Tag: "WYD Media Management"

Monday, December 16, 2013

| December 16, 2013

wwrllogoNew York Losing Progressive Talk Outlet WWRL.  Progressive talk host Karel – whose Long Beach, California-based talk show is heard on Access.1’s WWRL, New York – reports the station says it will flip to Spanish-language programming on December 27.  The station airs progressive talk programming including Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Premiere’s Randi Rhodes, and Leslie Marshall as well as non-political shows including Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie plus various health and wellness shows.  New York’s Amsterdam News reports the station is telling employees “low advertising revenue” is the reason for the format flip.

browndarrellBrown Boosted to Bonneville International President.  KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown is promoted to president of parent company Bonneville International.  Brown will oversee Bonneville’s 12 radio properties in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, as well as Salt Lake City television outlet KSL-TV.  “Bonneville International is known across the industry for its integrity and quality,” he comments. “As a group, these stations are committed to serving and building-up their local communities.  I am honored to be part of Bonneville’s legacy.”  Brown joined KSL last August, after having previously spent 28 years at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.

boomercartonchilisSports Talker WFAN, New York Sponsors Red Hot Chili Peppers-Headlines Show at Barclay Center.  With the Super Bowl just across the river the next day, CBS Radio sports talk giant WFAN, New York is sponsoring a big event across the other river at the Barclays Center titled, “WFAN’s Big Hello to Brooklyn.”  The announcement was made this morning as WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) welcomed Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (center) into the studio and announced his band will be headlining the show on Saturday, February 1, 2014.  The concert will also include: New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and Basic Vacation.  CBS calls it “the biggest weekend in sports and entertainment, and is the exciting conclusion to Barclays Center’s “Kickoff In Brooklyn” series which also includes championship boxing (1/30/2014) and a match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1/31/2014).  CBS Radio SVP, strategic events and partnerships Amy Stevens says, “The intersection of sports and music is never bigger than during the weekend of the Super Bowl.  Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American institution and rock ‘n’roll icons, and what better way to celebrate football’s championship than with this incredible lineup of artists for local fans and the thousands in New York from around the world.”

francesamikeWFAN’s Mike Francesa to Exit YES Network.  The New York TV simulcast of WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa will end on January 31 after the current contract expires and WEPN-FM afternoon drive host Michael Kay’s program will take over the time slot on the Yankees-owned cable channel.  The New York Daily News reports that the change was a financial matter and that CBS Radio was asking more for the rights to the program than YES wanted to pay.  The Daily News piece speculates that cable’s Madison Square Garden Network may have the “inside track” with Francesa as he’s considered close to Garden management.  The story also notes that fledgling cable channel CBS Sports Network, which is airing WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, is not enticing to Francesa because he fears he’d have to change his content to appeal to the national audience.

shapirosteakSteak Added to WCNN Menu.  In addition to existing members Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran, “The Front Row” on Dickey Broadcasting, Atlanta’s WCNN “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” will be comprised of Stephen “Steak” Shapiro as well.  Formerly the 17-year host of “Mayhem in the AM” on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone,” Shapiro has won numerous Georgia broadcasting awards and starts his daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon assignment on Januarywcnn logo 2.  WCNN president/general manager David Dickey comments, “I am excited to have ‘Steak’ back on ‘The Fan.’  He is one of the best-known and most-talented sports personalities in the country.  ‘Steak’ will become an important part of what is already the region’s biggest and most-experienced sports-talk line-up.  His homecoming is yet another example of Dickey Broadcasting’s ongoing commitment to invest in the best talent, the best content and the biggest partnerships.”  Shapiro, who replaces Ray Mariner, adds, “‘The Fan’ gave me my start and is the reason I moved to Atlanta [from Boston] almost 20 years ago.  I am ecstatic to be back doing what I love.  ‘The Fan’ has been the number one sports talk station in the south for so many years.  To be able to be a part of such a winning team with so many folks I have worked alongside in the past and consider friends is really thrilling.”  Shapiro founded Big League Broadcasting in 1997 and was its president for roughly 14 years.

millerchrisDare to be Crap-Free.  When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem.  In a new column posted today (12/16) by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he writes, “There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there.  Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.”  To read how Chris Miller can help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014, please click here.

jonesmaryOdds & Sods.  Connecticut talk show host Mary Jones announces she’ll retire from Buckley Broadcasting-owned news/talk station WDRC-AM, Hartford as of December 23 in order to spend more time with her husband and enjoy winters in Florida.  Jones tells TALKERS it was a big decision but she is excited about the change…..  WMAL-AM/FM, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor is doing some double duty during the holiday season.  O’Connor will sub for WABC, New York-based Geraldo Rivera beginning December 20 through the end of the year (and the end of hisoconnorlarry national syndication run) and will also sit in for WestwoodOne-syndicated personality Dennis Miller on January 2 and 3 – the last two days of his 10:00 am to 1:00 pm airing (the show begins airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on 1/6)…..“Libertarian-conservative” media personality Wayne Allyn Root will be guest host on Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from December 23 – 30.  Root is author of The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide (Regnery 2013) and serves as a commentator on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.

bearmanKIONliveshotKSCO, Santa Cruz Personality Ethan Bearman’s Profile Rising.  Talk radio personality and writer Ethan Bearman is getting more recognition in the Santa Cruz market as his locally focused talk show on Zwerling-owned KSCO, Santa Cruz grows in popularity.  Recently, Bearman was a go-to media voice for a KION-TV news piece (captured here) on the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  View that video here.  Also, Bearman, who has intensely covered the hot issue of dirty needles, trash and other refuse in the town’s parks that’s making it unsafe for people to use, was part of a clean-up crew that made the news for its work.  Read about that issue in a piece in the Santa Cruz Patch here.  Bearman is a visible example of a growing trend in news/talk radio in which talk hosts are eschewing monolithic political party doctrine and instead are approaching their programs on an issue-by-issue basis.

hawkinstommyHawkins Scores With CRN Special. Over the weekend (Saturday, 12/14), former NBA player Tommy Hawkins premiered his CRN Digital Talk Radio holiday special “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas.”  According to CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn, “‘We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas’ is filled with holiday-themed jazz music, along with Tommy’s infectious, warm personality.  His love of jazz and the holidays combine for such a treat.  It is the perfectcrn logo accompaniment for an evening by a Christmas tree.”  Following a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame (where he was a two-year All-American), Hawkins went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings).  He later became vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.  For approximately 15 years beginning in 1970, “Hawk” was a staple on Los Angeles siblings KABC and KLOS.  As part of his basketball-to-broadcasting transition Hawkins not only became KABC’s sports director, he also did “Sports Snorts” weekday mornings with remarkably talented Frazer Smith on KLOS.  In addition to doing weekends on KKJZ “K-Jazz,” Los Angeles, Hawkins has written “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.”  His CRN special will play throughout the holiday season.

kfxx eventOver $120,000 Raised in KFXX Special Olympics Radio-thon.  Entercom-owned sports outlet KFXX “1080 The Fan” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) hosts Isaac Ropp (pictured here at left with some female fans) and Jason Scukanec (second from right) anchored the third annual 28-hour Special Olympics Oregon radio-thon, which brought in more than $120,000.  Program director Jeff Austin comments, “We are proud to partner with Special Olympics Oregon.  The overwhelming support of our station’s staff, our listeners, and advertisers was a testament to the bond Isaac and Suke have with their audience.”  Scukanec (“Suke”) states, “We cannot thank our listeners enough – Portland is a special community and this is a very special cause.  We talk about sports and high-powered athletes every day, but these Olympians are the real athletes.  They are the real champions and we are privileged to honor their spirit and dedication.”  Special Olympics Oregon chief development officer Kim Bergstrom adds, “We are honored to partner with [KFXX]. Isaac and Suke’s radio-thon helps raise funds to support year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disability.  In addition, they generate immeasurable awareness of the importance of Special Olympics Oregon programs for athletes and their families.”  This year’s $120,000 radio-thon total surpassed last year’s mark by more than $45,000.

broadcast electronics logoBroadcast Electronics Bumps Up Bealor To President.  Effective immediately, Broadcast Electronics executive vice president of product development Tim Bealor is upped to president of the Quincy, Illinois-based company.  “I am honored to be asked to lead BE into its 55th year and the next phase of the company’s growth,” he comments.  “Next year is going to be an exciting time for Broadcast Electronics and its customers.”  Bealor began his Broadcast Electronics career as a technician in 1975.  Over the past 38 years, he has held a variety of technical, support, product management, sales leadership, and marketing positions with the company.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

| November 14, 2013

bolgerpeterPeter Bolger Named OM/PD at WLS-AM, Chicago.  Most recently with Clear Channel as director of AM programming in the San Antonio market, Peter Bolger joins Cumulus Media to head up programming and operations at its Chicago news/talk WLS-AM.  In a statement, Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “Chicago radio is a competitive and important market where we’re excited to add Peter’s expertise that positions up for future growth.  Bolger adds, “I think Chicago radio is the best there is.  Fortunately, we have incredible talent and deep resources at WLS.  I want to thank John Dickey, Mike McVay and Donna Baker for the opportunity to be part of the historic WLS brand.  I can’t wait to get started.”

