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Archive for February, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

| February 29, 2012

KFI, Los Angeles Management Meets with Black Activists; Promises Plan to Address Staff Diversity.  KFI, Los Angeles afternoon drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air this week after a seven-day suspension for insensitive language about Whitney HoustonClear Channel Los Angeles management – as well as John and Ken themselves – met with a group of black activists to discuss the situation and, according to the Los Angeles Times, KFI is promising to devise a plan to address the station’s lack of diversity.  Activist Jasmyne Cannick tells the paper, “KFI has 14 shows, and 13 of them are hosted by white men.  There are no blacks in their newsroom.  This fosters an environment where insensitive comments like this can happen.  And they are not living up to Clear Channel’s statement of a commitment to diversity.”  Management didn’t speak to the Times but local activist Najee Ali seems convinced the station is sincere about addressing their concerns.  The Times quotes him saying, “The station pledged to make substantive changes in diversity.  They are trying to build a bridge.  John and Ken really want to put this behind them and move forward.  Their voices are needed in Southern California and they have done some good things.  We can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

Entercom Reports 7% Drop in Revenue in 2011 Q4; FM Flips a Factor.  During a conference call yesterday announcing Entercom Communications’ financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2011, CEO David Field referred to his company’s station portfolio as having gone through some pretty big changes in the last 12 months with seven format changes – three in two of the company’s biggest markets.  Of course he’s talking about blowing up San Francisco’s country KBWF-FM to create that market’s FM sports talk outlet as well as the changes in Boston to give sports WEEI an FM signal.  Also, news/talker KMBZ, Kansas City and WBEN, Buffalo were given FM signals at the expense of music FMs.  All this means an immediate loss of revenue that the company hopes will be paid back in time.  In a statement, Field said, “These moves significantly enhance our future growth potential and are expected to contribute positively to revenue growth commencing in the second quarter.  However, they diluted our fourth quarter revenues by 4%.  Excluding political and stations reformatted in 2011, fourth quarter revenues were flat.  We are optimistic on 2012 growth, bolstered by improving economic conditions, accelerating performance from newly reformatted stations and political advertising.  And we are highly encouraged by strong industry fundamentals as innovation accelerates, audience usage trends remain outstanding and radio remains the most cost-effective major advertising medium.”

MSNBC Beats CNN in February Prime Time Ratings.  CNN has been working to re-tool its programming to gain back some of the viewers it has been losing but the cable news/talk channel was not able to pull out a victory over competitor MSNBC in February despite the intense GOP primary election  season – including a Republican debate – and the death of Whitney Houston.  According to TVWeek, MSNBC averaged 988,000 total viewers during prime time in February to CNN’s 804,000.

Schnitt Happens in Detroit.  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studios at affiliate station WXYT, Detroit broadcasting live on Tuesday (2/28) as Michigan Republicans went to the polls to vote in the primary election.  Detroit was one of Schnitt’s key stops on the road to the Republican National Convention which will take place in Tampa the week of August 27.  Schnitt’s program is based at WFLA, Tampa from which he will bring his listeners a full-access pass.

Cumulus Media Networks Touts Affiliation Surge for “Red Eye Radio.”  Since changing the tone of the program through the merger of “Red Eye Radio” with the “Midnight Radio Network” hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara, Cumulus Media Networks reports it has added 22 new affiliates to the station’s roster.  With major market O&Os WLS, Chicago and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington leading the pack, the network also reports stations including KCMO, Kansas City; WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence; WGOW-FM, Chattanooga; and KKOB, Albuquerque have picked up the overnight talk show.

WDBO, Orlando Brings Mel Robbins Aboard for Live Midday Show.  Cox Media Group’s WDBO, Orlando notes it will be the first time in 11 years the station will have a local weekday talk host when Mel Robbins takes over the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot, bumping Dial Global’s Clark Howard to the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am shift.  Robbins hosts the A&E cable show “Monster in Law” and worked for five years as a public defender in Manhattan.  The station says when Robbins isn’t doing her radio show or filming for TV she “travels around the country on speaking engagements for Fortune 500 companies.  Robbins has appeared with Dr. Phil discussing her life coaching skills and is a regular on Anderson Cooper’s daytime program, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ a bestselling author, and more.”  Robbins’ program will originate from her rural Massachusetts farm but will make frequent trips to Orlando.

