Holland Cooke: Start Your Own Media Station. Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke says getting laid off during this year’s pre-Christmas industry bloodbath, though painful and scary, might not be the worst thing that can happen to enterprising broadcasters. In a boldly worded opinion piece, the forward-thinking programming advisor connects numerous dots and cites fascinating examples painting a positive picture of just how much opportunity now exists in the digital world for radio people daring enough to go “stickless.” He points to a number of telling signs in the changes in our culture – such as Larry King’s new online show being listed in a larger font on the USA Today television listings page than his former home, CNN. Cooke writes, “Anyone who uses Twitter online can click-to-listen. Those who Tweet on smartphones or iPad simply touch-to-listen. Voila! You’re in-the-pocket, where AM/FM radio used to be.” Read his piece here.
Rumors of Format Change at WTKK, Boston Rampant. The Boston media is all over the rumors that Greater Media will flip the news/talk station to a different, music-based format in the near future. The local media picked up on domain name registrations such as 969BostonsBeat.com, 969TheBeat.com, and Power969.com. The Boston Herald speculates the change is coming because “’toxic’ all-talk formats aren’t attracting enough younger listeners.” Greater Media spokesperson Heidi Raphael states, “We deal in a business of attitudes and being responsive to the preferences of our audiences and the needs of our advertisers and communities. We are continually exploring our options, looking for ways to improve our product and brands. No decisions have been made on any changes to the format.” Radio operators register domain names that go unused frequently so the actions by Greater Media don’t necessarily mean a change is coming but it certainly means the company is considering it.
Dave Ramsey Changes Affiliates in Home Town of Nashville; Jumps from WWTN to Sports WPRT. The nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show will move to Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 FM The Game” beginning January 1. Ramsey’s program has aired on Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville since the program debuted in the early 1990s. Ramsey states, “After 20 years on WWTN it is very difficult to leave. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come to terms with Cumulus on a simple renewal agreement. There are a lot of great people at WWTN and we’ll miss them. But we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with an independent radio station owner the caliber of Bud Walters.” It appears as though the move is being precipitated by Cumulus’ desire to give its own talk programs more exposure – in this case, giving Mike Huckabee a full three hours on WWTN. The new schedule at WWTN puts Huckabee on live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and allows Phil Valentine a 3:00 pm start to his PM drive show. At the same time, Cumulus announces its newly acquired Michael Savage will air live from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Cumulus Nashville market manager Mike Carpenter states, “We believe in the Mike Huckabee show and anticipate that this change will accelerate the governor’s popularity in Nashville. Mike is a man of such character that we feel our clients will appreciate the opportunity to make him a key part of their marketing plans. His on-air interest in music expands our talk repertoire and will play extremely well in a city where the music industry is the number three employer. As for Savage, we assure you that a large number of our listeners will be happy to learn that their pleas have been heard and that Michael Savage is back on in Nashville.”
FCC Approves Transfer of WFAN-FM, New York to CBS Radio. The $75 million deal that sends Merlin Media’s former WRXP, New York to CBS Radio as WFAN-FM, New York is approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The station changed its call letters to WFAN-FM and CBS began operating it under an LMA on November 1 simulcasting sports talk WFAN-AM on the signal.
More on Changes at XEPRS, San Diego. Yesterday, TALKERS reported sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “XX1090” let morning hosts Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth go. But now we’ve learned more as midday hosts Josh Rosenberg and Charod Williams have also been let go. Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton is now on mornings and the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that former morning hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith will return to the station in AM drive soon and Darren Smith will move to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Kaplan and B.R. (Smith), who were fired after Kaplan made disparaging comments about a female sportscaster, have been hosting the San Diego Union-Tribune’s online TV morning show and, according to the report, would continue in that role.
Dave Wheaton Exits WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne. As tipped by Indiana Radio Watch’s Blaine Thompson, news director Dave Wheaton leaves his position at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne to take the assignment editor post at Granite Broadcasting’s WPTA-TV, Fort Wayne (channel 21) and WISE-TV, Fort Wayne (channel 33).