walkerdwightWalker Announces His Retirement.  Six-year Entercom, San Francisco vice president/market manager Dwight Walker has been in radio for 30 years – the last 25 in the Bay Area.  He will be departing the company’s four-station (all are on FM) Bay Area operation, which is comprised of adult contemporary KOIT-FM, classic rock KUFX “The Fox,” sports KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX.  “It has been a fun, rewarding, stimulating, and fantastic time,” he comments. “I have cherished my years with Entercom, a world-class company.  The vision of Entercom management and their commitment to radio is what will keep our industry and this cluster moving forward in a thriving and robust way.”  Family, travel, and Tahoe will become Walker’s top priorities, but he insists, “San Francisco will always be a part of an amazing and charmed life that I hold near and dear to my heart.”  According to Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer, “Dwight Walker is one of the best in the business.  Everyone at Entercom deeply appreciates Dwight’s years of hard work and leadership.  He will be missed in San Francisco and across the radio industry.”  Prior to joining Entercom, Walker was vice president of sales for cross-town Cumulus-owned KNBR, KFOG, and KSAN.  For nine years (1997 – 2006), he was general manager of KFOG and KSAN when Susquehanna owned those facilities.

ramseydaveDave Ramsey Changes Nashville Affiliates.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves to a new Nashville affiliate station beginning in the New Year as it joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WLAC to air in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot.  Since January of this year, Ramsey’s show has been airing on Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 The Game.”  In a piece in The Tennessean, Cromwell’s Bud Walters admits the melding of Ramsey’s show and sports talk wasn’t the best fit and that the move is a mutual one.  “We have beenwlac logo friends for more than 20 years, and while we enjoyed this partnership from a personal standpoint, we both realize that from a business perspective our brands would be better served if we return to our respective formats.”  Dave Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “It’s great to be back on a news/talk station in Middle Tennessee.  WLAC has a long-standing tradition of quality radio in Nashville, and now with the addition of our show, offers the top three talk shows in America back to back.”  CC Nashville OM Michael Bryan adds, “We’re very excited to add the Dave Ramsey show to WLAC in the New Year.  Dave’s a legend in Nashville radio, and this aligns the power of his brand with the very best platform in talk radio.  It is a true home run for our listeners and advertisers.”

schultzedEd Schultz to Launch Live Theatrical Tour in 2014.  Nationally syndicated radio talk show host and MSNBC star Ed Schultz will be taking a show live to theaters in 2014.  Working in conjunction with Ron Hartenbaum‘s WYD Media, “The Ed Tour” commences on Saturday, February 8 with a booking in Fort Lauderdale and then several stops in the West including Seattle on Friday, February 21 with more locations to be announced shortly.  WYD Media has paved the way via an effective working model for talk show hosts to take theater-style shows on the road with the wildly successfully “Sexy Liberal Tour” starring Stephanie Miller which has also revved up for a number of dates in the remainder of 2013 and throughout 2014.

westwoodone logoWeather Channel and WestwoodOne Renew Ad Sales Agreement.  WestwoodOne and The Weather Channel announce that they have signed a multi-year agreement for the former to provide ad sales representation for The Weather Channel’s radio service.  The renewal runs through 2016.  The Weather Channel provides daily, customized cross-platform weather reports to individual radio stations around the country giving up-to-the-minute information on local weather or critical storm warnings.  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with The Weather Channel and to represent its superior brand across the radio community.  Weather is a hugely covetable component in the audio space, and serves as a critical resource for listeners.  In fact, we have found that listeners are more likely to tune or tap in for weather information than most all other content.  We are happy to know we can continue to provide our listeners access to the best weather information available.”

sbaaire logoSBS Readies AIRE Radio Networks.  Set to debut January 1, Spanish Broadcasting System‘s AIRE Radio Networks will reach listeners in nine of the top 10 markets with a weekly audience reported to be approximately 12 million listeners – roughly one-quarter of the U.S. Hispanic population.  AIRE Radio Networks will feature shows focused on current events, health and family, finances, education, sports and entertainment.  “This creation solidifies SBS’ expanding presence in Hispanic media and entertainment,” explains SBS chairman/president/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon.  “We’re excited about capitalizing on syndication growth opportunities.  AIRE Radio Networks will extend our top-ranked offerings to advertisers and listeners nationwide.”  Aire Radio Networks senior vice president of network operations & affiliate sales Elisa Torres comments, “We have put together a stupendous lineup to deliver a national platform.  With AIRE Radio Networks’ targeted choices and vehicles, we anticipate rapid growth for clients seeking to embrace nationwide Hispanic listeners.”  The Aire Networks include the “Advantage Network,” targeting Hispanic men; “Young Adult Network,” geared to Hispanics 18-49; “Millennial Network,” targeting Hispanics 18-34; “Prime Family,” aimed at families on weekends; and “The Mandril Network,” featuring Ricardo “El Mandril” Sanchez of Los Angeles’ KLAX “La Raza.”

truesteveWAUK, Milwaukee Sports Talk Personality Steve “The Homer” True Injured in Car Accident.  Sports talk host and Marquette University men’s basketball play-by-play voice Steve “The Homer” True was in critical condition yesterday at a Milwaukee hospital after his car was hit by an alleged drunk driver at 10:00 am on Wednesday morning.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports WAUK owner Craig Karmazin issued a statement late last night saying, “I spoke with Homer’s wife, Nancy, tonight.  She said Homer is doing pretty well and that doctors want to monitor his condition overnight.  On behalf of the True family and all of us at ESPN Wisconsin, I’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.”  True suffered a head injury in the crash.  He has worked for Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting at WAUK for the past eight years.

nasba logoNASBA Fires Off Letter to Washington Opposing Elimination of Advertising Deductions.  The National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations submitted an official letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin detailing the opposition by the member state broadcasters associations to the possibility of altering the current deduction businesses may take for advertising expenses.  The letter reminds the legislators that any change to the deduction would harm broadcasters, notes that advertising has been part of the allowed deductions since the Tax Code was adopted 100 years ago and that radio stations generally receive 96% of their revenue from advertising (Television’s percentage is 94).

Odds & Sods.  Clear Channel’s KBME, Houston – flagship station for Houston Rockets hoops – will simulcast some of the team’s games on other CC stations in the cluster.  Some games will air on news/talk KTRH and a select number of Saturday games will simulcast on AC KODA and classic rock KKRW…..ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” will be broadcasting live from Pardee Plaza on the campus of USC tomorrow in advance of the Stanford at USC game that ESPN Radio will air this weekend.

ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, GOP 2014 Strategies, Iran Nukes Deal, and Typhoon Haiyan Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13).  The debate in Washington over fixing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act or scrapping it altogether; Republican strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014; the proposed nuclear technology development deal between the United States and Iran; and the aftermath of deadly Typhoon Haiyan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

| November 5, 2013

bellartArt Bell Says Adios to SiriusXM After Six Weeks.  On his website, late night talk radio icon Art Bell writes that he’s leaving SiriusXM where his “Art Bell’s Dark Matter” program was airing after just six weeks for three reasons: SiriusXM’s web player is notoriously unreliable, causing a loss of subscribers and a degraded listening experience for those who remain listening online; for a “caller driven” show, the caller pool for Art’s show is just too small; and international listeners have no legitimate way to hear the show.  SiriusXM has not commented on Bell’s post nor any issues the two parties may be having.  TALKERS editors can’t help but wonder how these points weren’t discovered and dealt with prior to the announcement Bell would be joining the satcaster, especially in light of Bell’s additional comments.  They are: “This is not the first time that we have heard issues relating to the internet platform offered up by SiriusXM.  There have been a host of issues from the functionality to being booted off, to having longer shows reset from the beginning after an hour and a half, making it almost impossible to listen to a two hour show on demand.”  The post is written in third person and continues: “The departure of Bell, as unfortunate as it is, should be a signal to SiriusXM.  The company has a compelling product, great content, and great potential, but in some ways has lost the edge that it once had.  The frustrations of Bell can be heard on other channels as well.  Opie & Anthony, Howard Stern, Jay Thomas, and others have all at times expressed a great deal of frustration.  In some ways, the complaints of on air personalities ring back to the old FM days of terrestrial radio, a path that many consumers and on air personalities could not wait to get away from.”

