Tag: "WXKS"

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

| June 23, 2015

talkersnyc15RatingspanelSean Hannity Moderates Blockbuster Panel on Audience Measurement at Talkers New York 2015 – See Video Today!  One of the highlights of the recently held (6/12) Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference is now posted on Talkers TV – “The State of Radio Ratings.”  Moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, the panel includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, SVP, Salem Media Group; Erica Farber, president/CEO, RAB; Steve Goldstein, CEO, Amplifi Media; Richard Harker, founder, Harker Research; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, E.W. Scripps; Jon Miller, VP Audience Insights, Nielsen Audio; and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media.  The session is introduced by Brian Kilmeade, host, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel.  The hard-hitting, no-holds-barred conversation addresses the ongoing problem of achieving accurate radio ratings – particularly in the spoken-word formats – during audio media’s transition into the digital era. Issues such as the PPM, the new Voltair device, achieving adequate sample size, and the challenge of rating elusive online listenership are analyzed.  Each panelist brings their own insights, problems and solutions to the discussion with Nielsen’s Jon Miller formidably bearing much of the brunt of probing questions and stinging criticism.  This video is a must-view for all professional radio broadcasters today.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I have been organizing and attending industry conferences since 1976.  This particular session provides more valuable take-aways than any I have ever witnessed in my entire career, as well as moving the interests of a fairer and more productive radio industry forward.  My congratulations to all the participants – especially Jon Miller – for bring their A-games to the table.  And Sean Hannity shows what a major league host and moderator he is – above and beyond his skills as a ‘political’ talk show host.  Sean’s constituency in this case is everyone who makes, or is trying to make, their living in radio.  He delivers a real clinic on how to run a discussion.  I give him a 10.”  To view the entire session, please click here.  Coming tomorrow:  An intimate “fireside chat” between Cumulus Media EVP, John Dickey and Michael Harrison.

voltair imageTelos Alliance’s Dr. Barry Blesser Explains Voltair’s Success.  The conclusion drawn by Telos Alliance director of research Dr. Barry Blesser regarding his company’s controversial Voltair products is, “The way that the radio industry handles the current Voltair controversy will influence its likelihood of surviving.”  Most industry pros are aware of Voltair and the controversy over the reliability of Nielsen Audio’s PPM measurement system.  Those who are not should be getting up to speed quickly and Blesser’s paper illustrates – from Telos Alliance’s perspective at least – what Voltair does, what it doesn’t do, and how it is affecting what radio listeners hear and don’t hear in PPM-rated markets.  The selling point for the $15,000 signal processing unit is that it helps stations make up for alleged inadequacies in the PPM technology and Blesser’s paper explains how those inadequacies manifest themselves for radio programmers.  One of the issues is Blesser’s assertion that different types of audio are “friendlier” to PPM code tones than others.  He says, “Voltair is basically an AGC (automatic gain control) compressor that keeps the tones higher in amplitude when they are on their way to becoming too small.  Voltair produces tone energy similar to that of a well-encoded audio signal.  The tones are perceived as being louder in part because they are of longer duration.  Why does increased duration make a difference?  Because the detector cannot identify the frequency of a tone if it is too short.  When a tone is relatively constant for the full half second, all is well; but if the tone lasts for less than a tenth of a second, the meter has no idea about its frequency.  And the exact frequency is required to determine the meaning of the codes. Tones are truncated when the spectral content of the program is in short bursts. Interestingly, speech is comprised of short spectral bursts.”  That last part may not bode well for spoken-word programming.  Nielsen says it is testing the Voltair unit, but so far the industry has heard nothing.  Blesser writes, “In the decade since PPM was rolled out, radio has changed dramatically as programmers, who, ‘teach to the test’ of PPM’s technical properties, have shortened or eliminated spoken word segments, moved clocks around, and even dumped whole formats.  Now, with Voltair providing tremendous insight as a monitoring/measurement tool, this dynamic has accelerated as programmers have proven to themselves the correlation between PPM’s technical underpinnings and raw meter count.  Assuming Nielsen refuses to address technical issues raised by Voltair, we can expect this trend to accelerate.  Call it the law of unintended consequences where a measurement methodology drives programming decisions, determines careers and discards content, all in service to watermarking success.”  Read the entire paper here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallFly Me to the Moon – Actually the Moons (of Pluto)!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been expanding his probes beyond radio deep into the media universe via his international hit Podcast One program “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” This week, he takes his audience of “media freaks” billions of miles across the solar system in advance of NASA’s “New Horizons” mission’s unprecedented fly-by of the Pluto system on July 14.  Harrison interviews Dr. Alan Stern, a leading planetary scientist who is the “principle investigator” of this exciting and historic project and the two get into illuminating detail of the solar system’s unfolding new paradigm.  There is a lot more to the debate about whether or not Pluto is a “planet” than the mainstream media is indicating… and there is hardly consensus among scientists about the topic.  Harrison states, “All these technologically wondrous probes and space satellites are connecting the human nervous system to places that were once considered one-dimensional abstractions, completely out of reach.  After all, ‘media’ is the extension of human consciousness by technological means – plain and simple.  We used to use drums and smoke signals.  Then we accomplished such major feats as laying a trans-Atlantic cable across an ocean.  Now we are ‘wiring’ the solar system!  Anyone see an amazing pattern here?  To listen to Michael Harrison’s exclusive conversation with Dr. Alan Stern, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.

nyfest smallNew York Festivals Names Winners in 2015 International Radio Program Awards.  The winners in this year’s New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards were presented last night (6/22) at the annual gala at Manhattan Penthouse in New York City.  The Grand Jury honored RTÉ Ireland with the prestigious title of Broadcaster of Year and TBI Media UK with Production Company of the Year.  In addition, three prominent companies earned the coveted Grand Award: New York Philharmonic USA, TBI Media UK, and WNYC-Radiolab USA.  Commercial broadcasters from the U.S. that won awards included ESPN Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Gold Coast Broadcasting’s news/talk KVTA, Ventura, California.  The 2015 Grand Jury awarded 3 Grand Awards, 53 Gold trophies, 62 Silver, 58 Bronze, and 117 Finalist Certificates submitted from 32 countries.  All entries were judged online by the NYF Radio Awards Grand Jury of radio experts from stations and companies around the globe.