Cumulus Gives Myrtle Beach Sports FM Better Signal; Splits AM Simulcast Off.  Cumulus Media Group is moving 93.9 The Team (WJXY-FM) to the 100.3 dial position currently occupied by CHR i100.3 (WSEA-FM) beginning March 5.  There are programming changes as well.  The station becomes ESPN Radio 100.3 and takes the ESPN programming with it as well as the local PM drive show hosted by Aaron Marks.  He’s the sports director and will be charged with programming the station.  The other change is the AM simulcast on WHSC splits off and becomes Fox Sports Radio 1050.  That station will air DirecTV/Premiere NetworksDan Patrick live, Premiere’s Jim Rome, Fox Sports Radio programming and play-by-play sports including minor league baseball.  WJXY-FM is in a trust to be sold.  It’s still unclear if Cumulus will simply move the CHR format over to 93.9 while that signal is on the market.  Aaron Marks says of the moves, “We are thrilled with the addition of Fox Sports Radio to our cluster of stations.  If there has been one complaint about our station I have heard since I started here last July, it is that Dan Patrick is a great show but doesn’t sound good unless it runs live.  The additional station will also allow us to provide the proper coverage to all of our local and regional colleges and professional teams. Every team can have a place to call home for all of their games and we’ll be able to add even more play-by-play than ever before at the high school, college, and pro level.”

Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher Broadcasts Live from WHK, Cleveland.  In the wake of the tragic deaths of three high school students in the Cleveland suburb of Chardon, Mike Gallagher traveled to Salem Communications’ O&O WHK, Cleveland to broadcast his program live from the area on Tuesday.  Gallagher railed against the news that the suspected shooter was bullied.  “That’s ridiculous, in my view, to go down this path, of suggesting that bullying is somehow to blame.  It might be part of the story, it might be part of the narrative.  It might be factual.  This kid’s some freak, who’s a goth who acts weird and is anti-social and he’s gonna get picked on.  Well, welcome to the real world…please don’t pretend that the kids who can’t handle it, who say they’re bullied, and therefore have to go get a gun and blow kids brains out somehow aren’t evil.  That IS evil.  E-v-i-l.  They are evil monsters who frankly ought to be executed for what they’ve done.  This kid ought to face the death penalty for his cold-blooded acts of violence.”

Business TalkRadio Network Announces New Daily Schedule.  Beginning March 5, Business TalkRadio Network adjusts its afternoon schedule with the addition of “The Big Biz Show” with Bob “Sully” Sullivan airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET; “Catalyst Radio Show” from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and the Tom O’Brien show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  President and CEO Michael Metter states, “Sometimes in life things work out for a reason and this is truly one of those reasons.  We are proud about Bob ‘Sully’ Sullivan coming back to BTRN and even more so that he is anchoring our midday block.  With ‘Catalyst Radio’ our partners will truly embrace this Superman of the business world along with Tom O’Brien, a seasoned pro in the financial world.  You’ve seen them on many of the national television news outlets now experience them on your radio stations through Business TalkRadio Network.”

Virginia Tech and WJFK-FM, Washington Renew Multi-Year Deal.  CBS Radio’s Washington, DC sports talk outlet WJFK-FM and Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network strike a deal that will see Hokies football and men’s basketball play-by-play on the station’s schedule through the 2014-15 season.  The deal also includes airing of the weekly “Tech Talk Live” show featuring the school’s football and basketball coaches.

Ohio School Shooting Fatalities Grow, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Rising Gas Prices, and Government Waste Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28).  The fatal Ohio high school shooting; the Michigan and Arizona primaries and the larger 2012 presidential race; rising gas prices and Iran’s role; and the new report of redundant government programs and the money they are wasting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Dave Ramsey Helps Celebrate 90 Years for WOR, New York.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey broadcast his program live from the Big Apple on February 27 – the first day his show aired live on WOR, New York’s program lineup.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “Rarely in life, even as broadcasters, do we get the opportunity to affect the lives of many in one fell swoop.  Well, WOR is doing just that by airing the advice and wisdom of the great Dave Ramsey daily, in our coveted 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on 710am.  At a time when the entire Tri-State area is stressed and in need of help with their finances, WOR comes to the rescue with Dave’s sage knowledge and direction which can, and has, changed the lives of many for the positive.  We are blessed to have him.”  While there, Ramsey helped WOR celebrate its 90th anniversary on the air.  Pictured here (from l-r) are WOR personalities Joe Bartlett, Dr. Joy Browne, Ramsey, Joan Hamburg and Dave Spencer.

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

| February 28, 2012

Opinion:  Phil Valentine Says Fear of Offending is Lethal to Talk Show Hosts.  Dial Global talk show host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer stating just the fear of offending someone puts all talk hosts on a slippery slope and the latest “guidelines” from the Asian American Journalists Association take it to an absurd extreme.  Read Phil’s piece here.

