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Archive for September, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

| September 19, 2011

WBZ, Boston Celebrates 90 Years on the Air Today.  Yes, the building with its twin radio towers in the photo at the top of this page is the site of the original broadcast studios but you might be surprised to know it’s not in the Boston area.  The CBS Radio station’s history as the first “commercial license” radio station in the country began 80 miles west in Springfield, Massachusetts at the old Westinghouse plant.  Many of the nation’s oldest radio stations moved around the dial and WBZ was no exception.  It broadcast at 830 on the dial when it first went on the air from this location on September 19, 1921.  Read more about WBZ’s history here.

Cumulus Gives WMAL, Washington an FM Boost Today.  The victim is classic rock WVRX-FM at 105.9 as WMAL will simulcast beginning at 12:00 noon today in time for Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh to be heard in the Nation’s Capital on FM.  WMAL clearly has its sights set on some of the dollars crosstown competitor WTOP has been raking in on the FM band.  WMAL president and general manager Jeff Boden states, “By expanding our successful brand to the FM dial, we will be a viable listening and advertising option for many more people in the Washington, DC area.  There are many potential listeners who never listen on AM, and we are now making programs of wide interest available to the largest possible audience.”

George Plaster’s Status in Nashville Unknown.  Nashville sports talk host George Plaster was off the air at WGFX-FM on Friday and he tells the Tennessean, “There’s been a lot of rumors about where we’re going to end up.  At this point no decision has been made.  I want to do not only what’s good for my group, but I want to end up doing something good for our listeners.”  WGFX-FM was a Citadel station until the closing of the merger between Cumulus and Citadel.  Eight years prior, Plaster sued Cumulus to get away from that company and join Citadel’s WGFX-FM.  If there’s bad blood between the two parties, the question is will they be able to get over it and work together again?  Plaster’s show rakes in a reported $2 million annually for WGFX.  The complicating factor is the new crosstown FM sports talk station WPRT-FM “The Game,” operated by the Cromwell Group, which would no doubt love to bring Plaster over to get its new format off the ground with a popular, money-making talent.  Expect some decisions to be made soon.

Bill Cunningham Debuts on Daytime TV Today.  WLW, Cincinnati and Premiere Networks talk show host Bill Cunningham’s nationally syndicated eponymous TV show debuts today.  Cunningham tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that this is a completely different program than his radio show.  Cunningham has been taping shows since late July and the content is very much the stuff of daytime TV talk shows – dysfunctional families, pot parties and other such fare.  Cunningham says they’ve remade his image with spray-on tans and expensive suits but producers of the program say they want his image as a father, family man and the guy-next-door to shine through.  Cunningham’s program debuts on 22 stations across the country, including in his home town of Cincinnati.

WTMM-FM, Albany Brings Bruce Jacobs in for PM Drive.  Sports talk and talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs is named the new PM drive host at Townsquare Media’s Albany/Schenectady FM sports talk outlet 104.5 The Team.  Jacobs has worked most recently in the Phoenix market.  Jacobs begins his new program Tuesday, September 20.  The Long Island native says, “After 20 years of being away, it’s so great to be home again.  It’s great to be back with the most passionate, hardcore fans in the world.”

John Olsen Named PD at Sports WZZN-FM, Birmingham.  Cox Media Group announces John Olsen is the program director at its new FM sports talk outlet Sports Radio 97.7 The Zone.  Olsen has been with Cox since 2001 in various capacities.  He says, “Thanks to Ben Reed, David DuBose, Ray Nelson and Justin Case for their vision to bring 97.3 The Zone to the air.  We have a terrific, unique station that will give sports fans a true sports station.”  Also at the CMG in Birmingham, programmer Justin Case is named operations manager for the cluster.

Eleanor Mondale Dies at 51.  Eleanor Mondale, daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale and former WCCO, Minneapolis talk show host, passed away on Saturday at age 51 after her second bout with brain cancer.  Mondale left her show on WCCO in March of 2009 after the brain cancer returned a second time.  She had surgery later that year to remove the tumor and it was reported at the time that the surgery was successful.  Mondale began her broadcasting career in 1989 as the entertainment reporter for WCCO-TV, Minneapolis.  She went on to network television gigs but returned to Minnesota and co-hosted a radio talk show on WCCO with Susie Jones in 2006.