millerstephanieMichael Medved and Stephanie Miller to Debate in Chicago.  WYD Media Management syndicated progressive talk host Stephanie Miller – based out of KTLK, Los Angeles – and KTTH, Seattle-based Salem Radio Networkmedvedmichael syndicated personality Michael Medved will meet in the Windy City for a debate of the hot issues of the day on Thursday at The Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.   The event is titled “The Great Debate 3” and will be moderated by WGN-TV political analyst Paul Lisnek.  Medved is heard in the market on Salem O&O WIND “AM 560 The Answer” and Miller’s show is carried on WCPT.  Issues debated will include: Will the Affordable Care Act be fully implemented or repealed?  Which is the bigger threat to American prosperity: big business or big government?  Is it constitutional for the NSA to spy on foreign leaders or the American people?

sileodan

Sports Talker Dan Sileo Fired from WMEN, West Palm Beach for Tweet.  Yesterday TALKERS magazine reported that Florida sports talk host Dan Sileo – who previously worked for WDAE, Tampa and WQAM, Miami prior to joining WMEN  “640 Sports” – Tweeted that he’d pay $1,000 to whichever player “took out” Florida State player Devonta Freeman because he felt Freeman was disrespecting his alma mater Miami during Florida State’s crushing win over the Hurricanes.  He then deleted the Tweet and apologized but that wasn’t enough for James Crystal Radio which let him go on Monday.  Sileo wrote on his Facebook page: “I want to first start this letter off by saying…We thank 640 AM SPORTS for having us on the station the last few months…was VERY COOL!!….With that…640 and myself are parting ways over a TWEET I made about an FSU player who I thought was DISRESPECTING the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI…It was a moment of emotion when I said I would like to pay $1,000 for anybody to take him out…..NOW….I NEVER thought ANYBODY would take that serious but they have…a MOUNTAIN of BACKLASH has come against 640 and my family…There are NOW DEATH THREATS against me and my family and I have hired a private COP to protect US….So we UNDERSTAND that some of U took my comment serious…..AGAIN….Was just an EX Player saying a feeling that was wrong….To FSU…we APOLOGIZE…NO WAY would I ever want a kid hurt…..GOOD LUCK TO 640 AND THE CANES!”

sternhowardJimmy Kimmel to Host Howard Stern Birthday Bash on SiriusXM.  The satcaster says that for the first time on satellite radio the infamous Howard Stern Birthday Bash show will be heard on the evening of January 31, 2014 tokimmeljimmy commemorate Stern’s 60th birthday.  Jimmy Kimmel is expected to host the live broadcast from a major New York venue with an audience of VIPs and fans.  As he loves to do, Stern will reveal more about the show – including VIP guests, performers and the special location – over the next few months on his SiriusXM show.  Stern says, “With this birthday bash, we are finally one step closer to making my birthday the national holiday it deserves to be.”  Kimmel adds, “I am honored and excited to take part in a celebration of the life of my friend and hero Howard Stern.  This should be the best BaBa-birthday party ever.”

libertymedia logoLiberty Media Reports SiriusXM Q3 Financials: Revenue Up 11%.  Although Liberty Media acquired a controlling interest of SiriusXM in January of this year, Liberty is reporting the satcaster’s financial numbers separately because it “believes the presentation of financial results as reported by SiriusXM is useful to investors as the comparability of those results are best understood in the context of SiriusXM’s historical financial presentation.”  Highlights of SiriusXM’s earnings include: record revenue of $962 million, up 11% from third quarter of 2012; net income of $63 million; adjusted EBITDA grew 21% to a record $296 million; the company repurchased $1.6 billion in shares from January 1 through September 30, 2013.  Initial 2014 guidance is: revenue of over $4 billion and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.38 billion.

kassanmichaelMichael Kassan Media-Focused Feature to Begin on WOR, New York.  The Clear Channel news/talk outlet announces that “Medialinked — Inside Advertising and Media with Michael Kassan” debuts today.  The company says the new show offering industry reports from the highly influential business and media strategist will also be available on iHeartRadio and at wor710.com.  Kassan, who is founder, chairman and CEO of MediaLink and also serves as special advisor to CC chairman Bob Pittman, will provide a daily inside look at the advertising and media worlds featuring exclusive interviews with his personally selected list of major media and advertising figures as well as commentary on significant industry topics.  Special features will also include Kassan’s expert analysis and reports on key industry events including Ad Week, Association of National Advertisers (ANA), American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAA), Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and more.  Clear Channel New York market president Joe Puglise says, “Michael Kassan is an internationally recognized media specialist and his expert opinion will provide WOR listeners inside analysis of the media and advertising industry.  His passion and enthusiasm for the industry will resonate well with WOR listeners and provide an avenue for partners and advertisers to engage in the conversation.”

martinroland newsonenowbig‘News One Now with Roland Martin’ Debuts.  Radio One’s radio and television project featuring former CNN star Roland Martin debuted on Monday.  “News One Now with Roland Martin” is a three-hour radio show being syndicated by Radio One in which the third hour of the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm daily program is simulcast on the company’s TV One cable channel.  On the program’s premiere, Martin discussed topics including the controversial death of Kendrick Johnson; the Detroit mayoral race; Africa’s economic boom as well as spoke with Radio One and TV One CEO Alfred Liggins about minority ownership in the media.  Martin told the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron that this program, especially on the TV side, will bring important black Americans into the media to talk about today’s issues.  “This is a chance for us to show the breadth and depth of black America.  When was the last time you saw a black economist talking on television?  Other than Colin Powell, when was the last time you saw a black general talking about the military?  We can showcase that talent.”

bellaviadavidDavid Bellavia’s Stint at WBEN Buffaloed by Employer.  Last month Entercom announced that frequent fill-in and weekend talk show host David Bellavia was being given his own late night talk show – airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am – on news/talk WBEN.  Now, after just two weeks hosting the program, Bellavia has had to step down from the show after his full-time employer objected to his taking the position.  Not only will Bellavia not host his own daily program, he’s apparently not working for WBEN at all, including as the go-to fill-in personality for Sandy Beach and Tom Bauerle when they are away, which he had been doing in the recent past.  Reports from Buffalo indicate that Bellavia’s employer had a change of heart about his work with WBEN.  Michael Caputo is filling in for Sandy Beach and the station is running “Best of” programming in the late night slot.

ObamaCare Criticisms, 2014 and 2016 Elections, Virginia Governor Race, Dolphins Suspend Player for Misconduct, and New Jersey Mall Scare Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4).  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; speculation about the GOP’s prospects in the 2014 mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; today’s Virginia governor contest, the suspension of a Miami Dolphins veteran over allegations of misconduct toward another rookie teammate; and the tensions caused by the suicide of a man at a New Jersey mall were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

| August 21, 2013

wgnlogoBig Changes Coming to WGN, Chicago; Cochran to AM Drive and an FM Signal in Tribune’s Future.  The Chicago Tribune lays out some of the changes that will take place at Tribune Company’s legendary radio property on September 3.  With the hiring of radio executive and former WLUP-FM chief Jimmy de Castro in the spring of this year, cochransteveindustry watchers knew changes were afoot.  De Castro wasn’t hired to run things as they were.  And now we know some of the ideas de Castro has been considering over the summer.  Former midday host Mike McConnell – a WLW, Cincinnati alum brought in by former bosses Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny – has already moved to the company’s online decastrojimmyeffort WGN-2.  Now, Tribune reveals that air personality Steve Cochran – ousted from the station in 2010 – will return to host AM drive.  Current AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier will move to a digital property dubbed wgnfm.com until the company can acquire an FM signal on which to build a new station.  The paper reports that husband-and-wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano will likely host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and overnight host Bill Leff will be partnered with a player-to-be-named-later for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  Garrybrandmeierjonathon Meier remains in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot but is expected to take on a name partner soon.  Another return of talent from the pre-Randy Michaels days are Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (former midday “Girlfriends”) who will do a weekend program on WGN.  The AM radio property will also build using blocks from its WGN-TV sibling, starting with the branding slogan “Chicago’s Very Own.”  De Castro says the station will use WGN-TV personalities more often, including Dean Richards and Tom Skilling.  As for the future FM property that will start as a digital station, de Castro says, “We’re going to create it as a radio laboratory.  We’re going to build it up until we get an FM and then we’re going to put them all on a talk FM.”  The story notes that any purchase of an FM will come after the company sheds its newspaper division.  That may happen in 2014 if a buyer (or buyers) can be found.

