WOR, New York’s John R. Gambling Announces Retirement. New York City radio legend John Gambling – who followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather in entertaining Big Apple radio listeners – told his audience this morning (11/11) that he will retire at the end of the year. Gambling has worked in radio for the past 40 years, 35 of that in New York City. He told listeners his last show will be December 20. John R. Gambling is the grandson of John B. Gambling who was the morning host on WOR, New York from 1925 to 1959 when his son, John A. Gambling assumed the morning host role at the station. John R. co-hosted the “Rambling with Gambling” show with his father John A. on WOR from 1985 to 1991. Gambling states, “I have done and accomplished so much. My radio career has given me the privilege to entertain and inform millions of New Yorkers. Each day, to watch the greatest city on earth from behind the microphone has been a thrill and I’ve been blessed with an audience that has been loyal and engaging. To say it has been exciting doesn’t come close to the joy I have had.” Clear Channel is beginning a search for a replacement morning show.
WPHT, Philadelphia Airs Veterans Day Broadcasts. CBS Radio news/talker WPHT, Philadelphia is airing a day of remote broadcasts in honor of Veterans Day. Today, Rich Zeoli broadcast from the Delaware County Veterans Memorial from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Midday host Dom Giordano is doing his show live from the 54th Media, Pennsylvania “Annual Veterans Day Parade.” During afternoon drive, “Talk Radio 1210” personalities Dick Morris, Gary R’nel and Rich Zeoli are broadcasting live from The Green Parrot Restaurant in Newtown.
Veterans Day Offers Radio Broadcasters the Opportunity to be Heroes. RadioInfo (TALKERS magazine’s sister publication on the music side) music editor/director Duane Doobie says that although most of the radio industry is open for business as usual today (including the trades), “In the communications business – particularly radio — you can probably do more to honor the true meaning of a holiday as significant as Veterans Day by going to work and raising consciousness about the meaning of the holiday. It sure beats taking a day off and paying tribute to the purpose of the observation by having a backyard barbeque or going to the beach or a sporting event and drinking a lot of beer, watching endless hours of a Twilight Zone marathon… or buying a car, or worse, planning to camp out on the sidewalk in front of a box store fully prepared to stampede your neighbors in order to save money on a new flat screen television or smart phone with the latest bells and whistles.” In a special commentary posted today (11/11) Doobie continues, “Our publisher Michael Harrison has been speaking at major industry events calling upon radio broadcasters to ‘never miss any opportunity to be a hero.’ He says it is a principle of radio broadcasting that strikes a chord into the very heart of what we are all about – a practice that is good for BOTH business and the soul. Thus, I ask you to look around and ask yourself, is your radio station – are you on your show – doing something special today to be a hero? Are you doing anything special today to be a hero by honoring the true heroes in every single market in America… our veterans?” To read Duane Doobie’s entire column, please click here.
ESPN Audio Reorganization Puts Jim Pastor in Charge of ESPN Local. ESPN confirms the changes in the structure of its O&O radio stations and their websites. Former WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” general manager Jim Pastor is named SVP of ESPN Local. This puts him in charge of the company’s three O&O stations (WMVP, Chicago; WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN, Los Angeles) as well as their websites and ESPNDallas.com. Current WMVP VP/GM John Cravens will take the new title vice president of local revenue and KSPN VP/GM Scott McCarthy will become vice president of local content and will report to Pastor. The move separates the national and local sectors with SVP Mo Davenport overseeing ESPN Network Audio. ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller says, “We have identified two key areas – network and local business – to align leaders with division priorities to provide better services and products for our fans. The successful partnership of our ESPN local websites and owned radio stations has helped our local business thrive. Organizing by function will allow us to leverage individual and team strengths across the entire business.”
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s ‘High School Tour’ Brings Teen Issues to the Fore. CBS Radio news/talk station KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh continues its “High School Tour” on Thursday, November 14 as midday talk host Mike Pintek broadcasts live from Woodland Hills High School in Churchill, Pennsylvania. The station states that the “’The High School Tour’ is a chance for KDKA to talk with students in different areas of our region about current events and the issues that affect them. Some of the topics Pintek has focused on are social media concerns, bullying, texting while driving as well as events in the current news cycle. The schools select students that participate in the broadcast.” During the broadcasts, Pintek elicits the perspective of the school’s superintendent, principal or other faculty.
