election, 2012 Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity, Al Qaeda Drone Strike and Ray Bradbury Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/6). Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker‘s victory in a recall election; the 2012 presidential campaign, the turbulent global financial markets, the recent drone strike that killed a high-level al-Qaeda leader, and the death of author Ray Bradbury were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mark Davis Back to Talk Host Duties in Big D on Salem’s KSKY. Longtime Dallas media personality Mark Davis returns to the radio in the market on Salem Communications’ KSKY in the 7:00 am to 10:00 am time slot. Davis, a Dallas Morning News columnist and television political commentator, exited Cumulus Media’s crosstown WBAP after 18 years in April when the two sides could not agree to a contract extension. Now, Davis will follow Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett who airs on KSKY from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. Salem Communications vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce is also re-branding KSKY “The Answer” as he’s done with KRLA, Los Angeles; KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino; and WNYM, New York. Boyce states, “Adding an industry icon like Mark Davis, and re-branding the station as ‘The Answer’ will help take KSKY to the next level. This station will truly be an answer for so many things going on in the metroplex and the world, with smart hosts who know how to help you understand all of those things, not to mention great news, traffic, weather and information.” Davis begins his new position on Monday, June 4 and he says, “There’s been a lot of attention paid to talk radio lately, about whether companies and stations are losing the commitment to local shows where a bond can build over the years with listeners. I love seeing the evidence that there is a company and a station looking to grow, rather than shrink that concept, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Sid Rosenberg to Return to the Air in South Florida. Mercurial sports talk host Sid Rosenberg appears headed for a new gig at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach (licensed to Royal Palm Beach) according to a recent report in the Miami Herald. Rosenberg most recently hosted the afternoon drive show at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami but exited that position after a well-publicized DUI arrest. WMEN general manager Steve Lapa tells the Herald he expects WQAM to let Rosenberg out of his contract that runs through August – in exchange for financial concessions – and allow him to start with the station sooner rather than later but that WMEN would be willing to wait if necessary. Lapa says Rosenberg is “a talented guy and he wants to work” and after meeting with him has no reservations about Rosenberg’s past issues with drink, drugs and gambling. Where Rosenberg would fit into the schedule has not been announced. The station is currently live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm with Chris Perkins in AM drive, Troy Stradford in late mornings, Andy Slater in middays and Orlando Alzugaray in PM drive.
KFI, Los Angeles Engineer Tony Dinkel Exits as Position Eliminated. He was just a day shy of his 29th anniversary at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles when he was notified his position as transmitter site broadcast engineer was being eliminated, but Tony Dinkel has nothing but fond memories of his time with the station. The 57-year-old engineer tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’ll always remember all the great people he worked with at the station. Dinkel also served as the remote engineer and station staffers praised Dinkel’s ability to get remote broadcasts off without a hitch. Read more about Dinkel’s time with KFI in Lycan’s column here.
Cumulus Media’s Atlanta All-Newser Debuts Today. All News 106.7 – the new news outlet Cumulus Media is putting on the air in Altanta – debuts today with a special radio documentary about the news business in Atlanta. The program will repeat for most of the day and the actual all-news format should be live and running after that. Cumulus made the decision to remove classic hits from WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia more than a month ago and the station will be the first all-news outlet to serve Atlanta since WCNN back in the late 1990s.
Cox Media Drops Sports/Talk Hybrid “Bulldog 103.7”; Debuts Variety Hits Format. The FM sports and news/talk station that was home to talk-host-turned-Congressional-candidate Martha Zoller – WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia (licensed to Maysville) – becomes a variety hits music station dubbed “Chuck FM.” The station morphed into “Bulldog 103.7” last fall featuring a combination of sports talk and news/talk. Gainesville-based talk host Martha Zoller held down the late morning show until her recent exit from the business to run for the open seat in the newly created Georgia congressional district.
WTOP, Washington Names “Commuter Idle” Contest Winner. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington held a contest to find – and reward – the person in the DC area with the worst commute. And the winner – with a 100 mile, five-hour daily commute to and from work – is Brenda Wells from Sparrow’s Point, Maryland. WTOP states Wells’ commute “begins at 3:00 am and her commute includes a 45-minute drive (complete with two tolls), a 50-minute train ride, two metro rides, a short walk and a metro bus ride. Wells is a federal worker with the Department of State in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where she assigns special agents to the consulates and embassies around the world. She is a single mother of three and lives with her parents in Baltimore for financial and child care reasons.” Wells wins $1,000 in gas money and a future limo ride to and from work courtesy of Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “As the DC area’s #1 traffic authority, we feel our commuters’ pain. We received hundreds of incredible stories from listeners who cope with crazy commutes just to make ends meet, and crowning a ‘winner’ was a challenge. Brenda’s multi-faceted commute, the long distance, and the impact on her family are what put her over the top.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Legendary Southern California media personality Charlie Tuna – currently spinning classic hits at K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles – is named the new station voice of KDOC-TV, Los Angeles…..Sports USA announces the first part of the slate of National Football League games it will be offering to stations for the 2012 season beginning with the New England Patriots at the Tennessee Titans on September 9. Sports USA says it will announce more NFL play-by-play approximately three weeks ahead of each week’s games…..The Nick Carioti real estate, money and business weekly radio talk show prepares to celebrate its one-year anniversary on Star Over Orlando’s WEUS, Orlando in July…..Performance Racing Network’s Wendy Venturini made history this weekend as the first woman to lead a NASCAR radio broadcast at the Charlotte Speedway’s History 300 on 5/26. PRN paired her with Doug Rice in the radio booth for Saturday’s race.
TALKERS TV: WTOP Reporter Does All Field Reports on iPhone or iPad. Things have changed, at least technologically, since WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein joined the heritage all-news outlet in 1999. The newsroom was still equipped with reel-to-reel tape recorders and the portable bag phones that weighed as much as 15 pounds. Since 2010, Neal has earned the distinction of being the first major market radio reporter who does all of his field production on an iPhone or iPad. This week TALKERS TV presents the final installment of an exclusive three-part feature on the inner workings of all-news giant WTOP with an interview with Neal Augenstein in which he explains the theory behind and the method of using Apple’s smart phone as an extremely innovative and convenient tool for gathering, producing and presenting news in a multimedia venue. See TALKERS TV at the top of the column on the upper right side of this page.
New Media Seminar New York Nears Sellout – Features Power-Packed Agenda. Thursday, June 7 promises to be an important and exciting day for talk radio and related talk media as the East Coast installment of the industry’s largest and longest-running convention nears a sellout. More than 60 industry leaders are scheduled to speak including (in alphabetical order): Nancy Abramson, executive director, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chuck Armstrong, APD, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, “Bax and O’Brien” morning show, Rock 102, Springfield, MA; Rennie Bishop, PD WWRL, New York; Jim Bohannon, host, Dial Global Radio Networks; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Dr. Joy Browne, host, WOR Radio; Laurie Cantillo, PD, WTOP, Washington, DC; Kevin Casey, VP/managing editor, TALKERS; Michael Castner, host, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media; Andy Dean, host Premiere Networks; Dave Elswick, PD, KARN, Little Rock; Boomer Esiason, host, WFAN, New York; Barry Farber, host, Talk Radio Network/CRN Digital Talk Radio; Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP, Washington, DC; Terry Foxx, PD, KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; Ian Freeman, co-host, Free Talk Live; Mike Gallagher, host, Salem Radio Network; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Heidi Harris, host, KRLA, Los Angeles/KTIE, San Bernadino; Matthew B. Harrison, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, president, Gabe Hobbs Media; Jim Horn, PD, WSBA, York; Gov. Mike Huckabee, host, Cumulus Media/Fox News Channel; Rusty Humphries, host Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Lionel, president, LionelMedia.com; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP Radio, CBS News; Chris Oliviero, SVP programming, CBS Radio; Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications/Portland; John Parikhal, president, Joint Communications; Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service; Mark Riley, host, WWRL, New York; Walter Sabo, president, Sabo Media; Todd Schnitt, host, Compass Media Networks; Ed Schultz, host, MSNBC/The Ed Schultz Show; Doug Stephan, president, Stephan Multimedia; Chris Stigall, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Peter Thiele, PD, WMCA/WNYM, New York; Joe Thomas, PD, WCHV, Charlottesville; Paul Vandenburg, president/GM, WGDJ, Albany; Steven J.J. Weisman, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; with more to be announced. A full agenda will be posted here tomorrow. Also, today is the final day that discount rooms for seminar attendees at the nearby Doubletree will be available. For registration and hotel information call 413-565-5413.
Sabo Sez: If Every Station Was a Talk Station… “Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station. How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener? They couldn’t all take the same approach, they would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics,” says Sabo Media president Walter Sabo. In his latest column for TALKERS, Sabo says that’s why spoken-word radio must be differentiated and targeted just as music-based radio is and therein lays the key to making a profit from an FM talk station. Read Walter Sabo’s piece here.
Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast from WABC, New York-Sponsored Job Fair. Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York and sister Hot AC WPLJ-FM are sponsoring the “Putting America Back to Work” job fair being held tomorrow (5/15) at the Jacob Javits Center and WABC and KABC, Los Angeles talk host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program live from the event. Part of the broadcast will feature a panel of experts and CEOs discussing practical advice and tips for job seekers. Cumulus New York states there will also be some 100 job recruiters from a wide range of industries with positions available on the scene.
KFWB, Los Angeles Re-Ups with NBA’s Clippers. The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles sign a multi-year extension to keep the franchise’s games on the station. Details of the terms are not being disclosed per team and station policy. Station general manager Valerie K. Blackburn states, “We are so happy to forge forward with our relationship with the Clippers who have captured the hearts of Southern Californians and fans across the country. The Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a fan favorite in this town and are an extremely important part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality programming to our listeners.” KFWB is operated by the KFWB Asset Trust and the KFWB License Trust, divestiture trusts under the management of Diane Sutter, president and CEO of ShootingStar Broadcasting.
Cumulus Media Signs With Triton Digital for Its Online Platform. The country’s second largest radio station operator (measured by station count) will move the online platform of its more than 530 radio stations to the Triton Digital platform, according to a story in Radio Ink. Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states the company’s stations will be able to take advantage of the services provided by Triton Digital as well as providing a standard platform which will enable the transition to putting all of the company’s stations on iHeartRadio as announced several months ago. It is expected the Cumulus stations will be available on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio within the next 45 to 60 days.
Greater Media Charlotte Names Billy Black Imaging Director. News/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and talk intensive sister Hot AC WLNK-FM have hired imaging pro Billy Black to serve as the imaging director for the stations. For the past 10 years Black has worked at Clear Channel’s rock WRXR-FM, Chattanooga where he served as morning show host, program director and imaging director. Greater Media Charlotte marketing administrator Jessica Reeves RoBards says, “He has imaged a ton of Clear Channel stations and made work parts and shells from scratch for companies like Frost Bytes. This is unique because most imaging guys use pre-made beds and work parts, he makes his own. He also had a stint at Media Base. He will image both stations. His ideas and creativity are something these stations have been craving.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cumulus Media nabs market manager Kevin Waltman from Clear Channel’s Tallahassee operations that include news/talk WFLA-FM. Waltman heads up Cumulus’ Montgomery, Alabama cluster that includes news/talk WLWI and sports talk WMSP…..Forever Broadcasting is picking up a stronger signal for its “TJ Network” news/talk format based at WTJS, Jackson Tennessee. It will swap with Grace Broadcasting Services giving Grace its WTJW-FM, Humboldt, Tennessee at 105.3 plus $525,000 and get WTGP-FM, Trenton, Tennessee at 97.7…..SiriusXM names National Soccer Hall of Famer John Harkes host of its daily soccer talk show “The Football Show” that airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Harkes will be joined on the show by co-hosts Charlie Stillitano and Neil Barnett.
Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey Reports Limbaugh Boycott Cost Company Millions. During Monday’s first quarter conference call with analysts, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey announced that the advertiser boycott of Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show – which is carried on 38 Cumulus-owned stations – cost his company “a couple of million” in the first quarter of 2012 and another “couple of million” in the second quarter. Dickey says everything seems pretty much back to normal for June but he blames about 1% of the company’s 3.5% drop in revenue on the Limbaugh boycott. Dickey also addressed the debut of the Mike Huckabee show which airs live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot and is seen by some observers as a direct competitor to Limbaugh. He says they are very close to having Huckabee on 200 affiliates and he’s viewing the show as a long-term project.
Cumulus Media’s 2012 Q1 Revenue Down 3.5%. The first quarter of 2012 saw Cumulus Media report net revenues down 3.5% on earnings of $245.3 million – down from $254.2 million for the same period a year ago. Free cash flow was up almost 95% to $37 million, up from $19 million for the first quarter of 2011 and EBITDA was up 12.2% to $76.8 million. CEO Lew Dickey states, “The first quarter of 2012 was marked by significant progress in our integration of Citadel as we build Cumulus into a robust platform company that strategically monetizes content, distribution and technology. Complementing this progress was the continued deleveraging of our balance sheet, as well as strategic portfolio management that will enable us tremendous financial flexibility going forward.”