Odds & Sods.  Former Cumulus Media executive Marko Radlovic – market manager for Los Angeles stations KABC and KLOS – returns to Spanish Broadcasting System to serve as SVP and West Coast regional manager…..iHeartMedia has a new senior vice president of programming for its New Hampshire stations.  Tim Moore is in charge of programming for the station including news/talk WGIR-AM, Manchester; WQSO-FM, Portsmouth; and sports talk WPKX, Portsmouth.  He takes over for Jeff Pierce who recently joined Saga Communications’ Portland, Maine station group.

carrhowieSiegel15Boston Legends Go to Bat for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  Boston talk radio legend Howie Carr (right) chats with WXKS, Boston “Kiss 108” morning personality Matty Siegel (left).  The two were at The International in Bolton, Massachusetts for the Ted Rubin Memorial Golf Tournament – a six-year old charity event that has raised more than $1 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Dr. Richard Stone’s Leukemia Research.  It was Howie Carr’s first live remote since he took ownership of the Howie Carr Radio Network in 2014.  Carr jokes, “It’s great to be working with the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber, especially with an elder radio statesman I’ve always looked up to since my youth – Matty Siegel.”

gracies15b2015 Gracie Awards.  The 2015 Gracie Awards were presented at the New York Hilton on June 22 by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.  This photo shows just a few of the high-profile attendees and winners.  (From l-r): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Lori Lundin, anchor/reporter WTOP and Gracie winner (also host of the new experimental animal rights show “Vox Animali” on TalkersRadio); Kristen Welch, chair, AWM/F and SVP, global content operations, Discovery Communications, Inc.; Chad Lopez, VP/market manager, Cumulus New York; Kelly Ford, WNSH, New York host and Gracie Winner; Maire Mason, VP/GM WNSH, New York; Valerie Blackburn, VKB Media Consulting and past chair of AWM/F; Pavlina Osta, Gracie Winner; Loren Raye, Gracie Winner and co-host of “The TJ Show,” WODS-FM, Boston; Matt Bosso, WASH-FM, Washington; Emme, supermodel; and Kay Olin, Olin and Associates and past chair of AWM/F.

madisonrisingREDMadison Rising Releases New Album American Hero RED.  That band that bills itself as “America’s most patriotic rock band,” is releasing its American Hero RED album. Madison Rising says the new record is completely remixed and remastered to deliver the cleanest and strongest sound possible.  It includes four additional tracks: “Amazing America,” the band’s powerful rendition of the classic Marines’ Hymn, the hauntingly beautiful “Soldier’s Christmas” and its brand-new rendition of the Irving Berlin classic, “God Bless America.”  As with the original American Hero album, American Hero RED is anchored by Madison Rising’s best-selling rock rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”  Originally released in the summer of 2012, both the song and video have become huge hits, catapulting the band into the national spotlight and creating one of the most loyal fan bases in rock music history.  The band has recently partnered up with Concerned Veterans for America as well as the Young Marines National Youth Organization and is currently embarking on an ambitious 70-city tour.  Madison Rising is on a mission to make great rock music and send a message that American culture is alive and well.  Led by navy veteran and former 8404 FMF Corpsman Dave Bray, the band promotes the principles of liberty, independence, smaller government and personal responsibility. For review copies, please contact albumreview@madisonrising.com.

Charleston Church Massacre/SC Confederate Flag Issue, Obama Uses ‘N-word,’ Pope Francis’ Climate Encyclical, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Taylor Swift-Apple Music Case, and Massive U.S. Govt. Cyber-Breach Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22).  The aftermath of the church massacre in Charleston and South Carolina’s debate over the Confederate flag; President Obama’s use of the “n-word” during an interview; the flap over Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical; the potential candidates for president in 2016; Taylor Swift calls out Apple Music over payments to songwriters and musicians; and concern over the massive security breach at the government’s Office of Personnel Management were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

| August 7, 2012

New Sports Radio Network Entrant NBC Announces First Round of Talent Hires.  The venture between NBC Sports and Dial Global that debuts September 4 – NBC Sports Radio Network – is beginning with an evening sports talk show hosted by Erik Kuselias (airing 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET).  The morning drive sports updates from the network will be delivered by Jon Stashower.  Kuselias has been working with NBC on its cable sports network.  He’s worked for the Golf Channel as well as ESPN.  Stashower has also worked at ESPN.  Expect some more talent announcements prior to the network’s post-Labor Day debut.

Dead Air: A Dynamic Reminder for Talk Show Hosts.  Vocal dynamics is not a discipline that is really taught to broadcasters anymore.  With more and more talk talent coming to the medium from outside the traditional communications schools, talent who use the dynamics of their voices effectively are becoming rare.  WFAN, New York talk host Richard Neer offers some suggestions about employing these techniques and the reasons why they are still valid for today’s broadcasters.  Read Richard’s piece here.