Two More Stops Added to Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.’ WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller (center) is taking her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” out on the road again in 2014 and has added two more cities to the itinerary. Miller – along with fellow comedians and radio show contributors Hal Sparks (right) and John Fugelsang (left) – will be visiting the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin on March 29 as well as the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on February 14. The tour begins in Seattle on December 14 of this year at the Paramount Theatre.
WXOS, St. Louis Adds Thompson and Wheeler to Air Staff. Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS “101ESPN” brings former MLB player Brad Thompson and sports talk pro Kevin Wheeler aboard the air staff. Wheeler begins hosting an eponymous show on November 25 to air in a yet-to-be-announced daypart. Thompson will join the afternoon drive “Fastlane” show alongside D’Marco Farr and Randy Karraker beginning in January. Thompson has been serving as a fill-in host for the station on its daily programs and most notably subbed for former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan during his recent recovery from brain surgery. Wheeler is coming to WXOS from his most recent position at crosstown news/talk KMOX where he hosted the “Sports Open Line” show as well as a pre- and post-game shows for both the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Both Brad Thompson and Kevin Wheeler bring unique perspectives and experience to the ‘101ESPN’ team, and I am looking forward to getting them both on the air to enlighten and entertain our listeners.”
Broadcast Engineer Legend George J. Capalbo Passes at 86. Pioneering broadcast engineer George J. Capalbo passed away on Friday, November 8. He is remembered for his contributions to the radio broadcasting industry. Capalbo’s many accomplishments include serving as chief engineer for WRKO, Boston when the station launched as top 40 outlet “Big 68” in 1967. He also built the FM station WAAF, Worcester, now owned by Entercom, that serves both the Boston and Worcester metros. Capalbo is credited by WRKO’s then-general manager Mel Phillips with putting together a state-of-the-art broadcast facility for television and radio “from scratch” at 7 Bulfinch Place in Boston, and with developing WRKO’s radio automation system. Capalbo served as president of engineering for the RKO Radio division and supervised seven AM stations and seven FM stations in markets including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. He is also credited with building the RKO Satellite Network, the first radio satellite delivery network. For the RKO Satellite Network, Capalbo designed the distribution network in New York City as well as the news bureau in Washington, DC. Capalbo enlisted in the Armed forces in 1944 at the age of 17 right out of high school and served for two years until the end of World War II. He left the service with a rank of Radioman Second Class.
WSRQ, Sarasota Partners with Gannett’s WTSP-TV for Content. Florida Talk Radio-owned news/talk WSRQ, Sarasota (also heard on translator W295BH, Sarasota) enters into a deal with Gannett’s WTSP-TV “10 News” to locate two staffers from the television station in the former’s Sarasota studios. Sarasota reporter Isabel Mascareñas, along with “10 News” photojournalist Tim Burquest will be based in the newsroom, allowing “10 News” to quickly cover breaking news and events in the Sarasota area. Additionally, WTSP will provide video, weather radar and custom Sarasota weather forecasts for WSRQ. WSRQ general manager Susan Nilon states, “Our goal is to focus specifically on Sarasota issues. This partnership with ‘10 News’ allows for even better coverage of the wonderful place we call home.”
Embattled Toronto Mayor’s Radio Show Ends. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s weekly radio program that aired on Bell Media’s CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” has been eliminated from the station’s program schedule by a mutual decision, according to station management. Rob Ford and his brother, Toronto city councilor Doug Ford, hosted “The City with Mayor Rob Ford” that aired Sunday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Rob Ford has been at the center of a drug use scandal that has been a major news story not only in Toronto and Canada but across the United States as well.
FCC Tightens Divestiture Trust Policy with Townsquare’s Cedar Rapids Application. The long period of time during which radio stations have sat in divestiture trusts while still putting money into the pockets of the “previous” owners has been a sore spot for some broadcasters, but that is changing as the FCC signals it’s not going to approve long-termed trusts. The commission is approving the transfer of two of Townsquare Media’s Cedar Rapids stations – KKHQ-FM, Oelwein and KOEL-FM, Cedar Falls – to the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust on the condition that the term of the trust is two years and the trustee file reports every six months describing the efforts to sell them. In discussing the matter, the commission notes that the economy, and therefore the climate for buying and selling radio stations, is in much better shape than it was in 2008 when Clear Channel created the Aloha Trust. It notes that five years later, 37 of the 57 stations put in the trust have been sold with the sale of two more pending. The commission concludes that “a reasonable limitation on the duration of a divestiture trust will best serve the public interest by requiring the parties to a trust agreement to meet a deadline to place the stations with a new operator to ensure long-term compliance with the requirements of the Local Radio Ownership Rule.”