 

Harris Poll of “America’s Favorite News Personalities” Sure to Cause a Stir; Diane Sawyer America’s Fave, Rush Limbaugh Not.  This recent poll of 2,016 American adults conducted by Harris Interactive lumps a list of 26 news anchors, interviewers and radio and television talk show hosts into one broad category – “news and current affairs personalities” – and asks the subjects which three are their favorites and which three are their least favorites.  The results?  Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly (tied with Barbara Walters) land in the top four spots for favorite.  In the least favorite category, Rush Limbaugh, Nancy Grace, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity fill the top four spots.  The fact that news anchors and talk show hosts are lumped together for the purposes of this poll is interesting.  At TALKERS, we consider them very different animals.  One has to wonder how many typical media consumers consider the duties Diane Sawyer handles on a daily basis and what Rush Limbaugh does on his program to be the same or similar (even though Limbaugh often refers to himself as “America’s Anchorman!”)  Breaking down the results by political affiliation shows the following results: Among Republicans the four favorites are Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Limbaugh and Diane Sawyer.  Among Democrats the four favorites are: Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams (tied for second), and Barbara Walters.  What may be the most interesting facet of this poll from a statistical standpoint is independents ranked their top four favorites the same as the “general population”: Sawyer, Cooper, Williams and O’Reilly.  If you landed high on the least favorite side of this poll, it apparently doesn’t necessarily hurt your listenership/viewership.  While CNN’s AC 360 (Anderson Cooper’s prime time show) garnered 648,000 total viewers (average) during November of last year according to Nielsen, Rush Limbaugh’s estimated weekly cume during the same period was more than 15 million, according to TALKERS.  These are not the same measurement systems but the difference is stark, nonetheless.  Back to cable/news talk for a moment; MSNBC’s Ed Schultz beat CNN’s AC 360 (head-to-head competition) in the November ’11 Nielsens with 944,000 total viewers.  However, Ed Schultz wasn’t even offered as one of the 26 “news and current affairs personalities” to those taking the poll.  MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was included in the poll.  She came in tied for seventh favorite with 7% of all respondents naming her their fave.

Entercom Kansas City Drops Classical for Business Talk Radio on KUDL.  Entercom plans to drop the classical music on KUDL 1660 – Radio Bach – and will turn the station to a business talk-formatted outlet as early as this week with an official start on March 5, according to local reports.  Former KMBZ talk host Mike Shanin is expected to host an 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program and, according to Bottom Line Communications, the station will be closely aligned with and cross-promoted by sister news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM.  While there is no official word from Entercom Kansas City, it’s being reported the station will carry programming from the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and is developing more local programming.  Entercom donated its classical music library to Kansas Public Radio and University of Kansas.

Black Leaders in Southern California Still Upset with John and Ken.  KFI, Los Angeles PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air yesterday after a seven-day suspension for using the words “crack ho” while discussing the death of Whitney Houston.  There are black leaders in Los Angeles still upset the duo have not been fired and the Los Angeles Times reports California State Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. was one of a number of black leaders scheduled to meet with Clear Channel management yesterday before John and Ken took to the air.  Citing the duo’s penchant for controversy, the leaders are asking for KFI to replace them.  Senator Price is quoted in the Times saying, “There are many thoughtful and talented journalists in Southern California.  KFI-AM needs to replace John and Ken with some of them.  I’m sure their radio sponsors will be grateful.”

Photographer Takes Radio Station to the Court of Public Opinion.  Harrison Strategies senior partner and broadcasting attorney Matthew B. Harrison writes that it is important to know more about intellectual property law than just enough to avoid litigation.  Disputes involving intellectual property aren’t always played out civilly within the established legal system.  Brawls are erupting in the Wild West of social networking, where threats of litigation don’t have much standing and unconventional is the nature of attacks.  Read Harrison’s column here.

CBS Sports Network Debuts; Jim Rome Debuts April 3.  The CBS Sports Network is up and running in time for the college basketball post-season.  CBS’ new cable and satellite channel will attempt to capitalize on CBS’ long history of sports programming and will use personality-based shows to try to compete with ESPNPremiere Networks talk radio star Jim Rome is leaving ESPN to take his cable TV show to CBS Sports Network beginning April 3.  Veteran television and radio sports personality Tim Brando’s 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET daily radio talk show on Yahoo! Sports Radio is being simulcast on the new channel.

“America’s Healthcare Advocate” Hits 60 Affiliate Mark.  The Kansas City-based “America’s Healthcare Advocate” show hosted by Cary Hall announces it is now heard on 60 affiliate stations across the country.  Hall states, “If you would have asked me seven years ago whether this show would be nationally syndicated on 60 stations coast to coast, I would have said, ‘impossible!’  It’s amazing to me how we continue to grow.  Obviously the ongoing debate over PPACA (aka ObamaCare) has generated a tremendous amount of interest in our broadcast.  Additionally, the informative shows we are able to do with nationally recognized experts in the health insurance and healthcare industries make us the go-to source across the country for information on these topics.”