KYW, Philadelphia’s Jack O’Rourke Passes Away at 80.  Shortly after covering the Phillies-Cardinals game Friday night, the KYW sports reporter collapsed and passed away.  O’Rourke began his career with KYW in 1966.  He worked with NBC Radio in New York for more than 20 years before returning to KYW.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean is added to the program schedule at Cox Media Group’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is now heard on WWNZ, Bangor…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory is picked up by CBS Radio’s new news/talk outlet WXYT for the 1:00 am to 5:00 am timeslot…..The talk-intensive, Premiere Networks-syndicated Elvis Duran morning show adds new affiliate WMXZ-FM, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida…..The “Health Insurance Advocate” show with Cary Hall joins the lineup at KBMV-FM, West Plains, Missouri…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds KFLO-FM, Shreveport, Louisiana; KWKC, Abilene, Texas; KBMV-FM, West Pains, Missouri; and WBFD, Bedford, Pennsylvania…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose is cleared on KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

| September 15, 2011

Cumulus-Citadel Merger Gets DOJ and FCC Approval; Shareholder Vote Takes Place Today.  The merger of radio companies Citadel and Cumulus has passed federal muster as both the FCC and the Department of Justice give their approval and the creation of the new radio company rests on shareholder votes today (9/15).  To make the deal happen, Cumulus is forced to put three stations in a trust.  Those are: Citadel’s country WCAT-FM, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Cumulus’ CHR WWKL-FM, Palmyra, Pennsylvania and classic rock WRSR-FM, Owosso, Michigan in the Flint market.  WRSR-FM goes into the Potential Broadcasting trust and must be programmed by the trust’s operators.  WCAT-FM and WWKL-FM were being moved to the Volt Radio trust and will be reassigned to the Potential trust and also must be programmed by that trust’s operators.

Bloomberg and ESPN Join in Partnership for New York Morning Sports Reports.  At first blush it seems like an unlikely pairing but many of the men Bloomberg’s flagship station business news WBBR, New York reaches are sports fans as well.  ESPN’s WEPN, New York will provide WBBR with live reports specifically targeted to the New York market by WEPN’s Jared Max beginning at 5:00 am on “The First Word” hosted by Ken Prewitt and “Bloomberg Surveillance” with hosts Prewitt and Tom Keene.  Bloomberg Radio’s Al Mayers states, “”We’re pleased to offer our listeners in the New York City metro area with morning sports coverage by ESPN’s flagship station.  In partnering with ESPN, we’re combining the best brand in business with the best brand in sports.”

“Troubleshooter” Tom Martino Files for Personal Bankruptcy Protection.  Martino’s consumer advocate show is heard daily on KHOW, Denver.  The filing lists assets of $1.37 million against liabilities of $78.6 million.  Martino tells the Denver Post that his financial issues center on his real estate investments that have been affected by the economy.  “There are so many people in this same boat.  You’ve got millions of dollars in lost value and all of a sudden you can’t refinance your loans and you are just upside down.  I just don’t know what I could have done.”  Martino says his debt comes from taking on additional loans over the past few years to save his real estate investments and that his Troubleshooter Network, consulting business and the radio show are not affected by the bankruptcy filing.

Leslie Marshall Show Contracts with AdLarge for Sales Representation.  The independently syndicated Leslie Marshall show signs a deal with AdLarge for the company to be the exclusive national marketing rep firm.  AdLarge co-founder and CEO Gary Shonfeld states, “Leslie is a highly renowned pundit who knows how to engage both the left and the right.  We are thrilled to have her show on our growing content platform and to represent her with the biggest national advertisers in the country.”  Marshall, whose program is fed live nightly from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET, says of the new deal, “Gary has done this before and very successfully.  At AdLarge, I’m not just another show in a large roster of programs.   My show is given personalized attention and the AdLarge team seems to have my best interest at heart.  They work hard for me.”

Bill Press Show Adds Video Component.  Bill Press’ Dial Global-syndicated radio show begins a video stream today (9/15) from his Capitol Hill studios.  Press tells TALKERS the video will stream live via Ustream and then key excerpts will be posted on YouTube but he’s quick to note they are still doing a radio show, not a TV show.  As a credentialed Washington correspondent and a nationally syndicated columnist (Tribune), Bill Press brings a unique level of journalistic credibility to his radio show that makes it stand out from most talk shows on either the left or the right.