Glenn Beck Visits Asheville. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Glenn Beck is pictured here with WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina afternoon drive talk show host Pete Kaliner at the WWNC studios. Beck did his radio program from the station on November 8 while in town for the celebration of Reverend Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. The event was attended by some 900 well-wishers including Donald Trump and Sarah Palin.
Ronn Owens Disputes Reports of His Demise at KGO. Addressing yesterday morning’s lead story on the TALKERS magazine morning headlines, attributed to San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman, KGO talk show host Ronn Owens tells TALKERS there is no truth to the report that his contract will be bought out before it ends on December 31 and that the station will replace him with a newsy program. Owens also tells TALKERS he has no knowledge of Cumulus Media’s plans beyond his contract but says, “Cumulus has been totally nice to me.” Owens says Lieberman “has been attacking me for over a year for the changes that have taken place at KGO,” referring to the dismissal of other talk show hosts and staffers that took place after Cumulus assumed control of the station. Owens says Lieberman’s blog story is “totally made up.” He says, in fact, his agent is not Don Buchwald but is David Katz. He also says he does not make a seven-figure salary and never said that his ego is too big to be paid $300,000, as Lieberman reported. Regarding his future at KGO, Owens tells TALKERS, “San Francisco is the crown jewel of places to live and whatever happens after December 31 happens.”
CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports FM Will Be “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.” Set to debut in mid-October, CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet – the soon-to-be-former Triple A WZGC, Atlanta will take the handle “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.” Media chatter around Atlanta is that the station may reveal its lineup as early as next week in order to give the sales staff something concrete to pitch to clients prior to the launch. Earlier media reports alluded to the possibility that “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart – recently dropped from crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” – might pop up on the station but TALKERS sources indicate that will not be the case. The programming philosophy we’re hearing about for this station is being termed as “fresh.” Stay tuned!
Nation’s Biggest Talk Hosts Sign On to Petition Against TV Networks for Biased Election Coverage. The missive detailing a complaint against ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN for “rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome,” is penned by the conservative Media Research Center’s L. Brent Bozell III but it is signed by some of the country’s top nationally syndicated talk show hosts. Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin signed the open letter. In it, Bozell writes, in part: “A free and balanced media are crucial to the health of this country. It is your duty as journalists – as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics – to ‘distinguish between advocacy and news reporting,’ while simultaneously ‘seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.’ There is a reason why the media are viewed with such disdain by the American public, as evidenced by every recent poll on the issue.”
Armstrong & Getty Reportedly Suspended for Call to Criticize Islam. The suspension has not been confirmed by Clear Channel Sacramento management but the duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were off their KSTE, Sacramento flagship station as well as KKSF, San Francisco (where the show is simulcast) on Tuesday morning after the show sent out a press release promoting its call to listeners to post videos and photos critical of Islam and the prophet Muhammad to “flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up. In other words, free speech,” stated Jack Armstrong. The political blog The Right Perspective is reporting the duo have been suspended though it doesn’t state a period or confirmation of the sanction. KTXL-TV, Sacramento produced a piece on the controversy and also was unable to get a comment on record from Clear Channel’s Sacramento management.
Radio’s Strengths in the Media Landscape. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says the best session he attended at the recent 2012 Radio Show in Dallas was by Arbitron senior VP/marketing Bill Rose and highlighted how “Radio provides opportunities to reach consumers when advertising is relevant to what they are doing.” Cooke says, “This document [the study cited] is a powerful selling tool, and real instructive to programmers and on-air talent…especially on-air talent that sells (and smart on-air talent does).” The data Rose used in his presentation was from USA Touchpoints, a national sample that captures media usage, shopping behavior, emotional mindset, via smartphone app, every half hour, from 10-day panelists. Read Holland Cooke’s report and analysis here.
WWNC, Asheville AM Drive Co-Host Jerri Jameson Moves On. Morning drive co-host Jerri Jameson announces she will exit the Clear Channel station October 12 to pursue other interests. Jameson writes on her station blog, “After more than 10 years with Clear Channel Asheville, it is time for me to move on from radio. It was a difficult decision. I have gotten to know some truly wonderful people in our great community and for that I will always be grateful. Waking up each morning to share the daily goings on around town, the state and the world with you has truly been an honor I will treasure forever.”
The Young Guns of Talk Radio. Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men. Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today. Tomorrow at Talkers.com, executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of those broadcasters and their thoughts on being young and on the air in the news/talk business.
