Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Condemns ‘Net Neutrality’ Ruling. Among those in Washington who disagree with the Appeals Court’s 2-1 ruling defining broadband as a common carrier utility service is Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai who states, “I am deeply disappointed by the DC Circuit’s 2-1 decision upholding the FCC’s Internet regulations. For many of the reasons set forth in Judge Williams’ compelling dissent, I continue to believe that these regulations are unlawful, and I hope that the parties challenging them will continue the legal fight. The FCC’s regulations are unnecessary and counterproductive. Indeed, as Judge Williams put it: ‘The ultimate irony of the Commission’s unreasoned patchwork is that, refusing to inquire into competitive conditions, it shunts broadband service onto the legal track suited to natural monopolies. Because that track provides little economic space for new firms seeking market entry or relatively small firms seeking expansion through innovations in business models or in technology, the Commission’s decision has a decent chance of bringing about the conditions under which some (but by no means all) of its actions could be grounded—the prevalence of incurable monopoly.’”
Singer Bo Bice Guest Hosts on WYAY, Atlanta. Atlanta news/talker WYAY “NewsRadio 106.7” welcomed singer Bo Bice to its airwaves as part of its weekly Casting Call Atlanta program. Casting Call Atlanta is the Cumulus Media station’s search for the next Atlanta talk star. As part of the initiative, three listeners with little or no professional radio experience have participated weekly in the Wednesday Radio Fantasy Camp. Each given one hour between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon for live, on-air auditions. Bice was runner-up to Carrie Underwood on the fourth season of “American Idol.” According to a press release announcing Bice’s appearance on the station, Bice is a self-described talk radio fan and regular listener to “NewsRadio 106.7” when at his home in Lake Jackson, Georgia. WYAY PD Greg Tantum says, “Bo’s appearance captures the spirit of the Casting Call program in that it encourages all voices in the Atlanta community to participate. Not just experienced or seasoned personalities. Casting Call affords the opportunity to discuss relevant issues from all the unique perspectives that make up the fabric of the metro area lifestyle.”
Orlando Host Jim Turner Suspended from WBZW for Anti-Gay Facebook Post. According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, afternoon talk host Jim Turner has been suspended from his gig at Salem Media Group’s business talk WBZW after posting comments on Facebook minimizing the deaths of gay victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre. Turner’s comments criticizing the media’s coverage of “sexual deviancy” have been deleted and his Facebook account closed. It’s not clear how long he’ll be off the air. His presence remains on the WBZW website.
Cumulus Media Ousts Market Manager John Sutherland in Providence Market. This report comes from GoLocalProv.com and indicates that Providence market manager John Sutherland has been let go from his position with Cumulus Media after just a year on the job. Sutherland replaced Barbara Haynes, who managed the five-station cluster for the previous 10 years. The GoLocalProv.com piece references last year’s death of WPRO-AM afternoon host Buddy Cianci and states ratings and revenue are down at the station. However, the news/talk station has seen its (6+) PPM numbers increase over the last three months, rising from 4.8 share to a 5.4 share.
Orlando Massacre Aftermath, Paris Cop Murder, Gun Control, the Presidential Race, London Sexy Ad Ban, Appeals Court Broadband Ruling, and NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/14). The investigation into the possible motives of Omar Mateen and the aftermath of his massacre of 49 at the Pulse in Orlando; the live-streamed murder of a Paris police officer and his wife by an Islamic militant; renewed calls for gun control legislation; the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; London’s Muslim mayor bans “sexy ads” in city’s tube stations; Appeals Court affirms ‘net neutrality’; and the Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Nielsen: Sports Talk Format Seeing Seasonal Surge. This monthly report from Nielsen Audio based on data from its PPM survey shows sports talk seeing a seasonal, format-wide ratings uptick. Moreover, the May 2016 PPM numbers show audience share up slightly compared to previous May reports. Comparing April to May, among persons 6+ the sports talk format jumped from a 4.5% share in April to a 4.9% share in May. The share among 18-34 audience climbed from 3.2% in April to 3.6% in May, and the sports core demo of adults 25-54 rose a half point to a 5.5% share in May.
Odds & Sods. A couple of Salem Radio Network notes to report: First, SRN talk host Larry Elder was a featured speaker at the 17th annual Orange County “Flag Day Celebration.” In addition to his own speech, Elder introduced U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) who discussed the GOP’s 2016 battle to retake to White House. Second, SRN personality Michael Medved welcomed actor/musician Kevin Bacon and musician Michael Bacon to his Seattle studios on June 14. The Bacons are on tour as The Bacon Brothers Band. They discussed the band’s tour, Kevin’s acting career and “America’s deep political divide over this week’s Orlando massacre vs. the unity we had following the 9/11 attacks.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Kevin Bacon, Medved, and Michael Bacon…..Ahead of the 2016 NFL season, Westwood One inks a multi-year partnership with Loyal Ears Digital to provide “Fantasy Free” to affiliate stations. The content provider says that the Fantasy Free package allows stations to tap into the heavily engaged fantasy sports audience with free games that are legal and that “bring all the excitement that comes with fantasy gaming.” The games are integrated into a station’s website, with station and client branding opportunities…..Neuhoff Media CEO Beth Neuhoff is named recipient of the 2016 Vincent T. Wasilewski Broadcaster of the Year honor from the Illinois Broadcasters Association. The award was presented on June 14 on day one of the IBA’s annual two-day convention. IBA immediate past chairman Sarah Hautala says, “Since taking the reins of Neuhoff Communications, Beth has shown strong leadership and has expanded her operations here in Illinois. She continues to support local broadcasting and the interests of broadcasters.”
Cooke: Think Radio Is Challenged? Try TV. Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the challenges facing not just radio but TV, as well. For those who thought that digital technology and consolidation is only affecting radio and newspapers, new statistics show TV is now reeling. Cord-cutting is the bane of the TV biz. Cooke reports that 60% of American homes have Internet-connected TVs and more than half of US households subscribe to an on-demand video service. And radio’s ability to be local remains its saving grace. At this Friday’s TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on Long Island, Cooke will present, “Talk Media: The Next Generation,” during which Cooke will present advice for news/talk operators. Read more here.
Michael Graham Named MediaDC Creative Director. Joining MediaDC – parent company of Washington Examiner, The Weekly Standard, and Red Alert Politics – is WYAY, Atlanta “NewsRadio 106.7” late morning personality Michael Graham. He is named to the newly created position of creative director. The company calls it “part of an expansion of multi-media and social media projects.” MediaDC says Graham also helped create the award-winning Boston Herald Radio online platform, has guest-hosted for Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham, and also hosts the popular Weekly Standard podcasts. MediaDC president and COO Stephen Sparks says, “We’re creating terrific content that should be made more available, and Michael will help us make that happen.”
JVC Media’s ‘LI News Radio’ to Address Political Corruption. In an effort to give voice to Long Island residents in the wake of recent convictions of New York politicians on various corruption charges, JVC Media’s news/talk WRCN, Riverhead, New York “LI News Radio” is presenting the “Citizens State of Suffolk County” this Thursday (5/19). From 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm, “LI News Radio” will turn over its airwaves to the residents of Suffolk County. They will have the opportunity to “sound off on issues, politics and the recent and constant corruption from our elected officials.” JVC Broadcasting VP of news operations Matt Goldapper says, “103.9 LI News Radio’s phones and email have been inundated by residents who are disgusted and need to vent, they are tired of not having their voice heard and politicians not listening to their concerns. This is why we created LI News Radio.” Station morning host Jay Oliver adds, “Suffolk County residents are done with all the corruption and abuse of power by their elected officials and they want them to know it.” The six-hour open phones program will allow “local leaders, community residents and concerned citizens” to be heard.
Livestream Set to Video Stream TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Live on Talkers.com. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention is an early sellout but don’t despair – the entire event will be video streamed live on Talkers.com. The streaming will be provided by Livestream, the leader in providing video streaming services to the broadcasting industry. Livestream, a sponsor of the event, will also be exhibiting their services in the technology display area of the conference. Livestream helps broadcasters monetize their content and reach their audience wherever they are. Whether they are syndicating their primary content, looking to broadcast live on their website/apps, or producing ancillary content for their online viewers, Livestream has the tools to make it as easy as possible. Viewers can watch on any device, including desktops, tablets, mobile devices, and Roku-connected TVs. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is the first time we have chosen to actually broadcast video of this event live on the internet. We are delighted to be associated with the pros at Livestream on this project. Now thousands of people around the world will be able to watch the TALKERS convention while it’s happening. For more information about Livestream, please click on www.Livestream.com. For the full convention agenda, please click here.
iHeartMedia and Debt Holders Still Negotiating. Today (5/16) is the day the temporary restraining order against certain of the company’s debt holders’ notices of default expires, but given the recent SEC filings by iHeartMedia and said creditors, both sides are still working to find a compromise. Should they not come to terms, the two sides will be back in court arguing over whether iHeartMedia’s transfer of Clear Channel Outdoor stock to its own Broader Media Inc. violated the existing debt covenants. If the court were to find iHeartMedia violated those terms, as much as $6 billion in debt could come due within 60 days, likely triggering bankruptcy. Clearly, both sides want to avoid that scenario. This story is very fluid as more action on the part of the company and its creditors is expected today.
WOWO, Fort Wayne Releases 90th Anniversary Station History in Podcast Format. The venerable Fort Wayne news/talk station celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2015, a milestone for which it created a two-and-a-half hour audio history of its operation. Now, the station is making the documentary available for download. Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “We look back at the past 90 years of WOWO Radio history, along with some never-before-heard pieces of audio and memorable moments that made the station legendary.”
Odds & Sods. At ABC News Radio, Scott Goldberg is named midday anchor on the Information Network. Goldberg assumes the position formerly held by Cheri Preston, who left the midday daypart to become morning drive anchor on the Information Network…..In San Antonio, Geoff Sheen exits iHeartMedia’s KTKR-AM “Ticket 760” where he was afternoon drive personality. In another case of iHeartMedia’s Austin and San Antonio stations sharing staff and programming, KTKR will air sister sports talker KVET-AM, Austin’s afternoon show, “The Sports Buffet” with hosts Craig Way and Rod Babers.
The Presidential Race, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, April Global Temp Record-Global Warming, Woody Allen Allegations, Venezuela Unrest, Facebook Anti-Conservative Allegations, NBA and NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public allegations on Sunday that Iran intends to attack Israel; global temperature data indicating April was the warmest April on record; renewed Woody Allen child molestation allegations as his new film debuts at the Cannes Film Festival; political and economic unrest in Venezuela; Facebook responds to charges it has tweaked its trending stories to avoid pro-conservative issues; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Harrison Issues Plea to Help the ‘Working People’ of the Radio Industry When Personal Tragedy Strikes. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison sent out a massive email blast to all of his trade publications’ thousands of subscribers this past Friday afternoon (5/13) containing a personal video message calling for the “working people” of the radio industry to support the Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFOA). The BFOA is a non-profit 501(c) (3) in operation now for more than six decades. The mission of the Broadcasters Foundation of America is to improve the quality of life and maintain the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need. The Foundation reaches out across the country to identify and provide an anonymous safety net in cases of critical illness, advanced age, death of a spouse, accident and other serious misfortune. According to Harrison, “Radio is a tough business – especially for its ‘working people’ – the people in the trenches doing the shows, selling the spots, managing the stations, engineering the equipment and making the day-to-day wheels go around.” He continues, “Since the crash of ’08 and consolidation stretching the limits of economic integrity – life has been downright brutal for the working people of the radio industry. However, we persevere – because radio people are driven and resilient. We always find a way to make a living…even if we have to turn to the dreaded last resort of seeking employment in another business to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. After all, we are talented, creative, resourceful and in tune with people, the street and the times. All handy assets if you have to go into PR, real estate sales or teaching – unless personal tragedy strikes. And unfortunately, sometimes it does. When radio professionals are stricken by horrible accidents or catastrophic illnesses that make it impossible to work, hold a job or make a living in ANY business, the results can be disastrous. Especially, if they don’t have a nest egg to fall back on… which unfortunately is the case for so many folks in this business struggling to make ends meet when the rent is due or from mortgage to mortgage payment. Radio is one of the only forms of mass media and entertainment in which charity and community involvements are part of its fundamental fabric. How many other forms of media are so quick to raise money for victims of disaster as radio? A significant percentage of the stories we cover in the trade press are about radio broadcasters rising to the occasion to help people in need – sick children, homeless veterans, single moms, victims of natural disasters, and catastrophic illnesses. Helping people is a key part of all our formats. It’s what we do. But who’s out there to help individual broadcasters when WE are stricken by tragedy and have the rug pulled out from under us? That’s when the Broadcasters Foundation of America steps up to the plate.” To see and hear Michael Harrison’s dramatic presentation in its entirety, please click here.