FCC Up to Full Complement. Six months after they were nominated, Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to seats on the Federal Communications Commission. Senator Charles Grassley had been keeping the confirmation from taking place due to his concern over the commission’s handling of the LightSquared case. Grassley has been investigating the FCC’s dealings with the troubled satellite venture suspecting that LightSquared has been given special treatment by the commission.
Pat Miller Cuts Back Duties at WOWO, Fort Wayne; Gregg Henson to PM Drive. Afternoon drive talk show host Pat Miller is leaving his role at the legendary Federated Media station to focus on his own local business. Director of programming operations Gregg Henson takes over the PM drive host duties effective immediately. Miller will remain with the station in several capacities. He’ll host a weekly Saturday afternoon program and he’ll make regular appearances as the station’s expert political analyst. Henson says of Miller, “Pat is a great asset to WOWO and we look forward to redeploying him in other areas to take advantage of his strengths. He is a tremendous resource. Pat’s loyalty and love for Fort Wayne are indisputable and we look forward to his continued relationship with WOWO.” Henson assumed the programming duties at WOWO and sister station WKJG a year ago. He says he’s excited about taking over the PM drive show. “WOWO has a special relationship with this community and I look forward to being a part of it.”
Talk Radio Hosts Converge on Washington, DC for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Radio Row. More than 60 talk radio hosts are in Washington, DC today and tomorrow for a radio row sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The event is being led by Radio America syndicated talk show host Roger Hedgecock who organized the first radio row dedicated to this issue in 2007 to protest the Senate Amnesty Bill. Talk show hosts taking part have the opportunity to interview numerous legislators and experts on illegal immigration and related topics over the course of the two days. FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS, “Once again, talk hosts from across the country are gathering to focus on immigration reform and this election year is the most critical of all. The Obama administration continues to dismantle interior enforcement at a frightening pace and is using unconstitutional backdoor methods to grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. With November looming, May is the ideal time to set clear expectations for candidates of all stripes. Responsive politicians respect and listen to the electronic town hall of talk radio and ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a yearly bellwether of public sentiment on the immigration issue.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Peter Sessa has been the vice president of marketing and communications at Westwood One for the past five years. He stayed with the operation after it was merged with Dial Global but now exits and is seeking his next opportunity…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago eliminates a news position as midday anchor Jim Gudas is let go for financial reasons…..Phil Cioppa joins the Greenwich, Connecticut-based Business TalkRadio Network where his show which “tackles global and national events and translates them into how they affect the average American’s pocketbook” now airs on some 140 affiliates…..SiriusXM announces it is launching an expanded suite of 30 play-by-play channels dedicated to streaming the official radio broadcasts of every MLB team on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at SiriusXM.com…..WTOP-FM, Washington offers prizes to listeners in the area with the worst commute. Dubbed “Commuter Idle,” listeners must submit stories of their commute online and the winner receives $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride. Runners-up get $150 gas cards…..Merlin Media’s WEMP-FM, New York lets managing editor Doug O’Brien go. The Former WINS, New York staffer has been with FM News 101.9 since its inception last summer…..Yahoo! Sports Radio pairs up Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel with college sports writer Pat Forde for a weekly Thursday evening sports talk show on the network…..Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City (the AM side) celebrates its 90th anniversary serving the market…..Sports USA announces its 18-game college football schedule for this fall that kicks off with Michigan State hosting Boise State and wrapping up with the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
Putin Returns, Anti-Austerity Backlash in Europe, 2012 Presidential Race, New American Obesity Stats, Student Loan Rate Debate, and Terror Plot Foiled Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The return of Vladimir Putin to power in Russia; voters in Europe show anti-austerity backlash; the 2012 presidential race; the latest statistics on obesity in America; Congress to take on student loan rate debate; and a plot to destroy a U.S. airliner is foiled were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Generations. Television stars Robert Conrad (l) and Jorge Garcia (r) pose for a photo at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles at the grand opening of an exhibit titled, “50 Years of Warner Brothers.” Conrad, who hosts a weekly talk radio program on CRN Digital Talk Radio, was the star of “The Wild, Wild West.” Garcia starred in “Lost” and currently is featured in “Alcatraz.”
Clear Channel’s WMMS-FM, Cleveland Disciplines Morning Talent for Off-Color Comment. “Rover’s Morning Glory” cast member Dominic Dieter has been disciplined in response to comments made on the morning show – though the extent of the discipline is not known. A father e-mailed the show stating he saw his daughter kissing another girl and asked what he should do. Dieter responded he should have a friend “screw [her] straight.” For obvious reasons, a bad joke about raping a young woman in response to her possible homosexuality raised the ire of some listeners and caught the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. To the credit of CC’s local management, it acted quickly. The station met immediately with GLAAD representatives, took Dieter off the air (for how long has yet to be determined) and had him record an apology which included the following. “I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said. I regret what I did say. My comments were inappropriate. They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid. And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.” CC Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams stated to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended. We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable. We also want you to be aware that during Friday’s broadcast, he was in fact immediately criticized on-air by the other hosts of the show, and the rest of the segment was dedicated to a productive discussion about the acceptance of all lifestyles. It included call-ins and commentary from members and friends of the gay community. WMMS supports the gay community and again, we deeply apologize.” GLAAD’s Aaron McQuade tells the paper the station has also invited the gay rights group Equality Ohio to join its community advisory board.
Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media Pull Off Big Deal. This deal gives each side what it wanted but it reportedly took about a year to finalize. Here’s who gets what: Townsquare Media gives its stations in Peoria, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois to Cumulus plus $116 million while getting from Cumulus the stations in 11 small markets – Kileen-Temple, Texas; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Binghamton, New York; Bangor, Maine; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Grand Junction, Colorado; Augusta-Waterville, Maine; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Presque Isle, Maine. Industry watchers are noting that Cumulus is very happy to get the cash infusion it needs after spending $2.4 billion on the Citadel deal and Townsquare Media is happy to focus on the local aspect of small and mid-size market radio.
Cumulus Media’s News/Talk KCMO, Kansas City Adds FM Signal. Kansas City news/talker KCMO begins an FM simulcast on 103.7 – a translator that had been simulcasting the company’s classic rock KCFX-FM. The signal is 250 watts but covers the heart of the Kansas City metro. Cumulus Kansas City SVP and market manager Mark Sullivan states, “This is an exciting day for KCMO Talk Radio as it provides us a platform to continue to be successful into the future.” In a statement, the company notes that John Dickey, co-chief operating officer for Cumulus commented in a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that “having this format on FM is really the future!”
Courtside Entertainment Group Adds Dr. Drew Feature to WTOP, Washington. The “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” finds a home on Hubbard Broadcasting’s major market WTOP, Washington. DC joins New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in receiving Dr. Drew Pinsky’s latest media project – 60-second commentaries covering relationship advice and hot topics plus the latest news from the medical world. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo states, “In addition to breaking news, Campaign 2012, traffic, and weather coverage, WTOP brings listeners useful and relevant information on health, relationships, and consumer issues. Dr. Drew offers practical, actionable content that’s appointment listening on WTOP.”
Greater Media’s Philly Sports Combo Grabs NHL’s Flyers for Multi-Year Deal. There’s an aggressive acquisition of play-by-play rights going on in Philadelphia as Greater Media’s sports talk combo – WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic and WPEN-AM 950 ESPN Radio – adds Flyers hockey to their programming beginning with the 2012-2013 season. This comes just days after the stations grabbed 76ers basketball from CBS Radio’s crosstown WIP. Flyers games will be broadcast on both sports outlets and a few will air on rock WMMR-FM. Comcast-Spectacor (Flyers owner) president Peter Luukko says, “We’re thrilled to be working with a partner that is 100% committed and excited about the Philadelphia Flyers. We’re also happy that the Sixers have moved over to Greater Media Philadelphia along with us. Greater Media is an incredible partner that offers extensive promotional support for the Flyers on all their stations.”
CBS Radio Violated Sixers Contract Reports Philly Daily News. The reason Greater Media was able to snag the 76ers for the playoffs this year though CBS Radio had the rights to the team’s play-by-play throughout this season is because CBS violated the contract, according to the Philadelphia Daily News’ Dan Gross. The paper reports CBS Radio failed to give the Sixers proper notice before bumping an April 3 game to classic hits WOGL-FM. Gross writes that after the deal with Greater Media was consummated, Sixers CEO Adam Aron stated, “The Sixers’ rapidly growing fan base will no longer have to set their radios to ‘scan’ to find where their Sixers will be aired.” CBS Radio market manager Marc Rayfield told the paper the two sides parted ways amicably.
Michael Harrison Set to Address 2012 Radio Show on State of Talk Radio. In what has become an industry tradition running more than a decade, TALKERS magazine founder and publisher Michael Harrison will again deliver the annual “State of Talk Radio” address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show. Harrison will speak on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:30 am and 11:45 am at a special Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS. The national conference will take place this year September, 19-21 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. Harrison’s address is open to all 2012 Radio Show registrants.
Rush Limbaugh Helps Raise $3.3 Million for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh dedicated three hours of his nationally syndicated talk show on April 13 to raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Including a personal donation of $400,000, as of April 20 the cure-a-thon has brought in pledges of $3.3 million. This is the 22nd year Limbaugh’s program has held the cure-a-thon and has helped raise more than $34 million for the organization during that time.
Federated Media to Add FM Simulcast to Sports WKJG, Fort Wayne. Beginning June 4, Federated Media will flip Froggy 106.7 — WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne (licensed to Hicksville, Ohio) to sports simulcasting WKJG – ESPN 1380. At that time the station will also add a local PM drive show featuring sister rock WBYR-FM operations manager Stiller and WKJG PD and WOWO APD Brian LaMartina. Federated Media COO Mark DePrez states, “The Stiller and Brian show is the first step toward combining the world renowned ESPN brand with an increased local connection. Peter Drucker said concentration is the key to all economic success. In Fort Wayne, we have gone from seven to five brands to serve this community more effectively, efficiently and most importantly more profitably. It sounds cliché but it is true that when one door closes another opens. We salute the staff of Froggy 106.7 for their years of dedication and commitment to community radio.”
2012 Presidential Race, Escaped Chinese Activist, EPA vs Oil and Gas Industries, White House Correspondents Dinner, and Bin Laden Death Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). The 2012 presidential campaign; the case of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng on the eve of visit to China by Hillary Clinton; EPA administrator resigns after comments about making an example of oil and gas companies; the aftermath of the White House Correspondents Dinner; and the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Dr. Daliah Wachs Helps Organization Raise $17, 000 for Autism Charity. Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs helped the Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow organization raise some $17, 000 during its FAST for Kids Gala on April 28 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. The event was hosted by local Fox TV news personalities Heidi Hayes and Ted Pretty. Pictured here is Dr. Daliah Wachs (l) promoting the fundraiser on Fox 5 News.
Ed Schultz Added to Growing Lineup of Movers, Shakers and Stars at New Media Seminar. “Big Eddie,” star of MSNBC’s nightly “The Ed Show” and nationally syndicated progressive talk radio sensation has been named to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment” address at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. The speech, which has a rich history dating back more than two decades, is a longtime tradition in the talk show industry and will take place during the Freedom of Speech Ceremony at this year’s event. WTOP, Washington VP of news and programming, Jim Farley will be this year’s recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award. This year’s NMS/NY will feature a lineup of more than 50 industry speakers addressing a variety of topics including the state of programming in talk radio, methods of generating revenue during tough times, the challenge of selling controversy, designing successful digital and social media strategies, the changing role of news, the continuing growth of sports talk, and lots more. A detailed agenda for the June 7 event will be posted at Talkers.com this coming week. This year’s New Media Seminar marks the innovative launch of an updated model sensitive to the tough economic and stressful conditions of the times. Significant restructuring has been applied to lower the costs of registration (only $99), accommodations and travel as well as moving the event from the weekend to a weekday. According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Both conferences will be national in scope and regional in flavor, a recipe that worked amazingly well at last year’s successful experiment, the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.” NMS 2012 will consist of two one-day conferences. The first will be held in New York City on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. According to its organizers it is on the verge of a sellout. The second – presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club – will take place on Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Harrison says, “We learned a tremendous amount at last year’s ‘happening’ in L.A. There is something very exciting, fulfilling and productive about one single, power-packed day with no time-wasting fat or money-wasting frills. It was executed purposefully under the radar to test the waters for this new model on a national scale and it succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching maximum registration capacity in a matter of days. Although the New Media Seminar has actually grown consistently larger and has been a sell-out every year of its existence, we recognize that conditions are such that a change would eventually be necessary as well as beneficial to the working person in our business – at least during this stressful period of tight budgets and high industry economic uncertainty. At TALKERS we insist on being ahead of the curve. Industry conferences need to include and be accessible to professionals in the trenches as well as the corporate elite. This new model is a gift to the business.” Because quick sell-outs for each event are expected, registration is limited to working media. (As indicated, New York is on the verge of a sellout.) For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE!!! HOTEL INFORMATION FOR NEW YORK ATTENDEES. The Doubletree by Hilton Metropolitan New York at 569 Lexington Avenue (3 blocks away) has rooms available for $359 per night for a limited time. You may register online via www.dtnewyork.com. On the main page, click on reservations and type the letters TNM in the group code box. Or you can call 800-222-8733 and give the code TNM when speaking to the guest services staff.
Arbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.5%. The first quarter of 2012 has been good to Arbitron Inc. as the company states net income increased 9.6% on revenue growth of 5.5% during the period that ended March 31. Total revenue for the quarter was $106.4 million and it came primarily from annual rate increases, including the continued phase-in of price increases for the PPM. Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr states, “Our results and our activities in the first quarter are well aligned with our long standing priorities for enhancing our core services and for generating revenue growth. We unveiled our marketing mix modeling service at the recent Advertising Research Foundation convention. We expect to have the complete service up, running and ready to improve radio’s visibility among the top agency media planners by the middle of the summer.” Kerr also said, “Digital radio remains a key priority as we continue our work to follow radio onto its new digital platforms in order to quantify this growing audience segment thereby enabling customers to monetize it.” Guidance for the rest of 2012 indicates Arbitron expects revenue to be up between 5% and 7%.
Cox Media Announces Talent Lineup for New Tampa FM Talker “The Bone.” Last week Cox Media Group announced it would drop the rock music on WHPT-FM, Tampa – “The Bone” – built around the success of AM drive talent Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive counterpart Cowhead. Now, the company announces the rest of the lineup consisting of talent already working in the Cox stable. Following Bubba from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is former WTKS-FM, Orlando – Real Radio 104.1 – personality Drew Garabo, who currently is AM drive host on the Cox Tampa cluster’s rock WSUN-FM. From 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Cox imports Billy Madison and his KISS-FM, San Antonio morning show crew for a midday talk program. Following Cowhead in PM drive is Bubba cast member Matt “Spice” Lloyd who’ll host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Cox Radio Tampa vice president and market manager Keith Lawless says of the new direction of The Bone, “The top-rated performance on our current shows clearly tells us that Tampa Bay likes what they hear and is asking for more. We have worked hard to insure we are giving them what they want with these compelling new shows. This is an exciting time in Tampa Bay radio.”
Clark Howard Sponsors 46th Habitat for Humanity House. Cox Media nationally syndicated financial and consumer issues talk host Clark Howard announces he’s challenging the Tulsa community to help him build a Habitat for Humanity house in the city. Howard is putting up half the money it’ll take to build the house — $35,000 – and is asking listeners to Tulsa affiliate news/talk KRMG-AM/FM to donate the rest. The Tulsa Habitat build will be parallel to a build in Joplin, Missouri that Clark is also sponsoring on the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado as part of his on-going “Project Home” campaign. The Tulsa home will be the 46th Habitat for Humanity home that Howard has helped sponsor.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. New York talk radio personality Loose Kannon – Rob Stevens – is heard on the WOR, New York internet stream from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily beginning Monday, April 23. Stevens previously was heard on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York internet stream. He tells TALKERS he’ll be heard between former New York Governor David Paterson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on the stream…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk is publishing a new book on May 5 titled The Poetic Gourmette (Changing Lives Press 2012). The book is billed as a “compilation of uniquely formed recipes inspired by emotional challenges experienced by the author at the time of creation.” Silk says, “I would move on to cooking and experimenting with various ingredients, which to me were like words. Every time I mixed an ingredient, I was expressing another feeling. When I completed my recipes, I felt that I had dealt with whatever the world had sent my way.”…..ESPN Radio and USC agree to a multi-year deal to allow the sports giant the exclusive national broadcast rights to Trojans home football games…..The Automotive Journalism Society of America names talk host Jeff Shade’s syndicated, KRKO, Seattle-based “Talk About Cars” the “Best Automotive Radio Show” for 2012. Shade’s program is heard on KRKO, Seattle; WIXC, Melbourne, Florida; and WAMT, Orlando to name a few and is gaining new affiliates each week…..KYKN, Salem, Oregon talk host Bill Post’s program is expanded from two to three hours daily, now airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. General manager and station owner Mike Frith states, “I’m delighted with the way in which Bill Post has taken the show from a compelling hour to a second hour and now a third hour of great local, Oregon oriented talk. He has consistently kept the show topical, fun and informative and our listeners have responded very positively to the show.”
2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 16-20. The ongoing 2012 presidential campaign returned to the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. Following at #2 this week was President Obama’s proposed oil industry regulations. At # 3 was ongoing debate in Washington over the federal budget deficit and the death of the ‘Buffett Rule’ in the Senate. And at #4 was the scandals involving the Secret Service and the Government Services Agency. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Revolution on the Hill. That was the name of the first event held on the Capitol Hill lawn on Monday, April 16 and sponsored by former presidential candidate Herman Cain. The purpose of the rally was to draw attention to tax reform, fiscal responsibility and the importance of electing true conservatives in government and included such speakers as Dick Morris, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist. Also taking part were some important talk show hosts. Pictured here at the event are (from l-r): Cox Media’s Neal Boortz; Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta’s Rusty Humphries; and WLAC, Nashville-based Radio America-syndicated host Steve Gill.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and Montana tri-mulcast KYLW, Billings; KBSR, Laurel; and KHDN, Hardin…..Better Health Network’s Dr. Bob Martin health talk program is added to the weekend lineup at KFWB, Los Angeles.
Hubbard’s WTOP Retains Top Biller Status; Clear Channel’s News/Talk KFI, Los Angeles Jumps to #3. For the second year in a row, Hubbard Broadcasting’s Washington, DC news juggernaut WTOP grabs the top biller title with $64 million billed in 2011. According to BIA/Kelsey’s 2011 estimates, all news was a big money maker and CBS Radio had a number of winning horses in the race. Its WBBM, Chicago came in at #4 billing $48 million and WCBS, New York followed at #5 taking in $47.5 million. CBS’ WINS, New York was #8 with $42 million. While Chicago market WBBM topped each of the New York-market all-newsers, it’s pretty impressive that CBS Radio billed $89.5 million between all-newsers WCBS and WINS. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s ratings and revenue news/talk giant KFI, Los Angeles was the only talk station to make the top 10, showing off the power of its high-cuming talk personalities – especially AM drive host Bill Handel and PM drive duo John & Ken – coming in at #3 billing $48.1 million (up from the #4 spot in 2010). And sports talk cracked the top 10 as CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York rounded out the list at #10 billing $40.5 million.
A View Behind the Scenes at #1 Biller WTOP, Washington. TALKERS TV recently visited the studios at Hubbard Broadcasting’s Washington, DC news operation WTOP. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison visits with WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo and news director Mitchell Miller as they show off the very high-tech, multi-platform and extremely well-staffed news operation (a whopping 120 employees) in the Nation’s Capital. View the video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
Court Strikes Down Ban on Political Ads on Public Broadcasting Outlets. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has iced the ban on political and issues ads that could lead to a ton of such fare hitting the airwaves of pubcasters as the November presidential election approaches. A 2-1 vote of the three-judge panel upholds the ban on advertisements for goods and services from for-profit companies. But the decision is rocking the world of pubcasters – many of whom are not commenting publicly at this juncture – because they fear they will be, to a degree, pulled into the world of commercial broadcasters as a result of this decision. But the Court’s ruling was based on free speech grounds. Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the main opinion stating that the FCC ban was overly broad and there’s no evidence the educational nature of public broadcasting would be affected, “Public issue and political speech in particular is at the very core of the First Amendment’s protection. Public issue and political advertisements pose no threat of ‘commercialization.’ By definition, such advertisements do not encourage viewers to buy commercial goods and services. A ban on such advertising therefore cannot be narrowly tailored to serve the interest of preventing the ‘commercialization’ of broadcasting.” Dissenting Judge Richard Paez wrote, “For almost 60 years, commercial public broadcasters have been effectively insulated from the lure of paid advertising. The court’s judgment will disrupt this policy and could jeopardize the future of public broadcasting. I am not persuaded that the First Amendment mandates such an outcome.”
WOR Radio Network to Syndicate “Rasmussen Report” Feature. The vignette will be available three times daily and feature reports by the nationally known “political pulse-taker” Scott Rasmussen. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “Scott has fast become the go-to guest for many of our programs when we want to let our listeners know where the country stands on the important headlines. We are thrilled to now take our relationship with him to this next level and share his fantastic radio content with radio stations across the country.” The WOR Radio Network makes the reports available to affiliates beginning Monday, April 16.
Tribune’s WGN Inks Deal for Studio Naming Rights with Allstate. Beginning May 1, WGN, Chicago’s showcase studio on Michigan Avenue will be unveiled as the Allstate Showcase Studio. WGN VP/general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We are proud of the partnership we have developed with Allstate over the years through programs like the community-driven WGN Radio Hometown Voices Tour and are pleased to extend that partnership to the Showcase Studio. The Showcase Studio has been a mainstay on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue for over 25 years and home to many legendary broadcasters. We are excited to announce this next chapter in WGN’s history with such a valued partner.” The sponsorship includes an interior studio wrap featuring WGN Radio and Allstate graphics and on-air naming recognition.
CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship Money to “Newstudies” Student. CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia has been offering the six-week student reporter program called “Newstudies” to high school juniors and seniors for more than 45 years. This year, 171 local students graduated from the program and KYW selected Upper Moreland High School student Gavin Lichtenstein to receive the Richard Monetti Scholarship award of $2,000 for being the student in the program demonstrating the most potential and enthusiasm. The scholarship was named after 1986 Newstudies graduate Richard Monetti who perished on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. CBS Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”
WSBT, South Bend Adds FM Translator at 96.1. Schurz Communications’ news/talk WSBT, South Bend, Indiana acquired the FM translator from Christian station WFRN-FM last year for $135,000. Now, according to the South Bend Tribune, WSBT will add to what program director Bob Montgomery calls “the strongest signal in the market” – AM 960. Montgomery also tells the paper the station is continuing to focus on news and information for the Michiana market. “We’re still doing increased news in our morning show – trying an all-news approach. We thought since that’s why people listen to news/talk during their morning drive, we would concentrate on that.”
Weekend Home Show “The Money Pit” Hits 300-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated home improvement show “The Money Pit” – co-hosted by Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete – announces it has added more than 20 new affiliate stations during the first quarter of 2012 to bring its affiliate roster to 300. The program will celebrate its success in conjunction with a special Earth Day broadcast from New York City on Friday, April 20 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm from the “Crossroads of the World” in New York’s Times Square. Tom Kraeutler states, “I am so grateful to our team for the hard work that got us to this point, to our loyal affiliate stations for making our content available to millions of people across the country and to our always growing list of top sponsors that have made this possible.”
Rick Santorum’s Suspension of His Presidential Campaign Is Top News/Talk Story for the Week of April 9-13. The news of Rick Santorum’s exit from the GOP primary race – effectively giving the nomination to Mitt Romney – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the 2012 presidential campaign in general. At #3 was George Zimmerman’s being charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin followed by recent reports of weak U.S. job growth and the stock market’s reaction at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America during the week, and is based upon ongoing research from TALKERS and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” adds KOA, Denver…..Genesis Communications Network’s Dr. Daliah Wachs program picks up WRJM-AM/FM, Charleston, Illinois and WHOW-AM/FM, Bloomington/Decatur, Illinois.
Rush Limbaugh Camp Fires Back at Media Matters with Scathing Statement. Embattled Premiere Networks talk radio star Rush Limbaugh, via his spokesperson Brian Glicklich in a commentary in Politico, yesterday afternoon issued an official response to the campaign being waged against the show by Media Matters. This is the first lengthy, official statement made about the advertising issue by Limbaugh’s organization since the controversy began and it has the industry buzzing. In Glicklich’s scathing attack on Media Matters’ tactics he writes the end result of the campaign hurts more people than Rush Limbaugh. “By putting small business in the crosshairs of their war on expression, Media Matters is causing real harm. They are hurting these businesses, their employees and their families. As a business owner, imagine waking up one morning and being assaulted by hundreds of coordinated attacks from operatives who never were or will be your customers.” Read Glicklich’s entire commentary here.
Los Angeles City Council Passes Resolution to “End Racist and Sexist Language” on Radio. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council – by a vote of 13 to 2 – passed a resolution that read: “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that by adoption of this Resolution, the City Council urges all management of radio and television stations in Los Angeles to do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over public airwaves in the City of Los Angeles.” The wording of the resolution was broadened with an amendment. The original intent and much of the discussion was targeted at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk KFI. Though language on the radio was discussed by the council, other discussion involved accusations by critics that lack of diversity in staffing – too few minorities and women in on-air roles, specifically – is to blame for occurrences of what they call racist and sexist slurs.
