The Infinite Dial 2014. Media consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke sat in on yesterday’s annual webinar presented by Edison Research and Triton Digital that detailed the results of the 2014 version of the Infinite Dial study. Many results are not surprising: smartphone use is growing rapidly with 61% of Americans owning cell phones – a 500% increase in five years. Although the “digital dashboard” – newer model cars with in-dash infotainment systems – gets a lot of press coverage as new deals are struck between app-makers, service providers and car manufacturers, as of today the smartphone is more important. The study reports 43% of persons 12-24 listen with a smartphone while in the car and 27% of persons 25-54 do the same. Still, AM/FM owns the auto for now and is still the primary source for discovering new music. Read more results from the study and Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
Dana Barrett to Host New Local Show on ‘biz 1190’ in Atlanta. On Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” local media personality Dana Barrett debuts a new program dedicated to “a unique look into ‘the business of everyday life’” debuting on Monday, March 10. Barrett states, “Atlanta is such a dynamic business market with an incredible diversity of industries. Healthcare, real estate, entertainment, retail…you name it, we do it here. I want to celebrate and embrace that diversity by talking to the business leaders and entrepreneurs that make our region go.” The daily show will air from 9:00 am to 10:00 am with a repeat from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Program director Aaron Williams adds, “It’s the perfect match for us. As the market’s only station dedicated to business, we couldn’t be happier to bring Dana’s unique knowledge of the metro Atlanta area to our audience.”
Mike Bower Exits ’97.9 ESPN Hartford.’ The afternoon drive program hosted by Mike Bower at Clear Channel’s Hartford sports talk outlet WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” is cancelled and the station is actively seeking a new personality for the daypart. In a message posted on his Facebook page, Bower announces, “Unfortunately The Bower Show’s time on ‘97.9 ESPN’ in Hartford and ‘ESPN Radio 1300’ in New Haven has come to an end. Clear Channel opted to not renew the show but we would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to talk sports with you every day for the past two years. More importantly, we would like to thank all of YOU…our listeners, for your continued support of The Bower Show.” The Bower Show was the only local daily show on the program schedule.
Rosenthal Promoted at Katz Media Group. With this promotion, Mark Rosenthal – currently CEO of Katz Radio Group – adds the title CEO of Katz Media Group in which he will also oversee Katz Television Group, KMG’s television representation company. The company says that as CEO of Katz Radio Group, Rosenthal will remain focused on building the radio sector, working closely with Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray to drive additional media dollars into radio. Effective immediately though, he will now also work closely with KTG presidents Leo MacCourtney and Craig Broitman to grow and further develop KTG’s assets, advocacy and revenue-generating efforts.
Salem Study: Christian Teaching Listeners Younger Than Perceived. The results of a study by Nielsen Audio commissioned by Salem Communications looking at the make-up of the audience for Christian teaching and talk-formatted radio shows indicates the audience is younger than may be commonly perceived. Half of the listeners to the format are under 55 and are spending 6.1 hours per week listening to stations airing the format. The study also indicates younger listenership is growing. Salem VP, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “There is this perception that these are your father or even grandfathers radio stations, but we found there is a significant pool of younger listeners spending a great deal of time with our CTT format.”