Salem Communications Posts Q2 Revenue Increase of 3.9%; Broadcast Up 2.1%.  That’s the good news for Salem.  On the downside, operating income for the entire company dropped 61.1% and the company realized a net loss of $1.8 million or $0.07 net loss per share.  Though the broadcast division revenue was up 2.1%, station operating income decreased 3.1%.  Internet is still the big winner for Salem with Q2 revenue up 16.6% and operating income up 42.8%.

Federated Media Joins iHeartRadio.  Indiana-based Federated Media adds its 17 radio stations to the iHeartRadio digital platform owned and operated by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Federated Media’s markets include Fort Wayne, South Bend and Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana.  Stations now heard on the platform include heritage news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne.  Federated Media chief strategy officer James Derby says, “We’re very excited to partner with iHeartRadio.  We want to offer our customers and clients both terrestrial and digital listening experiences.  It’s important that we partner with those that are open to shared content and opportunities.  iHeartRadio is very popular in our local markets and we’re happy to now be a part of it.”

TuneIn Announces New Funding; Increase in Monthly Active Listener Stats.  Digital audio service TuneIn reports it has just acquired new sources of funding led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from Jafco Ventures, Google Ventures and existing business partner Sequoia Capital totaling $16 million.  TuneIn will use the new funding to scale the company’s technical and business operations worldwide.  At the same time, the company reports its monthly active listeners figure has increased to 40 million.  TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “Our mission is to deliver the best listening experience possible, and it is so meaningful to us that 40 million people have chosen to listen to the world – every month – through TuneIn.  This investment will help us fulfill our mission while increasing our headcount and growing our product development and marketing initiatives.”  TuneIn says its service is available anywhere there is an internet signal and offers 70,000 stations and two million on-demand programs.

AdLarge Media Becomes Sales Rep for Gow-Operated Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Houston-based Gow Broadcasting operates Yahoo! Sports Radio and the company announces it enters into an agreement with AdLarge Media for the latter to sell national advertising for Yahoo!’s radio, streamed audio and mobile platforms.  AdLarge Media CEO Gary Schonfeld states, “Yahoo! Sports Radio has a highly respected lineup of sports journalists and commentators, including Tim Brando, Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Steve Czaban, and more.  Yahoosports.com is the number one sports website on the internet.  With that as our base, Yahoo! Sports Radio delivers insights and reports from sports experts that fans relish, creating an engaging environment for advertisers to reach an extremely passionate audience.”

Odds & Sods.  Texas-based Clear Channel talk host (KTRH and WOAI) Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo fills in for Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck on his radio show today and Friday…..ESPN Radio now offers an app for smartphones using the Windows Phone platform and is available in the Windows Marketplace.  ESPN reports its app is now available on all three major smartphone operating systems…..SiriusXM is broadcasting coverage of the 2012 PGA Championship beginning this Thursday from the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.

Presidential Race, Wisconsin Sikh Shooting, London Olympics, and Mars Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6).  The campaign for president in the 2012 elections; the fatal shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the 2012 London Olympics; and the landing of the rover on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

| July 25, 2012

Salem Communications Joins iHeartRadio.  The latest broadcast group to join the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment digital media platform is Salem Communications.  The company’s 97 stations in 37 markets will become available on iHeartRadio beginning in September.  Salem radio division president David Santrella states, “It’s important that our content be available to our listeners no matter where or how they want to receive it.  Clearly iHeartRadio is a dominant player in the space and we are excited to be able to offer our content on the platform.”  In contract to the secular broadcast companies that have signed on with Clear Channel’s platform, Salem brings Christian-formatted radio stations into the mix.  Salem director of digital media Rodney Whitaker says, “We are looking forward to the launch of our partnership with iHeartRadio and the increased audience it will bring us, both online and through the mobile app. It’s clear they are dedicated to innovation and providing listeners with an ever-improving experience.”

No FM Signal for Clear Channel’s Boston News/Talker.  At the time it was announced the company was purchasing Phoenix Media Group’s WFNX, Boston, some industry watchers suspected Clear Channel would take the 101.7 frequency of the former alternative rocker and give it to news/talk WXKS – Talk 1200.  The recent revelation the company acquired call letters WHBA seemed to indicate that would not be the case and it turns out it is not.  Yesterday, Clear Channel unveiled variety hits “The Harbor” with the airing of the Standells’ ode to Boston, “Dirty Water.”

Augusta, Georgia Talk Host Austin Rhodes Celebrates 20 Years in PM Drive at WGAC-AM/FM.  The station tells TALKERS magazine talk host Austin Rhodes’ 20-year stint as host of the PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting’s WGAC-AM/FM, Augusta is the longest-running drive time radio presence on one station in the history of the Augusta media market.  Rhodes’ media career began 29 years ago assisting the late Matt Stovall in his radio broadcasts of local high school football games with WMTZ in Augusta.  He began a full-time career in radio broadcasting in 1987, as a radio news reporter and anchor for WGAC.  In 1989, Austin moved to television news, where he stayed until 1992.  On July 16, 1992, Rhodes rejoined WGAC, assuming afternoon hosting duties for what was then, “Voice of the People.”  The station also notes that Rhodes has been regularly named Augusta’s favorite radio host in such publications as Augusta Magazine, The Metro Spirit and Columbia County Magazine.  He’s also been recognized by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

Prime Program Director Job Open at Cox Media Group’s KRMG, Tulsa.  With longtime KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa programmer Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando, CMG is looking for a program director for the legendary news/talk outlet.  The station says, “This position demands a candidate with the ability and experience to lead a dynamic, veteran news department and programming staff.  Because of this station’s profile locally and nationally, only candidates with the highest level of execution, creativity and leadership will be considered.”  The deadline for application is August 12 and interested applicants should apply to: Janet Bergquist, Cox Media Group – Tulsa, 7136 S. Yale Avenue, Suite 500, Tulsa, OK  74136.  Or e-mail cover letter, resume and audio to: tulsajobs@coxinc.com.  CMG requests no phone calls.