Willie Geist to Join NBC’s “Today.” According to Brian Stelter’s Media Decoder in The New York Times, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cast member Willie Geist will become co-host of the 9:00 am hour of NBC’s “Today” program. The deal has not been officially announced and Stelter reports Geist will still appear on “Morning Joe,” probably during the 6:00 am hour but will give up the “Way Too Early” 5:30 am newscast he’s been anchoring. It’s also believed Geist will fill in for Matt Lauer when he is absent.
Rumors of Big Names Being Sought to Run CNN. Sony chairman Howard Stringer is one of the executives rumored to be on the list of those being sought to take charge of struggling CNN when current chief Jim Walton leaves at the end of the year. The New York Post reports a source inside CNN states, “We should know something in a month, perhaps before the elections. Unlike CNN International, we just don’t have someone with a mission. We need our Roger Ailes.” Other media execs reportedly being considered are former NBCUniversal president and CEO Jeff Zucker, former ABC News president David Westin, and former NBC News chief Neal Shapiro.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes its “KNX on Your Corner” live remote series to Glendale, California on October 19. The day of programming will include features about Glendale’s history, current issues and plans for future growth. Coverage will include live interviews with city officials and other special guests. The station will continue the series in Beverly Hills on December 7…..SiriusXM will present live coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament. The biennial event pits the US against Europe and is being played this year at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.
Part of the Skyline. CBS Radio’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is now a part of the city’s skyline after the station put up a new, lit call letter sign atop its offices at 400 Market Street in downtown Philly. The KYW logo and the iconic CBS “eye,” were hung over this past weekend and faces east, making it visible from Camden, New Jersey, I-95 and the Ben Franklin Bridge. The station notes this was not a simple building procedure. “The difficult process of hanging an illuminated sign above street level, particularly in the downtown area, took five years before receiving city zoning and art commission approval. KYW is now the only radio station in Philadelphia County to be granted this right.”
Obama on ‘The View’ and at the UN, Iran’s Bluster, Criticism of Religious Figures, Libya Aftermath, and NFL Replacement Officials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25). President Obama’s Appearance on ‘The View’ and his speech at the United Nations; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blustery speech at the UN and his appearance on Piers Morgan; criticism of religious figures; analysis of the aftermath of the Libya attack and furor over the NFL’s replacement officials 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.
Herman Cain Returns to WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – in Commentator Role. Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and recent GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain returns to Cox Media Group’s news/talk giant WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – the station at which he was hosting the evening program before leaving to run for office. Cain isn’t back on evenings. Program director Pete Spriggs tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution Cain’s busy schedule won’t allow him to return to that slot. Instead, Cain is filing a daily two-minute commentary that airs twice daily – 8:45 am during Neal Boortz’s show and at 6:45 pm during Erick Erickson’s program. He’ll also join Boortz live at 10:35 am every Monday and Friday. Although it is clear that Cain is still heavily involved in the thick of this year’s presidential race as an event speaker and potential campaigner, his significantly heightened status as a political media celebrity in the aftermath of his formidable candidacy increases his stock as a potential radio and television talk show host. Industry speculation grows about his next moves as a media personality after the dust of the election settles.
Geraldo to Do Local Show on KABC, Los Angeles. Since it was announced that Geraldo Rivera was taking over the late-morning show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York there’s been speculation that he would also be imported west to the company’s KABC, Los Angeles. Now Geraldo tells the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Carney that not only will he be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KABC beginning January 30, but he’ll be doing a separate, live show for Southern California. Geraldo tells Carney that he represents the larger middle portion of America that isn’t necessarily being heard from on talk radio today, “That agenda is extremely partisan. It’s carving up the country, it has a strong racial undertone, and I don’t think that’s good for anybody.” As a result of the move, KABC’s John Phillips’ program will be heard from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.
Merlin Media-CBS Radio Update. The all-news war in New York is making the consumer press as the New York Daily News’ John Hinckley writes about the cease-and-desist Merlin Media received from CBS Radio lawyers for using a version of the famous WINS, New York slogan “Give us 22 minutes; we’ll give you the world” to promote its all-news “FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM). As we reported yesterday, Merlin has been engaging in a bit of old-fashioned radio battle strategy by twisting the WINS slogan to “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world” for WEMP-FM. Lawyers for CBS say the tactic has no purpose but to get publicity and say it’s trademark infringement. That’s one way of looking at it. Though the strategy could be derided by some as an old-school radio technique that won’t work in the modern era, others will argue that Merlin’s point is a good one; it underscores the perception that most people don’t have 22 minutes these days and FM News 101.9 is current and hip by doing it in 10 minutes. Merlin certainly has an uphill battle ahead of it in terms of catching the New York all-newsers in the ratings. It’s possible that in order to grab some of the audience share of the news-consuming public, Merlin is going to have to get attention by doing more than just putting out a good product. Another way of looking at it, however, is that if Merlin put out a good product, the Randy Michaels-led company wouldn’t have to resort to the kind of competitive stunting popularized during the heyday of top 40 in the 1960s and 1970s.