Envision Radio Network Names Paul Harris “America Weekend” Host. Talk radio pro Paul Harris is named the host of the new “America Weekend” program from Envision Radio Networks. Executive producer Kipper KcGee says, “I’m thrilled to be working with Paul again. We will be announcing the remainder of the ‘America Weekend’ lineup in coming weeks, and look forward to demonstrating that news/talk radio can enjoy weekend ratings and revenues!” McGee worked with Harris in St. Louis and at WLS, Chicago. Harris states, “I’m excited about launching ‘America Weekend’ to give both affiliates and listeners something more compelling, with great stories, interesting interviews, and my own perspective on what’s happening.”
Clear Channel Donates WDTW, Detroit to the Minority Media and Communications Council. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is donating progressive talk outlet WDTW, Detroit – a 5,000-watt Class B signal – to the MMTC under the Clear Channel-MMTC Ownership Diversity Initiative. Clear Channel CEO and chairman John Hogan states, “We applaud MMTC for creating a program that helps minority broadcasters develop the skills and experience necessary to become successful broadcasters. We’re pleased that the donation of these resources will give the opportunity for enthusiastic new entrepreneurs to own and operate their own radio station.”
Main Street Radio Network Launches New Weekly Program. “The RichLife Show” with host Beau Henderson is a weekly one-hour program that, according to syndicator Main Street Radio Network, is “a fast-paced hour with a BIG mission to help listeners live healthy, wealthy, fulfilled lives on purpose by combining a highly engaging mix of education, entertainment, inspiration, and motivation. The format of the show is financial Q&A, discussion around listeners’ biggest questions and concerns, and relevant expert interviews.” Henderson is a senior financial advisor, Master Certified Success Coach, and Certified Master Behavioral Analyst and author of the book, The RichLife – Ten Investments For True Wealth. Main Street president Jane Silk says, “We know ‘The RichLife Show’ will be a great addition to our current shows and our rapidly growing radio network. Beau Henderson is a caring, honest person who truly has the listener’s best interest in mind. Beau will cover a variety of topics such as all aspects of living rich: money, health, meaningful relationships, and living a fulfilled life of purpose. Beau and RichLife advisors have built an online community through a weekly newsletter and social media that now exceeds 35,000 committed to living their definition of a RichLife.”
KGO, San Francisco Partners with Good News in Oakland for News Feature. Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talker KGO announces a partnership with internet media outlet Good News in Oakland to create a feature that “will highlight a person or organization in Oakland that has made a difference in creating a positive image for the East Bay’s largest city.” Good News in Oakland is described as an “internet-based renewable psychological socially responsible environmentally focused media outlet.” Stories will be produced by KGO reporter Tihanna McCleese and Good News in Oakland founder Sean Kennedy. KGO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to enter into this partnership with Good News in Oakland. This collaboration will give KGO listeners an opportunity to hear about the positive side of the city…stories that have not been told before.” Features will air at 6:46 am, 1:46 pm, and 5:46 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
WNYM, New York Begins Picture Caption Contest for Lunch with Sliwa & Lichtman. Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York’s PM drive team of Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman are enjoying their new street-level studio with the giant display window at the Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Avenue. The station and hotel management say they are getting such a buzz from New Yorkers about the setup that they’re beginning a photo caption contest to capitalize on the publicity. WNYM is asking fans to take a picture of Sliwa and Lichtman broadcasting, give it a caption and post it via Twitter or Instagram or send it to the station via email. First prize is lunch with Sliwa and Lichtman. Other prizes include Broadway show tix, restaurant deals and more. WNYM general manager Sean O’Neill states, “The iconic Hotel Pennsylvania with Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman broadcasting live in the hub of midtown Manhattan is an extraordinary opportunity to personalize the radio experience in the digital age. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers walk through this block daily and now have the opportunity to connect face to face with their favorite radio personalities.”