WTOP, Washington VP News and Programming Jim Farley Named 2012 Recipient of Freedom of Speech Award. The TALKERS editorial board has selected legendary radio news director Jim Farley as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award. The award will be presented to Farley at the New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. Farley, recently interviewed by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (see Talkers TV at right and story below), will address “the renaissance of journalism in the new digital broadcasting era” following the presentation of the award. In a statement released Wednesday, March 21 Michael Harrison states, “We are witnessing the rebirth of committed journalism in America on the radio airwaves and its associated digital platforms. WTOP proudly shines as the inspirational example of this positive movement, and Jim Farley’s visionary leadership in bringing it to life on a day-to-day basis would make even Thomas Jefferson proud. The First Amendment is alive and well at WTOP. Jim Farley is a remarkable broadcaster.” The Freedom of Speech Award is a non-partisan honor that has been presented to a wide variety of talk media figures since 1990 whose work has demonstrated the First Amendment in action and raised awareness of its principles. Past recipients have included Brian Lamb, Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Jack Anderson, Norm Pattiz, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Bob Grant, Alan Dershowitz, Bill O’ Reilly, Gene Burns, G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Stern and more. Last year’s recipient was Juan Williams.
Scarborough Research Releases Study of Entertainment Spending by Baby Boomers. It’s probably not too surprising that the favorite radio formats of the Baby Boom generation are, in order, AC (30%), news/talk (28%), and classic hits (25%). The study includes statistics about how Boomers like to spend their free time – a nod to the types of ad clients likely to benefit from being heard on their favorite stations. It notes, “In the past 12 months Baby Boomers have attended a professional sporting event (36%), attended live theater (22%), visited an art museum (14%), attended a rock concert (12%) and gone to the symphony or opera (9%). And Baby Boomers don’t just have a hunger for entertainment – they are 11% more likely than all American adults to have eaten at a seafood restaurant or steakhouse in the past 30 days.” EVP of commercial development Brian Condon says, “Baby Boomers remain an essential demographic since they reap the rewards of having had long careers and no longer have young children to care for. Baby Boomers represent a segment of the American population that has a thirst for adventure, and the financial freedom to explore that passion.”
KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Billy Beane and Bob Melvin to A’s Coverage. Entercom’s sports talk “95.7 The Game” – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces the addition of A’s general manager Bill Beane and manager Bob Melvin to the station’s coverage of the team. Beane will become part of the Thursday PM drive show with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis and Melvin will join “Rise Guys” Whitey Gleason, Mark Kreidler and Dan Dibley every Monday morning. PD Jason Barrett states, “Bill Beane is one of the smartest baseball minds in America and has a unique perspective about the game that Bay Area baseball fans won’t want to miss. Bob Melvin has his pulse on the finger of the Athletics and he’ll give Bay Area baseball fans a weekly glimpse inside the clubhouse like no one else.”
“Free Talk Live” Gets Major Market Clear on WWRL, New York. The independently syndicated evening and weekend program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge enters the New York City market with a Sunday morning clearance on Access.1 Communications’ progressive talk WWRL. Freeman says of the addition, “There aren’t many issues-oriented talk shows that can cross talk platforms. However, we’ve been doing it for years with conservative, progressive, business talk and hot talk stations all airing ‘Free Talk Live.’ I’m excited to announce that ‘Free Talk Live’ welcomes our newest affiliate in America’s largest market: WWRL 1600 in New York City. Thanks to program director Rennie Bishop for allowing us the opportunity to entertain the people of NYC on the country’s most prominent progressive station.”
Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno Celebrates 90th Anniversary Tomorrow. 1922 was a big year for the U.S. government granting radio station licenses and another heritage station is celebrating its 90th year on the air this week. KMJ, Fresno is the 38th oldest licensed continuously operating radio station in the country. It was originally licensed to San Joaquin Power and Light Corporation but was sold to McClatchey Newspapers in 1925. CBS Radio bought KMJ in 1987 and then sold it to Peak Broadcasting in 2006.
WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “Monsters in the Morning” Sponsor Habitat for Humanity House. The morning drive crew at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WTKS-FM, Orlando led by Russ Rollins is kicking off its First Annual Monster House project in conjunction with the Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka and the City of Sanford. Rollins and Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, who on behalf of the City of Sanford, donated the property for the project made the recent announcement. Rollins says, “This is a huge project with our national radio program teaming up with local government and Habitat for Humanity to benefit the community. For every $1 spent on construction, $7 will go back into the local economy. ‘The Monsters’ are looking forward to helping a local family fulfill their dream of home ownership with the First Annual Monster House. We hope to make The Monster House an annual project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.”
Romney Wins Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Iran Nukes Program, Saints Staff Penalized for Bounty Program/Tebow Traded to Jets and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/21). Mitt Romney’s decisive win in Illinois on Tuesday and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 presidential race; uncertainty over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; the NFL’s Saints, coaches and former coach penalized severely for ‘bounty program’; Tim Tebow is traded to the Jets; and continuing tensions in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WTOP, Washington’s Jim Farley: “We’re Engaged Across All Platforms.” Hubbard Broadcasting’s Jim Farley, vice president of news and programming at WTOP, Washington, speaks with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison in this TalkersTV video interview. Farley tells Harrison that although WTOP is a heritage radio station, they think of it differently, “We don’t think of it as a radio station; we think of it as a digital news organization…we compete with everybody who does news.” Farley praises WTOP ownership – both current and past – for having the foresight to invest in staff and equipment to compete in the 21st century news game. Farley says they recently added a digital editor for the overnight shift so the organization has a radio and digital editor on the clock at all times. “Whenever there is a story – middle of the night or on weekends – we’ll be engaged across all platforms.” See the TalkersTV video in the box on this page.
Former WCCO, Minneapolis Talk Host Don Shelby Joins BringMeTheNews. Longtime Twin Cities TV and radio personality Don Shelby (pictured at left) begins a new position as morning drive news anchor at BringMeTheNews – the radio news network and online news site for Minnesota founded by Twin Cities news pro Rick Kupchella (pictured at right) in 2009. Shelby, a longtime WCCO-TV newsman who retired from his midday talk show at WCCO radio in 2010, will be morning anchor for the service heard on some 30 stations around the state. He’ll also handle original news reporting. Shelby states, “I am so pleased that I’ll be back in the game – not just to be back in the game, but to satisfy the needs of people who, for 32 years, trusted me to tell them the truth. I miss them and I miss the opportunity to do that.”
Sports Talk Talent Moves in San Diego; Rosenberg and Williams to XEPRS. Josh Rosenberg and Charod Williams jump from KLSD, San Diego “Xtra Sports 1360” to crosstown (actually, cross-border) XEPRS XX 1090 for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift beginning Monday, March 26. The move pushes Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton to the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot, Darren Smith to the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm shift and John “The Coach” Kentera to the 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm show when Padres baseball is not airing. KLSD has not announced who will replace Rosenberg and Williams in the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm shift.
Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Returns to Air in the Market. Talk show host Matt Mittan left Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville five months ago. Now, after continuing to produce his program along with co-host and producer Agnes Cheek online and self-syndicating it in various formats to a number of stations in the region, the program returns to Asheville on gospel WZGM. More than that, Mittan and Cheek have taken operational control over the HRN Broadcasting-owned station. Mittan tells the Asheville Citizen-Times the station will still air gospel music in the morning plus Dial Global’s Clark Howard, his program from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Dial Global’s Neal Boortz from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Eventually, he’d like to add more local talk to the station.
Beasley Broadcasting Names Rafe D’Amico NSM for Las Vegas Cluster. Rafe D’Amico already serves as national sales manager for Beasley stations on Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware. Now he’s named NSM for the entire Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KDWN. Beasley Las Vegas director of sales Cory Cuddeback says, “I’m thrilled that Rafe is joining our Vegas team. Rafe has an impeccable reputation along with a solid background in the industry and will be a tremendous asset for our cluster moving forward.”
Promotions at Clear Channel Toledo. A number of staffers at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Toledo cluster are being promoted including news/talk WSPD executive producer Katie Hileman who is named assistant program director for the station. Sports WCWA program director Tom Riggs also takes on the cluster’s digital content director responsibilities.
WLW, Cincinnati Celebrates 90th Anniversary This Week. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s venerable WLW, Cincinnati is celebrating its 90th year in operation this week. The station was put on the air on March 23, 1922 by Powel Crosley, Jr. In 1934 WLW would receive permission to broadcast at 500,000 watts – the only station to do so – and for the next five years earned the nickname “The Nation’s Station.” The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter details a very cool, quick history of WLW in his column here.
KABC, Los Angeles To Give Away New Sidewalk in “Sidewalk Insanity” Promotion. In an affectionate nod to Los Angeles’ notoriously decrepit sidewalks, Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is running a “bracket-like” contest in which one lucky winner gets a new sidewalk courtesy of sponsor Capital Construction. The station says, “L.A. is world famous for having the world’s worst sidewalks – more than 4,000 miles of jagged cliffs of cracked and tree-root-raised barricades – making walking, skateboarding or wheelchair access virtually impossible.” Contestants are encouraged to send a photo of their lousy sidewalk to AM drive host Doug McIntyre (pictured here holding a chunk of broken concrete) for their chance to enter the bracket and have listeners vote on the worst of the worst.
KOIN-TV, Portland News Anchors to Fill In on KPAM Radio. Pamplin Media Group program director Dennis Glasgow reports KOIN-TV, Portland news anchors Jeff Gianola and Kelly Day will fill in for talk host Bob Miller on the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show today. Glasgow states, “Not only is this going to be great radio, but this is a great example of sharing talent and resources. We value this important and exclusive local partnership with KOIN and look forward to having Jeff and Kelly grace our airwaves, I know our listeners will feel the same way.”
Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Federal Budget Debate, Florida Youth Slaying, Iran Nuke Ambitions and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20). The GOP primary election in Illinois and the larger 2012 presidential campaign issues, the ongoing debate over cuts to the federal budget, the controversial killing of an unarmed Florida teen, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and continuing tensions for U.S. troops in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Progressive Talk Stars Stephanie Miller and Bill Press Become Featured Current TV Content. The progressive cable and satellite TV channel founded by former Vice President Al Gore is adding Dial Global radio talk show hosts Stephanie Miller and Bill Press to its lineup. Miller’s and Press’ programs will be simulcasts of their radio shows – Miller airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Press from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET – beginning early this spring. In a statement, Current TV chairman Al Gore says, “I’ve followed Stephanie and Bill for years. They provide the kind of smart, insightful news analysis that our viewers want to hear. Bill brings a vital perspective directly from the heart of the Beltway, and Stephanie’s fresh take on politics and news has a decidedly outsider flair. We’re really looking forward to bringing their voices to our viewers.” WYD Media president Ron Hartenbaum, executive producer of Stephanie Miller’s program, says, “We at ‘The Stephanie Miller Show’ are excited to participate in another radio-based video simulcast program. The bottom line is entertaining talk radio makes great and engaging tune-in programming for video.” Other political talk shows seen on Current TV include: “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” “The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur,” and “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm.”
Rush Limbaugh Addresses Sandra Fluke Issue, Loss of Advertisers at Beginning on Monday Program. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh began yesterday’s program speaking about his apology issued over the weekend to Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke for using the terms “slut” and “prostitute” to describe her. Limbaugh stated that he “descended to their level” – meaning liberal political opponents – when he used the two words. “I became like them and I feel very badly about that. I’ve always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program. Nevertheless, those two words were inappropriate. They were uncalled for. They distracted from the point I was actually trying to make. And I, again, apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her.” Limbaugh addressed the loss of advertisers without going into specifics but appeared not overly concerned about the matter stating he turns down advertising on his program regularly for various reasons and said companies advertise with him to have access to his large audience – that everything about the program is for the audience. Without the audience, Limbaugh said the whole enterprise would be academic. Limbaugh slapped back at exiting advertisers a bit when he said, “They don’t want you or your business.” We don’t expect Premiere Networks to announce which advertisers have dropped their advertising – whether temporary or permanent – but it’s being reported that as many as 13 sponsors have left but eight are being widely reported: Carbonite, Citrix, Go To Meeting, Legal Zoom, Pro Flowers, Select Comfort, Sleep Train and Quicken Loans. For her part, Sandra Fluke appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” and said of Limbaugh’s apology, “I don’t think that a statement like this issued, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything, and especially when that statement is issued when he’s under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support.” So far, two affiliate stations are confirmed to have dropped Limbaugh’s show as a result: KPUA, Hilo, Hawaii and WBEC, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Progressive Talk Host Mike Malloy Mocks Tornado Victims on Radio Program. Longtime progressive talk host Mike Malloy self-syndicates his program and in some quarters he’s taking heat for mocking the victims of the tornados that swept through the Midwest late last week. Malloy is quoted by several sources on his Friday program saying, “Their God, if this is the way they want to look at it, keeps smashing them into little grease spots on the pavement, in Alabama, in Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia and Oklahoma – you know, the Bible Belt…where they ain’t gonna let no g*dd*mn science get in the way, it says in the bible, blah blah blah, so according to their way of thinking, y’know, God with his omnipotent thumb, and so far tonight, has smashed so far 20 people on Highway 12, or whatever the hell highway they live next to.” With the controversy being raised by Rush Limbaugh overshadowing the consumer media, it’s unlikely Malloy’s comments – which could certainly be deemed insensitive to the people affected by the storms – will get enough attention to catch the national media’s eyes. There’s also the fact that Limbaugh’s program is dominating in terms of presence and Malloy’s is not. Regardless, there are media analysts who are pointing to the use of hyperbole, name calling and insensitive language as a sign that more civility is needed in America’s public discourse.