Bill Bennett to Give Up Daily AM Duties; Hugh Hewitt Moves to Morning Drive at SRN. Ending an 11-year run as host of Salem Radio Network’s morning drive program “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America,” Bennett will step back a bit from the mic as of April 4 when he becomes senior correspondent. He’ll produce a daily feature titled, “Making America Work,” that will also be formatted as a one-hour weekend program. In the series, he’ll interview successful American business owners and entrepreneurs. Moving to the morning drive daypart (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) will be current early evening host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt will re-locate to Washington, DC for the new program. Salem Media Group notes Hewitt’s “radio career has taken off in the last year with a new-found love for breaking news and what to think about it. He was given an opportunity to expose his great knowledge and talents to the country when he was selected as a panelist on the CNN presidential debates. He has already conducted more interviews with the presidential candidates than any other host, and has become the ‘go to’ show for this campaign.” Hewitt comments, “In 25 years of broadcasting on television and radio I have never been as excited as by this opportunity to build on the enormous platform Bill Bennett has constructed. It is already a show for influencers across the country, and I plan to maintain that influence, making this a ‘must listen’ for every mover and shaker in America, from a stay-at-home mom or dad to CEOs and government leaders.” Bennett says of his time on the radio, “Engaging in an illuminating and entertaining conversation with the American people has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding episodes of my career. I now look forward to another phase of work with the Salem Radio Network. The seminars and in-depth discussions in our new ‘Making America Work’ series that we are planning for 2016 and beyond will write a new chapter in radio. I simply want to express my gratitude to Salem for its continued confidence in me and to my audience – the greatest radio audience in America – for its loyalty and its candor, intelligence and goodwill.”
WYAY, Atlanta’s Michael Graham Offers to Consult Candidate to Oppose Georgia Legislator Who Defended the Klan. According to a piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, WYAY, Atlanta “Newsradio 106.7” late morning personality Michael Graham has advertised in the Jackson Herald his willingness to put his political consulting acumen to use for a candidate who will challenge Republican State Representative Tommy Benton. This comes after Benton defended the Ku Klux Klan while discussing proposed legislation he authored to protect institutions named after Confederate military figures and revert street names back to their original names, if they honored such historical people. One street was named after Confederate General John B. Gordon, an early Georgia Klan leader. In discussing the issue, Benton defended the Klan, saying it “made a lot of people straighten up.” He also said it “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order. I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.” Graham’s ad requests any Jackson County resident wishing to challenge Benton’s seat to contact him. Graham promises to donate his time and political consulting expertise as well as help promote fundraising. Read the AJC story here.
Presidential Race, Super Bowl 50, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and European Anti-Islam Rallies Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The activities of the candidates for president; the build-up to Sunday night’s Super Bowl 50; North Korea’s launch of a long-range satellite missile; concerns over the Zika virus and a potential pandemic; and the anti-Islam rallies held in Europe over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Westwood One Provides Radio Coverage of Super Bowl 50. The exclusive radio play-by-play of Super Bowl 50 was provided by Westwood One. As part of its post-game program, WW1’s James Lofton (right) interviews Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (left) who was named MVP of the game.
Odds & Sods. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports iHeartMedia Indy market manager Rick Green is being promoted to a regional president post for the Mid-Atlantic region where he’ll be based in Richmond, Virginia. A new Indianapolis market manager should be named soon…..The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman is reporting that John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman just re-signed to broadcast New York Yankees games on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York for two more seasons……iHeartMedia promotes longtime company sales pro Sherri Griswold Holladay to the regional vice president of sales position for the Mid-South region…..Beasley Media Group names Steve Griesbach director of engineering for the Las Vegas cluster. Griesbach most recently served with Cumulus Media’s Green Bay, Wisconsin station group.
Scheduling Announced in Nielsen v Bubba Suit. Both sides of the $1 million suit by Nielsen against Tampa-based morning personality Bubba the Love Sponge are digging in for a fight. Now, we know the timeline for the legal skirmish. If the matter goes all the way to trial, it’ll start next January 3. Before that, however, there are discovery deadlines, a mandatory attempt to settle via mediation and a pre-trial conference in December. Nielsen probably has lawyers on retainer, but this is still going to be expensive for both parties.
Cumulus Media Nabs Rob Stadler for WYAY, Atlanta Mornings. Market news pro Rob Stadler is joining Cumulus Media’s WYAY-FM, Atlanta “News Radio 106.7” to serve as executive producer and host of “The Morning News.” Stadler was the voice for morning news and information on crosstown CHR WSTR “Star 94” for almost 30 years. During that time, he was named “Atlanta’s Best Newscaster” 10 times by the Achievement in Radio Awards (AIR) while serving as the station’s news director. He also earned two Edward R. Murrow awards from the RTDNA for broadcast journalism excellence, and was also recognized by the Georgia Associated Press for “Best Newscast.” He’ll make his inaugural appearance for “News Radio 106.7” as host for the “Making Miracles Marathon” on Friday, December 11, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and he’ll begin hosting the morning show on December 16. WYAY program director Greg Tantum states, “Rob has been a part of the Atlanta morning landscape for nearly three decades – not only on the radio, but with his community involvement. Rob has the unique ability to blend his deep news background with the understanding of how to keep an audience engaged and entertained while dealing with nightmare commutes in Atlanta.”
Price: It’s Not IF Anymore…But WHEN. It may be a reality that no one wants to face, but ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes in a column for TALKERS/RadioInfo today (12/4) that radio stations need to prepare for the possibility that an act of destructive violence can happen in their markets. In reference to Wednesday’s San Bernardino shootings, Price says that local news/talk radio stations he monitored stayed with national programs while the story was breaking. Yes, those shows were talking about the shootings, but he believes stations in the market should “own” the story in a way out-of-market stations don’t have to. “Even if we acknowledge the cost constraints that today make it so difficult to sustain a round-the-clock news operation at most stations, in my personal view, operators do a disservice to their communities if they don’t at least have a PLAN for flushing their formats and throwing any and every live body into coverage of catastrophic local events.” Read Price’s column here.
More from the Nielsen Audio Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke (pictured here) reports from the first day of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference (formerly the old “Consultant Fly-In”). This batch of notes comes from yesterday afternoon’s sessions and covers Dr. Ed Cohen’s presentation of data from his study, “The Class of 2015: Four Years in the Lives of Digital Natives”; podcasting and its relationship with radio; plus more research about the behavior of radio’s P1s. See Holland Cooke’s notes here.
WIP, Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl 24 Scheduled for February 5 at the Wells Fargo Center. What started as a small promotion 23 years ago has grown into one of sports talk radio’s biggest events that now fills Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center each year. The annual chicken wing eating contest has evolved to present winners in three divisions: the overall winner, the local winner and the collegiate winner. WIP morning show co-host Al Morganti, co-founded Wing Bowl 23 years ago with host Angelo Cataldi, and he says, “In a year where everything has seemed to go wrong with sports in Philadelphia, it never goes wrong at Wing Bowl! We win every year so if you’re disappointed with Philadelphia’s sports teams, you won’t be disappointed with this year’s ‘Game of Bones’ – Wing Bowl 24.” Tickets go on sale on December 8. This year’s event is presented by title sponsors Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino. Prizes this year include: For the overall winner, a 2016 Harley-Davidson FLSTF Softail Fat Boy Motorcycle courtesy of Barb’s Harley Davidson, a custom Wing Bowl 24 championship ring and $10,000 in cash courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers; the local winner receives a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe courtesy of Colonial Hyundai of Downingtown; and the top collegiate eater will win $5000 in cash.
Odds & Sods. After 18 years in morning drive Bob Levy and wife Marianne Levy are shuttering the Bob & Marianne in the Morning show on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WOBM-AM, Lakewood Township, New Jersey. Marianne Levy will continue her role with the station on the Preferred Home Health Care-sponsored “Preferred Company” show that airs from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Taking over mornings on WOBM-AM is Jeremy Grunin, effective January 4. Bob Levy will continue to host the Sunday “Topic A” public affairs program that airs on WOBM-AM and sister AC WOBM-FM…..An FM translator is boosting the signal of Saga Communications’ sports talk simulcast (now trimulcast!) WISE/WYSE in the Asheville, North Carolina market. “ESPN Asheville” is now heard on W247BV at 97.3 FM…..Legendary New York sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo are teaming up for a charity reunion show at Madison Square Garden to benefit MSG’s Garden of Dreams Foundation. Sports talk fans have been anticipating some sort of reunion of the two after recent reports of friendly chat between them about the possibility. They haven’t worked together since their split in 2008 when Russo left CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York for SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The reunion event takes place on March 30…..NUVO managing editor (and Indy radio personality) Ed Wenck conducted an interview with Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom show to mark Kevoian’s retirement from the show and the business at the end of the year. This cool piece touches on everything from how Kevoian and Tom Griswold became radio partners to how their show took off at WFBQ, Indianapolis in the mid-1980s. Check it out here.
San Bernardino Shootings/Gun Control Top Talk Radio Stories This Week. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30- December 4 was the deadly San Bernardino shootings tied with the related topic of gun control, tying atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the 2016 presidential race. Coming in at #3 was the Paris climate summit followed by Russia-Turkey tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Greg Tantum Named PD at ‘News Radio 106.7’ in Atlanta. The Cumulus Media news/talk station announces that Greg Tantum is named program director. Tantum comes to WYAY, Atlanta “News Radio 106.7” from his most recent post as executive editor for NBC News Radio based in Washington, DC. Cumulus notes that Tantum has “successfully programmed spoken-word stations in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Cumulus EVP of content and programming for John Dickey says, “Greg Tantum is the ideal candidate to program ‘News Radio 106.7.’ His success building first-rate news operations and long experience in the spoken-word format are exactly what we need to grow the station and maximize its huge ratings and revenue potential.” Tantum comments, “At one of the most critical times in our country’s history, it is exciting and rewarding to be joining Cumulus and ‘News Radio 106.7.’ The station’s recent coverage leading up to and during the election is just one example of the serious commitment to providing the best resources available to give Atlanta listeners access to the news and information impacting their daily lives. It is also exciting to join a team which had one of the most successful launches of a new spoken-word format in many years and is now positioned to become the undisputed news leader in Atlanta.”
Hill Climbs to VP/Programming of iHeartMedia Portland. Twelve-year Hearst Broadcasting Baltimore operations manager Dave Hill will join iHeartMedia Portland, Oregon in three weeks (12/1) as vice president of programming. Market president Robert Dove comments, “After a year of consistent ratings growth, I am pleased to have Dave Hill as my partner and new vice president of programming. Dave brings a record of success in Baltimore and I am sure he will continue to build on the forward trajectory of our strong brands in Portland.” Executive vice president of programming Brad Hardin remarks, “We have been wanting to recruit Dave to our team for quite some time. The brands he has managed in Baltimore have been industry leaders in their formats. We are very excited to have him join iHeartMedia and grow our Portland cluster.” Prior to becoming OM of Hearst Baltimore’s four-station operation – and programming the company’s WIYY “98 Rock” there – Hill programmed in Hartford (WMRQ) and in Albany, New York (WQBK and WQBJ). The iHeartMedia Portland cluster consists of talk KEX-AM (and K272EL); KFBW “Portland’s Rock Station – The Brew”; adult contemporary KKCW “K-103”; CHR KKRZ “Z-100”; classic hits-oldies KLTH “The Eagle”; sports KPOJ; and rhythmic CHR KXJM “Jam’n 107.5.”
Is Your LinkedIn Profile Killing Your Career? Media consultant Walter Sabo writes in his piece published today (11/10) in TALKERS magazine that there is a definite style to presenting yourself on LinkedIn that will help you get more work, and doing the opposite could be hurting your career. Unlike other social media, LinkedIn is a “serious” social site and your presentation of yourself should reflect that tone for prospective employers. “They are looking for service, knowledge, courage, dependability and prudence. Every entry needs to be figuratively wrapped in a Brooks Brothers suit regardless of your skills and position.” Your LinkedIn profile really is a living resume and you should treat it as such. Sabo notes, “Employers and clients are looking for results. They want to see how your actions improved the business. The more results you show, the more companies will find you to be an attractive candidate including companies far beyond the radio industry.” Read Walter Sabo’s enlightening piece here.
Odds & Sods. Afternoon drive talk show host Kevin Wall is gone from the programming schedule at CBS RADIO’s KXNT-FM, Las Vegas. Although the station has not made a formal announcement about the change, his information has been removed from the station’s web page…..The weekly VoiceAmerica-based program “The Costa Report with Rebecca Costa” is being added to the program schedule at Genesis Communications Radio and Digital Group-owned Florida stations WWBA, Tampa and WAMT, Orlando. Each station is adding the two-hour weekly show to its weekend programming. Costa is the author of the book, The Watchman’s Rattle (Vanguard Press 2012)…..KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno debuts a new weekend food show called “The Restaurateurs” co-hosted by prominent Fresno restaurant owners Mike Shirinian and Dave Fansler. The one-hour program will emanate from local restaurants. KMJ talk personality Ray Appleton helped introduce the new show this past weekend by serving as a special guest on the first program.