Quentin Tarantino Entertains Live Audience at SiriusXM. As part of the “Town Hall Series” on SiriusXM, noted filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (l) was interviewed by Village Voice film critic Scott Foundas (r) before an intimate, live studio audience. Tarantino, who also took questions from the crowd, discussed his new film “Django Unchained” and told stories about his career as a film director. Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur / WireImage for SiriusXM.
ESPN Radio Broadcasts 24 College Bowl Games. The college football bowl season will bring plenty of play-by-play to ESPN Radio affiliates as the sports media giant announces plans to broadcast 24 bowl games. Beginning with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on December 15 and wrapping up with the National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama in Miami on January 7, ESPN Radio’s coverage will span 16 days. David Norrie and Bill Rosinski will call five of the games beginning with the S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on December 20. Additionally, both the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and “SVP & Russillo” programs will originate from South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, January 7 and 8.
Lotus Communications’ ‘SuperGol’ Soccer Show Scores Affiliates. The Spanish-language soccer show “SuperGol” recently snagged its 25th affiliate for the one-hour program targeted to younger Hispanic men. The show airs live from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm PT and is hosted by Halim Zadat and Erika Garza. The show is produced by Lotus’ KWKW, Los Angeles and station president James Kalmenson says, “The young US-born Latino is a growing segment of the sports audience that’s responding extremely well to the program. Latinos of all generations are avid soccer fans, making the soccer-themed talk show an ideal platform for younger audiences while maintaining the traditional sports target of men 25-54.”
Gow Broadcasting Acquires Sports Flash Radio Network. The service that specializes in sports updates is acquired by Gow Communications, the company that is operating Yahoo! Sports Radio. Gow announces at the same time that its affiliate base has grown to more than 360 stations. David Gow states, “We are really pleased with the ongoing expansion of our affiliate base. The acquisition of the Sports Flash Radio Network extends our reach to both sports-format and non-sports-format stations. And the additions of new shows we have introduced over the past year have enabled us to achieve industry-leading growth.”
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Looming ObamaCare Costs, Michigan Right-to-Work Bill Controversy, Hillary in 2016, and Aussie DJ Prank Fallout Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10). The GOP versus Obama fight in Washington over avoiding the “fiscal cliff”; the costs associated with ObamaCare that will begin to take effect in 2013; the battle in Michigan over the union-busting right-to-work bill; the proposition Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016; and the fallout after the Australian DJ prank call to Kate Middleton’s hospital in London were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Comes Through for Charity for Holiday Giving and in Times of Disaster. Radio is a business and making a profit is the first goal of any business. But radio stations and radio corporations have a documented history of giving back to the communities they serve through the organization of charitable giving. That service is evident even during difficult economic times as stations large and small regularly step up to the plate to take time out from creating entertaining programming while risking losing listener interest in order to do charitable work. This year the industry is seeing a confluence of disaster relief needs and the annual holiday charity programs. Relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy include such assistance as: CRN Digital Talk Radio’s $2,351 donation to the cause; Townsquare Media-owned New Jersey 101.5’s ongoing “Restore New Jersey” campaign; Cox Media Group’s $75,000 donation to relief organizations; Geraldo Rivera’s recent live “radiothon” on Cumulus Media’s WABC; CBS’s radio and TV stations’ daylong phone bank; CBS Philadelphia partnered with Live Nation/Comcast Spectacor to offer concert tickets to the Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler show on November 19 in exchange for donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund that brought in $30,000; as well as Clear Channel’s planned 12-12-12 concert in New York City. Disaster relief is not the only cause that radio rises to assist. Radio’s charitable projects include aid to organizations that individual stations have chosen to work with regularly – such as KGO, San Francisco’s long-running annual radiothon to fight leukemia — plus regular holiday-oriented giving programs. The following are just a few that have come to our attention recently:
Cumulus Nashville to Program Radiothon for Local Rescue Mission. News/talk WTN, Nashville will host a radiothon on Monday, November 19 beginning at 5:00 am and running through 7:00 pm to raise funds for the Nashville Rescue Mission. Morning host Ralph Bristol begins the day and the fundraising continues with hosts Michael DelGiorno, Dave Ramsey, and Phil Valentine all committing their shows to raising funds for the Rescue Mission’s programs. In addition to his own show, Michael DelGiorno will participate with the other WTN personalities throughout the day. DelGiorno’s extra duties start by broadcasting live at the Rescue Mission from 7:30 am to 8:30 am with Ralph Bristol live from the studio. He then hosts Dave Ramsey from 9:00 am to 10:00 am at the station. His normal show then gets extended to 1:00 pm effectively preempting the Mike Huckabee show. And then to close out the Radiothon, DelGiorno returns for the final push from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles Raises $135,000 for Paralyzed Veterans. Sports talk outlet KLAC, Los Angeles held its fifth annual Paralyzed Veterans of America Live Radiothon and Online Auction recently, calling in local and national celebrities to help raise a record $135,000 for the charity. KLAC and Fox Sports Radio Network personalities Steve Hartman, Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Petros Papadakis and Rob Dibble hosted the radiothon and were joined by Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda; rocker Eddie Money; Lakers legend James Worthy; model Leeann Tweeden; and boxing great Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, among others. Pictured here are (from l-r): KLAC’s Steve Hartman, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, KLAC’s Vic “The Brick” Jacobs and KLAC producer Sam Betesh.
WEEI, Boston Recognized for Cancer Charity Work. Entercom’s sports WEEI, Boston was recognized by the Lung Cancer Alliance of New England for its work bringing attention to and raising funds for the treatment and cure of the disease as part of its annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon held in conjunction with cable’s New England Sports Network each August. This past August, the 11th annual two-day event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Entercom Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says, “It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the Global Lung Cancer Coalition and I’m so proud to accept this award on behalf of all of us at WEEI. Cancer affects us all, and we are blessed to have had such tremendous success shining a light on this terrible disease through the efforts of the Jimmy Fund radio-telethon. I want to thank everyone at the GLCC for their support. It means a great deal to our entire staff.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Wolfe; Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the New England Patriots; and Rich Monopoli, LCA New England co-director.
FCC Chairman Genachowski Asks Commission to Approve Cross-Ownership. The change in rules would be permanent for companies operating radio-TV-newspaper combos in the top 20 markets. Stations such as Tribune’s WGN, Chicago have been living on temporary exemptions to the law forbidding such cross-ownership for years. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is asking the commissioners to approve the move without a public meeting vote as soon as today and the change could take effect tomorrow (11/16). Bloomberg reports that for Tribune, the vote would be a requirement for the company’s exit from bankruptcy protection.
Conclave Names Seasoned Radio Pro Bob Shannon Executive Director. Veteran radio broadcasting executive Bob Shannon has been named the Conclave’s new executive director. He succeeds the organization’s first executive director, Tom Kay, who recently retired after almost four decades of service. In announcing the appointment, Conclave board of directors chairman Mark Bolke says, “There obviously is no replacement for Tom Kay and his shaping the Conclave organization for the past 37 years. The executive selection committee was presented with a list of excellent candidates from which to choose. Bob Shannon represents the consummate broadcasting professional with a shared vision and passion to move the Conclave into a new era. We are thrilled to name him as our new executive director.” Shannon, whose consulting company bobshannonworks is based in Minneapolis, is also president of SpotMedia Services, a former executive vice president at TM Century, and the author of Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996. On accepting the position Shannon states, “As a student of radio I’ve long admired Tom and what he’s done at the Conclave. Moving forward my goal is to build on his vision by expanding our online activity and looking very closely at how radio and our learning conference are addressing changes in media. This is a very exciting time, ripe with opportunities for those who know how to create compelling content. Stay tuned!”