Compass Media Networks to Syndicate Bob Vila Radio Features. Iconic home improvement figure Bob Vila and Compass Media Networks are agreeing to work together to distribute daily home improvement features voiced by Vila exclusively for radio beginning May 1. Of course, Vila is well known for his television programs – “This Old House” (1979-1989), “Bob Vila’s Home Again” (1990-2005), and “Bob Vila” (2005-2007). He now heads up his own home improvement site, BobVila.com. Vila says of the venture, “Radio offers an incredible opportunity to connect with the American homeowner.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says the project hopes to take advantage of the nearly $112 billion spent annually on home improvement. “Bob Vila is truly an American treasure. Radio stations and advertisers will leap at the chance to associate their brands with Bob Vila.”
Cumulus Media Partners with Radiate Media to Produce National Traffic Reporting Service. The combined effort is going to be called “Right Now Traffic” and will be available to stations in April in the top 75 markets. The reports will be powered by the world’s largest traffic flow network, which includes government sensors, toll tag monitoring and billions of GPS data points. Radiate Media’s premier traffic data comes in part from Nokia (formerly NAVTEQ) – a source also used for GPS navigation devices, in-vehicle navigation systems, mobile devices and hundreds of radio and television stations. Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states, “We’re excited about launching ‘Right Now Traffic’ with Radiate Media. Americans are spending more than 1,000 hours per year in their cars. Our listeners, advertisers and network affiliates all demand accurate and timely traffic information and this partnership enables us to address that need with a best-in-class service.”
Dial Global Amps Up Producers Department for Programming. Dial Global promotes Scot Kirk to the newly created position senior production director and brings James Harness aboard as a producer. The company says Kirk will oversee the creative direction and imaging for all of Dial Global-owned formats, shows and programs. Both Kirk and Harness will be located in Valencia, California and report directly to VP Programming, David Felker. EVP of programming Beau Phillips says, “Since merging with Westwood One, Dial Global now produces a tremendous amount of content. While our programming sounds strong, we’re investing in producers who will set the vision and boost the quality across all DG products.” Scot Kirk brings more than two decades of radio production expertise to his new role, including positions at Jones Radio Networks, KISW-FM and KMTT-FM in Seattle, and KXPK-FM in Denver before joining Dial Global in 2009. James Harness is best known for guiding the creative imaging for KROQ-FM in Los Angeles as well as 92.3 NOW, WXRK-FM and FREE-FM in New York.
Salem Radio Network Holds Urgent Drive for Help for Tornado Victims. The talk hosts syndicated nationally by Salem Radio Network — Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Janet Mefferd, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt – mounted a daylong appeal yesterday (3/5) to gather donations for food, blankets and other essentials for the people of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and the other states affected by the tornados that swept through the region over the weekend. The storms caused dozens of deaths and millions of dollars worth of destruction. Oklahoma City-based FEED THE CHILDREN is facilitating and administering the aid.
Sirius XM Beefs Up Election Programming on POTUS Channel. The satcaster ramps up its 2012 presidential election coverage with new programming on its Politics of the United States – POTUS – channel. “Showdown 2012” will air Thursdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm with veteran White House and Washington, D.C. correspondents including Jon Decker, Chris Core, Dick Uliano and Louise Schiavone. “CQ Roll Call” airs Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by CQ Roll Call senior editor Morton Kondracke, editor David Hawkings, and others. “The Flacks” airs Mondays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by veteran communications strategists and MSNBC political analysts Karen Finney and Robert Traynham.
Money Radio 1200 Debuts in Palm Springs. CRC Media West’s KPSF, Palm Springs financial talk radio outlet signed on yesterday (3/5). The station was constructed by CRC Media West principals Ronald Cohen and Brian DuBose and modeled after the company’s “Money Radio” outlet serving the Phoenix market. The Palm Springs station features a mix of syndicated and local/regional programming.
WTOP, Washington, DC Names Washington Regional Transplant Community Charity of the Month. The Hubbard Broadcasting media organization says that as part of WTOP’s ‘Charity of the Month’ program, Washington Regional Transplant Community will receive more than $30,000 in free air time and in-kind contributions, including on-air promotions, as well as content on WTOP’s social media platforms and on WTOP.com throughout the month. The WRTC serves as the federally-designated organ procurement organization (OPO) for the Washington metropolitan area. As one of 58 OPOs nationwide, WRTC is the organization that facilitates all deceased organ, eye and tissue donation in our area, serving more than five million residents. WTOP public relations and marketing specialist Robin Newton says, “WTOP is proud to support Washington Regional Transplant Community during the month of March. WRTC has a direct effect on the health of our local community and helping them means strengthening an invaluable resource for our neighbors. Our hope is to spread awareness and garner attention for their work.”
White House Responds to Rush Limbaugh’s Take on Georgetown College Student. Premiere Networks talk show host Rush Limbaugh is getting an extraordinary amount of attention from comments made on his program earlier this week. During the program Limbaugh questioned the testimony of Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke who – speaking to the issue of subsidies for birth control – stated that her Catholic university won’t pay for expensive contraception. Weighing in on the issue, Limbaugh said, in part, that the university is, in effect being asked to pay for students to have sex. “What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex, she can’t afford the contraception.” White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama called Ms. Fluke to express his support for her stating her opinion and his regret for the response she received. Republicans and Democrats are now battling over allegations some Democrats and Democratic fundraising organizations are using the issue to raise campaign donations.
Los Angeles African-American Coalition Unhappy with KFI’s Response. Several days after meeting with Clear Channel Los Angeles management about issues of diversity and ethnic insensitivity after the suspension of PM drive team John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for remarks made about Whitney Houston, a self-described coalition of Black business and media professionals announces it is not satisfied with KFI management’s response in a memorandum titled “We Are Listening” and plans further action. In a press statement, media contact Jasmyne Cannick states the coalition plans to take the issue to Washington. “Consequently, we plan on filing a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission that will include audio and video evidence substantiating our claims that these licensing violations are pervasive and systemic. We are confident President Barack Obama, several local officials as well as members of Congress, and the FCC will agree with our stance that the way Clear Channel is addressing the issue of diversity is disingenuous at best and fraudulent at its worst.” The coalition had asked four areas to be addressed by Clear Channel management: The hiring of more Blacks as on-air talent – full time, weekends, fill-in hosts; Similar to cable outlets, the station should feature paid KFI contributing commentators who can discuss issues with the on-air [talent] from different perspectives; Clear Channel must employ more blacks behind the scenes such as producers, engineers, sales representatives, professionals in marketing and promotions, as well as college interns of color. This is not limited to KFI; and KFI specifically needs to collaborate with online news and entertainment sites owned by African Americans and broaden the listening audience through community outreach events and public affairs. Whether or not this issue becomes a serious PR problem for KFI remains to be seen, but the coalition seems very intent on executing its goals. It states, “What must be reiterated is that Clear Channel’s corporate policies are being completely ignored and lip service can no longer suffice. In the next seven days, we will launch an all-out campaign employing the same tools Clear Channel radio personalities utilize to drive home the point that issues of importance will no longer be placated. Whether it’s employing John and Ken’s ‘Heads on a Stick’ campaign, to launching ‘Political Human Sacrifice 2012,’ all remedies, legal and otherwise, will be exhausted.” At a time when a significant degree of murkiness exists in the understanding of FCC rules pertaining to ethnic equality and programming sensitivity on the part of radio stations and their community critics alike, this brewing situation has the potential to force the clarification of a number of sticky issues including First Amendment guarantees as they apply to broadcasters, the public relations of race, and specific licensing requirements of the FCC.
Talk Media Industry Mourns Passing of Andrew Breitbart. The Conservative digital media mogul and talk media personality died unexpectedly at age 43 early Thursday morning of what appears to have been a heart attack. The conservative side of the talk media industry certainly had a friend in Andrew Breitbart. He was a big fan of conservative talk radio, often appearing on both nationally syndicated and local talk radio programs to discuss political issues. He even guest-hosted programs – most recently subbing for Dial Global’s Dennis Miller just last week. Breitbart’s work creating digital media targeting the conservative political audience made him a news/talk media celebrity as well as a target for those who disagreed with his politics. He’s pictured here reading one of the final print editions of TALKERS magazine at the radio row in New Hampshire prior to that state’s primary election in February.
TALKERS TV EXCLUSIVE: During the recent TALKERS/Talk Radio News Service radio row held in New Hampshire on the eve of the nation’s first presidential primary, TALKERS TV video recorded Emmanuel College (Boston) student broadcaster Joe Horgan interviewing Andrew Breitbart on the college’s internet station. The interview conducted on January 10 presents a superb portrait of Breitbart and his media philosophy. See the video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
More Momentum Behind Radio News as Dial Global Teams with NBC for 24-Hour News Product. The term 24-hour news service is slightly misleading. What NBC and Dial Global are offering is not a full 60 minutes of news each hour all day long but top- and bottom-of-the-hour news plus bulletins, live coverage of news events, news feeds, etc. But with the demise Dial Global’s distribution of CNN Radio and that service largely disappearing, this new initiative underscores the resurgence in the demand for news from consumers that’s being exemplified on America’s radio airwaves. In recent years the industry has seen Talk Radio Network collaborate with The Washington Times to produce and syndicate a national morning drive news product out of the Nation’s Capital; TRN subsidiary America’s Radio News Network is currently clearing its successful three-hour, all-news blocks on more than 200 radio stations; CBS Radio bought an FM signal in the Washington-Baltimore area to put its news expertise to the test against Hubbard Broadcasting’s news juggernaut WTOP; Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media is building all-news formats on two major FM signals in New York and Chicago with another in Philadelphia reportedly on the way; and Fox News Radio has been providing a major league level of news and information service to nearly a thousand affiliates (including talkers) for years. Dial Global’s announcement of its collaboration with NBC News to offer a radio news product using its vast resources and high-profile personalities shows it takes radio’s desire for news seriously. NBC News Radio will be distributed to radio stations nationwide by Dial Global beginning April 1 and will give those stations access to the global resources of NBC News including: live simulcasts of breaking news from NBC and MSNBC, and reports from top NBC News correspondents including NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, chief Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams and senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers. NBC News Radio will also feature Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” and David Gregory, host of “Meet the Press.” The development shows that at a time when many Americans are getting more and more of their news from internet sources, a case can be made that news radio – especially news radio consumed in the auto – is more important than ever to many people. This current state and its future potential sparks the need for new and creative ways beyond merely “reading the story” in which to present news and information content. Along with that come opportunities for creative talent – experienced in what captivates radio listeners – to put their skills to the test in taking radio news into the future.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Develops New Weekend Talk Show About Local Music. In cooperation with Seattle Weekly, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle announces the debut of “Seattle Sounds,” airing Sunday afternoons from 3:00 to 4:00. The show is co-hosted by Josh Kerns and Seattle Weekly music editor Chris Kornelis and is described as telling the “story behind the music – they dive deep into the artists who perform the music, explain why the music is gaining such traction, and discover bands who warrant attention. The program features live performances, interviews with artists, and weekly contests to attend some of the region’s hottest shows. ‘Seattle Sounds’ provides a new, uniquely-Northwest experience for audiophiles who want something more than just the Top 40 on shuffle.” KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford says, “We are very excited to team up with Seattle Weekly to give music fans in the Northwest a weekly conversation about what’s new, what’s trending and what’s worth checking out when it comes to the local music scene. It is a terrific addition to 97.3 KIRO-FM’s All New ‘Learn, Laugh, Relax Weekend lineup.’”
Colleagues Mourn Passing of Former KOMO Radio and TV News Personality Eric Slocum. Former co-workers at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO, Seattle and KOMO-TV are mourning the unexpected death of former news anchor Eric Slocum who passed away last Saturday at age 54. Reports indicate he had suffered from depression in recent years and the death was ruled a suicide. Slocum started his career in radio but moved to KOMO-TV. He left the TV side in 2001 and returned to news/talk KOMO. He left the station in 2008.
Compass Media Networks Offers Big 10 Hoops Tourney for Third Consecutive Year. As the college basketball tournament season approaches, Compass Media Networks announces it is distributing play-by-play of the Big 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning Thursday, March 8 and running through Sunday, March 11. The games are being distributed to satellite radio and terrestrial radio including major affiliates such as WFAN, New York. CMN’s broadcast team includes: Matt “Money” Smith from KLAC, Los Angeles who is partnered with former NBA star Rick Mahorn; and Drew Bontadelli who calls play-by-play with former college hoops star Mike Wozniak.