KIRO, Seattle Debuts New Football Show.  710 ESPN (KIRO), Bonneville’s Seattle sports talk station debuts a new live football show tonight (9/15).  The new weekly show airs live tonight from Joey Restaurant in Bellevue, Washington from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by ESPN football expert John Clayton and co-hosted by former Seattle Seahawk players Dave Wyman and Mack Strong.  Joining the trio on tonight’s show is current Seahawks player John Moffitt.

CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM Gets Pirates Baseball Back.  That’s what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting.  After five years at Clear Channel’s FM talk WPGB, the paper says sources close to the deal indicate Pirates baseball, which aired for so many years on heritage news/talk KDKA, will come back to CBS but this time on its KDKA-FM sports outlet, “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan.”

WBZ, Boston Prepares to Celebrate 90th Anniversary.  CBS Radio’s venerable WBZ, Boston will celebrate its 90th anniversary on Monday, September 19 and will commemorate its place in broadcasting history as the first commercially licensed radio station in America.  The station will air a number of 15-minute vignettes that chronicle and honor the station’s history.  The station will also host a WBZ Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  CBS Radio Boston SVP and market manager Mark Hannon states, “For nine decades WBZ NewsRadio has led the way in reporting historic news events on both a national and local stage, and the station has offered a forum for the community to discuss the news of the day and evaluate what it means to them.  We are extremely proud of the staff’s reporting and programming over the years, as well as the station’s community outreach, and we look forward to being a positive influence in the market for many years to come.”

Early Ratings for Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Show Soft.  The new, daytime TV talk show “Anderson” is not yet a week old but analysis of the early ratings is inevitable and so far the critics are not impressed.  The Los Angeles Times reports the Monday premiere garnered a 1.1 household rating that put it behind the pack of such shows as “Regis & Kelly,” “Ellen,” “Dr, Oz,” and “The Talk.”  But the syndicated show is expected to take time to build and Telepictures – the Warner Bros. arm syndicating the show – says the program was pre-empted in some markets and had to compete with coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Insurgent Attack in Kabul, Obama’s Green Jobs Controversy, 2012 GOP Presidential Field and European Financial Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14).  The violent attack on American interests in Afghanistan, the investigation into the Obama Administration’s support of a solar power company, the GOP field of candidates for president in 2012 and the tenuous state of the European economy were some of the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio yesterday.

KDKA Feeds Pittsburgh.  Well, at least several thousand Pittsburghers.  That’s how many residents station officials say enjoyed the 28th KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast held recently in the Steel City.  Pictured here are KDKA talk host Johnna Pro (l) and traffic reporter Kathy Berggren (r) as they prepare to feed the masses.  This year, the station honored the late KDKA talk personality John Cigna who is credited with starting the popular local tradition as a station promotion 28 years ago.

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

| September 14, 2011

Big Eddie: Walkin’ the Walk.  MSNBC and Dial Global progressive talk star Ed Schultz sits down with TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison and says he’s committed to the causes he talks about on his programs in a very hands-on way.  He’s personally worked to assist Katrina victims, stood behind the public union workers in Wisconsin and is organizing free health care clinics in New Orleans.  Schultz also tells Harrison he’s not afraid to criticize President Obama and often takes guff from fellow progressives when he does.  On his media experiences Schultz says he knows the life span of a cable TV talk host can be very short but he makes no excuses for being himself — both on the radio and on TV — and is very proud of his “upstream swim” to success.  Read the interview here.

Don’t Miss Michael Harrison at the Radio Show!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison delivers his annual “State of Talk Media” address at the NAB/RAB-produced event in Chicago today (9/14) from 10:30 am to 11:45 am at the Hyatt Regency Chicago C/D.  Today Harrison will discuss the current state and immediate future of talk radio and its related venues and presents his “10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio” right now.

Talk Radio Programming Pro Len Weiner Heads Florida Cluster.  The Genesis Communications-owned stations in the Tampa market – all-news WWBA, news/talk WMGG and sports WHBO – have a new programmer in radio pro Len Weiner.  His programming resume includes WGN, Chicago; WMVP, Chicago; KMPC, Los Angeles and a decade spent at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.  Now he heads south to take the official title market program manager at the Genesis cluster.

TRN’s Michael Savage Releases New Fiction Thriller.  Savage is no stranger to bestselling books – he’s penned eight of them.  Now he’s out with a fast-paced fiction thriller titled, Abuse of Power (St. Martin’s Press 2011) – the story of a “hardened former war correspondent… smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group…who uncovers a chilling terrorist plot.”  A release states that Savage’s own experiences – including being banned from Britain by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – influenced this work.