WQAM, Miami PM Drive Host Dan Sileo Joins Hurricanes Post-Game Show.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo – who hosts the PM drive show on Beasley’s sports talk WQAM, Miami and played football at the University of Miami during the mid-1980s – becomes part of the broadcasts for Hurricanes football this season.  Sileo will be on the team that handles the post-game show.  He tells TALKERS, “It is an awesome honor for me to be part of a program that I helped build and I have incredible love for the University of Miami.  My daughter will be going to games with her dad this year…a dream come true.”

Raising the Demo.  Talk radio hosts and programmers should avoid the temptation to narrow their “target demo” to a number, says consultant Holland Cooke.  “Recently published Nielsen data affirms what you may have suspected all along: The vaunted 25-54 demo is malarkey.  Although only 5% of ad dollars are aimed at ‘em, 35-64 accounts for half of product purchases.”  Cooke writes that the key to making the sales department happy is cutting through the clutter and being “remarkable” to people who have children, of any age, still living at home.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Adds Slate of New Weekend Shows.  CBS Radio’s news/talk outlet KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas announces a number of new weekend programs to be heard on the station.  The lineup is as follows: Saturday, 9:00 am, “The 19th Hole Weekend Edition” with Dennis Silvers and TPC Summerlin general manager Lee Smith; 11:00 am, “Pet Talk with Dr. B”; 2:00 pm, “Pawn Talk Live with Michael Mack”; 3:00 pm, “Asked and Answered” with Las Vegas personal injury and criminal defense attorney Marc Saggese; 4:00 pm, “Debt Free LV with Chris Parker”; 5:00 pm, “Over and Under with Chad Forster” covering local and national sports; Sunday, 3:00 pm, “Real Estate Live with Kevin Mikrut”; 5:00 pm, “Get Fired Up with Bob Irwin” – all things guns, politics and self defense.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Extends His Deal with the Sports Media Giant.  The new contract means ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt will add several on-site “College GameDay Built by the Home Depot” appearances throughout the football season.  He will travel to some of the “GameDay” locations in support of his features, interviews and reports related to the game, teams and players involved.  He will also be part of ESPN’s BCS Championship Game coverage.  This is in addition to Van Pelt’s duties as “SportsCenter” anchor and his ESPN Radio talk show.  He is also lead reporter and host of the network’s major golf coverage, including the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

KFKA, Greeley, Colorado Adds Local Sports Talk Show.  Broadcast Media’s News Talk 1310 KFKA in Greeley, Colorado announces the addition of “SportsDay” with Troy Coverdale and Brady Hull to the daily lineup, airing from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm beginning August 6.  Coverdale is the voice of the University of Northern Colorado Bears play-by-play and Hull is the station’s sales manager who has been a steady presence on the station’s air since 2008 with prep sports coverage.  In a release, the station says, “With a heavy focus on local sports teams, including expanded preps, UNC and Colorado State coverage, ‘SportsDay’ is expected to fill a hole in the marketplace, as Northern Colorado has seen sports talk programs come and go over the past 10 years.”

Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Presidential Campaign, Tax Cut Issue, European Debt Crisis, and Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24).  The aftermath of the Aurora; Colorado movie theater massacre; the presidential campaign; Congressional moves regarding the Bush-era tax cuts; the debt crisis in Euro Zone nations and global financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

| July 19, 2012

Lessons Learned from the Merlin Meltdown.  Consultant and former all-news programmer (WTOP) Holland Cooke offers several key reasons why Merlin Media’s all-news FMs in New York and Chicago failed to gain listeners as well as lessons to be learned from the story by all spoken-word radio management and talent alike..  He writes the operators made some crucial mistakes during the startup and ignored the primary aspect of how audiences use news radio.  Read Holland’s piece here.

Arbitron Gets Accreditation for the PPM in Five Markets.  Three of those markets are new: Los Angeles, Baltimore and San Antonio.  The other two markets – Tampa/St. Petersburg and Riverside/San Bernardino – had accreditation at one point but lost it in January of this year.  This gives Arbitron the Media Rating Council “seal of approval” for 14 markets being served by the Portable People Meter.  Arbitron’s EVP of service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Lindner states, “We are pleased the MRC has recognized the progress we have made; at the same time we understand there is still work to be done.  We will continue our efforts to maintain the MRC double checkmarks in our currently accredited PPM markets and to achieve service-wide accreditation for all PPM markets.”

Hubbard Radio Signs on with TuneIn.  Minneapolis-based Hubbard Radio will make its 21 major market radio stations – including all-news giant WTOP, Washington; sports KSTP-AM, Minneapolis; and sports WXOS, St. Louis – available via the internet through aggregator TuneIn.  Hubbard Radio president and CEO Bruce Reese says, “With their listener-first approach, TuneIn is the obvious fit for us as we continue to build upon our nearly 100 years of broadcasting excellence.  Through this strategic alignment, all our great programming can be heard by anyone from anywhere around the country.  With TuneIn, we’ve made a great leap onto the digital stage and look forward to inviting new listeners to our stations.”

WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Morning Host/PD Dan Gaffney Exits.  He tells WBOC-TV his sudden departure is not a stunt and that he has no issues with the Resort Broadcasting station or its management.  But he says he’s been in discussions with the company for more than a year and their differences are not about money.  Either way, program director and morning drive host Dan Gaffney leaves the news/talk station and Andrew Murr is the interim morning drive host.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  SiriusXM adds DirecTV/Premiere Networks’ “Nick & Artie Show,” featuring Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange, to its sports channels on both the Sirius and XM platforms…..ESPN’s total donations for The V Foundation for Cancer Research tops $1.8 million.  The “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” raised $766,606 from the more than 250 items and experiences auctioned either online from July 1-11 or as part of the ESPN Radio 16-hour radiothon on July 11. That figure is added to the $1 million raised from the recent Celebrity Golf Classic…..Scott Lindy is promoted to operations director at Lincoln Financial Media’s Atlanta cluster that includes sports talk WQXI and the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network…..CNSNews White House correspondent Fred Lucas has just published his book, The Right Frequency: The Story of the Talk Radio Giants Who Shook Up the Political and Media  Establishment (History Publishing 2012).  In it Lucas delves into the depth, reach and power of the talk radio giants in the American political landscape and provides some insight into the personalities of those larger than life figures.  Lucas is currently doing media interviews promoting the book and commenting on talk radio’s potential impact on the 2012 presidential election.

Good Old-Fashioned Book Burning!  That’s the Alan Cox show crew from WMMS, Cleveland — (from l-r) Erika Lauren, Alan Cox and Chad Zumock – standing in the volleyball pit at a local bar preparing for a tongue-in-cheek burning of the popular adult novel 50 Shades of Grey (image from WKYC-TV).  The idea came after a discussion of the improbably popular book prompted men to call Cox’s PM drive talk show and complain their wives and girlfriends are more thrilled by the book than they are by them.  So, Cox responded with a good old-fashioned book burning to allow men (and some women) to express how they feel about the book.

Congressional Debate in Boston.  WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz (r) moderates the live radio debate between three Republican candidates for Congress at the Clear Channel Boston studios on Wednesday, July 18.  The three Republicans (from l-r) – David Steinhof, Elizabeth Childs and Sean Bielat – are battling in the Republican primary to face the Democrat candidate for the seat long held by retiring Congressman Barney Frank.

2012 Presidential Campaign, Bernanke Economy Testimony, Arpaio’s Obama Birth Certificate Conclusion, and Syrian Officials Killed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/18).  The Mitt RomneyBarack Obama battle for the White House; Fed chair Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the nation’s economy; Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s conclusion that President Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate is a fake; and the assassinations of major officials in the Syrian regime were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

| July 17, 2012

Merlin Media Abandons News Format in New York and Chicago.  As indicated earlier today, Merlin Media held a major pair of staff meetings in New York and Chicago this morning and as speculated it was to announce a significant change in the operations of its two major properties in these markets.  According to reports, the Randy Michaels-headed company flipped WEMP, New York‘s “FM News 101.9” shortly after 10:00 am ET to “New Rock 101.9.”  Chicago’s “FM News 101.1” (WIQI) has been recast as a hot AC, “i101.”  It has been less than a year since these all news formats were launched with a tremendous amount of industry buzz – but the ratings and critical evaluations fell terribly short of expectations.

Paul Finebaum, Citadel and Former GM Bill Thomas Settle Lawsuit.  Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum, Citadel and former WJOX, Birmingham general manager Bill Thomas have reached an amicable settlement in their claims regarding Finebaum’s employment at the station, now owned by Cumulus.  The terms are not being released but the upshot is Finebaum will work out his contract with the station that ends in January of 2013.  Whether he will negotiate to re-sign with the station beyond that or seek to join another broadcast outlet is unknown.  In a joint statement, Thomas and Finebaum say that claims were contested and the settlement in no way constitutes an admission by any party concerning the validity or invalidity of any claim, counterclaim, or defense raised in the litigation.  Further, Finebuam says, “I am particularly pleased that the claims involving Bill Thomas are resolved.  I have known Bill for many years and have valued his advice.  We both regret that we became personally entangled in what was essentially a business dispute with former management and we look forward to repairing our relationship.”  Cox Media’s crosstown sports talk outlet WZNN continues to express interest in acquiring Finebaum’s services after his deal with Cumulus runs out, as reported in the Birmingham News.  But Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, says his client will issue no comment on his future intentions.  The original legal claims included Finebaum’s contention that Thomas and Citadel coerced him into signing a contract addendum that worked against his best interests and Citadel claimed Finebaum negotiated with another party in violation of his contract.  Finebaum’s show is heard in some 30 markets in the Southeast and is also available on SiriusXM.

Courtside Entertainment Group Breaks Simone Bienne Out with Daily Features.  British psychosexual and relationship therapist Simone Bienne – a co-host on the nightly nationally syndicated “Loveline” radio show – is featured on a new twice-daily vignette called “Lovelink with Simone Bienne.”  Each evening Bienne is part of the “Loveline” show with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood.  Now Courtside Entertainment offers what it calls “her unique professional insight with a distinctly female perspective through two, one-minute commentaries every weekday.”  Courtside owner Norm Pattiz says, “Simone Bienne is a bottle rocket of energy, insight and intelligence.  We are delighted to have lured her across the pond to the States and are confident American radio listeners will be as taken with her charm, wit and knowledge as we are.”