CBS Radio’s Altitude Group Names Marilou McFarlane VP of Strategic Partnerships. The Altitude Group is CBS Radio’s marketing wing that focuses on creating unique advertising programs to help grow client brands and customer engagement. The company says Altitude uses the power of CBS Radio’s 130 major market stations combined with all available digital distribution channels to execute big ideas for advertisers so they can reach their customers in any and every way. Marilou McFarlane, based in San Francisco, will use the group’s best practices to develop new business in markets up and down the west coast. McFarlane has worked for Clear Channel, CBS Radio in the past as well as developed her own media and marketing consultancy firm, McFarlane Marketing LLC. Additionally, she launched Vivo Girls Sports, Inc., an online community for girls 13-24 years old who are passionate about sports and live a healthy active lifestyle.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Fill-in Host Wayne Powers Runs for County Commissioner. Wayne Powers has been a regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for the past four years. He announces he’s removing himself from the station’s roster in order to run as a Republican for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 27 – March 2. According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the GOP primaries and the 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart. Coming in at #2 was Iran tensions tied with the North Korea nuclear program deal. At #3 was the state of the economy and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress and at #4 was rising gas prices. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Independently syndicated “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” joins the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles…..KGO, San Francisco-based weekend talk host Karel gets his Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program added to the lineup at KJFK, Reno…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” featuring Eric Harley and Gary McNamara picks up affiliates WLS, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; and WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is picked up by KIVA, Albuquerque…..“Beyond the Beltway” with host Bruce DuMont is added to the program schedule at WATX, Cookeville, Tennessee…..The DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Nick and Artie show featuring Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange adds CBS Radio’s WIP-AM, Philadelphia.
RAB: Radio Revenue Up 1% in 2011. Data from Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Company and the Radio Advertising Bureau reports revenue for the radio industry was up 1% in 2011 compared to the year prior. The majority of radio’s revenue comes from spot sales and that category was down 4% in the fourth quarter of 2011 but down just 1% for the entire year. Increases in other revenue categories helped boost radio’s total revenue for 2011. For the year, network revenue was up 3%; digital was up 15%; and off-air revenue rose 7%.
Cumulus Media Group Countersues Birmingham Sports Talk Host Paul Finebaum. The latest in the legal battle between Birmingham-based regional sports talk giant Paul Finebaum and Cumulus Media Group is a suit by Cumulus suing Finebaum alleging he violated his contract by negotiating with another broadcaster while under contract. According to the Birmingham Business Journal, the suit alleges Finebaum also shared confidential information about Citadel (which has since merged with Cumulus) as part of the negotiations to move his sports talk show away from Citadel. Finebaum brought the first suit to court charging the company with coercing him into signing an amendment to his contract that was less favorable under threat of dropping his show and its regional distribution if he didn’t sign. Finebaum also alleges Citadel’s bankruptcy filing – which occurred after he signed the original contract – violated the terms of that deal. The cases are being moved from federal court to Jefferson County Circuit Court by request of Cumulus.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Hosts Live Broadcast and Luncheon to Salute Local Troops. Dubbed “Salute Our Troops” and taking place at the Radisson Philadelphia Northeast Hotel today from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, the live broadcast hosted by CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia and talk host Dom Giordano will welcome home and honor American servicemen and women from the Delaware Valley who served bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan. CBS News war correspondent Jim Axelrod will be Giordano’s special guest for the event. The program will include a celebration of the 71st anniversary of the USO, which has provided morale and recreational services to members of the US Military since 1941. Members of the 131st Transportation Company, the 111 Fighter Wing, the 104th Cavalry Squadron and the 111th Infantry will all be in attendance.
WGY, Albany Celebrates 90 Years On Air. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WGY-AM/FM, Albany is marking its 90th year serving the region today (2/20). Vice president and regional market manager Kristen Delaney says, “WGY’s family tree includes more than just the decades of respected staff who have walked these local hallways and entertained the community with their songs and stories. Our family branches out to generations of listeners who have grown up with us, who continue to discover us daily, and depend on us for their news, weather and entertainment.” WGY notes that the station first signed on February 20, 1922, as program director Kolin Hager stepped up to the microphone and announced, “This is station WGY. W, the first letter in wireless; G, the first letter in General Electric; Y, the last letter in Schenectady.”
NFL Great Fran Tarkenton Debuts Talk Show on Sirius XM. Former NFL quarterback and respected business entrepreneur Fran Tarkenton begins a live, weekly call-in talk show on Sirius XM’s SiriusXM Stars Too channel this evening from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The satcaster states Tarkenton’s show “will tackle a wide range of topics, interview notable guests from the worlds of politics, business, sports and entertainment and take calls from listeners nationwide.” Tarkenton says, “I’m a longtime advocate of entrepreneurship and creative thinking, and I’m a huge fan of talk radio, so this opportunity is a big thrill for me. I’m looking forward to connecting with SiriusXM listeners around the country about everything happening in the world of politics, business and sports, the fascinating convergence in these areas and more.”
Financial Talk Host Ray Lucia Joins Gab Radio Network. The daily, nationally syndicated financial talk show that Ray Lucia hosts has been with Business TalkRadio Network for the past 12 years. Beginning March 5, Lucia’s program will be syndicated by Vero Beach, Florida-based Gab Radio Network. GAB president Ron Crider says, “I have been working in the radio industry for over half a century and our new affiliation with Ray is one of the more exciting times in my long career – we are truly pleased to welcome Ray Lucia to our network.” GAB describes Lucia stating, “Lucia’s charismatic style and years of experience as one of the nation’s leading experts in financial, tax, investing, and retirement planning make him one of the hottest media personalities on the scene today…In addition to his popular daily radio show, Lucia is a best-selling author, much sought after public speaker, and TV personality who is regularly featured on television networks such as Fox News Channel, Fox Business, CNBC, ‘The Today Show,’ and Bloomberg.” Lucia’s program airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.
WTOP-FM, Washington VP Joel Oxley Celebrates 20 Years with Station. The senior vice president and general manager of Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington joined the all-news giant 20 years ago as an account executive. He is credited with helping develop WTOP into one of the top news stations in the country. Pictured here is VP of news and programming Jim Farley (l) presenting Joel Oxley (r) with a certificate of achievement in the studios of the news operation.
“Watchdog on Wall Street” Chris Markowski Writes for TheStreet.com. Financial talk host Chris Markowski, whose weekly talk show is syndicated via Talk Radio Network, adds columnist duties at the digital newsletter TheStreet.com. In a release, Markowski states he’ll “have a weekly post on this leading internet publication that focuses on politics and things that directly impact our economy.” His most recent post addresses the $25 billion agreement between the nation’s five largest mortgage services to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses.
Enid Goldstein in for KKSF, San Francisco’s Gene Burns. Talk show pro Enid Goldstein is sitting in for KKSF, San Francisco PM drive talk host Gene Burns today (2/20).
Correction: On February 17, TALKERS reported that Christine Craft was a co-host with Stacy Taylor on KGO, San Francisco and that the two were let go by the station. That was incorrect. Ms. Craft is not affiliated with Taylor, is a solo fill-in talk host for KGO and remains employed with the station in that role. TALKERS regrets the error.
WTOP, Washington Expands Multi-Platform News Operation; News and Programming Pro Laurie Cantillo Named to Newly Created Program Director Position. Former WABC, New York program director Laurie Cantillo joins Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington where she’ll work closely with vice president of news and programming Jim Farley for the organization that is also announcing the expansion and restructuring of its news and broadcasting staff. In a statement, WTOP explains, “One of the primary reasons for the new structure is to redefine the news workflow. Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process. A story’s execution will be determined at its origin. It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile. In addition to Cantillo joining the organization, other staff changes include: Current director of digital operations John Meyer moving into the newsroom as the architect of the social and digital strategy as it comes together with the current broadcast operation; current news director Mike McMearty becomes senior news director; assistant news director Mitchell Miller is upped to news director; Mike Gartell is now managing editor; Gary Emerling is named senior digital editor; and Darci Marchese becomes executive producer. Jim Farley states, “We will now have both a digital editor and a radio editor working together 24/7. No other radio station in America does this. And we are not just talking the talk; we are hiring more people, re-evaluating everything we do and making the necessary changes no matter how sacred or ingrained. The future is digital and WTOP will be the leader heading into that future.” Regarding Laurie Cantillo’s joining the WTOP operation, Farley says, “Laurie is one of the best, most-admired and well-liked program directors in America. She has solid news credentials, a great track record of ratings success in major markets and a great understanding of the power and potential of digital and social media.”
NPR Uses Grant for Digital Media Training and Multi-Platform News. Through a $1.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPR is expanding its training initiatives to increase the use of digital tools both at NPR member stations and in the NPR newsroom. According to NPR, “Building on successful training piloted by NPR a few years ago, the grant provides for the development of extensive training for more than 70 local public radio stations. Topics include strategies to build multi-media news operations, writing for the web, photography and the role of social media in newsgathering. These resources will dramatically improve the ability of participating stations to broaden and deepen their news production and better serve both new and existing audiences. The grant will also fund digital coaches for NPR journalists.” NPR chief executive officer Gary Knell says, “NPR is a major force in media today, helping more than 34 million people make sense of what is going on in the world. These digital training resources will ensure that NPR and hundreds of member stations nationwide continue to pioneer the use of new technologies to connect with new and existing audiences.”
Standard & Poor’s Downgrades CC Media Holdings on Long-term Debt Concerns. Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Michael Altberg states that softening ad demand and the uncertain global economy may slow the growth of revenue for Clear Channel’s parent company and while the ability to pay the debt that comes due in 2012 and 2013 isn’t seen as a problem, the notes that mature in 2014 and 2016 are bigger issues. The company faces secured and unsecured debt maturities of $2.9 billion in 2014 and $12.3 billion in 2016. S&P notes CC Media Holdings is considered highly leveraged and that could negatively affect its ability to re-finance before those debts come due. When that time comes, anyone looking to buy a radio station might find opportunity in what could potentially be the biggest fire sale selloff of sticks in recent history.
CBS Local Digital Media Partners with Examiner.com for Content Creation. The network of websites and mobile apps that make up CBS Local Digital Media is entering into a content creation relationship with Examiner.com to produce unique content for CBS’ locally targeted properties in more than two dozen major markets across the country. Examiner.com is a leading online publisher featuring local expertise from over 85,000 contributors, known as Examiners. The lifestyle content created through this partnership is described as “‘Best Of’ guides and ‘Top Spots’ lists covering a range of topics including arts and culture, shopping, food and drink, nightlife and music, as well as travel and outdoors.” CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Over the course of the past 18 months we’ve built a platform that quickly garnered interest from millions of users searching for the best local news, information and entertainment. Taking our vision one step further by working with a stable of contributors with expertise in their field will greatly enhance the audience’s experience. This is not just about telling you where to go and what to see – it’s providing ‘insider access’ to a city you may be visiting or have lived your whole life that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Dr. Joy Browne Appears on TALKERS TV. She is by far the most successful psychology and relationships talker on radio in America. WOR Radio Network star Dr. Joy Browne is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at the seventh annual “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence and teenage dating abuse presented recently by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor Liz Claiborne, Inc. The event was held in the showroom at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the fashion company. Browne candidly discusses the state of relationship talk radio’s place within the news/talk playing field and explains the connections between psychology and all the hot issues discussed within the genre. To view this not-to-be-missed video, see TALKERS TV at the right on this page.
Glenn Beck’s GBTV Takes Over “Apocalypse” Reality Show. The program was once called, “Apocalypse, PA” when it ran on the History Channel last year but on Beck’s online venture GBTV it will be called, “Independence USA.” It follows Frank Belcastro and his family as they prepare to survive in a post-apocalyptic world by such means as devising a car that runs on wood instead of gasoline, becoming expert hunters and creating his own alcohol for barter when the money system collapses. According to TVNewser, the program debuts on January 18 with new episodes every Wednesday. It is the first reality show to become part of Beck’s GBTV where his own daily TV program is seen.
KFI, Los Angeles Debuts New Food Show with Neil Saavedra in January. The program is called, “The Fork Report,” and will have its premier airing on Saturday, January 7 hosted by KFI’s Neil Saavedra. The station says, “‘The Fork Report’ will be a food show like no other food show, delving into all things edible. The show will run the food gamut from local restaurants to kitchen gadgets, interviews with chefs to food news (like recalls, new products). If you can eat it or it’s a gizmo to help you prepare it…Saavedra talks about it.” Saavedra also hosts the KFI-based and Premiere Networks syndicated “Jesus Christ Show” and serves as the director of marketing for the Clear Channel station.
Katy Pavelonis Named VP of Sales at Grand Slam Sports. The St.Louis-based sports media company operates KFNS, St. Louis, KFNS.com, St. Louis Sports Magazine, Grand Slam Sports Promotions, SportsRadio 1380 and SportsRadio1380.com. Katy Pavelonis previously served as VP/director of sales at CBS Radio’s St. Louis cluster that includes news/talk KMOX. On her new position, Pavelonis states, “I am excited about starting with Grand Slam Sports. Having sold Cardinal baseball, Blues hockey and University of Missouri products in the past, I know how passionate the sports fans are here and how supportive the local advertising community can be for local sports. Marketing the incredible media mix that Grand Slam Sports provides to those advertisers is something I am very much looking forward to.”