Citadel Media Very High on Hot ABC Digital Product.  Citadel Media says the ABC Digital service from ABC News Radio is one of the network’s fastest-growing products with 350 affiliations to date.  The service that delivers customized, format-specific news and music/entertainment feeds directly to radio station websites has inked affiliation deals with several broadcast companies in the past month including Midwest Communications, Merlin Media, Three Eagles Communications, Journal Broadcast Group, Next Media, Times-Shamrock Communications, and JVC Broadcasting.  ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones says, “When we break news, we alert our key radio station contacts so they can promote their leadership position on-air and drive listeners to their station’s site.  This is a strong engagement feature that helps our customers increase their digital audience while seamlessly linking the on-air and online experiences.”  ABC Digital offers brief stories from news categories such as World, National, Politics, Business, Entertainment and Health/Lifestyle, which are produced and updated 24 hours a day. Photos, slides and graphics accompany each story.  The service can also be tailored for music-formatted stations to focus on stories about key artists for the major radio music formats.

Tea Party GOP Debate, Obama’s Sinking Approval Ratings, Jobs Bill and Race for Weiner Seat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13).  The performances of the GOP contenders for president at the Tea Party Debate, President Obama’s low approval ratings, the jobs bill Obama is presenting to Congress and Republican Bob Turner’s victory for the New York Congressional seat held by disgraced Democrat Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Dancing Cheek to Cheek.  That’s Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher cutting the rug with Minnesota Congresswoman and GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann in Tampa.  The photo was taken at the presidential debate “Watching Party” sponsored by Salem Communications news/talk outlet WGUL, Tampa that catered to an “overflow crowd.”  Several candidates stopped by the party — emceed by Gallagher — after the debate.  Salem Radio Network VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Anytime you can herd hundreds of WGUL listeners together with a half dozen presidential candidates and everyone leaves smiling, I’d call that a successful station event!”

The TALKERS Interview:
A conversation with MSNBC and Dial Global
progressive talk star Ed Schultz

| September 14, 2011

Ed Schultz is one of the most-listened-to progressive radio talk show hosts on the air in America today and a burgeoning presence in the cable news/talk television scene.  His daily radio show syndicated by Dial Global Radio Networks –– now in its eighth year –– broadcasts live weekdays from New York City 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on more than 100 affiliates across the country.  In addition, he hosts a prime time 10:00 pm ET weekday cable television program (Monday through Thursday) on MSNBC.  The Talkers Interview with Ed Schultz was conducted by Michael Harrison.

TALKERS: On behalf of all of us at TALKERS who’ve been watching your career for years, all the way back to Fargo, congratulations on all the multi-media success that you’ve been having.  How’s life going for you these days?

ES:  Well, it’s pretty intense, Michael, and it’s been a long run.  We start our ninth year in January and we’re awfully excited about the fact that we were able to go through one of the toughest economic times in the history of the country.  I have all the same team members –– nobody lost their benefits, nobody lost their wages.  And we have survived and I’m very proud of that because it’s all about the business model.  When we started back in 2004, Twitter wasn’t around.  Facebook wasn’t around.  I think the internet interaction presence wasn’t anywhere near what it is today.  Podcasting wasn’t around.  So there’s been so many changes since we started and I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to do all the things we need to do to make sure our sponsors get the kind of response they’re looking for.  And that really is the name of the game.  At the end of the day, we’re selling a commercial.  At the end of the day we have to put a product out there that people are going to be proud of and also desirable to be a part of.  Obviously, I never would have gotten the opportunity on MSNBC had I not done a syndicated radio show.  It’s tough doing three hours of radio a day, then of course doing the television show at 10:00 at night Eastern Time.  You know, Michael, it’s proven that you can do it.  It’s a funny instinct that’s inside us as broadcasters that you don’t give up; you can’t give up.  You accept every challenge you can and you make the most of it.  It’s been a great ride.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

TALKERS:  Let’s go back a bit for those who are new to Ed Schultz.  You weren’t always a “liberal,” were you?