Geoff Edwards Passes. No sooner had we reflected on the life and career of Los Angeles and Bay Area radio personality/television game show host Jim Lange (who succumbed to a heart attack last week) than we must now sadly note the passing of Geoff Edwards. Much like the 81-year-old Lange, Edwards, 83, amassed considerable fame from his Los Angeles radio days and nationally through several game show-hosting stints. Edwards died yesterday (3/5) of complications of pneumonia at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. Wink Martindale, Lange, and Edwards toiled together in Los Angeles at the once iconic KMPC. “Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I have worked with,” Martindale states of Westfield, New Jersey native Edwards, who was heard on KMPC from 1968 – 1979. He was also on-air in Los Angeles at KHJ (1964 -1965) and two go-rounds at KFI (1966 – 1968 and 1987 – 1989). According to Edwards’ agent of many years, Fred Westbrook, Edwards succeeded in television by making several bold fashion statements. He favored jeans over suits and his hair was longer than that of most other talents at the time. ”He was part of the new breed,” Westbrook comments. Tributes on Facebook regarding Edwards’ death included this observation from renowned voiceover talent/studio audience warm-up announcer/”Price is Right” announcer Randy West. ”Geoff was a wonderfully kind and joyous guy, very bright, with a great natural talent for creating joy, both over the air and in person. For me, it was more laughs per hour with Geoff than anyone else since high school. What a pro, what a sweet man, what a character, what a ball. He was loved and respected by everybody. We laughed and giggled every time we were together.” Sonoma Music Group president Michael O’Shea checked in by remarking, “What a shock. Geoff was our 9:00 am – 12:00 noon personality at KMPC. Personable, authentic, real and natural. We played tennis a time or two. This is very sad.” Longtime KOST, Los Angeles on-air personality Ted Ziegenbusch notes that Edwards was, “One of my favorite lunchroom pals. Thanks for the laughter, the stories and the fun. I know you have always enjoyed travel. This journey is the best one ever.” Veteran Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan comments that he was, “a fan for years, then honored to work with him at KFI, so happy to have called him a friend.” Fellow television game show host Jim MacKrell remarks, “I am deeply saddened by the news of Geoff’s passing. I know of no one in our business with a better reputation and a multitude of friends. I am glad I was one of them.” Edwards’ national television resume includes hosting “Jackpot!”, “Chain Reaction,” “Play the Percentages,” “Treasure Hunt” and “The New Treasure Hunt.” In Los Angeles, he and Meredith MacRae won Emmy Awards for co-hosting the daily “Mid-Morning L.A.” For nine years (1986 – 1995), he co-hosted the California Lottery‘s “Big Spin.” An eyewitness to one of America’s most memorable moments, then-news reporter Edwards was in the basement of the Dallas Police Department on November 24, 1963 when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Funeral plans are pending for Edwards, who is survived by his wife, two stepsons, his ex-wife and their three children, as well as nine grandchildren.
Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Intrigue, ObamaCare Criticism, IRS Scandal, Obama Approval Ratings Sink, and 2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5). The political storm in Ukraine and Crimea and how President Obama is handling Vladimir Putin’s moving Russian troops into the region; scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act as the administration announces current health plans can be kept through 2016; Lois Lerner’s refusal to testify in new hearings looking into the IRS scandal; dipping approval ratings for President Obama; and speculation about candidates for president in the 2016 election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
GOP Candidates Flocking to Talk Radio in Close Primary Race. In a piece on Mitt Romney’s talk radio appearances in Michigan and Arizona prior to tomorrow’s primaries in those states at Politico yesterday (2/26), writer Keach Hagey speaks with local and national talk show hosts on candidates’ use of talk radio during a campaign like this. The piece notes that Romney has historically been a bit aloof towards talk radio – unlike Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – but with the race with Santorum particularly close, he’s been all over the medium. Hagey quotes TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison offering the reason for this turn of events. “When they’re ahead, they don’t like going on talk radio because they are afraid of making a mistake, and talk radio is a wonderful place for making a mistake. If he were clearly the front-runner, then he would do less talk radio.” During a GOP primary race when candidates are speaking to core voters on conservative talk radio-formatted stations, they use the medium to differentiate themselves from the others. Hagey’s piece quotes Santorum national communications director Hogan Gidley saying, “Mitt Romney’s well-funded attack machine is on their seek-and-destroy mission, and talk radio is often the avenue Rick Santorum uses to dispel those false accusations. We have been on talk radio probably more than any of the other candidates combined.” With the Michigan and Arizona primaries tomorrow, Talk Radio Network-syndicated “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills is the beneficiary with interviews with Mitt Romney at 8:15 am today and Rick Santorum at 8:30 am.
INNOVATIVE MODEL SET FOR NEW MEDIA SEMINAR 2012. Plans have been set for the 15th annual installment of the New Media Seminar, the longest-running, largest and most important annual talk media industry convention. This year’s version 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, 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. 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.