Newsmax Steps Up Audio and Video Content; Terrestrial Radio Programs in Development. Months ago TALKERS reported on the digital initiatives going on at conservative media firm Newsmax that include its video channel Newsmax TV. Now, the Chris Ruddy-led media organization is announcing the further development of these ventures. Newsmax says it will soon be expanding to an online 24/7 network. The online TV network will focus on simulcasting radio content online. It will also develop its own radio shows for Newsmax TV and broadcast these on terrestrial radio as well. In 2013, the company plans to significantly ramp up its online TV presence and radio activities and has constructed a state-of-the-art broadcast studio in its New York offices. Staff for the projects includes Chad Wilkinson as executive producer of programming; Tamara Karcev as director of affiliate relations for radio programming. In addition, former WABC, New York program director John Mainelli is consulting the project.
Wayne Powers Returns to WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. After four years as regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte, Wayne Powers removed himself from the station’s roster in February in order to run as a Republican for an At-Large seat on the Mecklenburg County Commission. After a May primary win, Powers came up short in the November 6 general election. “It was tough to beat the huge straight-ticket Democrat vote here in the DNC convention city,” says Powers. He returns for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, guest hosting WBT’s Keith Larson show.
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Israel-Syria Conflict, and New Chinese Leader Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14). The expanding David Patraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; questions about the Benghazi attack and Petraeus’ role in the investigation; Congress and the Obama Administration begin tackling the ‘fiscal cliff’; the violent conflict between Israel and Syria; and the change in Chinese leadership as Xi Jinping succeeds Hu Jintao as secretary general were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phoenix Programmer Neil Larrimore Joins Speaker Roster at LA New Media Seminar. Sellout Expected by Wednesday. The lineup of outstanding industry speakers scheduled for the forthcoming West Coast installment of the TALKERS New Media Seminar continues to grow as Phoenix broadcaster Neil Larrimore, PD of NewsTalk 550 KFYI and XTRA Sports 910 KGME joins the roster. The total number of speakers for the power-packed, one-day event has now surpassed 50. Seminar organizers state that it will be completely sold out by the end of business on Wednesday – perhaps sooner. 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. Because it is open only to working media, there is no online registration — only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. A detailed up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted here tomorrow.
Greater Media to Sell WPEN-AM, Philadelphia to Harold Camping’s Family Stations. The simulcast of Greater Media’s sports talk WPEN-AM/FM will continue until the deal is complete but Greater Media clearly sees no need to have its “97.5 The Fanatic” heard on both the AM and FM bands. The sale price for the Philadelphia-licensed outlet has not been made public yet. In a statement, Greater Media’s Philadelphia vice president and market manager John Fullam says “Greater Media looks forward to focusing on the growth of ‘97.5 The Fanatic,’ the best sports talk station serving the market and the new home to Sixers and Flyers play by play.”
John Gehron to Leave Merlin Media. As reported by Time Out Chicago’s Robet Feder, radio management and programming pro John Gehron — who serves as the chairman of the advisory board of Merlin Media – will step down from that role at the end of this month. Gehron, who also serves as COO of AccuRadio, tells Feder, “It was a fascinating experience. I worked with some wonderful people.”
WGN, Chicago Moves Dean Richards to Sunday AM Slot. With Tribune columnist and WGN talk host Rick Kogan leaving his radio show to take the PM drive slot at Chicago Public Radio’s WBEZ, WGN program director Bill White announces the station is moving Dean Richards’ Sunday program into the early morning slot held by Kogan’s “The Sunday Papers” program. “Dean Richards’ Sunday Morning” will air from 6:30 to 11:00 on Sundays beginning October 7. White states, “Dean’s show has been a staple on Sunday mornings since 1994, and this new timeslot will give him an earlier start — avoiding sports broadcast pre-emptions — while still airing during part of his longtime timeslot. As a Chicago native, Dean truly embodies the WGN hometown quality and we’re excited to expand the show.” Addressing Kogan’s new role on WBEZ, White says, “Rick is a true Chicago legend and has been a mainstay on WGN for the past 13 years. We expect him to have a great experience in his new endeavor, but the door is open for future projects down the road at WGN.”