Todd Schnitt to End MJ Kelli AM Show; Focus on Talk Show. For years now, Todd Schnitt has been doing double duty – morning drive on Clear Channel’s CHR WFLZ-FM, Tampa and PM drive on CC’s WFLA from which he’s syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks. Now he will focus on the talk show aspect of his career as he shuts down his MJ Kelli morning show persona with his last broadcast on WFLZ-FM on February 17.
Clear Channel Promotes Two Executives. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment bumps Hartley Adkins from his SVP of operations for the Southeast market to executive vice president of operations for its Mid-Major markets. Taking over for Adkins in the SVP of operations for the Southeast market is John Rohm who moves up from the market manager post for the Philadelphia market. Although not mentioned in the press release, Adkins takes over for Mark Kopelman who exits the company with no comment from corporate. Both Adkins and Rohm will report to John Hogan who states, “With their proven performance, leadership and exerience, Hartley and John will help ensure our local markets operate effectively and efficiently and provide our company with real opportunities for growth.” Additionally, Brad Hardin, senior vice president of programming, now serves as programming partner to Adkins in the Mid-Major markets; and Jon Zellner, senior vice president of programming, now serves as programming partner to Tom McConnell, senior vice president of operations for the Northeast regional markets.
WWNC, Asheville Names Pete Kaliner PM Drive Host. The former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte evening host lands the afternoon drive program at Clear Channel’s Asheville, North Carolina news/talk outlet. Pete Kaliner hosted the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show at WBT for two years until the show was eliminated for budgetary reasons in March of last year. WWNC program director Brian Hall says, “Pete filled in for us last summer and I was blown away by his dedication to show prep and how the listeners engaged with him on the air. After talking with great candidates from all over the country and other professionals in the industry, it was clear that Pete was the perfect fit for this position and for the community of Western North Carolina.”
Former Florida Radio and TV Financial Host Gets Four Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors. U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley sentenced Anthony F. Cutaia to 51 months in prison for running a ponzi scheme in which he misappropriated some $1.5 million that affected between 10 and 50 investors (court documents don’t specify the number of victims). Cutaia operated a commercial real estate business and hosted a program on Beasley Broadcasting’s WSBR, Boca Raton as well as a television show on the PAX TV network. Cutaia was charged with nine counts of mail fraud in June of 2011 and pleaded guilty to one charge in hopes of getting a lighter sentence but the judge gave him a longer sentence than federal prosecutors recommended.
South Carolina Primary/ 2012 Presidential Race Most-Talked-About Story on News/Talk Radio During Week of January 16-20. Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the South Carolina GOP primary election and the 2012 presidential race. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio stations across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. Coming in at #2 this week is the denial of the permit for the Keystone XL Canada to Texas oil pipeline. At #3 is the internet anti-piracy bills and the associated Wikipedia blackout and at #4 is the Euro Zone jitters and rising gas prices. View the entire Talkers TenTM chart here.
“Troublemaker” Visits Florida. Christine O’Donnell, former U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware and author of the best-seller Troublemaker (St. Martin’s Press 2011), kicked off her Florida speaking tour by sitting in on “The President’s Speakers Series” at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach broadcast live on WNDB, Daytona Beach and hosted by talk host Marc Bernier. O’Donnell says she is reaching out to college students to engage them in the political process for the upcoming election. This event was the 72nd in the series started by Marc Bernier in the mid-1990s. Pictured here during the event are Bernier (l) and O’Donnell (r).
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.