NTSB Cell Phone Ban, 2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue and Iraq Troop Withdrawl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that no personal electronic devices be allowed to be operated by motorists in the U.S., the GOP race to challenge President Obama in the 2012 election, Congressional leaders’ work to deal with the budget deficit and the payroll tax cut issue plus the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mark Levin Attacks Michael Savage Over Gingrich Offer; Raises Question of Legality of Savage’s Actions. In response to Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s offer of $1 million to Newt Gingrich to drop out of the GOP race for the presidential nomination, Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin broadcast an offer to Savage to quit his radio program for good for the sum of $100,000. Now, clearly Levin is toying with Savage in the spirit of a good old fashioned radio war – according to the Daily Caller, he stated on his program, “Let me tell you, that’s extremely generous on my part because he’s already going nowhere…That’s right — he’s losing affiliates left and right. That’s what happens when you take your audience for granted and take your affiliates for granted.” But Levin also asked if Savage’s offer to Gingrich was a “legal bribe.” TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the federal government generally leaves the policing of elections to the states but that some states have statutes prohibiting this behavior. South Carolina, for example, specifically prohibits offering or accepting or attempting to offer or accept money or other forms of compensation to induce a person to file or withdraw from an election. Violation could mean a fine of $10,000 or up to a year in jail but Weisman says the likelihood of a South Carolina prosecutor seeking charges in this instance would be slim. They would probably interpret it as a radio stunt and not what the statute was intended to prohibit. Nonetheless, at least in South Carolina, Savage’s offer is technically illegal.
Cumulus Media Networks Partners with Benztown Branding. This partnership brings together two of the industry’s largest production and imaging operations. Under the terms of the deal, Cumulus will manage the affiliation and ad sales for all of the Benztown Branding imaging and production libraries and in return, Benztown will manage the production of Cumulus’ stable of production services. Additionally, Cumulus will handle ad sales for Benztown programs including: “Roundtrip with Dave O,” “Dr. Bruce Hensel,” “The Storm Report,” “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire,” “The Bring It Minute with Tony Horton” and “Race Report Update.” Cumulus inked a deal to manage ad sales for Benztown’s “Melissa Etheridge Radio Show” earlier this year.” Cumulus Media Networks production libraries and imaging services affected by this deal include: Adrenaline, Ambush, Horsepower, Goldmine, Avalanche and Turbulence. Cumulus SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast services Dennis Green says, “This partnership is an outstanding opportunity to enhance the portfolios of both companies by combining some of the most talented and creative producers and designers in radio with our dedicated sales and affiliation teams. Benztown brings tremendous category knowledge to the table and has an extremely successful track record of delivering innovative services for stations. Working together allows us to broaden the scope of our collective efforts.”
Cincinnati Talk Host Andy Furman Resigns from WQRT. Andy Furman has hosted the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm talk show on Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Florence, Kentucky for the past two years. He tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that his last broadcast is Friday, December 16 but that he can’t say more because he’s “in a precarious situation.” Kiesewetter surmises Furman has a new deal that he can’t talk about just yet. Furman was a longtime sports talk host at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati but exited that station three years ago. He’s been hosting some weekend programming for Fox Sports Radio Network in addition to his work in Cincinnati.
Jeff Weber to Resign from Blue Star Media Post. Blue Star Media owns and operates the Business TalkRadio Network and the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network as well as stations in the Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut market and in Las Vegas, Pittsburgh and Boston. Jeff Weber has served as executive vice president of the company for the past 10 years but says he’ll step down at the end of the year. “I am extremely proud of our company’s growth since I joined it. It’s been very gratifying to see us increase the affiliate base of 112 stations airing BTRN’s programming to more than 1,000 now carrying the shows of LTRN and BTRN. In addition, the acquisition of our four radio properties helped round out a solid company.”
Clear Channel Brings Progressive Talk to Milwaukee on an HD-3 Channel. One of the country’s more successful progressive talk outlets is Clear Channel’s WXXM-FM, Madison, Wisconsin – 92.1 The Mic. Now, the company announces it’s simulcasting the station to the larger Milwaukee market on the HD-3 channel of Hip Hop WKKV-FM. Operations manager Tim Scott says, “92.1 The Mic is arguably one of the most successful progressive talk stations in the country. The upcoming presidential election and the political atmosphere in this state makes now the perfect time for progressive talk to expand its message to Wisconsin’s largest market.” It’s interesting to note that WXXM-FM almost flipped from progressive talk several years ago but a strong outcry from fans of the station convinced CC management that Madison was a market worthy of keeping the format. 92.1 The Mic features a stable of syndicated talk including Dial Global’s Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz plus Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes plus local talk host Doug Cunningham.
WTDY, Madison Gets FM Simulcast. Mid-West Family Stations takes the 106.7 frequency licensed to Mount Horeb, Wisconsin west of Madison and airs news/talk WTDY on the signal to complement its 1670 AM signal. WTDY-FM at 106.7 is a class A FM situated pretty far to the west of Madison. Fortunately, that part of Wisconsin is pretty flat.
TALKERS Offers Free Ads for Open Jobs. As a service to the talk media industry, TALKERS is making its online Jobs section available to any and all legitimate employers with positions to fill beginning immediately. Broadcasters and talk media-affiliated businesses with job openings should send position descriptions, requirements and contact information to TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at: email@example.com. Also, be sure to let us know when the position is filled so we can pull the ad off our site. TALKERS keeps all job posting information strictly confidential and reserves the right to reject any ad for any reason.
2012 Presidential Race, Iran/U.S. Drone Case, End of U.S. Iraq Involvement and Euro Zone Debt Crisis/Markets Reaction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The ongoing battle between GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the U.S. drone Iran claims to possess, the coming end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, the euro zone debt crisis and the reaction by the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research by TALKERS.
Clear Channel Names Jason Furst PD at WHAM, Rochester. Jason Furst adds programming oversight of Clear Channel’s news/talk WHAM, Rochester and sports WHTK-AM/FM to his duties. Furst programs WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse and will continue in that role. He will, however, give up the PD reins at CHR WWHT, Syracuse. Furst fills the vacant programming position in Rochester that opened when Jeff Howlett was let go from the station he’d been working at for the past 25 years.
Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Partners with WRTV-TV for News and Weather. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis announces a partnership with McGraw-Hill’s local ABC affiliate WRTV-TV for news and weather coverage. Emmis VP and market manager Charlie Morgan says of the new deal, “In our 21st-Century world of news and information consumption, it just makes sense for our TV and radio newsrooms to work together to ensure we are delivering the most relevant information to our consumers wherever they are…at home, at work, in their cars, wherever. This partnership will allow us to provide Indianapolis viewers and listeners with the latest information wherever they are, whether they are listening to the radio, watching TV, going online or on their mobile phones.” WRTV meteorologists Kevin Gregory, Todd Klaassen and Stephanie Ortmann will provide forecasts throughout the day on WIBC. They will also provide live updates during severe weather situations.
Buckley Broadcasting Adds FM Signal to KNZR, Bakersfield. The Buckley Broadcasting news/talk outlet at 1560 on the AM dial states on its website, “KNZR made Bakersfield radio history by being the first news/talk station in the market to simulcast on the FM dial. Our market leading 1560 AM news/talk programming is now also heard on 97.7 FM. The move to simulcast on FM allows us to better serve our local community as well as provide increased audience reach and value to our advertisers.” To accommodate the move, Buckley drops AC music on KSMJ licensed to Shafter, California.
WTOP-FM, Washington Hires Former CNN Correspondent. Jeanne Meserve worked at cable news giant CNN for the past 20 years – most recently as homeland security correspondent. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington brings her aboard as a freelance anchor.
KTRH, Houston’s Matt Patrick Has Busy Black Friday. It’s safe to say KTRH, Houston morning drive host Matt Patrick will not be at the shopping mall on Friday. Patrick hosts his regular AM drive show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then fills in for Bill Cunningham on WLW, Cincinnati from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. But wait there’s more! Patrick will sit in for fellow Clear Channel Houston host Michael Berry on KTRH from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Thanksgiving Holiday, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Super Committee Failure, Immigration Law Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/22). The Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the GOP contenders for president in 2012, the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis, the effect the Super Committee’s failure to address U.S. debt and challenges to states’ immigration laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The D.C. All-News Battle is On. CBS Radio will take on Hubbard Broadcasting’s stranglehold on all-news in the Nation’s Capital in January when it unveils a brand new FM news station at 99.1 on the dial. CBS is moving its “El Zol” Spanish station from 99.1 to the recently acquired WFSI-FM, Annapolis, Maryland signal at 107.9 it purchased from Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc. Hubbard’s WTOP brand (which includes its tremendous digital initiatives) has been dominant in the news game in D.C. and nowhere is that more evident than in its first-place finish in the revenue race among all American radio stations as it billed $57 million in 2010. Now, CBS Radio brings its years of all-news experience to town. CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Radio’s history in all-news is rich in tradition and recognized nationwide for its excellence. There is no one more regarded in this field, nor anyone with the journalistic expertise and capability to put forth a product with such instant credibility. We have perfected this format over many decades and we’re thrilled to expand the options for the D.C. community who have a distinct passion for news.” CBS moves WCBS, New York assistant director of news and programming Robert Sanchez to DC to program the station and brings Michelle Komes-Dolge aboard to serve as news director. Komes-Dolge is a veteran D.C. news person who served with WTOP-FM in the past. CBS Radio operates successful all-news operations in New York (WCBS, WINS), Los Angeles (KNX), Chicago (WBBM-AM/FM), San Francisco (KCBS), Philadelphia (KYW), Detroit (WWJ), and Boston (WBZ). The growth of all-news and the emergence of head-to-head competitive major market battles promises to focus a new level of industry attention on the competitive elements that make a difference in determining success in the format. Stay tuned!
WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy. Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced today that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy. Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs. The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment. Smith delivered the news to his listeners earlier today (11/17).
America’s Radio News Network Adds Daily Election Feature. “Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda” is the name of ARNN’s new 90-second feature that airs four times daily during all four of ARNN’s news programs. Billed as providing “listeners with all the latest on the 2012 presidential campaign schedules, media events, policy issues, latest polling numbers and debate coverage along with other election details and information,” the feature will be heard on ARNN’s 215-plus affiliate stations. ARNN executive vice president John McCaslin says, “We trust that the ‘Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda’ will keep ARNN’s listeners well informed on the latest news and the whereabouts of their favorite 2012 presidential candidates, whether it is President Obama or one in the large field of GOP White House hopefuls. Given the dismal U.S. economy and continuing recession, plus other hot-button issues such as national security, we are already experiencing unprecedented interest in the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign.”
KYW, Philadelphia Adds Three to its Newsradio Hall of Fame. CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia announces the induction of Bob Kelly, and the late Karin Phillips and Jack O’Rourke into its KYW Newsradio Hall of Fame. Director of news and programming Steve Butler and director of sales David Yadgaroff gave the awards to Kelly, who served as an account executive for 20 years and to relatives of Phillips and O’Rourke, who died within days of each other in September.
Former WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Host Matt Mittan Announces Digital Effort and Terrestrial Affiliate. Matt Mittan hosted the “Take a Stand” show on Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville until a few weeks ago when he left the station after personnel cuts at the cluster cost him producer/sidekick Agnes Cheek. Now, Mittan and Cheek, who’ve been producing a podcast, will begin streaming their show and have announced WHKP, Hendersonville, North Carolina (south of Asheville) will pick up the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hour of the show. Mittan says that although the program is produced in their downtown Asheville studio, they plan to take it on the road across Western North Carolina.
Clear Channel Raises More than $700,000 for Fisher House. Capping a week-long fundraising effort November 7-11 culminating on Veterans Day, Clear Channel Radio put its 850 radio stations to work to bring in more than $700,000 for the Fisher House Foundation. Ken Fisher is chairman of the foundation and he comments, “We’re grateful for Clear Channel’s support of our military families again this year. Clear Channel’s remarkable reach and continued support is an amazing force for our military families that will continue to help veterans and their families across the United States.” Fisher House provides housing close to hospitals for families of military personnel who are receiving treatment for injuries suffered in battle so they can be near their loved ones during that time without incurring huge expenses. CC has helped raise more than $1.2 million for Fisher House in the last two years.
2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Shutdown, European Debt Threatens U.S., and Marines in Australia Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16). The 2012 GOP presidential candidates, the shutdown of the Zurcotti Park encampment in New York City and what it means to the ‘Occupy’ movement, the continuing threat to the U.S. and world economies by the European debt crisis and President Obama’s plan to station U.S. Marines in Australia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WABC, New York’s Joe Crummey Gets NY Radio Pro Patty Steele for Producer/Sidekick. Late morning talk show host Joe Crummey has a well-known New York radio personality in the producer/sidekick role for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program beginning Monday, September 26. Patty Steele most recently worked in the Big Apple at Cumulus sister FM WPLJ as news director alongside Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill. She’s also worked with Elvis Duran at crosstown WHTZ-FM, with Danny Bonaduce at New York’s former Big 105 and as a news anchor at WCBS, New York. WABC program director Laurie Cantillo says, “Patty is smart, warm, funny and she gets what our listeners care about. We’re thrilled about the strong news background and big ideas that she’ll bring to 77WABC.”
