Clear Channel Goes ‘Next Generation’ on KOY, Phoenix. The business talk format on Clear Channel’s KOY, Phoenix is gone and the company is airing a news/talk format it has dubbed “KFYI 2 The Next Generation of Talk.” The lineup for the station is: Armstrong & Getty (piped in from KSTE, Sacramento), the Radio America-syndicated Dana Loesch show, Casey Bartholomew, Portland-based “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” and Premiere’s “America Now” (which is seeking to replace Andy Dean as the permanent host), among others. Certainly, these hosts are a bit younger than the majority of the news/talk radio personalities working today, but critics will argue that building a lineup to appeal to a younger audience faces almost impossible odds on an AM band station. Although, the station is available via Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio platform.
Burnie Thompson Show Exits WYOO, Panama City and WVFT, Tallahassee; Show to Continue Online. The Florida talk show hosted by Burnie Thompson – based in Panama City and focused on state and regional issues – lost its last two affiliates as Magic Broadcasting II dropped the show citing low ratings. The program had aired in afternoons on WYOO, Panama City “Talk Radio 101” and in Tallahassee on WVFT “Freedom 93.” Thompson, who promises the show will re-emerge on Monday, August 11 at MyFreedomRadio.com, posted on his Facebook page the following comments about his departure: “They didn’t fire me as much as they took away your voice on the radio in Panama City and Tallahassee. Now you can no longer express your support or criticism of elected officials by name on ‘Talk Radio 101.’ They will continue to pipe in a nationally syndicated show or find someone who follows the new rules that forbid editorializing on local elections. I think they’ve underestimated how much this all meant to you and how many of you there are. I know they’d rather upset you than Congressman Southerland, Gov. Rick Scott, or Jay Trumbull Jr.’s financiers.”
Cumulus Media Q2 Net Revenue Up 2%. That figure is pro forma – the actual net revenue is up 21.4% but that number is so high because it’s affected by the acquisition of Westwood One and the Townsquare transaction. Breaking down the radio side of things for Cumulus Media, the numbers tell the story of a challenging second quarter. The company reports “broadcast advertising revenue decreased by $4.0 million, primarily due to a $9.4 million decrease in network spot revenue, a $9.8 million decrease in local spot revenue and a decrease of $2.6 million in national spot revenue. These decreases were partially offset by a $2.9 million increase in revenue from the addition of two radio stations being operated under a local marketing agreement in the Chicago market and the benefit from $14.9 million of reduced producer revenue shares at Westwood One.”
Envision Adds Content to ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend programming block, “America Weekend,” designed for news/talk radio stations offered by Envision Networks announces more additions to its content. Envision adds “Animal Radio” as part of the new “America Weekend” lineup. The nationally syndicated “Animal Radio” show has been on the air for 14 years and is heard on 125 affiliate stations. “America Weekend” also has added “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline,” “Smith and Sabatino,” and host Ed Kalegi.
Round Two of July PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Jim Jones Returns to Westwood One as Senior Director, News Affiliate Sales. Just after the unveiling of its new news product – a collaboration with CNN Newsource – Westwood One announces that Jim Jones is named senior director, news affiliate sales. The company says that in this new position, Jones will be overseeing affiliate sales for Westwood One’s news vertical and will be based in Washington and report to SVP of affiliate sales Dennis Green. Jones worked for Westwood One for 15 years and was previously VP of affiliate sales, news/talk. Most recently he was with Focus 360. Green comments, “Jim has an extensive knowledge of the news product and has been involved in the affiliation of major news networks with a high level of success. Our affiliates will have the benefit of Jim and his team’s knowledge of integrating our new white label news product into the station’s lineup as we find new audiences to bring news and information from around the world.”