Radio Host and Conservative Media Figure Monica Crowley Joins The Washington Times. Conservative talk media figure Monica Crowley is named online opinion editor for The Washington Times. Crowley, who has hosted a regular talk radio program syndicated by Talk Radio Network and is a longtime contributor to Fox News Channel, begins her work for The Washington Times on June 23. Her duties will include overseeing all opinion content online, ranging from the weekly columns of Dr. Ben Carson and Tammy Bruce to the online “Communities” portals of such opinion contributors as Christine O’Donnell, Tom DeLay, Ernest Istook and Steve Deace. Crowley will remain as a Fox News contributor and plans to write for The Washington Times. The paper’s president and CEO, Larry Beasley, says, “We’re thrilled to have Monica join The Washington Times. With her extensive background, talent and education, Monica will enhance our online offerings from around the country and the world.”
CBS Radio’s WFNZ, Charlotte Names Chris Kroeger Afternoon Host. Taking over for WFNZ, Charlotte sports talk host Marc James, who moved to the company’s WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” to partner with Chad Dukes, is Chris Kroeger – new host of “Prime Time with Chris Kroeger. In a statement, program director DJ Stout says, “Like the Charlotte Hornets we too are bringing our legendary brand ‘Prime Time’ back. We’re excited for Chris to take on this opportunity. He is a top-notch talent and we look forward to him bringing his fresh approach to ‘Prime Time.’” Kroeger is a Charlotte native who’s been covering Appalachian State football. He appeared weekly on WFNZ to talk App football. He’s spent the last three years anchoring coverage of the Pac-12, SEC, ACC, AAC & Big East for IMG College. The station says Kroeger will rotate two different co-hosts each day on the show including local and national writers, former athletes and team owners alongside the show’s other members: The Q.C.B., Hitman, and Jayweezie. The station announces another addition to the lineup: “The Call Up with Colin and Nate” (airing weekdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon) featuring on air/producer for the WFNZ “Mac Attack Morning Show” Colin Hoggard and Nate Conley, executive producer of the WFNZ midday show “Bustin’ Loose with Frank Garcia and Mark Yarbro.” WFNZ says fan favorites Colin and Nate are joining forces on this caller intensive show bringing a fresh perspective to sports radio. DJ Stoud adds, “We’ve taken our time in putting the right shows and the right people in place. All three of these guys know the city and know the station and bring a passion for sports as well as different perspectives for WFNZ and sports radio in the Carolinas.”
What Would Jerry Del Colliano Do if He Owned a Radio Station Now? Inside Music Media publisher and longtime industry observer/analyst Jerry Del Colliano candidly shares the 17 things he would do if he were in the situation of owning and operating a commercial radio station for profit today. In a provocative piece posted today (6/17) in TALKERS and RadioInfo, Del Colliano addresses: sales department size, sales commission structure, commercial price structuring, handling (or not handling) eight-minute stop sets, appealing to a generation obsessed with video games, and strategizing the digital component as it relates to radio. He also introduces a radical new way of dealing with hits and music discovery and much more. To read Jerry Del Colliano’s entire article, please click here. Also meet Jerry Del Colliano at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday of this week (6/20).
Clear Channel Updates iHeartRadio App. The newest version of the app for Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio digital music and talk service is being released. The 5.0 verion for iOS and Android is being touted by the company to bring “iHeartRadio users an even more personalized listening experience with enhanced algorithms. Among the new algorithm updates to the digital radio service is the ‘For You’ feature, which adds a genre selection tool for improved, more tailored station recommendations. iHeartRadio 5.0 will also include a sleeker, more beautiful and intuitive UI, improved search and simplified controls.” CC president of digital Brian Lakamp comments, “iHeartRadio 5.0 features a significant upgrade to the way we serve our listeners. We’ve been working diligently to personalize iHeartRadio and give our listeners more of the artists, the music and the kind of listening experience they want. iHeartRadio 5.0 accomplishes that by introducing recommendations, more intelligent design and a better user experience overall.”
Nielsen’s RADAR June 2014 Quarterly Report Released. The quarterly RADAR radio network ratings report from Nielsen for June 2014 has been released and, once again, the report concludes that network radio listening remains consistent from a cume standpoint. Some data from the report includes an estimate of national audience listening – the national audience that heard a network radio commercial during an average week stands at 181.3 million Americans aged 12+. Nielsen goes on to say, “That’s nearly 70% (68.0) of all Americans aged 12+ who heard a network radio commercial during an average week.” It also reports that, in the top 25 DMAs, network radio reached more than 94 million listeners, more than 70% of the 12+ population in those markets; and that more than 70% of Americans aged 25-54 listened to network radio each week. Nielsen notes the data here reflects listening to subscribing networks and does not include all network radio listening.
National Journalism Center Plays Supportive Role with Talk Media’s Youth – Organization to Showcase Internship Program at Talkers New York 2014. In the era of industry-wide consolidation and moves to cut costs with syndication, longtime radio and media veteran Kirby Wilbur could be the poster child for reinventing a career while helping others to start their own. Washington, DC-born and Seattle-raised, Wilbur made a name for himself in the Pacific Northwest as a talk show host on KVI for 16 years. From 1993 to 2009, Kirby was a staple on the Seattle airwaves and also as a fill-in host for Sean Hannity. After being cut loose from KVI, Wilbur became chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. During his tenure, Republicans picked up majorities in the Washington State House and State Senate. However, an offer came his way that has not only changed him, but is also developing a new generation of members of the media. About a year ago, Wilbur and his wife left the Pacific Northwest for Washington, DC, where he became executive director of the conservative-based National Journalism Center. His new career may not place him behind the microphone, but it does allow him to help groom the next generation of future radio reporters, talk show hosts, writers and members of the media. “The Young America’s Foundation is a project of the National Journalism Center. Its mission is to train and work with journalism students (conservative and otherwise) who aspire to careers in the field and encourage them through internships and academic programs. The program’s alumni include a stellar roster of well-known media and journalism figures. To read the entire story written by TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay posted today (6/17) please click here.
Odds & Sods. WGOW, Chattanooga, Tennessee “102.3 The Talk Monster” mid-afternoon talk show host Brian Joyce is filling in on Cumulus Media’s Atlanta news/talk WYAY “Newsradio 106.7” from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm tomorrow evening (6/18)…..At Entercom’s Sacramento operations, Lance Richard is named vice president of sales for the six-station group that includes sports talk KCTC “ESPN 1320.”…..HLN personality Vinnie Politan is exiting the cable news channel to take a position with WXIA-TV, Atlanta. Politan hosted the afternoon “HLN Now: On the Case” program.
Public Memorial for Seattle Broadcaster Ken Schram Planned for June 22. Longtime Seattle radio and television newsman and personality Ken Schram passed away on May 29 at the age of 66 after a long illness. Schram worked for years for Fisher Communications on all-news KOMO-AM/FM, news/talk KVI as well as on the company’s KOMO-TV. He also worked for Bonneville at KIRO-FM. A public memorial is scheduled for Sunday, June 22 at the Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center.
“Live from Grand Rapids…” Nationally syndicated WestwoodOne talk show host Dennis Miller did his June 6 program from the Cumulus Grand Rapids studios ahead of his appearance at the city’s DeVos Performance Hall for a show with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. Miller (left) took a moment to pose for a photo with WJRW and WBBL program director Dave Jaconette (right).
Iraq Turmoil, Primary Results/State of the GOP, IRS Scandal-Lerner Emails Status, Child Illegals Influx, Hillary Clinton Book Tour, World Cup Action, and NHL-NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/16). The instability in Iraq due to the infiltration of a radical Islamic militant forces’ occupation of parts of the country; discussion about the state of the Republican party after this spring’s primary contests; the controversy over the status of Lois Lerner’s emails relative to the IRS scandal; the continuing influx of child illegal immigrants in the Southwest; Hillary Clinton’s book tour for her latest memoir; the World Cup action in Brazil and the U.S.’s victory over Ghana; and the Spurs’ and Kings’ victories in the NBA’s and NHL’s finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
It’s Official: Cumulus Shifts WYAY, Atlanta to News/Talk. As you can see, the official brand still employs the word “news,” but the all-news format is gone as Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta becomes “Newsradio 106.7.” The change comes with the debut of the Michael Graham show in the 8:30 to 12:00 noon slot today (5/12). The other shows that are part of the station’s talk lineup include Cumulus Media’s John Batchelor show which airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” in the overnight slot. Both morning drive and afternoon drive will remain news programs. The station is the home of Atlanta Braves baseball and partners with WAGA-TV “Fox Five” and The Atlanta Business Chronicle. Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Dickey says, “‘Newsradio 106.7’ is Atlanta’s best resource for in-depth news and compelling, entertaining talk about the things that matter most in our lives. Our five-star news team, in partnership with ‘Fox Five,’ tells listeners what’s happening locally, nationally and around the world. Our fresh talk personalities, including Michael Graham and Kim Peterson, help the audience understand, respond and sometimes even laugh about those events.”
Progressive Talk to Disappear from KKZN, Denver. The story from Clear Channel’s Denver station group is that the progressive talk format on KKZN is ready to be dumped, although an official announcement has yet to be made and what will take its place is not yet known. KCNC-TV personality Gloria Neal had hosted the evening show on KKZN until last week when she was let go. She posted on her Facebook page that the format would change and all current hosts would be gone from the station.
Second of Two-Part Special on “Business Rockstars” – Meet Quintessential “Connected” Host, Ken Rutkowski. The second of our two-part series on “Business Rockstars” centers on the host of this daily, two-hour program who has a somewhat similar style to Charlie Rose and adroitly produces the same meaty results, although the centerpiece guests he gets to “hang out with” each day are “very cool people” who — in the business world — turn nothing into something. “That is the angle I like,” comments “Business Rockstars” host/co-founder (with Steve Lehman)/co-owner/president Ken Rutkowski. “How many people can say that almost every one of the 1,500 people they have talked with in the last two years is ‘amazing’? We have three or four ‘amazing’ guests on every day.” Some have entire chapters of their life they have never shared, yet Rutkowski — named in 2009 as an intelligence analyst at the Oprah Winfrey Network — elicits nuggets from them. “They have tips to help people,” he remarks. “By listening to the show, it is almost like getting a nice degree in business — but in a fun way.” To read part-two of the TALKERS special feature on “Business Rockstars with Ken Rutkowski” by managing editor Mike Kinosian posted today (5/12), please click here.
Rush Limbaugh Salutes U.S. Military with Tractor Giveaway. With Memorial Day 2014 as the backdrop, Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh is teaming up with Mahindra USA to give away one Mahindra Max 22 tractor to an active duty or veteran of the U.S. military. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Mahindra USA is an active supporter of the military and offers the “Mahindra Pride Military Appreciation Program,” recognizing the commitment of members of the armed forces. The Military Appreciation Program offers an extra $200 rebate for active and retired U.S. military personnel with the purchase of a new Mahindra tractor and qualifying implement. It also supports Operation Finally Home with its “Build To Rise” program, which provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to our heroes and their families. Limbaugh states, “I’d like to thank Mahindra, the world’s number-one-selling tractor, for their generosity. And God bless all of you who protect our freedom. We are pleased to join with Mahindra USA in giving away one of their spectacular tractors to a deserving active duty or veteran of our military.”
Crowd-sourced Film Hits Goal on Mike Gallagher Show. The drive to raise funds by a group of independent filmmakers to produce a film about controversial Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell hits its goal of $2.1 million – three days before their deadline – during the Mike Gallagher show on Friday, May 9. Gallagher says, “I am so grateful and proud of our listeners who contributed literally tens of thousands of dollars today to help make this important movie a reality.” Listeners to Gallagher’s program—as well as audiences of fellow Salem Radio Network hosts Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and others—were asked to contribute start-up funds for the project. If the $2.1 million had not been raised by midnight on May 12, all donations would have been returned to listeners and the film would not have been produced.
WEEI-FM, Boston Tweaks Midday Talent. A change in the midday lineup at Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston as Mike Mutnansky exits the “Mut & Lou” show and will stay with the company in another capacity to be announced later. Joining Lou Merloni for the new midday show, dubbed “Middays with MFB,” is former NFL tight end Christian Fauria and New England native, 970 ESPN Pittsburgh sports personality and Clear Channel Pittsburgh sports director Tim Benz. The new lineup takes place later this month. WEEI program director and brand manager Kevin Graham says, “We are thrilled with the new team we have assembled. This show will be the only sports radio program in New England that offers listeners insight from a former major leaguer and a former NFL player. When you add in the sports radio experience of New England native Tim Benz, listeners will hear a brand new sound in the market.” Fauria played four seasons with the Patriots earning Super Bowl rings at Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX. More recently Fauria has worked as a college football analyst for CBS, does color commentary for Patriots preseason games locally on WBZ-TV and hosts a pre-and-post-game show during the NFL regular season. Benz was born in Boston and is a graduate of Syracuse University. He served as a radio beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and also worked at stations in Columbus, Salt Lake City and Syracuse.