Read More

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

| September 13, 2011

Atlanta Drops Two Positions in Arbitron Market Rank to #9; Philly and DC Move Up.  Arbitron announced the Fall 2011 update of its market ranks based on populations changes compared to the Fall 2010 survey.  Atlanta’s loss of population drops it to #9 with Philadelphia and Washington, DC moving up one position to market numbers 7 and 8 respectively.  Other market moves of note include: San Antonio moves up three positions to market #28;  San Jose drops three positions to market #37; and Jacksonville loses four positions to end up at market #50.  Arbitron created a brand new metro called the Hudson Valley consisting of several counties just north of New York City that ranks #39.  It also added additional counties to a number of metros causing big jumps.  Markets benefitting from those additions (with their new rank) are: New Orleans, #47; Des Moines, #73; Portland, Maine, #90; Corpus Christi, #111; Fort Smith, Arkansas, #160; Amarillo, Texas, #169; Bryan-College Station, Texas, #198; Jonesboro, Arkansas, #229; and Albany, Georgia, #241.

More Local Sports Talk at WXOS-FM, St. Louis.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves “The Late Shift” with Cliff Saunders to an earlier 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm airing and debuts a new 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm program on October 3 featuring former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan and station Cardinal’s insider Brian Stull.  According to the station, the addition of the “Stully & Duncan” show means the station offers 13 consecutive hours of live and local sports talk programming.  The new program and the time change of “The Late Shift” bumps ESPN Radio’s Brian Kenny show from the program schedule.  Program director Kent Sterling says, “This is a dynamic pairing of a respected sports radio host/journalist Brian Stull and the former professional athlete Chris Duncan, who until six months ago was known only as a former Cardinal.  Now, Chris Duncan is a radio host who has become a valuable member of the 101 ESPN team.  His analysis of all sports – not just baseball – has been a boon for us over the past Cardinals season and he has demonstrated a work ethic and sense of fun that has been a great addition to the 101 ESPN brand.”

Troy Aikman Adds Radio Appearances to His Duties.  The Fox Sports NFL broadcaster and Hall of Fame player begins weekly appearances on three major market sports talk stations through Fox Sports Radio.  Aikman appears on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York with Mike Francesa in the 5:00 pm hour each Friday; on CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago with Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley during the 8:00 am hour each Monday; and on Fox Sports Radio’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based Petros & Money program during the 5:00 pm hour each Tuesday.  Petros & Money is part of Fox Sports Radio’s lineup and is heard on some 245 affiliate stations across the country.

Harry Hurley Takes Morning Show to WENJ, Atlantic City.  Yes, WENJ is Townsquare Media’s ESPN-affiliated sports talk simulcast (WENJ-AM/FM) but Harry Hurley’s local news/talk show will air in morning drive on the AM side (1450) beginning in October after five years at crosstown WIBG.  Hurley tells The Press of Atlantic City, “The reasons I’m moving are because of the people I’ll be working with and the company I’ll be working for.”  Still, Hurley thanks WIBG owner Rick Brancadora for his time there and says, “I’ve learned to take nothing for granted.  You always earn it.  I’ve been lucky to have the most fiercely loyal listenership in radio. I’m confident they will move with me.”

Jim Walsh Returns to KFYR, Bismarck.  Walsh worked at the station in 2003 and 2004 and then went on to host programs at WILM, Wilmington and WASK, Lafayette, Indiana.  He takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program at the Clear Channel station full time beginning September 19.  He replaces Scott Bachmeier who leaves his full-time gig at the station to focus on non-radio work but maintains his syndicated “Dakota Prairie Outdoors” program as well as the Friday afternoon “Energy Matters” program on KFYR.

Obama Jobs Bill, 9/11 Anniversary, and 2012 GOP Candidates Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12).  Criticism and analysis of President Obama’s jobs creation bill, the 9/11 anniversary and the 2012 GOP candidates for president – including anticipation of last night’s debate on CNN – were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Mohawk Valley Talk Host Publishes History Book.  This is not a boring treatise on the history of a region.  Instead, WVTL, Amsterdam, New York morning host Bob Cudmore has taken more than 40 of the most interesting and unusual stories about people and places in the Mohawk Valley he’s culled over the years for his weekly column in the Daily Gazette and put them together in this new book, Stories from the Mohawk Valley: The Painted Rocks, the Good Benedict Arnold and More (Nero Publishing 2011).  Cudmore’s book includes tales about psychedelic philosopher Benjamin Paul Blood, actor Kirk Douglas, Fonda’s Queen Libby, “The Daiquiris” bandleader Alex Torres, controversial Amsterdam mayor Theron Akin, singer Arlene Fontana, banker Pasquale DiMezza and the unofficial Polish mayor of Amsterdam Michael J. Wytrwal.  Cudmore has a book signing scheduled for this Saturday.  Check out his website http://www.bobcudmore.com/