Staff Meetings at Merlin Media’s New York and Chicago Stations Scheduled for Today.  As the two all-news FMs approach their first anniversary, the word on the street is that staff meetings have been called for this morning at WEMP-FM, New York and WIQI, Chicago.  Industry watchers are aware the ratings for the two all-news stations have not budged much since their debut last August and although there is no insight into what staffers can expect to hear this morning, staff meetings like this usually indicate a major change of some sort.

Drew Anderssen Moves from KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa to WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando.  Program director Drew Anderssen, who’s been programming Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the past 12 years, moves to the company’s Orlando cluster to take the program director role at news/talk WDBO-AM/FM beginning August 6.  Cox Media Orlando vice president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “Drew has had an incredibly successful track record leading the KRMG brand.  His talent and passion for digital innovation will be a great asset not only for WDBO but for our entire cluster.”  Anderssen replaces Steve Holbrook who left the Cox Orlando operations in June after almost 30 years with the company.

Scottie Nell Hughes Joins Cast of Politichicks.  The online media site Politichicks.TV announces SNH Media president Scottie Nell Hughes joins the staff of the “all-in-one web destination that addresses the concerns of conservatives from the women’s point of view.”  Hughes’ company handles PR for talk radio personalities Rusty Humphries, Michael Berry and Mark Skoda, among others.  Now she becomes part of the Politichicks team.  Politichicks executive producer Beverly Zaslow says, “Scottie Nell brings a valuable energy and passion to a group of dynamic women and her background in talk radio has taught her to think on her feet and not be afraid to ask hard questions.”  Hughes joins the other “politichicks” – former “Dallas” cast member Morgan Brittany, “The Young & the Restless” cast member Ann-Marie Murrell, activist Sonnie Johnson and talk radio host Dr. Gina Loudon as co-host.

John Bishop Named Co-Host on KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Show; Gary Sharp Named Station’s Sports Director.  There’s been another change in the lineup at NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha after Matt Schick – the host recently named to replace Kevin Kugler on the show – accepted a position with ESPNU (ESPN’s college sports channel).  John Bishop, most recently program director and co-host of the morning drive show at KOZN’s sister station KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska, will take over the co-hosting duties alongside Mike’l Severe on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.”  Kugler had announced he would be leaving the show to take a position with the Big Ten Network and will continue to contribute to KOZN on a limited basis.  NRG Omaha operations manager Neil Nelkin says, “We hire great talent on the ZONE as it’s a station sports figures and leaders tune to.  Bishop is well known throughout sports circles in Nebraska, namely as a distinguished sportscaster with decades of experience with Husker athletics, Creighton sports and the College World Series.  Bishop more than has the credentials, experience and the chops for this role on The ZONE…now I want to keep him for a while.”  Additionally, Nelkin announces Gary Sharp returns to Nebraska to take the sports director and morning show co-host position at sister station KZOT.  Sharp most recently worked with Minnesota Twins minor league club the Ft. Myers Miracle.  Prior to that he was sports director at the Nebraska Sports Network.  He’ll co-host the KZOT morning show with Jason Peter.  He says, “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to radio at a great station and most importantly to return to Nebraska.  We’ve had some great success here in Fort Myers and I will miss the people and relationships I have developed in baseball.  I am sure Jason is chomping at the bit to get started and I am sure we will have some spirited sports conversations that will make great radio.”

Clear Channel Seeks WHBA for Calls for Its New Boston FM.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will take over the operation of alternative rocker WFNX, Boston on Monday and the request of new call letters WHBA gives no clue as to what format the station will assume when the change takes place.  The Boston Globe is planning to put the alternative format online and has already hired some of the WFNX staff to run it.  Talk radio fans in Boston might like to see an FM signal for the company’s WXKS – Talk 1200 – but those calls certainly don’t seem very news/talky, do they?  Regardless, the wait is on and let the speculation continue!

Cumulus Promotes Dave Crowl, Shuffles Market Managers.  Cumulus Chicago market manager Dave Crowl adds more regional vice president duties in addition to continuing to oversee Chicago’s news/talk WLS-AM and classic hits WLS-FM but the company brings Donna Baker up from Houston to take over the market manager position in Chicago.  Cumulus RVP Chuck Bortnick steps into Houston to oversee that market and will take on additional RVP duties for the region.

TALKERS magazine Publishes Debut “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.”  The editors of TALKERS magazine are pleased to announce the publishing of the first annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  A companion to its “sister list” – the annual Talkers 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the debut class of this annual feature honoring the sports talk radio industry’s 100 most important hosts, duos or ensembles.  In order to create this list, the editors took into account a combination of hard and soft factors and the results are, admittedly, subjective.  Staying true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include:  courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  View the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

A Tribute to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa.  The number-one ranked sports talk host on this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is WFAN, New York PM drive host Mike Francesa, who’s spent the past 23 years as dean of sports talk in the nation’s biggest market.  Fellow WFAN personality Richard Neer writes that Francesa’s “relentless curiosity and work ethic, along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting, gave him unique insight” that served as a foundation for a sterling sports media career.  Read Richard Neer’s tribute to WFAN’s Mike Francesa here.