Mohn Moving to NPR as President/CEO. Current Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) chairman Jarl Mohn is appointed president and chief executive officer of NPR. When Mohn begins his NPR term in July, he will be succeeding Paul Haaga Jr., who has been acting president/chief executive officer since last year. NPR board chair/ideastream Cleveland chief operating officer Kit Jensen remarks, “We are delighted to welcome Jarl. His background as a successful media executive and innovator makes him ideally suited to lead NPR as it continues to expand its reach and play a unique role in public service journalism and cultural programming. Jarl has a deep commitment to the public radio system, love of radio and passion for quality journalism. He has demonstrated throughout his career a keen ability to identify media and consumer trends. He has exhibited a strong track record on diversity and fairness.” According to Mohn, “This is not a job for me – it is a mission. I love public radio and NPR. It is a national treasure and it is more important now than ever. I want to make sure that the NPR staff, the member stations, and the others who make it happen have everything they need to do their best work.” Mohn was the founding president and chief executive officer of Liberty Digital; president and chief executive officer of E! Entertainment Television (January 1990 – December 1998); executive vice president and general manager of MTV and VH1 (1986 – 1990); and was a WNBC-AM, New York on-air talent in the 1970s.
Odds & Sods. Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris returns to the airwaves in the market hosting a daily, one-hour show on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas. Harris tells TALKERS magazine the show begins this evening (5/12) at 6:00 pm…..At Kirkman Broadcasting’s news/talk WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina, the Bryan Crabtree show expands, adding the 7:00 am hour. As of June 2, Crabtree’s program will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. He says, “I have spent the past 15 years informing listeners how to solve our communities’ problems and find solutions to society’s challenges. The response has been incredible and humbling. We will continue to grow our audience in Charleston by focusing on the stories that matter to citizens of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.”…..Beginning July 1, Compass Media Networks becomes the exclusive advertising sales agent for the on-demand audio programming of CBS Radio News. The programming includes audio podcasts of “60 MINUTES,” “FACE THE NATION,” “Weekend Roundup,” “CBS EVENING NEWS,” “What’s In The News,” “Tech Talk,” “Not Just Another Story” and “Reporters Notebook.”…..CBS RADIO news/talk outlet WCCO-AM, Minneapolis announces an extension in its partnership with the University of St. Thomas to broadcast Tommie football through the 2016 season. WCCO-AM’s Dave Lee will continue to provide play-by-play for the Tommies, along with WCCO-AM’s Eric Nelson doing color commentary…..KFYI, Phoenix afternoon host Mike Broomhead partnered with U.S. Senator John McCain to hold a Town Hall meeting on May 9 at which they welcomed Arizona veterans and their families to discuss the Phoenix VA Health Care System and how it has recently affected them. Case workers from McCain’s staff were on hand to answer questions and to help get veterans the services they need.
Katz Serves as Grand Marshall. WRVA, Richmond PM drive talk show host Jeff Katz is pictured here with his ride for the Bon Air Victorian Day Parade. On Saturday, May 10, Katz served as the Grand Marshall for one of the oldest civic parades in Richmond. Katz tells TALKERS magazine that although the official Grand Marshall’s hat was rather Victorian…the Grand Marshall’s ride, this cool 2014 Mustang convertible, was anything but.
Cool Job Opportunity. Midwest Communications seeks news director. Believe it or not there are still rewarding jobs in radio news. WHBL, Sheboygan, Wisconsin is looking for a news director who will be given the freedom to create and the tools to win. You’ll spend as much time in the field as you do in the newsroom. We need someone who is a triple-threat: strong on-air skills, a good reporter, and a good writer. We set the news standard in our market. It’s on-air and on our website before it’s in the newspaper. We do some enterprise reporting. We do some investigative work. If you have a passion for news, whether on the radio or online, we want to talk with you. We offer a competitive salary and a full benefits package. Send your resume and mp3 to WHBL brand manager Kelly Meyer at: email@example.com or snail mail to Kelly’s attention at: 2100 Washington Avenue, Sheboygan, WI 53081. No phone calls, please. Midwest Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer by choice. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
Radio News Pro Dan Scanlan Dies. Radio news pro Dan Scanlan died over the weekend after suffering a heart attack on Saturday morning at his northern Virginia home. He was 74. Scanlan’s career included stops at such storied radio news franchises as WINS, New York, AP Radio, Mutual/Westwood One (as both anchor and Senate correspondent), as well as freelance work for CBS Radio and WCBS, New York. Most recently he was weekend anchor on NBC News Radio. Earlier in his career he worked at WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts.
WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Grabs Charity Drive Honors. In a contest among a number of radio talk show hosts to see who could help raise the most cash for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored by talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway came in first after raising almost $4,500. Wachs dubbed her talk host challenge FROST (fundraising radio host). She says hosts wishing to considered for the next round of FROST, write to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Movement Afoot to Curtail Media’s Free Speech? In a story by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, he writes that Federal Elections Commissioner Lee E. Goodman warns there is brewing sentiment within the FEC to support changing the exemption that the media enjoys regarding support of political candidates and/or issues. Goodman tells the paper, “I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers.” The piece cites Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity and the movie division of Citizens United for effectively endorsing candidates. As the story notes, all media currently enjoys the right to endorse candidates and promote them without being subject to limits or disclosure requirements. It’s unlikely that such a move would pass legal muster but Goodman’s comments to the Examiner indicate frustration with conservative media on the part of liberal staffers at the FEC.
Jennifer Perry Exits WYAY, Atlanta. The former WGST, Atlanta afternoon news anchor had been the news director at Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY “All News 106.7” since its inception as a news station 16 months ago, but now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Perry is leaving the station for a position outside the radio biz. The move coincides with the station’s addition of another talk show that begins Monday, May 12 – this one featuring Michael Graham in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot – to what had been a true all-news format. There’s no indication the programming changes were part of Perry’s decision to exit. Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson has been hosting a show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm since last fall. Ho also reports that he hears the station will change its handle from “All News 106.7” to “NewsRadio 106.7” in the near future.
CCM+E Teams with Grupo Radio Mexico for iHeartRadio Hispanic Network. It was a natural progression given Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s existing relationship with Grupo Radio Mexico syndicating “El Show Del Mandril” via Premiere Networks, but the additional ventures announced today (5/8) take the relationship much deeper. The launch of the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network will mean listeners to the digital entertainment platform will be able to hear Grupo Radio Centro, Grupo Radio Mexico stations and “El Show Del Mandril.” Grupo Radio Mexico owns and operates 51 radio stations across multiple formats in 13 Mexican markets — including the leading station cluster in Monterrey and Guadalajara. As part of the deal, beginning later this year, iHeartRadio will become the exclusive digital ad sales provider for these market-leading Mexican stations. In what CC is calling an industry first, it will replace all local Mexican station ads with consumer-targeted U.S. ads and that this also marks the first time iHeartRadio will provide U.S. listeners with radio broadcasts from leading stations throughout the Mexico Republic. GRC chairman and CEO Francisco Aguirre says, “This is the second step in the groundbreaking partnership between our two companies. Bob Pittman and I share a vision to expand both companies beyond their respective borders in a very fast paced and evolving digital landscape. Our Mexico stations are market leaders across all demographics and we look forward to their natural expansion in the U.S. through the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network.”
Biz Biggies Rock On — The Colorful History and Present-Day Innovation of Industry Entrepreneur Steve Lehman. Actually there are two stories here. One is the colorful history about the birth and early days of Premiere Networks which was launched by noted industry entrepreneur Steve Lehman and his partners Tim Kelly, Louise Palanker, and Ed Mann in the mid-1980s and went on to become one of network radio’s greatest successes. The second story is about the more recent launch of an extremely innovative multi-media, radio-based syndicated program called “Business Rockstars,” hosted by brilliant business expert and organizer of billionaires, Ken Rutkowski. What is the connection between these two stories? Steve Lehman. In a fascinating two-part special feature written by TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, we are taken on a radio journey that spans three decades from the early days of modern syndication and consolidation to today’s leading edge of multi-platform talk radio. “I saw the need for something that was not ‘old politics’ on talk radio,” declares Lehman, who was fascinated by an article that indicated there are 30 million “wantrepreneurs” in the United States. “I thought that is a great audience to try to educate and to entertain about something I am passionate about — entrepreneurship. ‘Business Rockstars’ is an entrepreneurial business platform that is driven by radio, television, and social media. Those are the springboards to the monetization model, which is live events, content and product sales, and membership.” Part one begins today (5/8). Read it by clicking here.
CRN Digital Talk Syndicates ‘Let’s Talk Tech.’ The weekly radio program “Let’s Talk Tech” with host Christian Wheel is now being syndicated nationally by CRN Digital Talk Radio. The program airs live Saturdays 8:00 pm ET from home base KFWB, Los Angeles. The show is described as covering everything from “smartphones to the internet, home theater to security, software to digital cameras.” CRN CEO Michael Horn says, “Christian is fluent in things called ‘C/C++,’ ‘Visual Basic’ and ‘x86 assembly.’ But more important, he’s fluent in radio. Christian explains tech-related topics so everyone can understand and enjoy them.”
Help for the Industry from the Experts at LDR Interactive. The company says that it is launching its #Engage Blog to offer “broadcast solutions to motivate, measure and monetize your audience.” LDR Interactive says the #Engage Blog shares “perspectives from the leadership team behind the Listener Driven Radio phenomenon and the growing TopicPulse real-time social measurement platform.” The LDR #Engage Blog will feature insights on motivating, measuring, and monetizing audience engagement by offering a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful implementations of real-time, social, local, mobile, and interactive programming across LDR’s partner stations. LDR says it will also share unique perspectives from its world-class team of software engineers, broadcast managers, sales managers, and programmers. Blog posts have been published by CEO, Daniel Anstandig; director of sales, Tracy Gilliam; and TopicPulse support and client services manager, Dana Hall.
Sullivan Heads to Brew Town with Entercom. From his most recent gig with Cumulus Media in Mobile, Chuck Sullivan heads north to the Dairy State to serve as VP/GM for Entercom’s Milwaukee cluster, taking over for Michael Keck who left for opportunities in the Twin Cities. Sullivan will oversee CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix,” and sports talk WSSP “Sports Radio 1250.” He says, “I couldn’t be more excited about this tremendous opportunity. Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands, from ‘Kiss FM,’ the most-listened-to station in Wisconsin, to ‘99.1 the Mix’ and ‘SportsRadio 1250.’”
Odds & Sods. The Ayn Rand Institute announces it will begin producing a weekly, two-hour talk radio program hosted by executive director Yaron Brook. In addition to seeking AM/FM affiliates, the program will air on the digital Liberty Express Network and the Ayn Rand Institute’s own site, aynrand.org. The show debuts June 9…..Sports talk personality Jay Mariotti expands his digital reach by joining with PodcastOne for distribution of his daily show. Mariotti’s program is heard via Genesis Communications Network and on his own Mariottishow.com platform…..Lisa Namerow, former SVP of strategic partnerships and audio monetization at Slacker Radio is joining XAPPmedia as senior vice president of business development and publisher relations for the company that provides an interactive audio advertising service.
Nielsen to Make Cuts at Three Call Center Locations. The Baltimore Sun reports that Nielsen will make cuts to its call-out workforce at locations in Sarasota, Florida; Radcliffe, Kentucky and Columbia, Maryland. The paper reports the call center cuts are part of the company’s efforts to consolidate operations since the acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen last year. Though no filing with the Maryland State Department of Labor has been reported, filings have been made in Florida and Kentucky with cuts of 220 and 237 workers being made respectively.
Net Revenue Up 12.1% at Radio One; Liggins Cautious. The financials from Radio One, Inc. for the first quarter of 2014 are in and the company reports net revenue was approximately $111.1 million, an increase of 12.1% from the same period in 2013. It reported a net loss of approximately $25.2 million or $0.53 per share compared to $18.1 million or $0.36 per share the same period a year ago. Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “Reflective of the broader economy, we experienced a slowdown in revenue growth in Q1. Adjusting for timing differences on major events, consolidated revenue was up by 5.4% compared to Q1 2013. Looking across the segments, TV One achieved its highest-ever show ratings, with the “NAACP Image Awards Show.” However, the benefits of the NAACP partnership will be felt over the longer term as during the first quarter, TV One had higher programming amortization associated with the initial telecast of the Image Awards. Our internet business continued its profitable trajectory and had robust 27.6% revenue growth year-over-year. Looking ahead, core radio revenue is currently pacing down mid-single digits for the second quarter, but we anticipate markets picking up momentum in the second half of the year as political spending ramps up.”
