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Archive for January, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2011

| January 27, 2012

Social Media: Handle with Care.  Using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to promote one’s radio program, the station brand or to interact with P1s is what most talk radio practitioners are expected to do these days.  After all, used properly, most digital experts agree the explosive nature of social media can reach people –– including potential new listeners –– in a way other media can’t.  But are there damaging aspects to social media?  Is there a potential downside? Does the ability to have a “personal” conversation with a big-time media personality (whether local or national) damage the mystique of being a larger-than-life commentator?  Does it provide an ease of access that has a downside that’s not being considered?  Is the propensity of tweets to get nasty a looming pitfall for opinionated and sensitive talk hosts in a way that taking calls on the air is not?  Does the revealing nature of social media put too much inadvertent control over the program’s and station’s image in the hands of staff –– hosts or others –– who wouldn’t ordinarily be authorized to execute that image promotion? TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey and special features correspondent Mike Kinosian speak with talk media industry practitioners about these questions and more here.

Mark Plotkin Exits WTOP, Washington; Media Reports Suggest Plotkin’s Temper Flare-Ups to Blame.  Mark Plotkin has been a commentator and political analyst at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington for the past decade but the station confirms to the Washington Post that he is no longer working there.  The Post story goes on to paint a picture of a passionate, extremely knowledgeable broadcaster whose numerous “shouting matches” with fellow employees may have been his downfall.  For his part, Plotkin tells the Post, “We just parted ways.  Things happened along the way and this was an appropriate time to move on.  All I have is good feeling for WTOP.”

Jeff Cameron Lands at Horizon Broadcasting in Tallahassee.  After exiting Clear Channel’s sports talk WNLS, Tallahassee just last week, Jeff Cameron goes across town where he’ll work as a consultant for Horizon Broadcasting’s adult hits WBYW-FM, Panama City until starting his own sports talk show on the company’s sports talker WTSM-FM, Tallahassee (licensed to Woodville, Florida) on August 1.  The release from Horizon doesn’t say so but we’re assuming Cameron’ sitting out a non-compete on the sports talk work until August.  Horizon’s North Florida regional manager Barry Kaye says, “For over thirteen years, Jeff has been a radio icon in Tallahassee.  Even beyond that, Jeff Cameron represents the voice of Seminole fans from coast to coast.  We look forward to welcoming Jeff’s large fan base to our operation.”

Chris Duel Gone from Sports KZDC, San Antonio.  Numerous reports indicate Chris Duel has left Border Media Partners’ sports talker KZDC – The Zone ESPN 1250 where he co-hosted the PM drive show with Jason Minnix.  There’s no official word from Border Media but Duel’s name has been removed from the station’s website.  Duel is a San Antonio broadcast veteran having worked at Clear Channel’s WOAI and Border Media’s KTSA as well.

Mitt Romney-Newt Gingrich Battle the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of January 23-27.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine, the battle between GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM weekly chart.  Coming in at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race – including all of the attendant issues and criticisms of the Obama Administration.  At #3 was President Obama’s State of the Union Address followed by the spat between President Obama and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To see the entire chart, click here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Sports USA Radio’s Joe Morgan Program adds: KTCK, Dallas; WTDY, Madison; WIBZ, Eau Claire, Wisconsin; KNEB, Scottsbluff, Nebraska; and WHOP, Hopkinsville, Kentucky…..GCN’s Dr. Daliah Wachs is added to KCAA, Loma Linda, California…..“America’s Health Care Advocate” with Cary Hall picks up WKYX-AM/FM, Paducah, Kentucky…..Thom Hartmann’s radio program is added to four public radio stations: KSOW-LPFM, Cottage Grove, Oregon; KDKO-FM, Lake Andes, South Dakota; WHAV, Ward Hill, Massachusetts; and WACC-LPFM, Enfield, Connecticut…..Clear Channel brings 14 college stations aboard its iHeartRadio application: WASU-FM, Boone, North Carolina; WCNI-FM, New London, Connecticut; WFRD-FM, Hanover, New Hampshire; WDUB-FM, Granville, Ohio; Radio DePaul; WERS-FM, Boston; WFCF-FM, St. Augustine; KGRG-FM, Auburn, Washington; WICB-FM, Ithaca; Rice Radio; WSOU-FM, South Orange, New Jersey; KZSU, Stanford, California; Temple University’s WHIP; WCWS-FM, Wooster, Ohio.