“We Initially Went for a Vacation and Found a War.” Talk show host and perennial Heavy Hundred member Alan Stock, heard mornings on KDWN, Las Vegas, joins what seems to be a growing list of prominent talk show hosts (Sean Hannity, Ethan Bearman, John Batchelor) who have taken their microphones to Israel for a closer perspective on the Gaza conflict. However, in the case of Stock (who has broadcasted from Israel several times during recent years), the original plan was to take his family there on vacation – during which the violence broke out quickly, changing his agenda. Stock interviewed a number of prominent Israeli figures including a wide array of Knesset Members (Israel’s Congress) such as conservative Likud Party leader Moshe Feiglin and liberal Labor Party leader Hilig Bar. Stock tells TALKERS, “Both agreed that all tunnels had to be destroyed and all rocket launching sites had to be eradicated. Both said that these things had to happen regardless of what it took to accomplish these goals. While they have different views on domestic issues, they — and all other members of the Knesset I interviewed — agreed on the unified need for an effective defense.” Stock adds, “I was able to call in with daily reports to my show. Much of the information reported from the region focused on Israeli air attacks on Gaza, missing the other half of the story — the need for those attacks to put an end to rockets constantly being fired from Gaza into Israeli population centers. If it wasn’t for Iron Dome, Israeli casualties would have been as great or greater than the Arab casualties. In Las Vegas, at least, talk radio [KDWN] and FNC gave a more balanced picture of what was really going on in this latest war.” Above, Stock (l) is pictured with Knesset Member Natan Sharansky (r), once a Soviet refusenik who spent time in the Soviet Gulag and who later moved to Israel. On a completely separate note, Stock tells TALKERS that his one-time morning co-host at KXNT, Las Vegas, Kerri Kasem is going to co-host his show this Friday (8/8). She’s visiting Las Vegas for a Nevada Broadcasters Association gala the following night where they will be giving special mention to her late father, Casey Kasem. Stock reports she will also be meeting with Nevada legislators to get the same bill passed that’s working its way through the California legislature that would allow adult children of divorced parents the right to petition the court to have visitation rights if they are being prevented from doing so by the new spouse (as was the case with Kerri and her siblings regarding their father).
WestStar MultiMedia Enters Film Business. The company founded by computer expert and nationally syndicated radio host Kim Komando and Barry Young is branching out into the film business as WestStar MultiMedia’s Barry Young Entertainment division announces it’s working in conjunction with OceanBlue Entertainment and Magnolia Pictures to present the film Frontera — starring Ed Harris, Eva Longoria, Michael Peña, and Amy Madigan – which is set for theatrical release September 5, 2014. Barry Young says, “We are very excited to have quietly watched the progress and development of Frontera over the past 18 months. Frontera provides a careful and thoughtful look at the issue of America’s border disarray with a superb cast. As we push our company and efforts even further into the development of digital programming with such projects as ‘The Kim Komando Show’ now being produced not only for radio, but also as a full television production, shooting live with 10 HD cameras, we are actively but very selectively perusing additional film projects.” Young adds, “We will not consider film projects with violent and meaningless content, but rather look only at thought-provoking projects that can make a difference in the lives of its audience, such as a new Christmas production for release in 2015 and another major production based on the best-selling Anne Rice novel, Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt, the story of Jesus Christ at age 7 as he and his family depart Egypt to return home to Nazareth.”
Odds & Sods. Saying it is focusing on the fan this NFL season, Westwood One is collaborating with its 500-plus AM and FM station partners to promote its prime time Monday, Thursday, and Sunday Night NFL broadcasts with exclusive content, special features, and local tune-in promotion. Every Monday, Thursday, and Sunday, NFL-affiliated stations will be able to access a Game Day package featuring game-specific audio highlights, on-air vignettes, special features, and customized tune-in promos featuring Westwood One Sports’ lineup of NFL announcers, including Kevin Harlan, Scott Graham, Kevin Kugler, Ian Eagle, and James Lofton…..Former St. Louis Rams player Will Witherspoon becomes part of the St. Louis Rams radio broadcast team for games heard on flagship WXOS, St. Louis “101ESPN.” Witherspoon joins the booth team of Steve Savard and former Rams star D’Marco Farr.
Cumulus Media New York’s ‘Bark in the Park’ a Succcess. The trio you see here are WABC, New York personalities (from l-r) Curtis Sliwa, Mark Levin, and Ron Kuby (plus Kuby’s pooches) at last weekend’s 4th Annual “Bark in the Park” at Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. Levin served as the host for the event. It was presented in conjunction with The North Shore Animal League America & Bergen County Animal Shelter/Adoption Center and Cumulus is proud to note that the adoption mission was a success as 19 dogs and 4 cats were adopted. Also taking part in the event were WPLJ’s Todd Pettengill and Race Taylor, “NASH FM 94.7″ personality Kelly Ford, “Radio 103.9″ host Roxie, plus WABC’s Geraldo Rivera.