According to Harrison, “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 will be limited to working media. For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details, agenda updates and hotel information will be announced in the coming days here at Talkers.com and in the TALKERS morning headlines e-mailer. Stay tuned!
NPR Announces Promotions and New Executive Structure. NPR promotes Kinsey Wilson to the position executive vice president and chief content officer and makes Margaret Low Smith the senior vice president of NPR news, a position she’s been serving in the “acting” vein since last January. NPR president and CEO Gary Knell states, “This is a time of great opportunity for NPR and our member stations. In Kinsey and Margaret we have two journalists, strategists and leaders with a keen understanding of the craft that distinguishes NPR – and how we must continue to innovate and evolve. Our collective aim is to work with stations to become an unrivaled leader in news and cultural coverage that reaches all Americans, no matter how they tune in.” Wilson has been with NPR since 2008 as SVP and general manager of digital media. NPR also announces Eric Nuzum steps permanently into the vice president for programming role. Plus, vice president of diversity in news & operations Keith Woods is charged with broadening with member stations to support public radio’s drive for greater diversity in its audience, staffing and content. Woods will work closely with vice president for membership and audience partnership Joyce MacDonald.
Ric Edelman’s Weekly Financial Talk Show Clears KFI, Los Angeles. “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” – the nationally syndicated financial talk show hosted by one of the nation’s top-ranked financial advisors – is added to the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles airing Sundays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Edelman’s program is now heard in 54 markets, including 25 of the top 30 markets. Edelman says. “I’m excited to join KFI’s outstanding lineup and look forward to bringing financial education to so many people in Southern California.”
KGO, San Francisco Makes Changes to Weekend Schedule; More News Content Added. Responding to listener feedback, the Cumulus Media Group station announces changes to its weekend schedule that includes the addition of traffic reports every 10 minutes plus live weather reports with ABC 7 meteorologists to serve listeners out in their cars on the weekend. News and program director Brian Hosley announces two new programs: “Cooking with Ryan Scott,” airing Saturdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and “The Monty Show,” hosted by Tim Montemayor and airing from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Hosley says Montemayor’s show will address local and timely issues. Montemayor is an East Bay resident who has worked in Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis as well as being syndicated nationally with Sporting News Radio. “He is a self-proclaimed ‘news junkie’ and is excited to talk with listeners about the stories that matter to them most.”
Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia Prepares for Martha Zoller’s Congressional Run. The station positioned as “Bulldog 103.7” – Cox Media Group’s talk and sports hybrid WXKT-FM – is running a contest for a fill-in for “one of our most popular hosts” who “will be occupied for a few months.” The station doesn’t mention Martha Zoller by name but the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host has said she’ll run as a Republican for the new congressional seat created by population changes and redistricting. The station is asking, “Do you have strong ties to the Gainesville area? Do you keep abreast of local, state and national issues? Can you have civil discussions with those who hold differing viewpoints? Can you keep talking and keep it interesting for hours on end? Then Bulldog 103.7 has a microphone with your name on it.” Applicants must write the station and in 100 words or less tell why they should get the gig.
Clear Channel’s Hartford Sports Talkers Split Affiliation. The new FM sports talk station Clear Channel Media and Entertainment put on the air recently – WUCS 97.9 FM ESPN – has been simulcasting with AM sister WPOP. Beginning March 5, WPOP will break off from the simulcast and affiliate with Fox Sports Radio. It will also carry the DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Dan Patrick show.
Opinion: Richard Neer Responds to Phil Valentine. Regarding the debate over the use of terms or phrases on broadcasts or in print historically regarded as ethnic slurs, TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer responds to Dial Global Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine who wrote this opinion piece called “Controlling the Language” published by TALKERS on Friday (2/24). Valentine was responding to Neer’s original column published last week here. In his response, Neer contests the notion that “words can’t hurt” and points out humanity’s tendency toward ethnic pride as one of the underlying reasons why ethnic slurs exist in the first place. Read Neer’s piece here.