Internet Talk Radio Company Stitcher Raises $10 Million in New Funding. Stitcher reports it has closed a Series C round of venture capital financing, led by New Enterprise Associates (whose general partner Ravi Viswanathan joins Stitcher’s board of directors) that allows the company to “fuel growth, build out a direct sales team and drive product development including enhancing its platform for content partners.” Stitcher offers more than 6,000 different shows encompassing news, sports, entertainment, comedy and more from such personalities as Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, NPR’s Terri Gross, Adam Carolla and many more. Stitcher is available on the internet, via smartphone apps and in cars via the Ford SYNC platform and the Buick IntelliLink in-car connectivity system. Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok tells TALKERS he expects the company to make more announcements about in-car availability in the near future. He also states that for talk content providers, his service is about the ability to be everywhere. “In the near term, one of the benefits that the internet provides is the ability to be where the audience is. As you grow and build a listenership you want to be effectively where it’s most convenient for them.” Battles between providers to grab headline-making deals for unique content may come down the road, according to Shanok, but for now, “it’s about getting users used to the same benefits they have in their home and on the internet – such as on-demand and personal information – that are now extending to the radio industry and content providers are taking advantage of.” Shanok acknowledges that, especially for talk, the car is a crucial listening location and his company’s primary goal is to make using the technology as painless as possible for seamless integration into the car. “We’ve been able to stay ahead and differentiate ourselves by having laser focus on product and technology by focusing on just talk.” Shanok says content partners benefit greatly by the feedback they get from Stitcher in the form of audience metrics and other data to assist in sales.
Cenk Uygur’s “Young Turks” Lands at Current TV; Leads in to Olbermann. Talk show host Cenk Uygur, who filled in extensively at MSNBC earlier this year and had hopes of landing a permanent gig there (Al Sharpton got it instead), takes his “Young Turks” progressive talk show to Current TV. Uygur’s program will air at 7:00 pm ET and leads in to Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” at 8:00 pm ET. In a statement, Uygur says, “Current is the perfect home for our show. We wanted to be in a place that is both independent and truly progressive — not owned and encumbered by a media conglomerate. Does it get any better for a progressive than working where Al Gore and Joel Hyatt are your bosses and Keith Olbermann is your colleague? It’s an honor to be the lead-in program for Keith Olbermann. Add to that we will work with David Bohrman, who has been creating unique and great television programming for decades. His vision for Current is exactly in line with ours.” The show will debut later this year, according to TVNewser.
ESPN Partners with Slacker for Customizable Listening. ESPN Audio’s deal with the Slacker personal radio service gives users options for listening to ESPN-created content depending on which Slacker service they subscribe to. Listeners using the free Slacker Basic Radio service now have access to an interactive, programmed ESPN station. Slacker Radio Plus and Slacker Premium Radio subscribers have unlimited access to the ESPN Radio integration, including an ad-free programmed station with unlimited skips and the ability to create highly personalized, myESPN Radio sports stations based on favorite sports, teams or ESPN programs. Subscribers also have the option to add hourly “SportsCenter” updates to any Slacker station.
Hubbard Radio’s Federal News Radio in Washington Revamps Web Presence. Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington and FederalNewsRadio.com announces a complete overhaul of its website that it says makes information “more accessible and interactive for information seekers and decision makers of the federal government.” The radio station and web destination serve the large number of DC-area residents who work for or contract to the federal government. Program director Lisa Wolfe says, “Our new website is the next step in Federal News Radio’s continuing process to meet the news and information needs of our busy and time-crunched audience. Our site is better organized, more searchable and has a nice aesthetic.”
KIRO, Seattle Inks MLB’s Mariners to New Play-By-Play Deal. The length of the contract and the financial terms are not being disclosed but Bonneville Seattle crows its 710 ESPN KIRO will continue to be the place for Seattle Mariners baseball on the radio in the Emerald City for years to come. Station general manager Dave Pridemore says, “It has been a pleasure working with the Seattle Mariners for the past three years and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the years to come. Combined with our additional coverage of the team on MyNorthwest.com, we are striving to maintain our status as the number one place for fans to find Mariners news and information.”
Canadian Specialty Sport TV Channel The Score Reportedly for Sale. Sources say owner Score Media wants as much as $200 million (Canadian) for a business that earned less than $8 million dollars last year. By the numbers The Score is Canada’s number three cable sports station. It doesn’t have the deep pockets of rivals TSN and SPORTSNET. Rather than carry hockey, Major League Baseball and football, The Score generally reports on sports and carries live sports talk programming. It does broadcast some events including NBA games, WWE wrestling and pro poker tournaments.
Obama Debt Reduction Plan, 2012 GOP Candidates, European Economic Tensions and U.N.-Palestinian Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20). President Obama’s debt reduction plan, the field of GOP candidates for the 2012 presidential election, the instability of the European economy as Greece teeters on default and the Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WTOP-FM, Washington Entertainment Editor Joe Barber Dies at 53. Barber was found dead at his home in Washington, DC on Monday (9/19) and no cause of death has been made public. Barber served as entertainment editor at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM since 1997. The Washington Post reports that Barber suffered from diabetes and had been in failing health.
On Tour with Dave Ramsey. This beautiful custom-wrapped tour bus is carrying nationally syndicated talk star and bestselling author Dave Ramsey around the country as he promotes his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011). Ramsey and company started in New York yesterday (9/20) with an appearance on CBS TV’s “The Early Show” and winds across the country through early November hitting such markets as Phoenix, Los Angeles, Knoxville, Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta and more.
TALKERS Publisher Michael Harrison Says Talk Radio’s Future is Significantly Tied into its Relationship with the Automobile. In a newly published article that outlines the tenets of his “Annual State of Talk Radio Address” to be delivered at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Chicago on Wednesday morning, Harrison writes, “Now, more than ever, talk radio’s relationship with the automobile is vital and must be carefully protected. The PPM is forcing radio to be programmed to precisely where people are, what people are doing, and how people are feeling during the potential listening process. Group listening is out, solo listening is in. Activity and mindset of the listeners are now all important considerations. The automobile plays and will continue to play a growing role in determining talk radio’s future.” The article titled “The Clock is Ticking,” which appears in the September print issue of TALKERS as well as on Talkers.com, covers the 10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio at this very moment. In it Harrison covers a wide array of brewing industry trends among which he states intellectual property (IP) will increasingly dominate talk radio’s legal concerns, radio station values will continue to depreciate, there are lessons to be learned from sports talk radio, news/talk “stationality’ is rapidly evolving beyond the extreme left and right options, the invasion of FM will intensify, the PPM is increasing the need for top notch weekend and part-time talent, and the internet is rewiring the human nervous system. The address is scheduled for Wednesday morning between 10:30 am and 11:45 am and is open to all attendees of the conference. Harrison will be introduced by McVay/Cook & Associates consultant Holland Cooke who will be making a presentation of his own about talk radio’s relationship with the automobile at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011 on October 20 – Southern California being a place where the importance of automobile listening habits is most pronounced. To read the full Michael Harrison article, click here.
Glenn Beck’s GBTV Two-Hour Broadcast Debuts This Afternoon. From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET this afternoon Glenn Beck’s P1s will be viewing the webcast that, for all intents and purposes, replaces Beck’s popular Fox News Channel show in their minds. The Wall Street Journal published a piece on Beck’s debut and reports that GBTV now has some 230,000 subscribers at $9.95. It also projects that Beck could take in some $20 million in revenue its first year. Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts is developing more programming for GBTV including children’s shows to come later this fall. Beck tells the paper the goal is to reach younger people, “I don’t know anybody under 30 who is watching television the way I watched television. Technology has allowed people to change the way they consume the news, and we want to be where people are going.”
Saul Levine Loses at FCC in KFWB Trust Case. The Mt. Wilson Broadcasting owner has been vocal in his criticism of CBS Radio’s KFWB, Los Angeles continuing to be operated in a trust stating that, basically, nothing has changed and CBS still owns and operates the station that is technically for sale in violation of a number of FCC precedents and that the FCC erred in granting the Divestiture Application. On Friday the commission ruled against Mt. Wilson stating the station needs to be operated so as to get the best possible price in a sale. It rules “the trust agreements require the Trustee to: ‘use all commercially reasonable efforts to preserve intact the present business organization of the Station and the Station’s relationships with its customers, suppliers and others having business dealings with it.’”
WTOP-FM, Washington Takes Ownership of Public Opinion Poll Feature. Television networks and news organizations – usually associated with heritage newspapers – have long joined forces with polling organizations to jointly present poll results. Now Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP Radio begins working with the non-partisan, Virginia-based Heart and Mind Strategies research consultancy to present the polling data on issues relevant to the greater Washington, DC metro. The first WTOP Beltway Poll presents public opinion on issues including terrorism and national security, the economic climate and voter confidence. WTOP VP of news and programming Jim Farley says, “This is the first of a series of WTOP Beltway polls comparing and contrasting the views of voters in Virginia, Maryland and DC with voters nationally in partnership with the respected Heart and Mind Strategies. This one reveals some surprising findings and interesting insights into public opinion of residents across the Washington metropolitan area ten years after 9/11. We will be digging deeper into the issues raised and examining them more closely through a series of stories on WTOP and WTOP.com ranging from national terror alerts to looking at how prepared area residents and workplaces are in the case of a major disaster, to their lack of confidence with the present leadership in Congress and the White House.”
CMG Promotes Charlsie Moore to GSM. Cox Media Group Atlanta Radio ups Charlsie Moore to general sales manager in charge of the account executives representing the group’s FM stations – including news/talk WSB-FM. CMG Atlanta VP of sales Rob Babin says, “Charlsie is a proven sales coach and has done an incredible job of developing sales talent. I’m confident that she will continue to lead our sales team to higher levels and ensure that our stations are among the top billing stations in the country.”
Filling in This Week. Michael Bower (former Sirius XM Maxim Radio host) sits in at CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas today and tomorrow from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Mike on Broadway! Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher wrapped up a week in a cameo role as a disc jockey in the Broadway production “Memphis” yesterday (9/11). Gallagher has been acting with various regional theatre companies for the past several years. He says the thrill of making it to Broadway in the Tony-winning musical was the dream of a lifetime. “This was a culmination of a lifelong dream to appear on Broadway, and the cast — although politically liberal for the most part — welcomed me with open arms. I’ll never forget this week!”
Speculation Abounds Over New Role for Former Gov. David Paterson at WOR, New York. While he might not have accrued the most impressive ratings as chief executive of the Empire State after ascending from the lieutenant governorship upon Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s scandal-driven resignation, the New York broadcasting community is basically unanimous in its recognition of David Paterson as a skilled and engaging talk show personality. While in office, he was known to be extremely talk radio friendly – accessible and open – and made regular appearances on the airwaves as a guest newsmaker. Since leaving the governor’s mansion, Paterson has become a welcome fill-in host on a number of Big Apple radio stations, covering everything from current events to sports. Today, his transition from politician to broadcaster will likely be official, as Buckley-owned WOR has called a major 12:00 noon ET press conference at posh Midtown Manhattan eatery Ben Benson’s Steakhouse to make “a major announcement” regarding the station and Paterson. Stay tuned.
WBAL, Baltimore Brings TV News Veteran in for PM Drive. The Hearst news/talk station chose not to renew the contract of PM drive host Shari Elliker, who’d been there since July of 2010, and brings aboard award-winning TV news personality Mary Beth Marsden to host the “Afternoon News Journal” program. Marsden worked in the market for 20 years, spending much of that time as news anchor at WMAR-TV. WBAL news director Merrie Street tells the Baltimore Sun, “Mary Beth has been a respected journalist in the market for over 20 years. Her news judgment and her genuine commitment to her audience make Mary Beth a great fit for WBAL.”
WTOP-AM/FM, Washington Adds Mike Causey Column to its Media Station. Washington, DC journalist Mike Causey is now producing a weekly column covering humorous insights on daily life and the news for WTOP.com, the Hubbard Broadcasting station’s award winning multi-media website. WTOP SVP and general manager Joel Oxley says, “We are excited to debut this new weekly column at WTOP.com. Mike has a well-earned reputation as a leading correspondent in covering federal news for many years. However, in addition to his wealth of industry and life experience, Mike is a master humorist and story teller. We look forward to sharing that side of Mike, which promises to be very entertaining and should spark lively conversation and debate. Mike may be known for his federal knowledge, but is loved for his general knowledge and one-of-a-kind insight on life.”
KDWN, Las Vegas Host Alan Stock Adds Hour to Show. Las Vegas talk host Alan Stock, who recently exited crosstown KXNT-AM/FM and was added to the midday program schedule at KDWN, expands his program to two hours. Originally brought on for the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program, Stock now begins his show at 10:00 am starting on September 6.
Filling in this Week. WSTC/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler sits in for Joe Crummey at 77WABC, New York on the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show tomorrow (9/2)…..Former KTSA, San Antonio talk host Kevin Wall fills in for Brian Kilmeade today (9/1) through Monday on Fox News Radio.
Obama Jobs Plan, 2012 Presidential Election and Middle East Turmoil Among top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). President Obama’s planned address to Congress and the nation on September 8, the GOP candidates for president in 2012 and the social and political turmoil in the Middle East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Moonlighting. WAXY, Miami program director and on-air personality Marc Hochman is pictured here performing at The Improv comedy club in Fort Lauderdale recently. Hochman, who is a cast member on WAXY’s PM drive Dan LeBatard program, was invited to perform his “sports comic” character at the club before a sellout crowd. Apparently he “killed” because the club has invited him to come back and perform again.