Social Media: Handle with Care

| January 27, 2012

Since this story was published on the morning of Friday, January 27, KTRS, St. Louis talk host JC Corcoran has responded with illuminating details that add even more to the fascinating subject of social media use by talk broadcasters.  Read his letter here.

By Kevin Casey
and Mike Kinosian

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –– Using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to promote one’s radio program, the station brand or to interact with P1s is what most talk radio practitioners are expected to do these days.  After all, used properly, most digital experts agree the explosive nature of social media can reach people –– including potential new listeners –– in a way other media can’t.  But are there damaging aspects to social media?  Is there a potential downside?

Consider the cases of KTRS, St. Louis talk show host JC Corcoran and Current TV (and former MSNBC and ESPN) personality Keith Olbermann.

Corcoran is a very successful, longtime St. Louis radio personality.  Last fall he got into a back-and-forth argument via Twitter with a listener –– complete with salty language –– about his prediction the Cardinals would re-sign slugger Albert Pujols.  Management at KTRS suspended Corcoran briefly for how he handled the exchange.  The theory being that although the FCC’s jurisdiction is limited to only what goes out over the airwaves, a host’s general public image is the concern of station ownership regardless of the venue upon which it is conveyed –– licensed or unlicensed.

Read More

Thursday, January 26, 2012

| January 26, 2012

WLS, Chicago Puts Local TV News Brothers Together for Weekend Show.  WLS, Chicago operations director Drew Hayes announces the debut of a new Sunday afternoon talk show co-hosted by local TV reporters Dan and Anthony Ponce.  Anthony Ponce works at NBC O&O WMAQ-TV as a general assignment reporter while Dan Ponce is a general assignment reporter at Tribune’s WGN-TV.  Dan also co-founded the nationally recognized a capella singing group Straight No Chaser.  Together they will recap the top national and local stories and give listeners a chance to grade the media.  “There’s always so much more to report beyond the time we have on TV.  This is the perfect opportunity to tell the story behind the story,” says Dan.  “We’re hoping to give listeners a peek into the world of Chicago journalism and hear their opinions about the week’s biggest stories and how they’re covered,” adds Anthony.  Drew Hayes states, “Dan and Anthony have enormous energy, contacts and hands-on experience with Chicago’s biggest news stories which they combine with an organic sense of entertainment.  More importantly, the Ponce Brothers bring an enthusiastic thirst for feedback giving WLS listeners a unique opportunity to talk back to the ‘news media.’”

CBS Radio Closes on Purchase from Family Stations Inc.  Less than a week after firing up its all-news format on WNEW-FM, Washington, DC at 99.1 (licensed to Bowie, Maryland), CBS Radio closes on the station that made the format shift possible.  CBS Radio bought WLWL-FM, Annapolis at 107.9 from Family Stations, Inc for a reported $8.5 million (CBS has not officially stated the purchase price) in November of last year.  That allowed CBS to move its Spanish “El Zol” format to the 107.9 frequency and debut the all-news WNEW-FM on the 99.1 frequency.

Carolyn Polke Promoted to SVP of Digital at Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts.  Glenn Beck’s production company, Mercury Radio Arts, announces Carolyn Polke is promoted to senior vice president of digital for the company she’s been with since 2006.  She is responsible for the continued development and marketing of GBTV, GlennBeck.com and Mercury’s other e-commerce initiatives.  Mercury president and COO Christopher Balfe says, “Mercury is leading the way in developing innovative digital platforms to connect with readers, viewers, and listeners around the globe.  Carolyn is an incredibly talented leader and I’m thrilled to have her in charge of building and managing our most important products.”  Polke works out of Mercury’s New York City headquarters.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to Host Talk Show on RT Network.  He’s reviled in some quarters and hailed as a hero of transparency in others and soon Australian national Julian Assange will be talking with “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders” on a planned 10-program series produced and aired by the former Russia Today cable channel known as RT.  The network boasts a worldwide audience of 430 million people.  There is no announced start date for the program but Assange is currently under house arrest in Great Britain as he fights extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges.