2012 Presidential Race, Penn State Report, Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Welfare Work Requirement Issue, and Weak Retail Sales Numbers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the Louis Freeh-led report on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to post-election Egypt; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s relaxing of welfare work requirements; and weak retail sales figures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

| July 11, 2012

Salem Builds Up the Morning Show at KRLA and KTIE in Southern California.  Las Vegas-native Heidi Harris has been hosting the morning drive show on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles and sister KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino (positioned as 870 The Answer and 590 The Answer, respectively) since late April.  Now, the company brings Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro aboard to build a morning team.  Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “We’re committed to providing L.A.’s morning commuters with a show that informs, entertains and makes them want to stay in the car once they get into the parking lot at work.  We think that Heidi, Brian and Ben create a unique mix for L.A. that will do just that.”  Brian Whitman is a 15-year Los Angeles resident who worked at CBS Radio’s KLSX-FM when it was a hot talk outlet.  Ben Shapiro is an L.A. native, editor-at-large for Breitbart News and a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School.  Boyce says, “Creating an on-air radio team is tricky, but these guys all developed chemistry and camaraderie instantly.  You would think they had been on the air for years together.  Heidi continues to drive the bus on the air, and the guys seem to bring out the best of her many talents.”  KRLA/KTIE program director Chuck Tyler says, “When we threw these three people together we honestly weren’t sure what would happen, but we knew that each of them brought a unique and important element to the mix.  After hearing a week of shows we realized that something very special was coming out of the speakers.”

George Plaster Returns to Nashville Sports Radio July 23.  Nashville sports talk personality George Plaster and co-host Willy Daunic left WGFX, Nashville when Cumulus Media closed on the Citadel purchase back in September of 2011.  Since then, the Tennessee sports talker has been off the radio due to a non-compete.  Daunic joined Cromwell Group’s crosstown sports talk outlet WPRT in November of 2011.  Now, the stage is set for Plaster (pictured here with Cromwell Group market manager Tincy Crouse) to rejoin co-host Daunic on the PM drive show on July 23.  A report in The Tennessean says the program is headed for regional syndication as “Sports Night on The Game Radio Network,” although affiliates are not being announced just yet.  Station manager Jeff Kolb tells the paper, “George has been the biggest radio sports personality in this market for 20 or so years and carries a huge fan base.  We started this station last year by getting ESPN Radio (as the national network affiliate) and the Predators broadcasts, and then we added the Nashville Sounds.  George is a staple of Nashville sports talk radio, so adding him is huge.”

Why Not Just Say, “Don’t Listen?”  Consultant Holland Cooke cringes at amateur mistakes made by talk hosts bemoaning working during a holiday week.  Are you (or your staff) making those same mistakes?  Plus, a new study sheds some light on the public’s sentiments about civility in American political discourse (or lack thereof).  Read Holland’s entire piece here.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Genesis Communications sports talk WHOO, Orlando adds Central Florida News 13 sports anchor and reporter David Baumann to host the daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am show…..Grantland.com features another of its “oral histories,” this time writers Alex French and Howie Kahn write an oral history of sports talk pioneering station WFAN, New York.  Grantland.com is a sports and pop culture website founded by ESPN.com writer Bill Simmons…..In response to the recent weather-related power outages, WTOP, Washington is hosting an “Ask the Utility Execs” live Q&A hosted by WTOP investigative reporter Mark Seagraves today at 10:00 am and will include reps from Pepco, BG&E, SMECO, NOVEC, Potomac Edison and Rappahannock….. WXKS, Boston morning drive talk host Jeff Katz is pictured here speaking at a Greater Boston Tea Party rally at Christopher Columbus Park at Boston Harbor to encourage the repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care law…..Tampa-based Bubba the Love Sponge calls on his Bubba Army for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the beating of a 17-year-old in Land O’ Lakes, Florida on July 2 that sent him to the emergency room with multiple injuries.  Bubba is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of those involved…..Talk show host and candidate for Congress in Georgia’s 9th District, Martha Zoller, picked up some momentum in her bid for the seat as she won the Fannin County Tea Party Patriots’ Primary Preference Poll this weekend and earned the endorsement of the American Conservative Union PAC (ACU-PAC).

On a Pilgrimage.  KARN-FM, Little Rock program director and PM drive host Dave Elswick (c) is pictured here with his wife Lynda (r) and Cumulus Media Networks talk host and Fox News Channel personality Governor Mike Huckabee (l) during a visit to a production of Huckabee’s FNC program.  Elswick tells TALKERS he was in New York City with 50 listeners on his “Dave Elswick Patriot Tour 2012” and the group landed tickets to the taping.

 

 

ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic Raises $1 Million for V Foundation.  The 12th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic was held at the Industry Hills Golf Club in Industry Hills, California as part of the V Foundation events that happen in conjunction with the 2012 ESPYS which air tonight on ESPN.  The golf outing helped raise $1 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research.  Pictured here are (from l-r): ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer, ESPN’s Mike Golic, Olympic Skiing Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn, actor Joe Mantegna and ESPN’s Stuart Scott.