trn logoJim Watkins Returns to Talk Radio Network.  Radio pro Jim Watkins served with Talk Radio Network for 13 years as director of affiliate relations and executive producer for the syndication company.  Now, TRN Syndications, Ltd. announces it is engaging Watkins “to spearhead several new projects within TRN and to assist in the growth of the existing affiliate base of the multiple TRN networks and many radio stars that TRN watkinsjimsyndicates.”  The company states Watkins will oversee new business development and growth-strategy projects for the TRN Networks that distributes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, Erich “Mancow” Muller, Monica Crowley, “America’s Morning News,” Michio Kaku, Louie Anderson, Roy Masters and America’s Radio News Network, and a complete weekend lineup of a variety of talk programming.  CEO Mark Masters says he’s thrilled to have Watkins leading his affiliate department at this most crucial time.  “Jim is deeply entrenched in talk radio and has developed alliances with key programmers across the country.  As the country ramps up into the mid-term elections, talk radio has never been more vital to facilitating the national debate.  Jim really understands the vitality of talk radio better than most people in the industry today.”  Watkins previously programmed news/talk stations for Clear Channel, as well as South-Florida based Meridian Broadcasting, and also served as producer for some of the top air talent in the country, including Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Barry Farber, and others.  He adds, “Talk radio reaches the most affluent and loyal audience of any format, and it does so by allowing for a free exchange of ideas which can and does influence public policy in a big way.  To have one of the best rosters of talent to be found anywhere gives me a great sense of pride.”

hartmannNationally Syndicated Host Thom Hartmann Debuts Daily Caller Column.  Liberal talk media star Thom Hartmann begins writing a weekly column for the conservative digital publication Daily Caller in which he addresses an issue from his own perspective followed by a conservative or libertarian rebuttal.  In his first column – dubbed “Liberally Yours” – Hartmann asks the question: Should the Post Office be in charge of your e-mails?  You can read the piece here.  Hartmann – whose radio program is syndicated by WYD Media Management – was recently honored by TALKERS magazine ranked at #7 on the Frontier Fifty 2013 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters (see that entire feature here).  In addition to his AM/FM radio program, Hartmann’s digital efforts have earned him recognition by TALKERS for his forward-thinking business model that pushes his content into exciting new areas.

beasleyScott Webb Joins Beasley South Florida as Production Director.  Beasley Broadcast Miami announces the appointment of Scott Webb as production director for its three-station cluster that includes hip hop WPOW “Power 96,” country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country” and sports talk WQAM “560 Sports Radio.”  In this new post, Webb will be responsible for overseeing the voicing and production of commercials for the stations.  Webb owns Scott Webb Radio Imaging based previously in Washington/Baltimore that he founded in 2001.  Prior to launching his own firm, he was creative services director and morning co-host at WJMO, Washington, D.C.  He has also served as creative services director at WHUR, Washington, WMMJ, Washington and KRBV, Dallas.  WKIS operations manager Ken Boesen states, “Scott brings exceedingly strong production skills, top-quality voiceover abilities and a fun work ethic to Beasley Miami.  He’ll be a great addition to the team and will help make our production department the strongest in South Florida.”

celtics logoBoston Celtics and WEEI/WRKO Part Company; Will CBS Radio Swoop In?  The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom and the NBA’s Boston Celtics have ended negotiations to continue airing games on sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO this season after being unable to come to terms.  Now the question is will CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” be able to secure the play-by-play rights?  In the ongoing and bloody battle between the two sports talk stations, a snare of Celtics hoops would give WBZ-FM three of the four major sports in town:  Patriots football, Bruins hockey and Celtics basketball – leaving WEEI-FM with Red Sox baseball (no small potatoes, obviously).  As Finn notes in his piece, CBS Radio owns enough stations in the market to cover any conflicts between the several teams’ games.  Finn writes that Entercom and the Celtics had a revenue-sharing agreement under the old deal but it’s unknown if there was also a rights fee.  Historically, CBS Radio has been willing to pay big dollars for play-by-play rights if it believes it can justify the expense down the road.

wknrlogoGood Karma Lets Three Go at WKNR, Cleveland.  In a report on Cleveland.com, Good Karma trims its staff by three as sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” says goodbye to sports talk host Kenny Roda, Browns beat reporter Will Burge and Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe.  Burge tells the news outlet that although he was a little surprised by the changes, he says, “I guess you can never be too surprised in this business when they say they want to meet with you about some big-picture changes.”  Roda Tweeted to fans, “Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey. I enjoyed sharing it with you all.”

versnickartArt Versnick Named GM at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Resort Broadcasting news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” announces Art Versnick joins the station to serve as general manager.  In making the announcement, company president David Schoumacher states, “Art is a seasoned broadcast professional who brings great knowledge to our very important heritage radio station.  It was imperative to secure the future of this franchise with a pro, and we’ve done that by bringing his talent to work with our staff.”  Versnick comments, “I’m thrilled to be joining this heritage station – with its local air staff – almost unheard of today in news/talk radio.  The dedication of this staff and ownership to provide Sussex County with quality and local programming will continue and move to the next level in providing listeners and advertisers a local forum.”

wtmjweloveJournal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Begins Sponsored Live Broadcast Series.  Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee announces the debut of the “We Love Wisconsin Tour” that will see the morning show broadcast live from sites across the state.  Sponsored by All American Window & Door, the first live broadcast event will be Friday, August 23, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend where “Wisconsin’s Morning Newslangmyertom with Gene Mueller” will broadcast from 5:00 am to 8:30 am.  The tour will continue in Wauwatosa in September, Madison in October and Green Bay in November.  Journal Broadcast Group vice president of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer says, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ is excited to celebrate individual communities that make our region so special as a whole. Gene Mueller and his team will explore the history of each town, introduce listeners to special people and discover fun things to do along the way.  We’re pleased to partner with All American Window & Door on this adventure.”  During the live broadcast event, Terri Lodwick, owner of All American Window & Door, will present a $1,000 donation to a local charity.

Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio Washington D.C. properties WTOP and Federal News Radio are honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility for the use of flexibility and other aspects of workplace effectiveness as a workplace strategy to increase business and employee success…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” agrees to a deal through Learfield Sports to carry University of Illinois football play-by-play for this season…..NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath guests on Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan” this week.  Morgan’s program is heard on some 80 affiliates across the country.  Namath’s podcast, produced by Sports USA, debuts next week…..Indiana Radio Watch tips TALKERS that Zach Bonahoom exits Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne where he hosted a Saturday talk show.

NSA Surveillance Program/UK Threatens Guardian, Egypt Violence, ObamaCare Implementation, OK Ballplayer Slaying, and Clinton Foundation Expenses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20).  The scope of the NSA surveillance program and the UK’s threats against the Guardian paper; continuing violence in Egypt and the U.S.’s relationship with its government; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the killing of an Australian baseball player by teens in Oklahoma; and the report of the Clinton Foundation’s travel expenses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

| June 18, 2013

mayhemAMLincoln Financial Media Fires WQXI, Atlanta’s “Mayhem in the AM” After Mocking Bit About ALS-Stricken Steve Gleason.  The three sports talk personalities that made up the “790 The Zone” morning showwqxilogo “Mayhem in the AM” – Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino – have been extremely contrite in the aftermath of their firing from the station by Lincoln Financial Media.  Although Nick Cellini initially told the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho that his firing was, in a way, a relief and called the station a “sinking ship,” he later wrote to Ho saying his words were made “out of pure emotion” and said the station has been nothing but fair to him over the years.  Both via the AJC article and social media, all three have expressed their sorrow for their actions and have reached out to former New Orleans Saints player Gleason to apologize.  Still, many in the industry are shaking their heads and wondering how three grown men could , first of all, even come up with the idea to craft a bit that mocks an ALS patient and second, apparently, never think twice about it before going ahead with it on the air.

wolfenycspeechReflections on a Tragedy and the Fundamental Role of Radio.  That is the title of the closing keynote address at the recent Talkers New York 2013 (6/6) convention delivered by Jason Wolfe, VP programming for Entercom Boston.  In a serious, heartfelt speech, Wolfe — whose company owns and operates news/talk WRKO and sports talk WEEI in Boston, among others – recounts the events and emotions of the tragedy surrounding the bombing of innocent civilians at the Boston Marathon from the perspective of being a radio broadcaster.  He discusses the responsibility broadcasters have in dealing with unexpected hardships and crisis — in providing help, information and comfort to the population in their listening area.  Wolfe is introduced by WOLB, Baltimore morning host and longtime local African American community leader/facilitator Larry Young.  See Young’s introduction and Jason Wolfe’s entire speech on TalkersTV by clicking here.