Lew Dickey Is “Bullish on the Stick” – Shares Insights into the Big Picture of Cumulus Media’s Corporate Strategy at Canadian Music Week. In a “Fireside Chat” between Cumulus Media president/CEO Lew Dickey and Talkers/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison held during the opening sessions of an international radio summit in Toronto, the head of the America radio industry’s second largest group said that he is “bullish” on radio when asked where the stick stands within his company’s long-term strategy. The 40 minute-conversation took place at 9:30 am Wednesday (5/7) at “Radio Interactive: International Radio Summit” held as part of this week’s ongoing multi-media festival, “Canadian Music Week.” Dickey made the comment when asked by Harrison how Cumulus plans to balance its attention between the traditional AM/FM federally licensed platform (the “stick”) and all of its many digital age assets. Harrison asked, “Considering the massive amount of capital you have invested in traditional radio, is there the danger of a conflict between the stick and your other media? More importantly, how do you feel about the future of the traditional radio station in general in this rapidly changing environment?” Dickey responded that – yes, “times have changed in the past five years alone faster than ever and will probably change even faster in the coming five years” but he is nonetheless “bullish on the stick” and that all of Cumulus Media’s projects and multi-media endeavors are based upon the foundation and strength of traditional radio. He said, “What we are doing is building upon our radio assets as the foundation of our larger media reach, always keeping in mind the importance of radio as the base of this larger system.” Dickey went on to say that he personally believes in the uniqueness, importance and future of radio as a vital audio medium and has great respect for the basics that drive its success – music, entertainment, information and especially talent. He summed it up stating, “In today’s media marketplace, the size of your reach counts. You can’t effectively compete with emerging and already-existing giants such as Google with limited audience reach – that’s why you have to be able to provide advertisers with a large, multi-media package for maximum exposure which even includes magazines that we have among our assets. That does not mean we do not value the tremendous importance of radio or the radio station in particular. It is just that the ability of each station to compete effectively is enhanced when it is connected to a larger set of platforms increasing the reach we can provide to advertisers.” Acknowledging Harrison as one of the industry’s leading experts on talk radio, he praised the importance of the format “in its broader definition” – even as it applies to music radio — stating, “Talk radio is more than just the political talk that many tend to narrow it down to when referring to the format. Talk radio is all over the radio in many different forms…it appears on rock and pop music radio as morning shows, it’s in the all-news broadcasts…it is certainly in sports talk and it is our very act of talking that makes radio programming of all formats really work.” When Harrison complained that there doesn’t seem to be the same level of format innovation today as there was in the past – and that he can’t see how radio can survive if its owners and managers think today’s formats can exist in a ‘snapshot’ and not be replaced by new ones, especially when these rapidly changing times demand it, Dickey smiled and said, “You must have been a fly on the wall at one of our recent corporate meetings! I specifically asked the question, ‘When was the last time we’ve seen a significantly new format emerge in radio?’ There is no doubt this is a concern that we care about greatly. However, I want to point out that we have good programming people on our team and we encourage them to be creative in this regard.” Dickey added, “However, keep in mind, formats DO evolve as the times demand… it is just not always as noticeable as the debut of brand new formats that mark a departure from those that came before them.” Harrison asked Dickey about audience measurement stats and his view of the PPM in particular to which he responded that “PPM would be far more accurate if we had a larger sample and until that day we have to deal with the potential of large fluctuations that can cause problems especially when dealing with tight margins within the rankings of stations.” When asked if he counters that with some emphasis on qualitative selling in addition to the quantitative approach – especially on the local level, Dickey responded, “Even on the local level advertisers want data – we are living in an age in which data and measurement play a critical role in just about everything. So even in situations in which there are no ‘ratings’ per se, it is incumbent upon the sales force to come up with information that conveys something measurable.” Immediately following the conversation with Dickey, Michael Harrison was asked how he felt it went to which he responded, “That guy is one smart dude!” Prior to facilitating the chat with the Cumulus head, Harrison delivered the conference’s keynote address titled, “Staying Iconic in the New Pop Culture,” in which he reiterated his basic principles that for music radio to maintain its standing in society it must reclaim ownership of the music culture and not stray from the basic tenets of entertainment, magic, humanity and caring – trusting its future as much on instinct and courage as on research and fear.
Global Warming/Clean Air Act, Boko Haram Kidnappings, Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair Piece, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Elections, House Holds Lois Lerner in Contempt, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The Obama Administration’s push for tougher regulations on power plant emissions and the debate over global warming; the global community’s response to the capture of Nigerian school girls by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram; Monica Lewinsky breaks her silence about affair with President Bill Clinton; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and this fall’s mid-term elections; former IRS official Lois Lerner found in contempt by House; and continued concerns about Russian aggression in Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Graham to Middays on WYAY, Atlanta. Talk radio pro Michael Graham is saying good-bye to Massachusetts and New England and heading south for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.7.” Graham has been hosting a program on the New England Talk Network and on the Boston Herald’s digital audio project since Greater Media flipped WTKK, Boston from talk to urban contemporary (as WBQT). Cumulus is getting away from the all-news on WYAY – it’s already added market pro Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to the schedule in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm shift – though there’s no indication it has plans to change the drive time news programming anytime soon. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports the changes but Graham himself bids a fond adieu to New England and a not-so-fond adieu to the Massachusetts political scene which he blames for WTKK’s demise. He singles out Governor Deval Patrick and you can read that here.
Glenn Beck Talks About Film Projects to Hollywood Reporter. Talk radio star and media entrepreneur Glenn Beck tells the Hollywood Reporter that there’s a reason he bought a movie studio in Texas – The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving: He has plans for three film projects with many more hopefully to come. The facility, where such movies as “Robocop” and “JFK” were filmed, also serves as the base for his radio and digital operations under his TheBlaze banner but his Mercury Radio Arts film division has plans for the three films – one set in ancient history, one in modern history and a third “faith-based” project – that are underway. Read the Hollywood Reporter piece here. Meanwhile, Beck also appears irked that he’s pigeonholed as a political right-winger by the media, telling the magazine, “Everybody thinks they know who I am because of my stint on Fox – that was two years of my life. I’m much more into culture than I am into politics, and that’s where I intend on making my stand.”
Clear Channel Restructures Sales Efforts; Extent of RIF Unknown. The prospect that Clear Channel Media + Entertainment intended to change the structure of its sales force has been rumored for some time and now the plan has been put into effect. The exact nature of the realignment is not known but the company released the following statement: “As a policy, we don’t discuss personnel matters. However, for the last several months we have been flattening our senior management organization to reduce overlap. Now we are aligning our sales organizations to this new structure and to give more resources, authority, and accountability to the most productive members of our team so we can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Johnson to Replace Hanson at Broadway Media. A number of changes taking effect at Broadway Media in Utah to report. First, the company announces that its Salt Lake Radio Group market manager G. Craig Hanson is leaving the company after 37 years to enter the ownership end of the business in St. George, Utah. Taking over for him will be Stephen C. Johnson. He’ll serve as general manager and CEO of the Salt Lake Radio Group that includes: KXRK, KUDD, KUUU, KEGA, KYMV and KALL. Johnson spent the last 35 years with Simmons Media. Other moves include Broadway Media VP/administration Bret J. Leifson exiting to pursue other interests. Joining the companies is John G. Kimball who will serve as general manager and CEO of Real Media – the division that operates Broadway’s digital, technical, event and entertainment, and outdoor media assets. Kimball has worked in the market with Bonneville and Real Salt Lake.
Second Round of March PPM Data Released. PPM data from the second of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
FCC Issues FNPRM for 2014 Quadrennial Review; Ownership Regs Proposed to Remain, Cross-Ownership Open for Consideration. The Federal Communications Commission has released its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that initiates the 2014 Quadrennial Review and chief among the topics are the broadcast ownership rules. The Commission is proposing to keep the current radio broadcast ownership rules in place but it is open to discussion about relaxing the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban as well as the radio-television cross-ownership rules. This has Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai furious in his dissent. He takes the Commission to task for, 1) failing to complete the 2010 Quadrennial Review and; 2) putting proposals such as the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban question into the 2014 review. Here are his words: “Congress has instructed us to review the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule every four years and repeal or modify it if we determine that it is no longer in the public interest. And here is the simple truth: The Commission has not been able to conclude since 2000 that the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule remains in the public interest. And today, the Commission dodges the issue entirely, putting off the issue until 2016, sixteen years after our last determination! What’s the solution at this point? While writs of mandamus are not to be issued lightly, I believe that the D.C. Circuit would now be justified in ordering the Commission to remove the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule from our books. We have had plenty of opportunities to justify maintaining the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, but instead we have chosen to punt — including today.” Pai’s sentiment that the FCC works too slowly, especially in an era when changes in technology are happening at an ever-faster pace while government seems to work slower than ever, is one echoed by many in the broadcasting industry. Consider the Commission’s conclusion regarding how digital media is affecting broadcast media. It’s important to understand that the quote from the FNPRM is relative to broadcasters’ (TV also) desires to relax ownership regulations. Whether you agree or not, it’s the Commission’s assessment of the current state of the audio entertainment landscape that indicates its willingness to only see one moment in time, without regard for the future. “Despite broadcasters’ claims to the contrary, we tentatively find that, for purposes of the Commission’s ownership rules, non-broadcast sources of audio programming are not yet meaningful substitutes for broadcast radio stations with respect to either listeners or advertisers. While alternate platforms such as satellite radio and Internet-delivered audio are growing in popularity, broadcast radio remains the dominant radio technology. In 2012, 92 percent of Americans age 12 or older listened to broadcast radio, a figure that has remained essentially constant over the last decade. Satellite radio still serves only a small portion of the population, even though its subscription rates continue to climb. And though recent data suggest that a significant portion of adult U.S. broadband households (42 percent) listen to Internet-delivered audio programming, we note that millions of U.S. households continue to lack broadband connections. In addition, only 14 percent of Internet radio listeners listen in their cars, where most broadcast radio listening occurs. Thus, we tentatively conclude that Internet-delivered audio programming is not yet a meaningful substitute for broadcast radio listening for most listeners. We seek comment on this tentative conclusion and invite commenters to provide any more recent relevant information and data. We believe, moreover, that satellite radio and content delivered via the Internet generally are national platforms that are not likely to respond to competitive conditions in local markets.” Even if you agree with these conclusions (which, obviously, many do not), will they still be true in 2015, 2016 (when the 2014 Quad is supposed to be delivered to Congress) or 2017?
BIA/Kelsey’s New Study Explores ‘Reinvention of Audio.’ The full name of the study from BIA/Kelsey is “The Internet Radio Revolution Has Arrived: Platforms, Services, Audiences and Advertisers Reinvent Audio,” and as the title implies, it works to make sense of the state of audio entertainment and its relationship with the advertising world as it exists today, plus where it’s going in the near future. The study authors note a five-step process that occurs when a major change affects the media: 1) Fundamental breakthroughs in enabling technologies occur, 2) Entrepreneurs and their investors experiment with getting the right value proposition into the market, 3) Consumers find the winning technologies and begin to use them, 4) Advertisers sensing a new opportunity for connecting with their consumers allocate “experimental budget,” and 5) Media companies and publishers take new platforms seriously. The report states, “It is only when we reach this last phase that we really get a sense of how fundamentally a technology will impact us in the long run.” It believes the audio business is entering this fifth phase. Read the entire study here.
iHeartRadio Gets into Subaru’s STARLINK. Japanese automaker Subaru was a little late to the party with a digital infotainment system but the new STARLINK is available on many of its 2014 cars and now Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces its iHeartRadio will be included on the system. The STARLINK infotainment system is being demoed at the New York Auto Show beginning tomorrow (4/18). Subaru of America marketing strategy & launch manager David Sullivan, says, “We are thrilled to have iHeartRadio as our first content partner for the STARLINK cloud service application. The award-winning service brings a huge amount of programming and custom content to Subaru vehicles with a great, easy-to-use interface.”
ObamaCare Criticism, IRS-DOJ Tea Party Connection, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Sebelius Senate Run, Tax Day, and Bloomberg vs the NRA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the allegation that the Lois Lerner led department of the IRS contacted the Department of Justice about prosecuting the Tea Party; escalating aggression by Putin’s Russian forces in Ukraine; speculation that former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will run for the U.S. Senate; chatter about the complex U.S. tax code and the number of taxpayers supporting benefit takers; and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to battle the National Rifle Association were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show. The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis. The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform. Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format. Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson. In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”
JVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas. Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays. But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.” JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives. But as our lives change so does our soundtrack. What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore. That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information. Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton? What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale? This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.” Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.
Linda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle. Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.” In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave. That’s what family members do. I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.” Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993. She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010. She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business. It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent. I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers. They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”
Michelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.” Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo. The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim. She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012. She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.
CEOs Make the Grade. Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in the Indianapolis Star. In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose. “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done. It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.” Read that piece here. Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job. If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.” Read that story here.
The View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective. Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again. We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now. Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms. And here’s what we think.” In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset. Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing. He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.” He observes, “I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions. Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should. It doesn’t work like you wish it did. It works like it works. We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you. Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views. There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it. Radio people know a lot about how people use radio. Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter. One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference. We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work. Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t. What we do either works, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.” To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.
Premiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014. Premiere SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show. In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of. We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.” Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.
It’s Pop-Up Time. No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season. Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year. He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League. Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.
ABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates. In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible. The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.
Ron Ruth Passes. Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack. The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.” Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him. Ron was the midwife to Birch Research. He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me. I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.” Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.” Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.
A Man of His Word. The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino. Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.
WYAY, Atlanta Host Kim Peterson Recovering from Heart Attack. A week after returning to the talk radio business on Cumulus Media’s all-news (now mostly news with Peterson’s midday show) WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.7,” Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson is off the air and recovering from what doctors say was a serious heart attack. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Peterson felt what he described as a “gripping pain” in his chest while driving on Sunday, pulled over and proceeded when the pain subsided. Though he didn’t feel completely better on Monday, the former Marine did the Veterans Day show but finally checked himself into the hospital on Tuesday morning and learned about his condition. It’s not known when he’ll be ready to return to work but producer and sidekick Pete Davis hosted the show on Tuesday and former producer Wayne “No Offense” Kitchens may help out as a substitute host.