Severe Nor’easter Cuts Power to Millions in Northeast; Radio’s Response to Disaster a Mixed Bag. Many TALKERS readers are aware that the bulk of our editorial staff is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and we are smack dab in the middle of the massive power outages and road closures so many in the Northeast are dealing with in the wake of the Nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of wet snow on the region on Saturday. As the region digs out, deals with the tremendous amount of downed trees, and utilities crews work to get power back TALKERS editors have been able to do a preliminary analysis of how radio handled the storm and its aftermath. There were stations that did an exemplary job providing round-the-clock information about road closures, dangerous areas due to fallen trees and power outages. We must recognize CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford whose morning drive host Ray Dunaway manned the overnight Saturday on the air with meteorologist Joe Furey keeping listeners up to date. However, there were many stations and station clusters that – due to manpower issues, in many cases caused by previous decisions to cut staff – were able to provide little local content and defaulted to syndicated programming. It is times like these that it becomes tragically clear that – apart from some shining examples of excellent public service – most radio groups have surrendered radio’s position as the first destination for news and information in exchange for bottom-line efficiency.
WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Exits. The popular local Asheville, North Carolina talk host may not have been part of the mandated staff cuts Clear Channel handed down last week. The Asheville Citizen-Times indicates it appears Matt Mittan left of his own accord, citing a statement from CC Asheville to that effect. Mittan is tight-lipped about his exit but Citizen-Times writer Jason Sandford hints it might have been done in protest of the cuts that affected his show and other co-workers in the cluster. Sandford goes on to compliment Mittan for the excellent work he’s done in the past handling public emergency situations that affected the station’s listenership.
Rush Limbaugh to Play Town Hall in NYC. Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh makes no bones about his disdain for New York City’s politician and public policies but he’s returning to the Big Apple for a live event on November 29 at the historic Town Hall on West 43rd Street. Dubbed “Rush Live,” tickets go on sale today at 12:00 noon for the 90-minute show. A press release from Cumulus’ WABC, New York states, “The last time El Rushbo visited his New York audience was in 2005 to a sold out crowd. While Rush isn’t bashful about criticizing New York politicians and tax policies, he jokes that he’s going ‘behind enemy lines’ because he loves his New York listeners and his flagship station.”
Radio One to Put All-News FM on in Houston. This is the first time Radio One has programmed an all-news format and they’re doing it with the help of consultant Ed Shane. Radio One will drop the gospel music on KROI-FM at 92.1 and debut “News 92 FM” around November 14. The station has reportedly hired a stable of news pros including the former crosstown KTRH morning news team of J.P. Pritchard and Lana Hughes. Denise Bishop has been tapped to serve as the news director.
WCBS, New York Inks the Yankees to One-Year Extension. MLB’s New York Yankees will remain on all-news WCBS, New York for the 2012 season. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick speculates that the one-year deal gives the two sides time to explore a long-term deal but he also states that the Yankees’ $14 million-per-season pact has not been profitable. Whether CBS Radio views Yankees baseball as a cume-building loss leader or a drain on its finances may be answered if and when the two sides agree to a longer extension or the Yankees broadcasts come onto the open market.
WWRL, New York Adds LGBT-Targeted Programming. Access.1 Communications’ WWRL, New York adds programming called “Equality Pride Radio” to serve the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered community. The programming airs from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and debuts this evening (10/31) following the Al Sharpton program. WWRL general manager Adriane Gaines states, “WWRL 1600 has created ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ a media platform where the LGBT community will convey information and be celebrated for their ideas, energy and accomplishments. We take great pride in the culturally diverse audience we serve with our current liberal talk line-up. With the addition of ‘Equality Pride Radio,’ we further reinforce ‘RL’s format of informative and entertaining radio.”
Jim Ladd to Host “Farewell Show” on KFI, Los Angeles. Southern California radio legend Jim Ladd will get a chance to say goodbye to his many listeners this Saturday afternoon from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm – although not on Cumulus classic rock KLOS-FM from which he was let go last week. Ladd tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan that KFI program director Robin Bertolucci asked him to do the show to give him the chance to say goodbye. Regarding Ladd’s one-time show, Bertolucci says, “Jim is synonymous with great music and Southern California and I know a lot of his friends and fans want to connect with him. Jim is a legend and it will be an honor to hear him rock KFI.”
Clear Channel Promotes Keriann Worley to Market Manager for Melbourne, Florida and the Keys. Keriann Worley moves from her general sales manager post at Clear Channel’s West Palm Beach cluster to become market manager for the company’s Melbourne, Florida and Florida Keys markets. Worley says, “I’m really honored that Hartley Atkins and Sherri Sanchez chose me to lead our Melbourne and Florida Keys markets. It’s an exciting time to work at Clear Channel, and we have a tremendous opportunity to expand our market share with integrated solutions and iHeartRadio. I am fortunate to lead a team that will embrace and utilize all our resources for continued growth and development.”