seegerTALKERS Debuts New “Media Broker Spotlight” Feature Today (6/18). In support of the idea that the time is right for displaced radio station managers and first-time buyers to get into radio station ownership, TALKERS in association with its sister trade publication RadioInfo and Sandi Bergman‘s brokerage website RadioTVDeals.com, is launching a weekly feature titled “Media Broker Spotlight.” Each week’s installment will focus on an individual broker deemed small and independent buyer-friendly — profiling the broker, sharing their opinions of marketplace conditions and highlighting three or four listed opportunities that fall into this category. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We strongly believe many of the talented management veterans who presently find themselves on the beach due to the cutbacks plaguing the mega-corporate sector of the industry should consider going into radio station ownership. They should do so on a modest level going into local markets, rolling up their sleeves, working hands-on and breathing new life into properties that if purchased at the right price still have some tread on their tires. There are numerous sellers out there willing to play ball with buyers who show the will and know-how to operate a station properly, as well as numerous sources of local and non-traditional financing from investors who believe in the potential of community-oriented radio. Not every station in America is part of the Clear Channel/Cumulus/CBS complex… and they should not be overlooked. These independent “orphans,” if you will, can thrive with the proper amount of tender loving care. The future of AM/FM radio depends on this as do the careers of so many dedicated broadcasters who have a love for radio flowing in their veins.” This week’s opening installment features media broker Edward F. Seeger of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina-based Seeger Media, LLC. To read the feature, click here.

hendriephilPhil Hendrie Continues National Syndication of His Show Partnering with WYD Media Management.  There was no reason to believe Phil Hendrie was going to hang up his headphones when news broke that he and Talk Radio Network were parting ways at the end of their deal this month and now Hendrie will forge ahead partnering with Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management beginning June 25.  Hendrie says, “Ron gets my show and has a highly talented and motivated team behind him.  Our longtime loyal affiliates and advertisers will appreciate the level of professionalism and sophistication they bring to the table.”  Starting on June 25, Hendrie’s show will be distributed in a new time slot from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET with affiliates airing his “Comedy Gold” broadcasts through July 5.  On July 8, Hendrie will be on the air live “as he weaves his famous web of satire and comedy.”  Hartenbaum states, “Broadcast radio needs the breadth, depth and creativity of Phil Hendrie.  There’s a whole new generation of listeners ready to join the ranks for what Phil has to offer.  He’s a comic genius who’s going to grow in ways most people can’t even imagine…stay tuned!”

furmanronaldDial Global Brings Ronald Furman Aboard as Chief Revenue Officer.  Ronald Furman comes to Dial Global from his recent post as executive vice president and managing director of Insignia Sports/Entertainment where he led the go-to-market strategies across integrated television, digital, mobile, technology, social, event, live-game, and activation platforms for multiple content properties, including The Pro Football Hall Of Fame, The NFL Alumni Association, various NFL teams and emerging leagues such as dialglobal logo USEWSOF/MMA.  At Dial Global he’ll be responsible for the company’s overall revenue generation.  He will be based in New York City and will report directly to CEO, Paul Caine.  About Furman, Caine says, “Ron is a recognized industry leader who is proficient at building, developing, and leading high-performing sales teams across multiple media properties.  And the timing is perfect, as we announce that Dial Global will broadcast over 90 games this season, including all Monday Night, Sunday Night, and Thursday Night Games, the Thanksgiving Day Triple Header, a full slate of Sunday Afternoon Games, the entire post-season, and Super Bowl XLVIII.  His deep sports knowledge and client relationships are a perfect complement to our strength in the sports market, and we look forward to working closely with Ron as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in audio content and distribution.”  During his career Furman has also worked as senior vice president, sports sales at Comcast/NBC Universal, and held senior vice president positions at the NFL, Viacom and Univision Communications.

bloomquistmedia logoBloomquist Media Wins New York Festivals Gold in Community Service Documentary Category for ‘A Grateful Nation.’  Talk radio practitioners are by now well aware of Bloomquist Media’s work with the Fisher House Foundation – the organization that raises funds to provide housing for the families of American servicemen and women to be near their loved ones as they recover from injuriesbloomquistrandall sustained in battle.  In a cooperative effort, Bloomquist Media and Fisher House produced the Memorial Day radio special “A Grateful Nation,” which told four stories of service and sacrifice by members of the U.S. military and their families.  Because Fisher House Foundation played a role in all of these stories, the organization’s message was organically woven into the compelling content.  The program aired during Memorial Day weekend 2012 on news/talk radio stations, as well as Sirius XM satellite radio.  Bloomquist Media president Randall Bloomquist says, “This award has tremendous meaning for us.  We are always striving for excellence — to produce compelling radio that both entertains the audience and makes them aware of an important community cause.  To be honored for creating a truly world-class radio program is a testament to the caliber of our work.”

newyorkfestivalsAmerican Radio Programs Win Honors at New York Festivals 2013 International Radio Awards.  The competition for these prestigious awards is intense as broadcasters from around the globe submit entries.  Some of the American winners in the 2013 competition include: ESPN which won a gold medal in the News Reports/Features category for “Breaking the Silence” – an edition of “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” and pubcaster WGBH, Boston which took home the gold in the News Programs category for its “Underground Trade.”

shepardsullivanWHYN-AM, Springfield Morning Show Receives Local Accolades.  Brad Shepard (l) and Bo Sullivan (r) – morning drive co-hosts at Clear Channel’s WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts – were named the favorite local radio personalities in polling by the readers of the Springfield Republican for its “2013 Reader Raves.”  Sullivan has been with the station for some 15 years and Shepard was paired up with him for the AM show 10 years ago.  Shepard tells the paper, “I really have to say ‘thank you’ to our listeners and everyone who voted for us.  This was absolutely unexpected; we didn’t go out drumming up support.” Photo: Mark M. Murray, The Republican

Sports USA Adds Two Games to 2013 College Football Schedule.  The tally of college football games being offered to affiliate stations now hits 20 as Sports USA announces the “Cowboy Classic” featuring LSU versus TCU on August 31 and the Big Ten matchup of Wisconsin at Ohio State on September 28 are added to the schedule.  The Sports USA season begins on August 29 with USC at Hawaii.

wheelisbradBrad Wheelis to Exit ABC News Radio.  The news organization is moving the origin site of all of its newscasts to New York and that means Los Angeles-based Brad Wheelis will leave the network at the end of this month.  Wheelis has been with ABC News Radio since 2001 and he currently  anchors the 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm hourly newscasts.  Prior to joining ABC News Radio, Wheelis was an anchor at CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York.

mcconnelljohnRadio Executive John McConnell Teams with ACM to Form Broadcast Initiative.  Longtime ABC Radio executive John McConnell – now president of Entertainment Radio Network and founder of McConnell Media, LLC – teams with veteran talent agents Marc Guss and Phil Sutfin, co-founders of leading talent management company ACM, to launch and spearhead ACM Broadcast.  The New York City-based company aims to create “a unique business environment where established and burgeoning talent strategize on using radio and other audio broadcast platforms as the foundation to build their brand.”  McConnell states, “I’ve always believed in the power of radio and am a proponent of making that a priority in a performer’s career.  I look forward to working with talented individuals and helping them to realize their full potential as they soar to new heights.”  About their new partnership, Marc Guss says, “John has always been one of my main go-to radio programming executives because of his innovative thinking.  What a thrill it is to now be working together under the same roof with the same objectives.”

NSA Data Mining, Immigration Amnesty Proposal, Syrian Rebels Arms Aid Program, Atlanta Radio Hosts Mock ALS Patient, and Turkish Unrest Among News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17).  The ongoing controversy over the National Security Agency’s collecting phone and email records; the debate over amnesty to illegal aliens in the U.S.; the program to provide arms to Syrian rebels; the firing of Atlanta sports talk hosts for mocking former NFL player and ALS sufferer Steve Gleason; and the political unrest in Turkey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

| August 29, 2012

Other Defendants Named in Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit Against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices.  As reported yesterday (8/28) by TALKERS, these companies, referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc.   They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting antitrust, anti-monopoly and other claims. The complaint, which demands a jury trial, is titled “Complaint for Violations of the Sherman Act and the Cartwright Act, and for Fraudulent Inducement, Interference with Contract and Interference with Prospective advantage.”  In addition to Dial Global, it specifically names: Excelsior Radio Networks, Triton Radio Networks, Triton Media Group, Oaktree Capital Management, Verge Media Companies, Courstide, LLC, Compass Media Networks, Compass Media Marketing, and WYD Media Management.  Individuals named include Spencer Brown, David Landau, and  Ken Williams of  Dial Global, Ron Hartenbaum of WYD, Peter Kosann of Compass, and Norm Pattiz of Courtside.  To see the entire complaint click here.