Randi Rhodes and Premiere to Part. Though an official statement from Premiere Networks has not been issued, it’s been confirmed that the company will not renew its deal with the progressive talk host and her show will cease being distributed in January. Randi Rhodes started the chat about her relationship with Premiere on her show and listeners took to her website’s message board lamenting the demise of the show. Rhodes has been syndicated by Premiere Networks for more than four years and is heard on approximately 40 affiliate stations. She went national during the movement to develop progressive talk radio in the early 2000s after enjoying success in the South Florida market. She was one of the original personalities that worked for the ill-fated Air America and continued her national efforts after its demise, finally joining Premiere. Her last live show for Premiere will be December 13.
WCCO, Minneapolis News Anchor Steve Murphy Robbed on Way to Work. The CBS Radio news/talk station’s sister TV outlet WCCO reports morning news anchor Steve Murphy was jogging to a bus stop on his way to the radio station on Thursday, November 7 when he noticed a white SUV driving slowly past him. After changing his route the vehicle caught up with him and three men jumped out, grabbed him from behind, choking him and took his wallet while pinning him to the ground. He was able to get on the bus where the driver insisted he should go to the hospital since it was on the route. He was treated for cuts and bruises.
34-Year Old WABC Weekend Talk Show Host Making Waves Across Planet. WABC, New York weekend talker Aaron Klein simply breaks all of the stereotypes of today’s news/talk show hosts. He’s just 34-years old. He does not lean liberal or conservative, nor does he speak in political talking points. He does not love or hate President Obama, or stand on the ground of anyone’s political party. He’s an accomplished author – the writer of six books – and he has another blockbuster book on the way. His radio show doesn’t just talk about the news – in many cases it breaks the news – broadcasting half a world away. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the radio industry should know more about this outstanding young journalist. In an exclusive story posted today (11/13) by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, TALKERS presents an in-depth profile of Aaron Klein. To read it, please click here.
British RAB Study Shows Effectiveness of Radio Advertising. A new study from the United Kingdom RAB, which calls it a “world first,” evaluates radio advertising effectiveness in detail in terms of revenue return on investment (ROI) across a broad dataset. Executed by the firm Holmes & Cook, the study used confidential ROI data supplied by nine econometrics agencies representing all major media agency groups, covering over 2,000 individual media campaigns across 517 separate advertising campaigns. For radio sales practitioners, the nugget to show to clients comes from the study’s conclusion that “On average radio advertisers get their money back 7.7 times over, although some categories show exceptional performance, notably automotive and retailer brands, as well as impulse products. This makes radio the medium with the second-highest return on investment (TV is first), out-performing press, outdoor and online.” The study also suggests that since radio (in Britain) carries 6% of all advertising budgets, if budgets were reallocated to give radio a 20% share of total spend – with no increase in overall expenditure – the total campaign ROI raises by over 8%.
KNBR, San Francisco Host Damon Bruce Returns. Off the air for a couple of days after a rant about the negative effects of women on the world of sports, KNBR sports talk host Damon Bruce is returning to work with Cumulus Media San Francisco saying that while Bruce’s words were “regrettable,” he is contrite and will not lose his job over the incident, although he is being taken off the San Francisco 49ers pre-game show. Local media – especially the San Francisco Chronicle – picked up on the story and took Bruce to task for his words but reports indicate he also received a fair amount of support as well.
Consumer Electronics Show Sneak Preview. Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers TALKERS readers a glimpse into the coming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Cooke is an annual attendee covering the event, wading through the truly massive amount of consumer electronics displayed and deciphering just what the trends in consumer technology-related behavior mean to radio operators. He was in New York yesterday for the Consumer Electronics Association‘s annual “Holiday Sales and End-of Year Trend Analysis” and writes about that event here.
Phil’s Gang Returns to Southern California Markets. Nationally syndicated financial talk radio program “Phil’s Gang,” hosted by Phil Grande, is returning to Southern California on Ontario Broadcasting’s KSPA, Ontario “Financial News & Talk” and on North County Broadcasting’s KFSD, Escondido. A statement from the Phil’s Gang organization says, “The ‘Phil’s Gang’ radio show expanding affiliate roster shows unprecedented growth, recently in major markets. This partnership with ‘Financial News & Talk’ will provide ‘Phil’s Gang’ an even broader listening audience so the show’s host Phil Grande can spread dependable, up-to-date news and all the information that Wall Street and the government don’t want you to know.”
New Jersey 101.5 Personalities Go Head-to-Head in Culinary Challenge Benefit. Tonight (11/13) WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” personalities Big Joe Henry (left) and Dennis Malloy (right) will compete against each other in a culinary challenge dubbed “The New Jersey 101.5 Cook-Off” at L’Affaire Fine Catering, in Mountainside, New Jersey. Attendees will pay $15 for admission to sample food from participating New Jersey restaurants and view the cook-off, which will include cooking demonstrations of appetizers and main entrées by the two popular radio personalities. Ten attendees will be randomly picked from the audience to judge Dennis and Big Joe’s appetizers and then entrées. At the end, a winner will be crowned best chef at New Jersey 101.5! A portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the Chef Romanowski Memorial Fund, a 501c3 charity that provides individuals with a passion for the culinary arts the help they need to get into a culinary school. NJ101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson states, “We’re all very excited to see the cook-off in action. The trash talking has been escalating on air for weeks now and will culminate tonight.”
ObamaCare Implementation, Iran Nukes Deal, Philippines Typhoon Aftermath, Toronto Mayor Drug Case, Fate of Amnesty Legislation, and Alec Baldwin Stalker Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). Scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the possibility of a John Kerry-brokered nuclear arms deal between the U.S. and Iran; the aftermath of deadly Typhoon Haiyan; new turns in the drug use admission case of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; the question of whether Congress will address the Obama Administration’s legislation to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants; and the happenings at the trial of Alec Baldwin’s alleged stalker were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
South Carolina Talk Personality Keven Cohen to Lease Columbia Signal for New Talk Outlet. Longtime WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina talk show host Keven Cohen is getting into the radio station operation business under the aegis of his company Capital City Media LLC. Cohen – who was let go from Clear Channel’s WVOC last fall after a 19-year career there – is leasing WQXL (AM 1470) and its translator W240AX (at 95.9 FM) from religious broadcasters Glory Communications which will be branded “The Point” and will debut on Monday, October 28. In a story in The State, Cohen says he mortgaged his home to launch the company and he will be one of those hitting the streets to sell advertising. “People should know every dollar spent on ‘The Point’ will stay in Columbia. It won’t be going to some big corporation in another city.” Cohen will host the morning show with the rest of the day featuring syndicated programming including: Cox Media’s Herman Cain, Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham, Compass Media’s Todd Schnitt and Lars Larson, independently syndicated progressive host Leslie Marshall, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie and Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio.’ Cohen’s venture is a great example of broadcasters pushed out of the business due to systems beyond their control getting back in via the entrepreneurial spirit.
News/Talk KXNT, Las Vegas Adds Dayna Roselli to AM Drive Program. CBS Radio’s Las Vegas news/talker KXNT is going with a three-person morning program with the addition of Dayna Roselli alongside Joe Gillespie and Nathan Tannenbaum. KXNT program director Andrew Paul states, “Dayna is a special talent, who is extremely well connected in the community. Her fans love her, evidenced by her 15,000-plus Twitter followers. She has great knowledge, experience, enthusiasm and a love for Las Vegas. We are excited to have her join the KXNT team!” Roselli most recently worked at the Las Vegas CBS affiliate, KLAS-TV, as morning news anchor and entertainment reporter. She adds, “I’m really thrilled to be a part of this team and take on the world of radio. I love this community and all it has to offer. It’s nice to have a voice and make a difference by bringing the people of Southern Nevada the news and information they need.”
Chris Arnold Returns to ‘GBag Nation’ on ‘105.3 The Fan’ in Dallas. According to a report in the Dallas Observer, sports talk host Chris Arnold returned to the air on CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM, Dallas on Monday afternoon, a week after basically admitting to plagiarizing much of a column that appeared on the station’s website. The company has not made a public statement about the incident but Dallas Observer writer Eric Nicholson writes that it appears Arnold was given “a week’s vacation.” However, it’s unclear if Arnold was paid for the week he was off the air. Last week, TALKERS reported that Arnold’s use of football writer Scott Kacsmar’s work had ended in Kacsmar calling him on it and Arnold apologizing and asking Kacsmar to come on the radio show. Kacsmar declined but asked for an apology on the radio.
Jim Traber Gets New Deal at ‘The Sports Animal’ in OK City. Former Oklahoma State quarterback and Baltimore Orioles first baseman Jim Traber has been an important part of WWLS, Oklahoma City “The Sports Animal” and management is rewarding him with a new, three-year contract, according to a report from NewsOK.com. The site reports that Cumulus Media market manager Larry Bastida says corporate is putting a “real investment in sports talk radio. They believe it’s one of the formats of the future. They give us a lot of support here.” Traber is also heard on other stations in Oklahoma across the “Sports Animal Radio Network” including KYAL-AM/FM, Tulsa; KBIX, Muskogee; KADS, Elk City; and KSIW, Woodward.
Spoken Word Marks Significant Component of Rock Radio Morning Fare. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication in the music radio arena, RadioInfo, has posted (10/22) a video feature delving into the nuances of Saga Communications’ sister rock stations in Springfield, Massachusetts – classic rocker WAQY “Rock 102” and active rocker WLZX “Lazer 99.3.” The reason we are bringing this to the attention of TALKERS readers is the significant role talk programming plays in the morning shows of each of these consistently successful operations…which is reflective of this position at numerous rock stations across the nation. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison speaks with Rob Cressman, brand manager for both stations who discusses the state of the classic rock and active rock formats in addition to sharing insights into the nuances of these outstanding outlets. Harrison also visits with “Rock 102” morning team Bax & O’ Brien (Michael “Bax” Baxendale, right, and John O’ Brien, left) as well as “Lazer 99.3” morning star Leslie who also discuss the importance of talk in their respective AM drive presentations. To view this video located in a box marked RadioInfoTV in the upper right column on the RadioInfo.com home page, please click here.
Sun Broadcasting Group to Rep Horse Racing Radio Network. A new partnership has been struck that has Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. serving as national sales rep for the Horse Racing Radio Network, LLC, effective immediately. The on-air content will include the Triple Crown races of the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes along with the Breeders Cup World Championships. This deal expands the growing sports products being offered by Sun. The Horse Racing Radio Network is heard in over 50 markets and on SiriusXM. SBG EVP Steve Gallagher states, “At Sun Broadcast Group, we are committed to unique, quality programming our clients and customers want to be associated with. Our partnership with the Horse Racing Radio Network represents our dedication to excellence and we are thrilled to be a part of The Triple Crown, thoroughbred horse racing’s ultimate prestige event. Mike Penna and his team have an unrivaled passion for horse racing and plan to broadcast more than 100 of the nation’s best thoroughbred races.”
AdLarge Media to Rep Envision Radio Networks. The immediate upshot of that deal is the movement of inventory already measured in Nielsen Audio’s RADAR service to AdLarge’s Return on Investment (ROI) Network. AdLarge states, “This news comes just a month after AdLarge’s ROI Network debuted in RADAR as one of the largest advertising networks within the ratings service. Envision Radio Networks has been part of RADAR for more than 10 years and has significant major market coverage, including all of the top 25 measured markets.” AdLarge co-founder and CEO Gary Schonfeld says, “Our arrangement with Envision Radio Networks brings top-performing stations and large market coverage to our portfolio. Envision CEO Danno Wolkoff and COO Laura Orkin share our vision of innovation and entrepreneurship and our dedication to developing customized solutions for advertisers.” Wolkoff adds, “Gary and Cathy [Csukas] and their team at AdLarge will increase our presence in the national advertising arena. They are very familiar with our programming, services, and online audio products, and can help national advertisers understand the scope of our network’s reach and frequency, and the amount of impressions we can deliver on a daily basis.”
Need A Mic? Consider the Classic Electro Voice. Talk radio personality Michael W. Dean – co-host of the nationally syndicated “Freedom Feens” program that also features Neema Vedadi – says radio performers considering a microphone for the home studio would do well to invest in the Electro Voice RE-20. The price point may be a bit high for some, but the sound and the sturdy build make it a wise investment. Read Dean’s discussion about EV mics here.
Dickey Broadcasting Renews Braves Deal. Atlanta sports talk WCNN “680 The Fan” has been the flagship station for Atlanta Braves baseball since 2010 and will remain so as station owner Dickey Broadcasting and the team renew their deal. Under the terms, games will air on WCNN (and its Cumulus-owned FM translator W229AG at 93.7). But this year, instead of games also airing on Cumulus Media’s rock WNNX, they will be heard on Cumulus’ all-news WYAY “All News 106.7.” Dickey will manage the Braves Radio Network throughout the Southeast. Dickey president David Dickey states, “”We are proud to be the official radio home of the Atlanta Braves. ‘680 The Fan’ is the dominant sports station in the region, and we believe our association with the Braves has greatly contributed to our incredible growth over the past four years. We will continue to work with the Braves to deliver the best coverage and more team-focused content throughout 2014 and beyond.”