Three Steps to Digital Power. Digital media consultant Chris Miller says that part of radio’s beauty is that it is the original targeted medium and radio brands can use their digital components to even further capitalize on the value of radio’s targeted nature. Miller states, “Having digital inventory to sell on our streams and websites only makes us a stronger business partner for clients who want to hyper-focus their message.” But Miller believes there are three steps stations should follow to effectively work the digital medium: build for it, commit to it, and train for it. Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership 1 Day Event Simulcast to 200-Plus Locations. Nationally syndicated financial talk radio star Dave Ramsey presented his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event live from the People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee last week. The program included author Jon Acuff and speaker Chris LoCurto, speaking about how to run a business using the same common-sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees. This particular presentation was also simulcast to more than 200 additional locations across the country. The Dave Ramsey show reports that flagship station WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” reaped big benefits. Station GSM Timothy Meagher states, “It’s a win for our clients by providing an excellent business-to-business marketing opportunity at the event; it’s a win for our listeners by providing a great way to learn and be educated on sound financial principals from Dave and his team; and it’s a win for ‘Super Talk 99.7’ by providing a solid branding opportunity in the market for our community of listeners and station brand.”
Alex Cohen Replaces Madeleine Brand on SCPR Talk Show. Southern California Public Radio announces personality Madeleine Brand exits the 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk shot she co-hosted with A Martinez to pursue other professional endeavors. Her spot on the show will be filled by Alex Cohen who has been serving as KPCC, Pasadena’s anchor for the afternoon block that includes “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace.” Vice president of content Russ Stanton says, “We are very fortunate to have in Alex a co-host with the combination of news judgment, experience and a lively, energetic on-air presence. She has a range of experience in public broadcasting and journalism that few can match; she is smart, tenacious and insightful.”
Pasta Promotion. The 29th Newsradio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast was held on Friday, September 21 in downtown Pittsburgh. Thousands of Pittsburghers stopped by the annual hosted by the CBS Radio station event to feast on spaghetti before continuing on to work. Pictured here at the serving line are (from l-r): KDKA personality Vinnie Richichi, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Ernie Ricci and KDKA talk show host Mike Pintek.
By Phil Valentine
Talk Show Host
WWTN-FM, Nashville/Dial Global
NASHVILLE — I read Richard Neer’s piece. (“When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There” 2/23/12) and, quite frankly, it frightened me. Somehow too many people have succumbed to the notion that something doesn’t have to be offensive, it just has to sound offensive. Case in point? ESPN.
ESPN editor Anthony Federico found out the hard way. His headline on ESPN’s website got him fired. The egregious headline was as follows: “Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets.”
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Ah, he should’ve known better,” but Federico says the word “chink” as a slur against someone Chinese never entered his mind. “This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny,” Federico told the New York Daily News. Doesn’t matter, Anthony. It sounded offensive to the self-anointed oversensitive media watchers and you were sacrificed at the altar of political correctness.
What really bugs me is how the mainstream media have portrayed Jeremy Lin as Chinese. He’s no more Chinese than I am. He was born and raised in California. He’s as American as me yet he’s offered up as some kind of Chinese sensation. They even show large groups of people gathered back in Taiwan crowded around big screen TVs. Sure, his parents are from Taiwan, but he isn’t.
I wonder if these same media types ever talk about black athletes in terms of being “African.” They indeed use the PC term “African-American” but not in their wildest dreams would they cut away to some folks in Nigeria watching NBA hoops.
Portraying a guy who ‘looks’ Chinese as being from China is as stereotypical as it gets. It’s like all this glory in which Lin is basking is being piped back to the motherland. How about some speculation that Lin is so hot right now because he’s able to calculate the trajectory of the ball in some freakishly difficult math equation because we all know Asians are great at math.