Big Staffing Changes at Federated Media in Fort Wayne.  Last week TALKERS reported the departure of WOWO, Fort Wayne program director Gregg Henson and his replacement by Woody Zimmerman.  Now, after almost 18 years with Federated Media, chief operating officer Mark DePrez announces his departure from the company.  Brad Williams, who had been overseeing the Indiana markets of South Bend, Elkhart and Warsaw, will also be in charge of the company’s Fort Wayne and Auburn, Indiana markets as he becomes COO.  But that’s not all, as Indiana Radio Watch reports national sales manager Mary DePrez, production director Steve Starbrelz (this November would mark his 35th year there), classic hits WMEE, Fort Wayne middayer Zack Skyler, country WQHK, Fort Wayne GSM Suzee Leavell and several sales staffers have also left the building.  IRW also reports Clint Marsh becomes GM of the South Bend properties.  On his tenure with Federated Media, DePrez states, “After almost 18 years I’m leaving Federated Media.  We accomplished great things in Fort Wayne but all good things must come to an end.  I am grateful to the Dille family for the four promotions over those 18 years including my recent tenure as COO.  For a decade it has been my distinct honor to be the custodian of such iconic brands as WOWO, WQHK (K-105) WMEE and more recently WBYR (98.9 The Bear).  I am immensely proud of the talented team we assembled and know they will continue to do great things.”  DePrez is available for his next challenge.  He says, “For employers looking for an executive obsessed with top line performance and profit optimization they can contact me at markdeprez2@gmail.com or 260-385-2574.”

ESPN and Major League Baseball Agree to $5.6 Billion Deal.  The new contract between ESPN and MLB goes through 2021 and runs an average of $700 million per year for TV, digital, radio and other rights.  ESPN is currently paying about $305 million per year for TV and about $50 million for radio rights.  The new contract would almost double that but gives ESPN more flexibility, some playoff game rights as well as international rights.  For radio it means increased ESPN Radio rights, including the additional right to co-exist during two Saturday windows per team, per year.

Patt Morrison’s Southern California Public Radio Show Cancelled.  The popular Southern California public radio figure will remain with the organization but Patt Morrison’s six-year-old afternoon program will end on September 10.  The move is part of a series of programming changes at KPCC, Pasadena that include the expansion of the Brand & Martinez program and the addition of the “BBC News Hour” and “The World.”  KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton is quoted telling the Los Angeles Daily News, “While the show may be leaving, Patt isn’t.  What we’re trying to do is take a lot of the segments that she’s produced – which are very popular with a large part of our listening audience – and spread those a little more throughout the programming day when there are a lot more listeners than there are in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.”  SCPR notes Morrison will still cover the Democratic National Convention for the organization.

NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Announce More Sports Talk Hires.  As NBC Sports Radio continues to prepare for the September 4 launch of the new network, more hosts and sports anchors are being hired.  Former NFL star Amani Toomer will team with Eytan Shander (most recently with SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) for a 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET sports talk show.  Dan Schwartzman  – who’s worked for WPEN, Philadelphia and ESPN in New York – will host an overnight show from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET Tuesdays through Saturdays and Kay Adams joins the network as sports anchor working the 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm shift Monday through Friday.  Dial Global is NBC’s partner in ad and affiliation sales and distribution.

Forbes Releases New Highest Paid Celebrities List.  Four radio stars landed on the Forbes list of the most recent Highest Paid Celebrities.  Of the 21 celebs noted this time around, Howard Stern is the highest at #7 (although he makes a ton of cash from his SiriusXM gig, the NBC TV job helps!); Glenn Beck comes in at #11; Rush Limbaugh lands at #15 and Ryan Seacrest follows at #19.

Larry King to Host Coverage of the RNC on YouTube’s Elections Hub Channel; Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Joins King on Panel.  Longtime CNN star and broadcasting icon Larry King is now working with Ora TV – the digital on-demand TV network funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu – and Ora TV is partnering with YouTube to produce the Elections Hub channel.  Tonight, King will host coverage of the Republican National Convention live from Los Angeles featuring a roundtable of well-known celebrities and guests on the special series “Ora 2012 with Larry King” from 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean will take part on the panel.

Entercom and University of Florida Enter into Sales Agreement.  The college and Entercom Communications have struck a deal which will have Entercom provide sales for the school’s two radio stations – country WRUF-FM and sports talk WRUF-AM.  It’s a seven-year deal that begins in September.  The university notes that the deal “will provide the College with a guaranteed monthly revenue.  Additionally, the stations will participate in a revenue share agreement with Entercom that allows for additional revenue to flow to the stations based on monthly sales performances.  In addition to the joint sales agreement, Entercom is launching an academic enhancement initiative to create internships and student opportunities for the College’s students at the company’s stations in Gainesville and around the country.  These student involvement opportunities, subject to faculty approval, will include sales, digital marketing programming, news, sports, public relations, strategic communications and promotions.”  The stations’ operations director, Jerry Butler, will stay on and co-ordinate the relationship between the stations and Entercom.

Hundreds of Talk Show Hosts from Across Country Broadcasting from RNC.  The invention of the “radio row” – largely developed in the modern talk radio era by Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service – has really come into its own at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.  Numerous networks and syndicators have set up shop in elaborate clusters of tables, microphones, remote equipment, banners and, of course, big talking personalities on both sides of the mic.  One of the biggest of these assemblages is again hosted by Talk Radio News Service for its affiliates which include the likes of Rusty Humphries, Phil Valentine, Roger Hedgecock and many more.  TRNS bureau chief Ellen Ratner tells TALKERS, “We have more stations than ever – about 40 stations and programs.  The RNC gave us a prime spot, right next to their booking office.  We are not in the arena but in the building next to it that houses all the press.  Other than press conferences, some longer television interviews and hall confrontations between the news media, radio row is the only place to have an in-depth conversation.  Radio might have lost some of its audience to the internet, but you would never know it from radio row.  Big time politicians want to be there and obviously feel they will get a chance to say what they want. It is still the spot to be and the place to be heard.”

WMAL Morning Hosts on the Scene in Tampa.  The final day of the Republican National Convention is today and talk radio and the national press have been busy bringing the political talk home to their constituents.  Pictured here are WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive team Brian Wilson (c) and Bryan Nehman (r) interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (l).

Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Iran-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28).  The progress of tropical storm Isaac and the activity from the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay were two of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.  The growing connection between Iran’s military and the violence in Syria was also a major topic.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

| June 13, 2012

10 Things You Need to Know About Live Endorsements.  The live endorsement is one of the most powerful advertising vehicles talk radio has to offer. But KTRH, Houston talk show host and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Michael Berry writes that advertisers and sales personnel too often force the talent into making mistakes that undermine its effectiveness. For starters, Berry says that forcing the talent to work with a script takes away from his or her ability to put the message in unique terms. The best way is to have the talent use the good or service and like it. “We can sell what we like because then it’s not ‘selling.’ It’s simply sharing what we like, and it’s what we do. Make sure your endorser understands you, the individual who owns the business.” Read Michael Berry’s 10 points about live endorsements here.

WYD Media Management Announces Formation of Sister Firm for Affiliate Sales and Marketing.  WYD Media founder Ron Hartenbaum states the formation of WYM Media Management LLC will serve the purpose of handling the affiliate marketing strategies for its planned expansion of new talk programming. “WYM is a natural expansion of the business. WYD manages and produces programming, while WYM will focus on multiple platform distribution of that product.” Industry pro Liz Laud joins the company as the first affiliate sales and marketing associate. Hartenbaum says, “Liz is an accomplished industry veteran whose track record from Westwood One, Jones Radio and Dial Global speaks for itself. We are absolutely ecstatic with Liz on the team as WYM’s first affiliate sales & marketing associate.” WYD Media Management has been a key figure in the growth of talk shows such as the “The Stephanie Miller Show,” “The Thom Hartmann Program” and “The Michael Smerconish Show.” Ron Hartenbaum has also worked with numerous highly successful talk talent including Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager, Neal Boortz, Mike Malloy, Clark Howard, Mike Gallagher, and “Ring of Fire” with Sam Seder, Mike Papantonio and Robert Kennedy Jr. WYM Media will be based in New York and Los Angeles and is expected to announce new programming shortly. Liz Laud says, “This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in new, fun, informative, and entertaining long form programming and to participate in the growth of WYD as a key player in national radio programming.” She can be contacted at Lizlaud@mac.com or 310-625-9753.