TuneIn to Feature “This American Life” Channel. Digital audio aggregator TuneIn is soon to be the exclusive home of the archive of PRI’s Chicago Public Media-produced “This American Life” with host Ira Glass. The company reports that the 24/7 station will contain episodes from the show’s 18-year history featuring more than 500 hours of content. TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “TuneIn is devoted to bringing listeners access to the best programming available in the world. ‘This American Life’ has always been a fan favorite, and we are happy ‘This American Life’ has chosen TuneIn as its partner to launch the 24/7 station.”
Odds & Sods. Jon Patch, who’s been with Business TalkRadio Network for much of the past 20 years, exits the company where he’s been working in affiliate sales and programming as well as hosting “Talkin’ Pets.” He’s seeking his next opportunity and can be reached at email@example.com…..Brett Jensen is a casualty at CBS Radio’s sports talk WFNZ, Charlotte “610 the Fan” where he hosted the midday program from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. To fill the gap, Frank Garcia’s program now airs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and “The Drive with Taylor Zarzour and Marc James” begins at 2:00 pm…..It’s nice to have a World Series taking place in your market, just ask the folks at Entercom‘s sports talk WEEI, Boston. The station announces it is giving away World Series tix on Wednesday (10/23) on the Dennis & Callahan morning show and the Salk & Holley PM drive program.
ObamaCare Website Problems, GOP Infighting, State of the Economy Poll, Chris Christie’s Gay Marriage Stance, Nevada School Shooting, and Washington Redskins Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). The massive problems with the government’s Affordable Care Act website; the discussion over whether the GOP is splintering; the results of a recent poll in which Americans express less confidence in the economy; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s changed stance on gay marriage; the death of a teacher in a Nevada school shooting; and the ongoing controversy over the Washington Redskins’ name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey9: Sports Talk Radio Users Big on New Media. There’s a logical trend among frequent users of sports talk radio: being comprised largely of younger men, they are very attached to their smartphones/cell phones and they are far more likely to be regular Twitter users than primary users of other radio formats. While this may not surprise sports talk programmers, the numbers, according to Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey9 are impressive. When it comes to technology usage, 69% of sports talk fans own a smartphone – up 14% over last year’s study; 42% own a tablet device – up 55% over last year; and 24% subscribe to SiriusXM – a hike of 16% compared to a year ago. Other takeaways from the study:
- Sports talk radio users are far more likely to check their email or turn on the TV as their first media occasion of the day than those who listen to other radio formats.
- Twitter usage increased among sports talk users compared to the previous year and continues to be the preferred social media platform for sports talk fans.
- Sports talk fans are heavy internet users.
- When it comes to reasons why sports talk fans give for listening to less AM/FM radio and throwing out the #1 response (lifestyle change), the second most cited reason is not enjoying the programming (25%) and third, listening to SiriusXM (23%).
- Linked In is also a very popular social media site for sports talk radio users.
Employing Digital-Only Sales Reps: Radio Business Lags Behind Other Media. From the recently released Borrell Research “2013 Update: Assessing Local Digital Sales Forces,” comes the news that radio stations are last among media in employing digital-only account executives with merely 11% of respondents to the study saying they employ such sellers. For perspective, among television station respondents, 44% state they have digital-only sales people. It appears some in radio have a less-than-rosy feeling about selling digital as one respondent stated, “We should be focusing on our strength, audio advertising, not selling our clients the pipe dream of ‘interactivity’ that digital has promised but seldom delivers.” The following is for all media – not just radio – but Borrell states it appears local media companies with digital-only reps: 1) average twice the online revenue of those without digital reps; 2) have a sales staff that exhibits greater ability to consult with and educate advertisers; and 3) have a sales staff with stronger capabilities to understand and sell digital products. Respondents to the study also indicate that having digital-only account executives allows them to respond and that those reps perform very well “with a ‘consultative approach’ to fit our products and services to the needs of our advertisers,” as well as having a very good “understanding of how our digital products and services can serve an advertiser’s needs.”
TALKERS Spotlight: Pharmacist Ben Fuchs Emerging as Interesting, “Alternative” Talk Host on the Rise. As host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio program “The Bright Side,” Ben Fuchs has become a thorn in the side of the pharmaceutical industry by being an outspoken-but-charming advocate for better nutrition and a natural healing approach, because, as he says, “I look at the human body as a healing and regenerating system.” In an article posted today (5/30), TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay writes about this unusual host whom a number of radio movers from Michael Zwerling to Ted Anderson to Michael Harrison all think is worthy of being on the industry radar. Read the entire piece here.
TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award to be Renamed in Honor of Gene Burns. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has announced that it has unanimously voted to rename the publication’s long-running annual Freedom of Speech Award to “The Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech.” The award, one of the most prestigious and high-profile honors presented to individuals in the talk media industry, has a colorful (and often controversial) history that goes back to the early 1990s when the modern era of talk radio began to emerge and the format became recognized as an influential forum of public policy and social change following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. In making the announcement, TALKERS VP and executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Gene Burns was the model by which the Freedom of Speech Award and the Annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at our national convention were developed. It is only fitting that this institution bears the name of this great champion of the ideals and foundation upon which contemporary spoken-word radio is built.” The 2013 edition of the award and the first to bear the name of Gene Burns will be presented to Premiere Networks host Glenn Beck on Thursday, June 6 at Talkers New York 2013. SiriusXM talk show host Michael Smerconish will deliver the Annual State of the First Amendment Address at that same ceremony.
Compass Media Networks Announces Expanded Football Schedule. The slate of college and NFL football play-by-play available from Compass Media Networks this fall is being expanded with company general manager of sports Michelle Salvatore saying, “We will broadcast at minimum one Saturday college game each week plus a minimum of three NFL games every Sunday afternoon. If there are additional NFL games of interest, then we will add broadcasts as we deem necessary.” Compass opens the NCAA football season with Georgia at Clemson on August 31 and begins coverage of the NFL season on September 8 with three contests: Seattle at Carolina, Oakland at Indianapolis and Green Bay at San Francisco. Compass founder and CEO Peter Kosann says “The schedule speaks for itself. We are pleased to offer radio stations, our listeners, and our national advertisers such compelling games and breadth and depth of coverage.”
United Stations Radio Networks Ups Margaret Verghese to VP of Comedy and Prep Services. Margaret Verghese has been with United Stations Radio Networks since 2001 when she joined as an executive assistant. Most recently she’s been the managing director of Pulse content — the division that provides prep services, talent tours and web content — but now moves up to vice president/comedy and prep services. In this new role, Verghese will also lead the creative team that generates the dozens of comedy services produced by USRN. USRN president and COO Jim Higgins states, “Margaret has been single-handedly responsible for much of the growth in both our comedy product and our prep services over the years, and this appointment is well deserved. She is a tireless executive who brings creativity and dedication to her efforts every single day, and we’re thrilled to hand the reigns of these important areas of content creation over to her.”
More Investor Money for TuneIn. Audio content aggregator TuneIn announces it has raised another $25 million led by Institutional Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures and General Catalyst Partners. At the same time, the company reports that it surpassed one billion listening hours in the first four months of 2013, with more than 227 million listening sessions in the month of March alone, “solidifying the company’s position as the world’s number-one service for listening to live, online radio.” TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “This investment gives us the capital to accelerate the development of new technologies and support our ongoing expansion. We will use this funding to leverage our momentum, with a particular focus on growing ad revenues for our broadcast partners.” The company recently announced the release of its TuneIn Live, a major platform redesign that it says “provides a personalized way to find relevant radio stations, songs and live events from all over the world.” It also reports that “since its launch in March 2013, TuneIn Live has spurred a large uptick in listener engagement.” The company released TuneIn Live for its popular iPhone apps last week, making the updated interface available across all Android and iOS devices and web browsers.
WFAN, New York Morning Co-Host Craig Carton to Publish Book. The digital edition of Craig Carton’s new book Loudmouth: Tales (and Fantasies) of Sports, Sex, and Salvation from Behind the Microphone (Simon & Schuster 2013) comes out on June 4 and tells the story of Carton’s youth, his entry into the radio business and the career that brought him to WFAN’s morning show alongside Boomer Esiason in 2007. Like Carton’s radio personality, the book promises to pull no punches. According to a preview at BobsBlitz.com, Carton has plenty of WFAN stories to share, including how both midday host Joe Benigno and PM drive legend Mike Francesa both wanted Carton and Esiason to fail.
KYZZ, Salinas Deal Worth $1.15 Million. The sale of KYZZ-FM, Salinas, California that sends the station from Buckley Broadcasting to Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters is for $1.15 million in cash. Buckley has been simulcasting sports talk on KYZZ and KIDD. Buckley is keeping KIDD and it’s expected that Mt. Wilson will change the format of KYZZ to music but it’s not known at this time what Saul Levine’s plans for the signal are.
Odds & Sods. Doug Urbanski sits in for Rush Limbaugh on his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk show today and tomorrow (5/30 & 31)…..Cable news/talk TV ratings are seeing dramatic changes from a year ago. The Hollywood Reporter, citing Nielsen numbers, indicates there’s been a big slide for MSNBC and much-needed gains for CNN. For Total Day, MSNBC drops 10% (Total Viewers) from May 2012 to May 2013 while CNN rises to second place behind first place Fox News Channel with a 61% increase. In Prime Time, MSNBC falls 20% during the same period (Total Viewers) and CNN is up 70%. The 8:00 pm ET slot was down 32% in Total Viewers for MSNBC. The network now airs “All in with Chris Hayes” where “The Ed Show” hosted by Ed Schultz used to air.
Cumulus All-News 106.7 Atlanta Celebrates One Year Anniversary. Pictured here is the programming, production and news staff of Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7” enjoying a lunch party to celebrate the station’s one-year mark as an all-news outlet. In May of 2012, Cumulus flipped classic hits WYAY to all news to capitalize on the lack of such a station in the Atlanta market with CEO Lew Dickey stating at the time, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity.”
New Jersey Broadcasters Association Annual Conference to Feature Programming Roundtable. The two-day 66th Annual Conference and Gala produced by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association in Atlantic City June 18 and 19 will feature, among its enticing agenda items the “Super Programming Session: The Future of Broadcast!” The session is being moderated by NJBA board member Salem Communications vice president/director spoken word format Phil Boyce. The roundtable will include: Scott Herman, EVP operations CBS Radio; Joe Puglise, president and market manager Clear Channel New York; Eric Johnson, program director Townsquare Media; Jeff Smulyan, CEO Emmis Communications; Walter Sabo, chairman of Sabo Media; Joseph Kerry, chief of staff, Mercury Radio Arts and the Glenn Beck Show; Steve Jones, SVP ABC News Radio and Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates.
Cool Job Opportunity. Marshalltown Broadcasting seeks a news director – theirs is retiring in July. Marshalltown Broadcasting operates news/talk KFJB, Marshalltown, Iowa and sister country outlet KXIA “Kix 101” in the Des Moines market. If you are ready to be a news director at a strong small market news operation and maybe do a little sports, too, call Clark Wideman at 641-753-3361 or send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DOJ Journalists Investigation/Holder Off-the-Record Meeting, IRS Scandal, Arizona Mom Held in Mexican Prison, Syria Tensions, and Jobless Claims Rise Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/29). Attorney General Eric Holder’s offer to meet off-the-record with news organizations about the DOJ’s investigation of journalists; the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status; an Arizona mother being held in Mexico on allegedly manufactured drug charges; tensions over the ongoing violence in Syria; and the rise in jobless claims were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Given the extraordinary nature of what has been happening of late, it is highly appropriate to follow up our recent massive talk radio overview with a similar piece on all-news operations.
There is however one obvious difference: Talk can claim tonnage honors, whereas news is one of radio’s most sparsely-represented formats.
Each PPM market has at least one talk outlet within in its top 20 (6+, November 2012), compared to news accomplishing the same feat in only 15 of the 48 electronically measured metros for a conversion rate of just over 30%.
Michael Savage Tells San Francisco Chronicle His Return to Radio is Imminent. The San Francisco Chronicle reports former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk star Michael Savage (who won his freedom from TRN in arbitration recently) plans to be back on the radio within two weeks. Savage tells the paper, “I’ve got to get back before these (presidential) debates are over. And when I do, it will be bigger than ever.” Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, says Savage is in negotiations with three “major players” but wouldn’t say which ones or what station might serve as a flagship.
President Obama Calls in to Tom Joyner Show this Morning. This morning (10/10) on the Tom Joyner Morning Show President Barack Obama called in and spoke to Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes about the debate, the importance of voting, his focus on the African American Community, and his thoughts on winning this tight election. In the opinion of the TALKERS editors, the President made several powerful news making comments. To read a key excerpt from this exclusive interview, click here.
Programmer Marshall Adams Exits All-News WYAY, Atlanta. Before joining the Cumulus Atlanta all-newser early this year, Marshall Adams served as program director at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh. Now, the word is Adams has exited the fledgling all-news operations. There’s no word from Cumulus who will take over the programming role at WYAY.