The week prior to Federico’s headline, ESPN anchor Max Bretos used the same term, “chink in the armor,” when asking a former Knicks player about Lin on the air. It wasn’t until the Federico headline that Bretos was called on the carpet. (I’m sorry. Is that offensive to Arabs? Carpet? Did I mean flying carpet?)
By the way, Bretos was suspended for 30 days. No word from ESPN as to why it is that saying it is less offensive than writing it.
So, let’s just strike the phrase “chink in the armor” from ESPN’s lexicon. Forget that it has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone Chinese. Doesn’t matter. You think anyone else at ESPN is going to ever utter that phrase again, to anyone about anybody or anything?
See, this is what political correctness does. Moreover, this is exactly what political correctness is designed to do. It’s designed to control the language and as I wrote several years ago in the book The Conservative’s Handbook, controlling the language ranks right up there with controlling the currency. In fact, it can be said that language is the currency of thought. So now we have the very definition of the thought police. Each and every person who writes or reports for ESPN will forever edit themselves before they ever let that term move from their mind to their mouth. Mission accomplished.
The politically correct have a long list of words and phrases they want stricken from the language because they’ve managed to become offended on behalf of someone else. Need I bring up the whole ‘Redskins/Braves’ brouhaha?
The folks at ESPN are now on notice. Even the most innocent slip of the tongue can get you fired. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next Indianapolis 500 is begun with, “Gentlemen, start your native Americans.”
Phil Valentine is a Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host based at WWTN-FM, Nashville. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
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KTRS, St. Louis Talk Show Host JC Corcoran Responds to TALKERS Feature Story. St. Louis talk show host JC Corcoran’s Twitter exchange that got him suspended from talk station KTRS last fall was an example cited in the TALKERS feature piece, “Social Media: Handle with Care,” published on Friday. Corcoran responded with an insightful letter to the editors that adds new levels to the story and the larger issue of social media use by talk and sports radio broadcasters. Read the piece and Corcoran’s response here.
Talent Shake-Up at WLW, Cincinnati; Eddie Fingers Returns. Today sees a revamped talk host lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s “Big One” WLW, Cincinnati highlighted by what Queen City media observers are calling the bizarre return of Eddie Fingers to the PM drive show 15 months after he was fired from the same show. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, Fingers will rejoin co-host Tracy Jones for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Jones’ partner since October of 2010 – former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Scott Sloan – moves to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. That means late morning host Doc Thompson is the odd man out. Kiesewetter reports Thompson was fired last week while on his honeymoon with WHIO-TV, Dayton reporter Yuna Lee. Thompson still works for Clear Channel hosting the PM drive show at the company’s WRVA, Richmond. Back to Cincy, Fingers has been a personality in town since the early 1980s. He moves from rock WEBN-FM to WLW in 2007. Kiesewetter reports Fingers has no animosity toward the station for his October 2010 firing, stating, “I never had a problem with anyone in the building all along. The decision on firing me came from corporate, and I get the impression some of them have moved along. I loved it there. I loved those guys. This is unprecedented. This is a load off my shoulders.”
Programmer Jack Landreth Named KMBZ-AM/FM, Kansas City PD. Entercom Kansas City announces talk radio programmer Jack Landreth takes over the PD position at news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM beginning Monday, January 30. Landreth most recently held the PD post at CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas. During his career he has also programmed KTSA, San Antonio; KNST, Tucson; and WWTN-FM, Nashville. Landreth says, “KMBZ is the premiere radio station in Kansas City and I could not be more honored to work with such a great team of local, top-notch broadcasters. My sincere gratitude goes out to Pat Paxton, Ken Beck and, of course, Dave Alpert. My family and I look forward to coming back to the Midwest and calling Kansas City our true home.”