Urban, Female-Targeted “Café Mocha” Program Inks Ads Sales Rep Agreement with Cumulus Media Networks.  The two-year-old, weekend syndicated variety program is currently heard in 20 markets across the country.  It’s co-hosted by Grammy-nominated artist MC Lyte, actress/comedienne Loni Love and broadcast pro Angelique Perrin.  The show was created and is produced by Sheila Eldridge who says, “It’s an exciting time for us as we grow our various brand extensions and answer the requests of our listeners to be everywhere and to go mobile.  Our new ‘Café Mocha To Go’ on-demand app has been a huge success, offering listeners’ uncut content, exclusive celebrity interviews, social commentary, on-demand music mixes by MC Lyte, and inspirational messages.  Our goal is to expand the on-air experience for listeners and increase our global presence!”  The show is a blend of urban music, interviews with celebrities and newsmakers, conversations and advice.  It’s produced by Miles Ahead Broadcasting.

Clarification.  Yesterday’s piece on Santita Jackson’s program at WVON, Chicago needs a bit of clarification.  According to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, Jackson’s late morning program has been off the station since December and she is working on developing a nationally syndicated program.  Midway Broadcasting chairman and WVON GM Melody Spann Cooper tells Feder, “Santita’s goal is to have a national platform and I need some time to get over a little [financial] slump.  When she rolls out on a national level, I will clear this market for her, let her use our studios and give her all the support I can give her.”

Gingrich-Romney Primary Battle, Obama State of the Union Aftermath and Euro Zone Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25).  The fierce battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for votes in next week’s Florida primary, analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union Address and revived concerns about the economic stability of the Euro Zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

| January 25, 2012

Study: More than 22 Million Americans Tuned in to NFL Championship Games.  A study by Edison Research and commissioned by Dial Global indicates 22.9 million people tuned in to either the Patriots-Ravens AFC Championship or the Giants-49ers NFC Championship game – or both – and most did it via AM or FM radio.  The data comes from a telephone poll conducted by Edison Research on Monday, January 23.  Obviously, the result is an estimate extrapolated from a sample but as a sales tool for sports on the radio – especially the red-hot NFL – could be very effective.  It’s also good news for the affiliate department as more and more sports talk outlets – not to mention other formats that carry sports as a specialty – are being convinced by these types of studies and by PPM data that play-by-play is a high-cume programming event.  The study reported that some respondents reported listening to the games via Sirius XM or the Verizon smartphone app but it indicates the bulk of listening was done via terrestrial radio.

Santita Jackson Leaves WVON, Chicago Midday Show.  According to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, the eldest daughter of Jesse Jackson is leaving the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show at Midway Broadcasting’s WVON after more than five years.   She became a full-time talk show host after producing TV and radio shows for her father.  This was a budget issue as WVON GM Melody Spann Cooper tells Feder, “I have encouraged her to pursue a national platform, which she desires and so deserves.  It is my hope that she will rejoin us in a more visible capacity.”

Sports Talk Host Jeff Cameron Exits WNLS, Tallahassee.  PM drive sports talk host Jeff Cameron exits his role at the Clear Channel-owned sports talk outlet to “pursue other opportunities” according to the Tallahassee Democrat.  Cameron has been with the station for the past 12 years.  CC has not commented on Cameron’s exit nor has it outlined its plans to fill his shoes at the station.

Packing ‘em in in Atlanta.  Nationally syndicated money talker Dave Ramsey took his “Total Money Makeover Live” event to the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia in the Atlanta metro on Saturday, January 21 and delivered his message to a crowd of some 8,000.  The event was in conjunction with Cox Media Group-owned affiliate WSB-AM/FM. Program director Pete Spriggs comments, “The WSB team and Atlanta saw the power of Dave Ramsey and his team. TWO sold-out events in TWO days, and thousands of listeners – and POTENTIAL listeners – who were perfectly in our target audience.  WSB is proud to have Dave Ramsey as part of our team and family!”