Gaza Violence, Ebola Threat/Treatment Controversy, Immigration Policy/Southwest Border Crisis, Army General Killed in Afghanistan, ISIS Campaign/Threat to Christians, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, and Russia’s Ukraine Aggression Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/5). The ongoing strife in the Gaza Strip and the West’s Israel policies; the threat of an Ebola pandemic and controversy over a new treatment for the virus; the U.S.’s immigration policy and the border crisis in the Southwest; the assassination of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene in Afghanistan; the ISIS campaign to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria and the group’s threat to Christians; the primaries for this fall’s mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; and Russia’s bolstering of troops along the Ukraine border were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Kansas City Officially Announces Debut of “The KMBZ Business Channel.” The news leaked out via a local PR firm earlier this week but now Entercom Kansas City confirms its classical “Radio Bach” – KUDL, Kansas City – is being flipped to financial talk and will be branded “The KMBZ Business Channel on 1660 AM.” Jack Landreth, program director of the KMBZ brand of stations, states the flip fills a void in the market, “‘The KMBZ Business Channel’ is a natural extension of our award-winning KMBZ News/Talk station. Building on KMBZ’s many years of success, we are launching a business station dedicated to business leaders and investors. By offering clear, concise business reports on Newsradio 98.1 FM and expanding those reports on ‘The KMBZ Business Channel on 1660,’ we will create a unique radio synergy.” Vice president and general manager Dave Alpert says the station will focus on business news as it happens and opinions about financial issues. “Business news is no longer just a stock market update. In today’s fast-paced world, business is a 24-hour news cycle…We will deliver the very best business reporting and direct access to the insider opinions that drive business throughout Kansas City and around the country.” Alpert and Landreth say their target audience is affluent, well-educated, homeowners over the age of 35, with household incomes over $100,000. “With Newsradio 98.1 FM, KMBZ already delivering a business-to-business audience, the ‘KMBZ Business Channel’ will cultivate a broader base of influential listeners across high-income levels from wired workers and educated professionals to CEOs and managers.”
News Staffers Exit Merlin Media’s FM News 101.9 in New York. Mediabistro FishbowlNY reports the departure of three on-air staffers from WEMP-FM, New York. The site says former WWOR-TV anchor Sara Lee Kessler, who’d been with WEMP-FM since its beginning last August, has exited as have evening anchor Maureen Langan and reporter Bob Brown. There’s no information whether any of the three were let go or left the station voluntarily. This news comes a week after Eric Seidel was named interim program director at the all-news station.
ESPN Brings Former Colts Exec Bill Polian Aboard as NFL Analyst. The sports media giant announces former Indianapolis Colts vice chairman Bill Polian is joining ESPN on March 12 – the day before NFL free agency begins – and will be seen on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” “NFL Live,” “NFL 32,” as well as heard on ESPN Radio. Polian will also write for ESPN’s digital initiatives and ESPN The Magazine.
Michael Patrick Shiels Exits Lansing-Based “Michigan’s Morning Show.” Talk show host Michael Patrick Shiels and Cumulus Broadcasting have parted company with Shiels doing his last broadcast based at WJIM, Lansing and the 10-station Michigan Talk Network on Tuesday (2/28). Michigan Talk Network general manager Dave Minock tells Michigan Live, “He’s decided to move on and we’re carrying on as you can imagine.” Minock says the program – distributed to the company’s WJRW, Grand Rapids and eight other stations around the state – will feature guest hosts until the company finds a permanent replacement for Shiels, who tells the site, “It was an amicable parting and I’m hoping I’ll get the opportunity down the road to reconnect with my Michigan listeners.”