Former San Diego Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Joins U-T San Diego TV Initiative.  The San Diego newspaper U-T San Diego – formerly known as the Union-Tribune – is developing TV programming for cable and the web and one of its first efforts is a roundtable program designed to discuss San Diego topics. Scott Kaplan (pictured here at left), who most recently worked hosting the AM drive sports talk show at XEPRS, San Diego, is part of the cast alongside Amber Mesker (c) and Billy Ray Smith (r). U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch is quoted in the U-T saying, “We’re going to be, every moment of the day, talking about San Diego. We realize that we have a very valuable asset and that is unique, exclusive content that is hyper-local and all about San Diego — from sports to business to the news.” U-T San Diego was purchased by hotelier Doug Manchester in November of 2011 and so far has spent $3 million constructing a professional studio and hiring about a dozen of the 50 people it will need to operate the station.

Mike Scott Named OM/PD at WCAR, Detroit.  Mike Scott previously served as assistant program director and midday host at CBS Radio‘s country WYCD-FM, Detroit. He recently left the market to take the programmer’s post at KZKX-FM, Lincoln, Nebraska but exited that position after just four months. Now, he returns to the Motor City market as operations manager and program director of Birach Broadcasting‘s sports talk WCAR, Livonia, Michigan.

Comrex Corporation’s STAC VIP Gains Skype Certification; Paves Way for Hi-Fi Skype Calls on Talk Radio.  The engineers at Comrex Corporation are celebrating the fact that their Comrex STAC VIP VoIP Call Management Systems has passed qualification by Skype to allow it to process Skype calls alongside all other calls for radio call-in shows. This certification means the STAC VIP meets the guidelines to be called “Plugged into Skype” and can carry the Skype logo. What it means to radio talk shows is the ability to have one unit that processes calls from numerous formats – including Legacy POTS, ISDN, VoIP, IP-based PBX systems and now Skype – into the call screener and control unit and onto the radio. Skype provides “studio quality” sound for users. Comrex technical director Tom Hartnett states, “Skype support was an important factor in development of the VIP product. Skype, by its nature, carries very high-fidelity audio when being used between Skype clients. Skype support means stations that use STAC-VIP for their call-ins can take wideband calls from anyone who has Skype installed on their PC or smartphone.”

Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Featured on TALKERS TV.  Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber – currently heard in national syndication via Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk – was honored at the recent New York City edition of the TALKERS New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7 with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” During the event, Farber found time to sit down in front of the Talkers camera and speak about his craft and his career. View the video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Independently syndicated talk show host Leslie Marshall is named one of the Top 50 Fabulous Women by Pasadena, California’s THE Magazine. The publication recognizes Marshall for her charity work to build schools and provide education, especially for girls in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, through various charities such as “Shine For Humanity.” She was also recognized for using her talk show to bring people together on issues and to raise awareness of human suffering worldwide in order to change it…..KNX, Los Angeles continues its Business Breakfast series with a June 22 event dedicated to creating a winning culture in the workplace. “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Motek moderates a discussion that includes: Chester Elton, co-author of the New York Times bestseller All In; G.J. Hart, the chief executive officer and president of California Pizza Kitchen; Jodi Walker, president of Success Alliances; and Yvonne Trupiano, director of talent acquisitions at Avis Budget Group…..Michigan-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels broadcasts his morning drive radio and TV show (heard on WDTW, Detroit; WTKG, Grand Rapids; and seen on Fox 47 TV in Lansing) from Kennebunkport, Maine today, the day after former President George H.W. Bush‘s 88th birthday party. Shiels will interview Bush family and friends at the Cape Arundel Golf Club where the former president’s charity is holding a golf outing…..Tampa-based talk host Bubba the Love Sponge‘s charitable foundation is assisting local mother Christine Dean in paying for her trip to Los Angeles this summer to take part in a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Children’s Cancer Research. Gary Kompothecras – founder of the attorney and doctor referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY – heard Dean on Bubba’s program talking about her child’s leukemia diagnosis and her desire to go to L.A. for the event. He donated the $1,000 necessary to make the trip.

Sports Talker Dan Sileo Addresses Power of the NFL in Shaping its Coverage. WQAM, Miami afternoon drive talk host Dan Sileo writes about the problem sports talk hosts – and sports journalists – face covering the mighty National Football League, especially in light of controversies such as the recent Saints bounty case in which several players received suspensions. Read his column here.

Attorney General Eric Holder Under Fire, 2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Texas Beating Death and Los Angeles Kings Win Stanley Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/12).  Republican scrutiny of Attorney General Eric Holder in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; the 2012 presidential campaign; testimony from alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case; the beating death of an alleged child molester in Texas; and the Los Angeles Kings’ first franchise Stanley Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Beasley Las Vegas Helps Raise $165k for Children’s Miracle Network.  That’s KDWN, Las Vegas-based talk host and physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (r) appearing at the recent radiothon interviewing an unnamed guest. Dr. Wachs reports to TALKERS that Beasley Broadcast Group‘s Las Vegas stations partnered with St. Rose Dominican Hospitals for the cause and brought in $165,000 for the Children’s Miracle Networka foundation raising money for specialized medical equipment, family needs, and more for pediatric patients.

Monday, February 13, 2012

| February 13, 2012

Stephanie Miller Riding High on Radio, Live Show and Comedy Record Success.  WYD Media Management and Dial Global syndicated progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller rolls into 2012 surfing the wave of success she began in 2011 using her popular radio show – and social media – to help promote her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” and the recently released comedy album of the same name that’s topping the charts.  With the help of comedian pals John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks – both of whom make weekly appearances on Miller’s Los Angeles-based radio show – the “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been selling out shows across the country and grossed more than $1.4 million over the last 12 months.  Miller is astounded by the success of the tour and the album.  “Last spring when we performed in Madison, Wisconsin to support the recall efforts of Governor Scott Walker we had no expectations that the show would be as well received as it was, let alone set upon a nationwide tour raising money for locally focused progressive causes,” Miller says.  The resulting comedy album, released digitally, has been hugely successful.  Miller tells TALKERS, “The ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ has become the first political comedy album to reach # 1 on the comedy charts for iTunes, Amazon and Billboard, and has remained on the Billboard Comedy Album charts for six weeks since its release in late-December, 2011.  The idea of progressive comedy making such a connection to people across America must be causing some serious Republican angina…at least I hope so!”  Miller, Fugelsang and Sparks continue to hit the road with the live show stopping at the Orpheum Theatre on Phoenix on February 25 and the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on March 3.

WQAM, Miami’s Sid Rosenberg Back in the News with Alleged Gambling Debt.  The Miami Herald is reporting that WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Sid Rosenberg has a gambling debt of more than $44,000 he owes to an offshore gambling operation called www.1betvegas.com.  Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet quotes a man named Frank Soviero who says he works for the gambling site – based in Costa Rica – and says he’s been in Miami for two months now trying to collect the debt.  Soviero tells Lambiet, “We can’t sue Sid since what we do is illegal in the United States.  I’ve tried everything.  He comes up with 100 bucks here and there, and he gives me a big hug.  It ticks me off because I talked my boss into giving Sid a few chances.  And I’ve seen [my boss] do things when he gets mad.”  Neither Rosenberg nor WQAM have commented to the paper.  Rosenberg was off the air for six weeks prior to the holidays and there was speculation then that he was being punished by the station for trying to repay a gambling debt via plugola – something Rosenberg vehemently denied to TALKERS.  Station management also did not confirm the story to local media but only said that Rosenberg was off and would return on January 2, which he did.  When asked by TALKERS to specifically clarify why he was off the air during that time, Rosenberg did not reply.  Read the Miami Herald story here.

WLW, Cincinnati’s Bill Cunningham Gets Big Network Pickup for TV Show.  Tribune Company launched “The Bill Cunningham Show” last September on a number of its O&O TV stations.  Now, Tribune announces the show is being picked up by the CW Network and will air in the 3:00 pm ET slot beginning in September.  Tribune Broadcasting president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton – one of the few remaining former Clear Channel execs brought to Tribune by Randy Michaels – tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, “Since the launch of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ six months ago, the show has exceeded expectations and found a strong voice in the daytime talk landscape…The renewal and expansion of the show to a national platform are a testament to Bill’s staying power.”  Kiesewetter reports that Cunnigham’s TV show is more popular in New York, Chicago, Miami and Dallas than it is in his hometown of Cincinnati.  While taping the show, Cunningham does his WLW program from studios in Manhattan.

Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside Exit WOW-FM, Des Moines After Five Weeks.  The duo moved over to the news/talk sister station from Cumulus Media Group’s classic rock KGGO-FM in January after 13 years as a duo in morning drive there.  But after just five weeks hosting the AM drive show on 98.3 WOW (KWQW-FM), Sipolt and Burnside surprised their listeners with an 8:40 am announcement on Friday, February 10 that they were leaving local radio to pursue other interests.  Sipolt does a motorsports talk show on Fox Sports Channel.  Burnside isn’t saying what she’ll do next.

Fox Business Network Drops Three Prime Time Shows; Will Replay Early Evening Programs.  The four- and a half-year-old Fox Business Network cancels the three prime time shows airing between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET – “Freedom Watch,” hosted by Andrew Napolitano; “Power & Money” with host David Asman; and “Follow the Money” with Eric Bolling – and will re-air its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm programming.  The move puts what Fox execs consider their top personalities on in prime time: “The Willis Report” with Gerri Willis; “Cavuto” with Neil Cavuto; and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” hosted by Lou Dobbs.  David Asman co-hosts the 4:00 pm “After the Bell” program and will continue in that role while Eric Bolling remains in his role on Fox News Channel co-hosting “The Five.” Fox executive vice president Kevin Magee states, “Neil Cavuto, Lou Dobbs and Gerri Willis are the most trusted names in business news, and this new lineup affords Fox Business viewers additional access to their no-nonsense take on the day’s financial events.”

Talk Show Hosts Wow 275 at American Jewish University Panel.  Approximately 275 avid talk radio fans showed up for a two-hour panel discussion held Sunday (2/12) afternoon at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California.  Moderated by veteran Los Angeles broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel featured Bill Handel and Bill Carroll of KFI, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Broadcasting; and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.  The fast-paced discussion blended a spectrum of hot topics in the news – everything from health care to Israel/Iran tensions to social media to Whitney Houston – plus behind-the-scenes radio shop talk and ended with a spirited question and answer session with the audience.  This was the fifth annual installment of this panel, one of AJU’s most popular events in its outstanding speakers series.

Salem Radio Network and Radio America Reach News Service Deal.  A pact between Dallas-based Salem Radio Network and Washington-based Radio America is being struck that will make SRN News the exclusive top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service distributed by Radio America.  This move adds some 400 Radio America affiliates as potential carriers of SRN’s news product.  SRN president Greg Anderson states, “The potential of adding up to 400 Radio America affiliates to our roster of almost 1,300 current SRN News affiliates is very exciting for us.  We look forward to a great partnership with Radio America and their affiliates in the days ahead.”  Radio America COO Mike Paradiso comments, “SRN News is a great fit in our lineup of talk programs and will serve our 400-plus stations well in this election year.  We’re excited to be partnering with SRN on this venture.”

Blue Star Media Promotes Jon Patch to VP of Affiliate Sales.  Jon Patch has been with Blue Star Media Group’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network for the past 15 years serving in numerous capacities, most recently working in affiliate sales and hosting the 21 year-old talk radio show “Talkin’ Pets.”  Now, Blue Star ups Patch to vice president of affiliate sales for the organization.  Patch says, “I believe in working with our stations as partners and offering the best service possible since, by keeping them happy, it in turn keeps the hosts, listeners and all others involved satisfied and happy as well.”

Bonneville’s Arizona Sports Enters into Marketing Agreement with University of Phoenix.  Bonneville International’s Phoenix-based sports media initiative – Arizona Sports – agrees to a broadening of its relationship with University of Phoenix that includes the naming rights to the Arizona Sports studios.  Bonneville describes Arizona Sports as “a first-of-its-kind sports marketing and media super brand encompassing all of Bonneville Phoenix sports media properties including: Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM, Arizona Sports.com, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, Arizona Cardinals football, Phoenix Suns basketball, Arizona State football and men’s basketball, ESPN radio, AIA and the Fiesta Bowl.”  Bonneville Phoenix VP of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Bill Pepicello (University of Phoenix president) and his entire team have been a great partner of ours for many years.  We’re excited that – from “Mike and Mike in the Morning” to “Doug and Wolf on the drive home – all of our shows will now be broadcast from the University of Phoenix Studios.”

CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Continues “On Your Corner” Series in Culver City.  The CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news outlet will broadcast live from the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Friday, March 9 as part of its series that provides an “in-depth look at Southern California’s diverse communities.”  The day’s broadcasts will include civic and business leaders, along with colorful personalities connected to Culver City’s rich history and revitalization who will be featured guests as the city marks its 95th anniversary.  Additionally, a business mixer open to the public beginning at 5:00 pm will culminate the day’s events.  A special luncheon for invited business leaders will be hosted by Frank Mottek prior to his KNX Business Hour broadcast.

KMOX, St. Louis Holds Spring Training Correspondent Contest.  In conjunction with sponsor Lindenwood University, CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis is conducting a contest to give one lucky winner a spring training correspondent position alongside sports director Tom Ackerman in Jupiter, Florida.  The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip and will perform on-air and online Spring Training reports.  The station has been holding open auditions for the past month.  Nearly 200 people auditioned and 10 finalists have been announced.  Listeners to KMOX can vote on their favorite through February 21.

 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

| December 22, 2011

Dial Global Co-CEOs New Employment Contracts Revealed.  The three co-CEOs of Dial Global have signed four-year employment contracts with the now publicly traded company that pay each a base salary of $600,000 per year.  Spencer Brown, David Landau and Kenneth Williams will each get a bonus of $250,000 for this year with future discretionary bonuses based on half their annual salaries.  In addition, each is entitled to two years salary if he leaves the company.  There are other components such as $15,000 each for an annual country club allowance and a $1,250 per month parking allowance.

Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller to Publish New Book in 2013; Comedy Album Tops iTunes Download Chart.  Progressive talk host Stephanie Miller has a deal with Grand Central Publishing – a division of Hachette Book Group – to publish a book titled Sexy Liberal! to hit stores in 2013.  In a release from syndicator Dial Global, the book is described as follows: “Mixing the personal and the political, she takes on the politicians, the media, and the issues, with her own unique blend of fearless humor and optimism.”  Concurrent with the book announcement, iTunes reports Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, Volume 1 is the #1-selling comedy album in the iTunes store.  The album features comedy bits from Miller’s live stage show of the same name with comedians John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks and Miller herself.  WYD Media Management president Ron Hartenbaum says, “Today’s audience response shows how powerful and impactful marketing on radio can be.  We have a vibrant medium, we have an effective medium and we all need to remind advertisers how effective radio is in moving product.”  Hartenbaum notes it was announced the album was for sale on Friday, December 16 at 10:00 am and by 10:45 it had reached the #1 spot.

Clear Channel Names Steven Cutler to VP/Corporate Strategy Post.  The newly created position is created by CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman as he brings Steven Cutler into the company fold to “execute key initiatives and strategies as determined by the CEO and operating division leadership.”  Cutler worked with Pittman at the private investment firm Pilot Group.  He has worked in the investment banking industry and also has worked as a financial analyst.

Dave Ramsey Rewards Listeners in “Giving Challenge.”  Nationally syndicated financial talk host Dave Ramsey rewards three listeners with $5,000 each for charity work inspired by his Giving Challenge.  In early November, Ramsey encouraged listeners to “give like no one else” during the holidays, resulting in some 7,500 stories of how listeners had given of their time and money throughout the year and especially as the holidays approached.  Ramsey calculates more than $9 million and some 68,000 hours were donated by listeners reporting their charity work.  He then surprised three of the winners of The Giving Challenge with cash rewards of $5,000.  Those recognized were: Rayme Dorsey of Champaign, Illinois who organizes an annual golf tournament benefiting Crisis Nursery in honor of her best friend killed in a car accident two years ago at Christmas.  Crisis Nursery is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect;  JV Cotterell of Durham, North Carolina.  Cotterell founded Triangle Special Hockey to eliminate barriers that keep special needs kids from getting involved in hockey; and Alisha Ballinger of Knoxville, Tennessee.  Ballinger works for Knoxville Inner-City Kids Outreach which provides after school programs and service projects for inner city children ages K through 12.

Three New Talk Programs Debut on CRN Digital Talk Radio.  Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the debut of “The Pet Project” program hosted by well-known Los Angeles radio personality Tammy Trujillo; the current events-themed Mark Larson show and the Christian-themed Janet Mefferd show.  CRN describes Trujillo’s new weekly program stating the “award-winning newscaster and pet lover will talk with experts about the latest news on pet products, pet adoption, medical issues and much more about the amazing world of pets.”  Larson’s program will air daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and Mefferd’s show airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily.

Payroll Tax Cut Battle/Congress Adjourns, Iowa Caucuses and Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/21).  The congressional impasse over extending the payrolls tax cut, the coming Iowa caucuses in the GOP race for president in 2012 and the implications of the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.