“Loveline” Tweaking Format to Appeal to Talk Stations as Courtside Offering. The former Westwood One talk show, now in Norm Pattiz’s growing Courtside Entertainment stable, has been a nighttime music radio mainstay for almost 30 years. It is heard on more than 50 alternative rock, classic rock and CHR stations with a strong base in the top 25 markets. Hosted by noted medical authority Dr. Drew Pinsky and well-known LA-based pop culture broadcaster Mike Catherwood with the recent addition of British radio and TV personality (and sex therapist) Simone Bienne, the nightly program which airs live 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT has evolved and adapted over the years from a free form Sunday night KROQ, Los Angeles show, appealing to a very young audience, to a formatted, highly-planned and targeted production designed to deliver a more mature, diverse 18-54 audience. Along the course of its colorful history, Loveline’s hosts included such figures as Adam Corolla, deejays Jim “Poorman” Trenton and Swedish Egil (Egil Aalvik) and former MTV veejay Riki Rachtman. Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz tells TALKERS, “Unlike many talk shows on music radio, this program does not play music and never did. However, it does include well-known music personalities among its diverse guests a la Jay Leno and David Letterman.” Pattiz unequivocally states, “Yes we are now going after talkers… the growing number that think a talk show with equal parts information, entertainment and advice is right at night. This show attracts a loyal audience. Current stations really like what we are doing with Loveline as we have phased it in this new direction over the past six months. It has a distinct format which is very important in a PPM world. Every quarter hour is planned with calls, subject, host features and guests. Master programmer Bert Kleinman oversees this aspect of the production on a daily basis. It is a unique product that has stood the test of time by continuously adapting.”
Clear Channel Gives Hartford an FM Sports Talker. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment puts into effect the changes that had been brewing with its Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts stations last spring. The “Kix” country format leaves WPKX-FM as the station becomes an FM simulcast of CC’s sports talk WPOP, Hartford and moves its city of license from Enfield, Connecticut closer to Hartford in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. That leaves the country format on the former AAA WRNX-FM, Amherst, Massachusetts serving the Springfield market. The new 97.9 ESPN obviously uses programming from ESPN Radio but it’s being reported that CC Hartford is looking to put a local PM drive show on the station.
WGDJ, Albany’s Paul Vandenburgh to Host Daily Afternoon TV Show. WGDJ, Albany is co-owned by president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh. He also hosts the morning drive show on the station. Beginning Monday, Vandenburgh will host the Paul Vandenburgh Show on Albany’s MyNetworkTV affiliate My 4 Albany from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. My 4 TV’s Chuck Hunt says, “Vandenburgh has long been the premiere talk show host in the Capital District and adding his expertise to television increases the reach, visibility and credibility of MY 4 Albany. His show will be topical each day, keeping people up to date with the major news stories of the Capital District. Live callers will also be included in the program. We are thrilled to have Paul on the MY 4 Albany team.” Prior to his endeavor with WGDJ, Vandenburgh hosted the morning drive show on crosstown WROW. He also hosted at WQBK, Albany.
Sirius XM Adds Two High-Profile Talk Shows. Former Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian becomes part of the satcaster’s NFL Radio channel with his debut tonight on the “Late Hits” program from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. He’ll appear again for shows on Wednesday and Friday prior to the Super Bowl and will host regular shows throughout the year. Polian says, “I’ve been a guest on SiriusXM NFL Radio many times and it is an outstanding source for league news and information. Now I get to be the one asking the questions. I’m excited to get on the air to talk shop with players, executives and coaches around the league and interact daily with many of the great fans who have helped make the NFL the most successful sports league in the world.” In other Sirius XM news, former New York City police chief Howard Safir is hosting a limited run program called, “The Badge with Howard Safir,” focusing on the “drama, heroism and challenges facing law enforcement today.” The series will air Sunday evenings and run for six weeks.
Northeast Ohio Sports Media Figure Joe Pete Dies at 45. Joseph J. Pete, Jr. broadcast the “Sports Report with Joe Pete” on WFUN, Ashtabula, Ohio. He was a play-by-play announcer for prep athletics in the region and wrote about sports in the region for numerous publications. He passed away on Thursday, January 26 at the Cleveland Clinic.