Passings.  Several talk and sports personalities passed away in the last few days:  Albany market talk pioneer Steve Fitz died on January 22 after a brief illness at age 84.  Fitz began his career at what was WSNY, Schenectady (currently WVKZ) and started the talk show “Party Line” in 1952.  He also worked at WGY, Albany and WQBK, Albany (currently WGDJ…..Longtime Philadelphia sportscaster Andy Musser died on January 22 at age 74 after suffering from a heart ailment.  He broadcast live coverage of numerous Philadelphia sports teams including a 26-year stint as color analyst alongside Harry Kalas for Phillies games…..Milwaukee sportscaster Jim Irwin died from kidney cancer on January 23.  Irwin covered Wisconsin sports for his entire career but is remembered most for his work as the voice of Green Bay Packers football on flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee from 1975 until 1998.

Cathy Carnegie Passes Away After Brief Illness.  The wife and business partner of radio and TV trade publisher Jim Carnegie died on January 19 while in hospice care after suffering a brain aneurysm on January 14.  She was 59.  Cathy and Jim met in 1984 while she was working for American Airlines and he was flying to Las Vegas for the NAB Show.  Less than five months later they married.  Cathy worked as vice president of the publications and helped Jim build them into what they are today.  Memorial gifts can be sent to: LifePath Hospice, 12973 North Telecom Parkway, Suite 100, Temple Terrace, FL 33637.

Romney-Gingrich Primary Battle, Obama State of the Union Speech, Paterno Funeral and Iran Nuclear Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/24).  The heated battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney to capture the GOP nomination, President Obama’s State of the Union Speech, the death and funeral of Joe Paterno and Iran’s nuclear ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

| January 24, 2012

Merlin Media’s All-Newsers Making Headlines.  Although not for winning the radio news ratings wars – at least not yet.  First, from New York, Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels is not going quietly in his hand-to-hand combat with CBS Radio.  As you recall, CBS Radio lawyers sent Merlin a cease and desist for using permutations of WINS, New York’s “Give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” slogan.  Merlin’s was, “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world.”  That difference is important, according to Michaels, who responds that his station is not infringing or misleading consumers but accurately comparing WEMP-FM’s service to WINS’s.  Still, Merlin agrees to stop using the phrase saying it’s not really important to its marketing plans.  The biggie is Merlin is threatening action if CBS does not stop declaring that WINS is “New York’s One and Only News Station,” something Merlin states is “patently false” and comes under the category of a false advertising claim.  In other Merlin Media news, its Chicago operation – WIQI-FM – is quietly testing a news partnership with NBC TV O&O WMAQ-TV, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  CBS’ WBBM-TV and WBBM-AM/FM have a working news relationship and now Michaels may have created a partnership with another of CBS’ news competitors in Chicago – namely NBC.  Feder writes that the deal could mean FM News 101.1 would use NBC 5 audio on its newscasts, FM News 101.1 reporters could appear on NBC 5 newscasts or they could share assignments and online content.  Feder reports the NBC brass is downplaying it as “very informal” as this point and “more of a test to see if we both can benefit.”  Stay tuned.

Lionel Adds New York’s FM News to His Expanding Media Footprint.  Iconoclastic talk show host and personality Lionel has been added to the programming menu at Merlin Media’s all-news outlet in New York (FM News 101.9) as the station’s resident “News Decoder” and legal analyst.  The star of LionelMedia.com appears on the air 12 times-per-day with one-minute commentaries at :32 between 5:00 am to 11:00 am and 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Lionel also performs a similar role at Tribune’s New York TV outlet WPIX Channel 11 with 13 nightly news commentaries per week as well as appearances on the station’s Monday morning news program.  Tribune has begun syndicating these Lionel features to its other television stations around the country.

Michele Tafoya to End PM Drive show on WCCO, Minneapolis.  Working for CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis and doing her sports work for NBC TV has been too much for Michele Tafoya so she’s giving up the radio talk show.  CBS Minneapolis market manager Mick Anselmo tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “She just runs out of gas.  She’s coming out of 20 consecutive weeks of working seven days a week.  We’ve had ongoing conversations about this.  We’d hoped to find kind of a natural break.  The Super Bowl is it.”  Tafoya will work the Super Bowl for NBC and then take on the Olympics this summer.  As for WCCO, the station moves late-morning host John Williams (who does the show from WGN studios in Chicago) to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and John Hines takes over the late-morning shift for now.