Ric Edelman Public TV Series Wins Six Awards. Top-ranked financial advisor and talk media personality Ric Edelman’s “The Truth About Money” public TV program is honored with six Telly Awards. The awards honor outstanding international video and film productions. Edelman’s radio program of the same name is heard in 54 markets on commercial talk stations across the U.S. His public TV program was just renewed for a second season. The program won awards in three categories – education, information and editing. The program is dedicated to educating public television viewers about the latest data and research regarding how to save and invest their hard-earned dollars, while providing an entertaining framework. Guests have included everyone from wealthy publisher Steve Forbes, to divorce guru Raoul Felder, to CNBC anchorwoman and Wall Street mainstay Maria Bartiromo.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Names Tim Castelli EVP of Digital Sales. The longtime digital advertising executive who most recently worked at America Online becomes executive vice president of digital sales reporting directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan. Tim Castelli will be in charge of national digital sales efforts and developing innovative advertising products and programs across several Clear Channel Media and Entertainment divisions, including strategic partnerships, national programming platforms and national advertising platforms and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s digital radio service. John Hogan states, “Tim is recognized for his innovation and tactical expertise. His understanding of advertisers’ needs and objectives will help them take even greater advantage of our unmatched resources.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises More Than $250,000 at Golden Mike Award Dinner. More than 250 radio and TV broadcasters attended the 2012 Golden Mike Award Dinner at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Monday, February 27 to honor award recipient Dennis Swanson, president of station operations for Fox Television Stations. The black-tie fundraiser collected more than $250,000 to support the BFoA’s mission of providing aid to broadcasters in desperate need. Pictured here is Swanson (second from left) accepting the award from “Inside Edition” host Deborah Norville and Broadcasters Foundation chairman Phil Lombardo (second from right) and president Jim Thompson (far left). In attendance were broadcasting luminaries serving as presenters including Roger Ailes of Fox News; Dr. Mehmet Oz, the syndicated TV show host and cardiac surgeon; Elsie McCabe Thompson of the Museum for African Art; and Larry Wert of NBC-TV. Also during the evening, the Foundation recognized Rick Buckley, a longtime supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation who served as its treasurer for many years. A fund established in Buckley’s name after he passed away suddenly in July has generated $50,000 to help broadcasters in need.
Star on the Rise: Florida Talk Show Host Burnie Thompson Making Statewide Waves from Base in the Panhandle. Former Air Force Captain and college English teacher Burnie Thompson has been in the talk radio business since 2007 when he began broadcasting from his home base in Panama City, Florida. Since that time, with the help of Don McCoy of McCoy Media, he’s expanded his daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program from his flagship at Magic Broadcasting’s WYOO-FM, Panama City to stations in Jacksonville, Pensacola and Ft. Walton Beach. Stations in Tallahassee and the Gainesville/Ocala markets are set to begin airing the daily show within the next few weeks. Thompson also produces a weekend version culled from the best of the weekday show that currently airs on 13 stations across Florida. Thompson has made so many inroads in such a short time that U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has reportedly dubbed him “Florida’s Voice of Freedom.” Thompson is riding what he cites as a trend in talk radio making statewide programs more relevant and potentially popular than in the past. That, coupled with Florida’s burgeoning image as a center of rapidly growing importance from a demographic and political standpoint on the national scene, gives Thompson’s syndication venture that much more gravity. He says more important to his affiliates is the fact that his show became one of the highest-rated radio shows in Panama City for four consecutive years. Many local businesses have hired him to endorse them, making the show a top revenue producer. Thompson tells TALKERS, “The show is a mix between a 21st century town hall and your favorite saloon; a place where ideas collide and reason prevails. Every day on the radio, I strive to expand freedom and protect the family budget from government plunder by giving Floridians a place to link arms. I just want to make a difference in the Sunshine State – perhaps make it a little freer, and a little more prosperous. Then we’ll expand our horizons.” Thompson has been a freelance writer for more than a decade having work published in The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Washington Times, The Orange County Register, The Tallahassee Democrat, The Panama City News Herald, and more than a dozen other publications. He has a master’s degree in journalism from USC, a master’s in English from Penn State and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal State Fullerton.
Mitt Romney’s Michigan and Arizona Sweep, Deadly Midwestern Storms, Ohio School Shooting Aftermath, North Korean Nukes Deal, Iran Tensions, Health Care Birth Control Controversy and Pop Icon Davy Jones’ Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/29). The GOP primary race in the wake of Mitt Romney’s victories on Tuesday; the deadly storms that swept through the Midwest; the Ohio school killings aftermath; the deal struck with North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons program; ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions; the action in Washington over the health care birth control controversy and the death of pop icon Davy Jones were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (2/29).
Alex Jones Rocks Orlando. Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated talk sensation Alex Jones is pictured here mugging for the camera at Orlando Jai Alai on February 26 alongside Star Over Orlando‘s WEUS midday talk host Doc Holliday. Jones’ standing-room-only appearance included a live radio broadcast, a showing of his latest documentary film and an accompanying speech that WEUS says was, “a rousing affair that brought down the house!” WEUS carries Jones’ radio show live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.