Mancow Show in Pre-Recorded Mode During Move to New Studios. The Chicago-based and TRN-FM nationally syndicated Mancow program is airing taped shows this week as the program prepares to launch in its TV-radio simulcast format on October 22, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. Mancow’s show will emanate from the studios of Fox TV-owned WPWR-TV, Chicago with the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours being simulcast on TV. Also, Feder reports that former “Ebert & Roeper” program executive producer Don Dupree has been hired as director and produce of the Mancow show. Mancow’s program had been produced at Cumulus Media’s Chicago studios.
The Future of PDs: Brand Managers. Perhaps the headline of this story should read the “present” of program directors as an increasing number of companies are adopting the title “brand manager” to describe the role of the radio station/group position historically known as “program director.” With the likes of so highly respected and forward thinking a company as Saga Communications joining the ranks of those using this more expansive title RadioInfo recognizes the movement is shifting from trend status to a significant paradigm shift. The concept is articulated by Saga Communications executive vice president Steve Goldstein in the following memo received by the company’s program directors in all formats, talk and music:
I have some very important and exciting news…
We truly live in a multi-platform world. As a Program Director, you are now spending an increased amount of your time thinking about and working with our various digital platforms. Whether it be the station website(s), social media such as Facebook, Twitter or crafting emails and texts, it’s all now a part of the PD’s day. This is in addition to managing the external marketing feel and visual aspects of the brand.
And of course, all of this is on top of creating vital and compelling on-air radio with all of the moving parts of morning shows, music, talk programming, news, sports, etc.
So, we’ve been thinking a lot about how vastly different the job of the Program Director is in 2012 and where it is likely to go in the coming years.
We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand. And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of Program Directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.
When you drill it all down, what it really means is that the PD is no longer just a PROGRAM DIRECTOR, but a multi-platform BRAND MANAGER.
And so with the notion that things will continue to evolve, we are making a formal title change for all of our PDs from Program Director to Brand Manager. This change is intended to not only reflect how people in our business think about the position of PD but how PD’s think about themselves.
Managing the assets of a brand is what you do today, and we think this new title better reflects the change in responsibility and overall outlook.
We discussed this during our recent General Manager meeting in Florida and it met with tremendous approval.
Congratulations BRAND MANAGER.
Saga Communications owns and operates more than 100 broadcast stations in 29 markets.
ESPN Confirms Central Florida Affiliates. ESPN Radio remains on the Central Florida markets of Orlando – on Cox Media’s WDBO-AM beginning November 12 – and in Tampa Bay on Clear Channel’s WDAE. The moves come after Genesis Communications elected not to renew its affiliation with ESPN radio on WBHO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. As we reported yesterday, Cox Media is flipping the AM side of WDBO-AM/FM to sports as “ESPN 580 Orlando” and will carry the ESPN Radio lineup including Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, and SVP & Russillo. WDBO has not announced a local PM drive talent as this time. ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions Traug Keller says, “We’re pleased to team with Cox to broadcast ESPN Radio content on WDBO-AM 580, one of the strongest signals in the Southeast, and with Clear Channel to provide ESPN programming on 620 WDAE. Our new affiliates in both Tampa and Orlando are a huge step up in signal strength, business acumen and our drive to grow our business with the best in the business.”
Tom Bauerle Re-Ups with Entercom’s WBEN, Buffalo. Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle is becoming synonymous with talk radio in the market as the Buffalo native signs a long-term contract extension to remain with WBEN hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Bauerle has been with WBEN since 2002. He started his career in the market at Entercom sister WGR in 1982. We worked for a few years outside the market at WTKN, Tampa-St. Pete and KMOX, St. Louis before returning to Buffalo in 1991.
XEPRS, San Diego “ESPN Radio 1700” Renews with ESPN for Three Years. San Diego sports outlet ESPN Radio 1700 announces it strikes a deal with ESPN Radio to continue airing its programming in the market for another three years. XEPRS is owned by Broadcasting Company of the Americas and carries Mike & Mike, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Hill & Schlereth, overnight and weekend programming as well as MLB and college sports play-by-play. Broadcasting Company of the Americas VP/market manager Norman Feuer states, “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with ESPN Radio. As San Diego’s sports leader, it’s only fitting to have a strong bond with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports.’ Programming the quality of ESPN Radio deserves a home in San Diego. We are proud to have our stations as that home.”
WSSP, Milwaukee Adds Ted Davis to PM Drive Show. Ted Davis has served as the voice of Milwaukee Bucks basketball for the past 15 seasons. Now, he adds a regular role at Entercom’s sports talk WSSP “Sportsradio 1250” where he’ll be part of “The Big Show” afternoon program with Steve “Sparky” Fifer, Ramie Makhlouf and Gary Ellerson. Program director Tom Parker says Davis will begin during the basketball season adding hoops analysis. “Ted will weigh in on the day’s top Wisconsin sports stories. Of course he’ll share his unique perspective on Milwaukee basketball. Ted is a sports talk pro who knows what fans want and will tell it like it is.”
Odds & Sods. Entercom promotes WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and WEEI-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts general manager David Oldread to director of sales and operations for the Worcester, Springfield and WVEI-FM Providence outlets for the Boston-based WEEI sports talk brand…..SiriusXM will broadcast a special “town hall” broadcast with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell live from SiriusXM studios on October 22. NFL great Michael Strahan (also co-host of ABC TV’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” and analyst on “Fox NFL Sunday” ) will interview Goodell and the commissioner will take questions from the live studio audience…..CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia donates $5,000 to Michael Vick’s Team Vick Foundation. Vick says, “The city of Philadelphia embraced me, welcomed me here when the Eagles signed me – giving me a second chance to play the game that I love. We at Team Vick Foundation are thankful to CBS Radio for supporting our work in the community and look forward to lasting partnership.”…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will air abbreviated editions of its “Sports Night” program to carry the two remaining presidential debates as well as the vice-presidential debate. The VP debate is Thursday, October 11 and the two presidential debates are on October 16 and 22.
KDKA, Pittsburgh Hosts Marcellus Shale Expo. The possibility of large natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale is a major ongoing story for Western Pennsylvania and CBS Radio’s KDKA is hosting a Marcellus Shale Expo on Thursday, October 11. The event is sponsored by Range Resources, a developer of natural gas extraction technology. The day’s events will include panel discussions hosted by KDKA’s Mike Pintek and Robert Mangino and will include representatives: Frank Brooks Robinson, Jr., of the Governor’s Action Team; Petra Mitchell from Catalyst Connection and Rep. Jim Christiana from Beaver County. Afternoon session panelists include Alan Eichler of District Oil & Gas Operations; Rep. Marc Gergely from Allegheny County and John Ubinger from PA Environmental Council. Matt Pitzarella from Range Resources will serve on both panels. Mike Pintek will broadcast his program on site from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Hearst Television President David Barrett to Receive Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2013 Golden Mike Award. Awarded annually to a broadcasting executive who has championed the BFoA’s mission, the 2013 Golden Mike Award will be given to Hearst Television president and CEO David Barrett at a gala black-tie fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 25. Broadcasters Foundation of American chairman Philip J. Lombardo states, “David has been a vigorous champion of the Foundation’s mission to help broadcasters who are in desperate need. David’s exemplary leadership at Hearst, his commitment to the Foundation’s charitable cause, and his dedication to community service have earned him this acknowledgement. We are proud to honor him.”
Newt Talks Politics with Alan Stock. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (and recent presidential candidate) poses for a photo with KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock at the Beasley news/talk station’s studios. Gingrich appeared on Stock’s program to talk about the presidential race and took calls from listeners.
Presidential Race Polls, Obama ‘Big Bird’ Ad Controversy, Romney Foreign Policy Speech, and Jerry Sandusky Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9). New polling data showing Mitt Romney gaining on or pulling ahead of President Obama; the controversy of the use of the Children’s Television Workshop’s Big Bird in an Obama ad; Mitt Romney’s recent foreign policy speech; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mark Davis Back to Talk Host Duties in Big D on Salem’s KSKY. Longtime Dallas media personality Mark Davis returns to the radio in the market on Salem Communications’ KSKY in the 7:00 am to 10:00 am time slot. Davis, a Dallas Morning News columnist and television political commentator, exited Cumulus Media’s crosstown WBAP after 18 years in April when the two sides could not agree to a contract extension. Now, Davis will follow Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett who airs on KSKY from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. Salem Communications vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce is also re-branding KSKY “The Answer” as he’s done with KRLA, Los Angeles; KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino; and WNYM, New York. Boyce states, “Adding an industry icon like Mark Davis, and re-branding the station as ‘The Answer’ will help take KSKY to the next level. This station will truly be an answer for so many things going on in the metroplex and the world, with smart hosts who know how to help you understand all of those things, not to mention great news, traffic, weather and information.” Davis begins his new position on Monday, June 4 and he says, “There’s been a lot of attention paid to talk radio lately, about whether companies and stations are losing the commitment to local shows where a bond can build over the years with listeners. I love seeing the evidence that there is a company and a station looking to grow, rather than shrink that concept, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Sid Rosenberg to Return to the Air in South Florida. Mercurial sports talk host Sid Rosenberg appears headed for a new gig at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach (licensed to Royal Palm Beach) according to a recent report in the Miami Herald. Rosenberg most recently hosted the afternoon drive show at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami but exited that position after a well-publicized DUI arrest. WMEN general manager Steve Lapa tells the Herald he expects WQAM to let Rosenberg out of his contract that runs through August – in exchange for financial concessions – and allow him to start with the station sooner rather than later but that WMEN would be willing to wait if necessary. Lapa says Rosenberg is “a talented guy and he wants to work” and after meeting with him has no reservations about Rosenberg’s past issues with drink, drugs and gambling. Where Rosenberg would fit into the schedule has not been announced. The station is currently live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm with Chris Perkins in AM drive, Troy Stradford in late mornings, Andy Slater in middays and Orlando Alzugaray in PM drive.
KFI, Los Angeles Engineer Tony Dinkel Exits as Position Eliminated. He was just a day shy of his 29th anniversary at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles when he was notified his position as transmitter site broadcast engineer was being eliminated, but Tony Dinkel has nothing but fond memories of his time with the station. The 57-year-old engineer tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’ll always remember all the great people he worked with at the station. Dinkel also served as the remote engineer and station staffers praised Dinkel’s ability to get remote broadcasts off without a hitch. Read more about Dinkel’s time with KFI in Lycan’s column here.
Cumulus Media’s Atlanta All-Newser Debuts Today. All News 106.7 – the new news outlet Cumulus Media is putting on the air in Altanta – debuts today with a special radio documentary about the news business in Atlanta. The program will repeat for most of the day and the actual all-news format should be live and running after that. Cumulus made the decision to remove classic hits from WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia more than a month ago and the station will be the first all-news outlet to serve Atlanta since WCNN back in the late 1990s.
Cox Media Drops Sports/Talk Hybrid “Bulldog 103.7”; Debuts Variety Hits Format. The FM sports and news/talk station that was home to talk-host-turned-Congressional-candidate Martha Zoller – WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia (licensed to Maysville) – becomes a variety hits music station dubbed “Chuck FM.” The station morphed into “Bulldog 103.7” last fall featuring a combination of sports talk and news/talk. Gainesville-based talk host Martha Zoller held down the late morning show until her recent exit from the business to run for the open seat in the newly created Georgia congressional district.
WTOP, Washington Names “Commuter Idle” Contest Winner. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington held a contest to find – and reward – the person in the DC area with the worst commute. And the winner – with a 100 mile, five-hour daily commute to and from work – is Brenda Wells from Sparrow’s Point, Maryland. WTOP states Wells’ commute “begins at 3:00 am and her commute includes a 45-minute drive (complete with two tolls), a 50-minute train ride, two metro rides, a short walk and a metro bus ride. Wells is a federal worker with the Department of State in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where she assigns special agents to the consulates and embassies around the world. She is a single mother of three and lives with her parents in Baltimore for financial and child care reasons.” Wells wins $1,000 in gas money and a future limo ride to and from work courtesy of Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “As the DC area’s #1 traffic authority, we feel our commuters’ pain. We received hundreds of incredible stories from listeners who cope with crazy commutes just to make ends meet, and crowning a ‘winner’ was a challenge. Brenda’s multi-faceted commute, the long distance, and the impact on her family are what put her over the top.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Legendary Southern California media personality Charlie Tuna – currently spinning classic hits at K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles – is named the new station voice of KDOC-TV, Los Angeles…..Sports USA announces the first part of the slate of National Football League games it will be offering to stations for the 2012 season beginning with the New England Patriots at the Tennessee Titans on September 9. Sports USA says it will announce more NFL play-by-play approximately three weeks ahead of each week’s games…..The Nick Carioti real estate, money and business weekly radio talk show prepares to celebrate its one-year anniversary on Star Over Orlando’s WEUS, Orlando in July…..Performance Racing Network’s Wendy Venturini made history this weekend as the first woman to lead a NASCAR radio broadcast at the Charlotte Speedway’s History 300 on 5/26. PRN paired her with Doug Rice in the radio booth for Saturday’s race.