House to Take Up ObamaCare Repeal, Bush Tax Cuts Repeal for Wealthy, 2012 Presidential Race, and Russia-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/10).  The U.S. House plans to vote on repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the response to the president’s plan to repeal the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000; the 2012 presidential campaign; and Russia’s sending of warships to aid Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

| May 24, 2012

The Future of Tribune Company – and WGN, Chicago – Up in the Air After Bankruptcy Exit.  An article in Crain’s Chicago Business offers some speculation – based on interviews with business consultants and Tribune’s court filings – on the future of the parts of the publishing and broadcasting giant.  While its only radio property – WGN, Chicago – is not mentioned specifically in the piece, the broadcast division is and the theme of the article is that it appears the parts of Tribune are worth more than the whole and they may be sold off.  Tribune is organizing its various newspaper and TV properties into streamlined LLCs in preparation for presenting its reorganization plan to the court next month.  One expert states the synergy of print and broadcast never materialized for Tribune and he expects the parts to be sold.  Hubbard Broadcasting CEO Stanley Hubbard is quoted saying his company might be interested in the broadcasting properties if the price is right but said he has had no discussions with the company.

Martha Zoller Wraps Radio Show; Is Official Candidate for Congress in Georgia.  Georgia-based radio talk show host Martha Zoller did her last radio program for Cox Media’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia – talk/sports hybrid Bulldog 103.7 – and is now officially on the campaign trail.  Zoller’s last program was May 11 and her campaign announced yesterday, May 23, that she has qualified for the Republican primary for the newly created 9th Congressional District in Georgia which takes place on July 31.  She will face State Representative Doug Collins and Jackson Commission Chairman Hunter Bicknell in the open primary.  She says in a campaign statement, “For far too long, professional politicians and entrenched bureaucrats have run amuck in Washington without any adult supervision.  I am going to Congress to hold Washington accountable and end the reckless spending, borrowing, and debt that is threatening the future of our nation and the security of the American people.”  WXKT-FM has not announced a permanent replacement host for Zoller’s late morning program.

CNN Ratings Part of Larger News and TV Numbers Slump.  The New York TimesBill Carter writes an analysis of the ratings problems plaguing Time Warner’s CNN on the heels of recent record low showings.  The cable news network’s Nielsen numbers for the week of May 14 were down – averaging just 395,000 total viewers in prime time – while Piers Morgan’s May 15 program garnered just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic.  Carter writes that CNN has been hurt by strong programming from the networks during the May sweeps plus a lack of major breaking news – something that has always helped CNN boost its numbers.  But Carter notes that CNN isn’t the only network affected.  Even though Fox News Channel is head and shoulders above CNN in the prime time ratings, FNC only grabbed 395,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic during that week – a four-year low for Fox.  It should be noted that ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” finale and Fox TV’s “American Idol” performance finale – two of TV’s highest-performing non-sports shows over the past few years, had dramatically lower audiences than the previous year.  While “DWTS” had 17.5 million total viewers, that was down 18% from last spring’s finale.

New Media Seminar/NYC on Verge of Quickest Sellout in Conference’s 15-Year History.  The combination of a power-packed agenda, one-day format and significantly reduced registration fee have combined to make the upcoming New York City installment of the new bi-coastal, recession-era version of the talk media industry’s annual convention an extremely hot ticket.  According to the industry-only event’s organizers at TALKERS magazine, this will be the earliest sellout in its colorful 15 year history.  Due to capacity regulations, the selling of registrations for the Thursday, June 7 event will cease at the close of business on Friday of this week.  After that, registrations will only be issued on a stand-by basis. NMS director Michael Harrison states, “We are extremely gratified by the positive response to this new ‘austerity version’ of the New Media Seminar.  The idea of compacting it into a one-day event, getting rid of the expensive frills, reducing the cost of registration by 75%, and organizing an agenda that can be described as nothing short of relentless, is striking a positive chord in the business.  Also, the fact that there will be a West Coast version of the event in Los Angeles on October 11 is an innovation that has been very well received.  That one will be a blockbuster too.”  To see the full up-to-the-minute agenda of the New York conference, click here.  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

Two Local Sports Talk Shows to Debut on KXPS, Palm Springs.  CRC Media’s KXPS, Palm Springs (licensed to Thousand Palms, California) announces it will bring two new live and local programs to sports talker Team 1010 beginning June 4.  Julie Buehler will host “Buehler’s Day Off” daily from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Pete Fox joins the station to co-host “On the Air with Fox and Lecair” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  MyDesert.com reports Buehler is an award-winning radio host who recently worked as part of the Indianapolis Colts broadcasting team.  Fox has served as a host and reporter at KSPN, Los Angeles.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media syndicated talk star Neal Boortz sits in the anchor chair at CNBC filling in for Larry Kudlow on the cable channel’s “The Kudlow Report” tonight at 7:00 pm ET.  Boortz will work with co-host and CNBC chief international correspondent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera…..WNRP, Pensacola afternoon drive talk host Brandon Rathert wins two awards – a local Edward R. Murrow Award for “Investigative Reporting” and an Associated Press award for “Best Public Affairs” for the documentary he produced on the local sheriff’s office…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ups Matt Derrick to regional program manager for the Wilmington, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland markets…..The actual price Clear Channel is paying for Stephen Mindich’s WFNX-FM, Boston is $14.5 million, a bit more than the $11 million we reported after the story broke.

2012 Presidential Race, Facebook IPO Investigations, Egypt Elections, and Pakistan Jails bin Laden Tracker Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/23).  The battle between Republican challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama; the complex controversy over the Facebook IPO and the lawsuits it appears to be creating; the elections in Egypt; and the jailing of the doctor who aided the U.S. in finding Osama bin Laden in Pakistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Jeff Katz Welcomes Israeli Talk Host.  WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz  (l) is pictured here with Ari Abramowitz (r) – the leading English-language talk show host in Israel.  Katz tells TALKERS Abramowitz stopped by the program to say hello while visiting the United States and Katz forced him to check out the two Associated Press awards he recently won!