Dial Global Partners with CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis to Syndicate “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”  The number of quality nationally syndicated overnight talk radio programs grows by one as Dial Global works out a deal with CBS Radio and KMOX, St. Louis to make “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” available nationally.  Grayson’s program has been heard on CBS’ KDKA, Pittsburgh and WCCO, Minneapolis as well.  Dial Global SVP of news/talk Amy Bolton states, “Programmers across the country know that a solid overnight show is critical to strong morning drive ratings.  Overnight America brings strong audiences to daybreak.”  The overnight daypart is getting crowded with syndicated offerings that already include Premiere Network’s “Coast to Coast AM”; Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon; Cumulus Media Network’s “Red Eye Radio”; and Genesis Communications Network’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney, to name a few.

Clear Channel Names Kevin Dorsey President of Traffic, Navigation and Mobility.  Kevin Dorsey has been with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment since September as SVP of national advertising platforms.  Now he’s upped to president of traffic, navigation and mobility where according to CC, he’ll “oversee the continued integration of Metro Networks with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Total Traffic Networks and will manage and further develop innovative programs including broadcast traffic reporting, online traffic mapping, custom routes and personalized mobile navigation.  His responsibilities will also include building integrated connections with ‘consumers on the go’ over the air, online and via mobile.”

Broadcaster’s Foundation of America Mourns Passing of James Delmonico.  It was James J. Delmonico who is credited with taking over the Broadcast Pioneers organization in 1991, changing its name and setting it on the course that would increase its treasury, profile and ability to assist those in need.  Delmonico passed away Saturday at age 91 in Syracuse.  BFoA chairman Philip J. Lombardo says, “Jim was a tireless leader for the organization, inspiring the appointment of many notables to the board of directors with new focus, determination, and purpose.  Jim was known for challenging his fellow board members to be supportive both financially and by encouraging others to do so.  Under his chairmanship, Jim brought new strengths to the organization in those early and important bedrock years.  He will be missed.”  The organization says that Delmonico “inherited an organization with a treasury of less than $30,000 and few grant recipients in 1991.  Through Delmonico’s leadership and inspiration, and that of his successors – Ward L. Quaal, Edward F. McLaughlin and chairman Philip J. Lombardo – the organization today has an outreach that will exceed $700,000 in grants this year.”

Gingrich Wins SC Primary, President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Iran Oil Embargo, Joe Paterno Passes Away and Super Bowl Matchup Set Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23).  Newt Gingrich’s South Carolina victory keeps GOP primary going; President Obama prepares to deliver the State of the Union address this evening; Iran threatens to close Strait of Hormuz over EU oil embargo; Joe Paterno dies and adds a twist to the Penn State sex abuse case; plus the Super Bowl is set for a rematch between the Patriots and Giants.  These were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Southern California Radio Host LaFern Cusack and Partners Take “Broad Topics” Program to TV.  LaFern Cusack is well known in Southern California for her weekly program on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles and Radio Disney’s “Playground.”  She and co-hosts Laura Nickerson and Lauren Kelley have also been producing and hosting the internet radio show “Broad Topics” since 2008.  Now, the trio is bringing the program to local television via cable TV in Santa Monica through a partnership that has been made possible by the Commission on the Status of Women in an effort to bring the woman’s voice to current issues.  The program was the brainchild of Nickerson who says she wanted “to create a forum for honest discussion of what’s going on in the world from an actual woman’s perspective.  Aren’t we all sick of the male media voice telling us all what to think?  Besides that, my kids were sick to death of hearing me go on about social policy during ‘Sesame Street.’”  Taping of the show will begin in late March.

Doc Ties the Knot.  WLW, Cincinnati late morning talk host Doc Thompson (r) is pictured here at his wedding with his lovely bride Yuna Lee (c) and WRVA, Richmond morning host and program director Jimmy Barrett (l).  Thompson and Lee met at WRVA where Thompson still hosts the PM drive show from Cincinnati.  Yuna Lee is a news anchor at WHIO-TV, Dayton.