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, New WikiLeaks Release, Oscars and Ohio School Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27).  The GOP primaries on the eve of the Michigan and Arizona primaries, the continuing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, WikiLeaks’ release of e-mails from a U.S. security firm, the Academy Awards and the shooting at an Ohio high school that left one student dead were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Irish Eyes Are Smilin’.  Irish Radio Network USA chairman and CEO Adrian Flannelly (r) and his wife and Irish News Network VP and executive producer Aine Sheridan (c) will be honored with the 2012 Ambassador of Ireland Award to be presented by the Saint Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke and the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Holyoke, Massachusetts by Consul General Michael Lonergan.  Seated at left is Springfield City Councilor, former WHYN, Springfield talk show host and member of the Ambassador’s Award committee Kateri Walsh appearing on Flannelly’s program to announce this year’s recipients.  The Ambassador’s Award recognizes individuals whose activities have brought the people of the United States and Ireland closer together.  Flannelly and Sheridan are being honored together as a husband and wife whose professional careers personify that bridge-between-people that this prestigious award represents.

Mr. Neer Ignores the Constitution

| February 28, 2012

By Phil Valentine
Talk Show Host
Dial Global 

NASHVILLE – In response to Richard Neer’s column published below, I’m sure Mr. Neer of WFAN is a well-meaning gentleman who doesn’t want to offend anyone, but over on my side of the talk radio business – issues-driven talk – that attitude is lethal.  If Limbaugh or Hannity or any of us cracked the mic worried about offending someone we’d never utter a word.

That’s exactly the goal of the politically correct and the thought police.

Understand, there are now professional victims out there waiting to be offended.  There are even whole organizations poised to pounce at the mere utterance of anything that sounds offensive.  And that’s the clear distinction here.  Nobody would be defending ESPN if they called Jeremy Lin a chink but they didn’t.  The headline had nothing to do with an ethnic slur.

THAT’S THE POINT!

We are now being told we can’t even talk about anything that sounds offensive.  Take the Asian American Journalists Association.  These people have lost their minds.  They actually had the gall to issue a set of guidelines to follow when covering Jeremy Lin.  WHO ASKED YA?

Read More

Photographer Takes Radio Station to the Court of Social Media

| February 28, 2012

By Matthew B. Harrison
Senior Partner
Harrison Strategies

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –It is important to know more about intellectual property law than just enough to avoid litigation.  Disputes involving intellectual property aren’t always played out civilly within the established legal system.  Brawls are erupting in the Wild West of social networking, where threats of litigation don’t have much standing and unconventional is the nature of attacks.

As described in a previous article (A Lesson from the NJ101.5 Case.), a radio station got hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit because it used copyright protected images, stripped the identifying information of the photographer from the image, and posted them on its website inviting listeners to download and alter the images.

The station argued that its usage of the image was in the capacity of “news reporting” — a term which appears in the Copyright Act’s non-exhaustive list of potential purposes of fair use (thereby excusing their behavior from infringement liability).  While “news reporting” is in fact a justification for copyright infringement – most cases in which news reporting is argued as a fair use defense fail because it is often misapplied – such as in this instance.  The Court disagreed with the assertion that the radio station’s usage was news, ruling that news organizations are not free to use any and all copyrighted works without the permission of the creator simply because they wish to report on the same events a work depicts.

Read More

Monday, February 27, 2012

| February 27, 2012

GOP Candidates Flocking to Talk Radio in Close Primary Race.  In a piece on Mitt Romney’s talk radio appearances in Michigan and Arizona prior to tomorrow’s primaries in those states at Politico yesterday (2/26), writer Keach Hagey speaks with local and national talk show hosts on candidates’ use of talk radio during a campaign like this.  The piece notes that Romney has historically been a bit aloof towards talk radio – unlike Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – but with the race with Santorum particularly close, he’s been all over the medium.  Hagey quotes TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison offering the reason for this turn of events.  “When they’re ahead, they don’t like going on talk radio because they are afraid of making a mistake, and talk radio is a wonderful place for making a mistake.  If he were clearly the front-runner, then he would do less talk radio.”  During a GOP primary race when candidates are speaking to core voters on conservative talk radio-formatted stations, they use the medium to differentiate themselves from the others.  Hagey’s piece quotes Santorum national communications director Hogan Gidley saying, “Mitt Romney’s well-funded attack machine is on their seek-and-destroy mission, and talk radio is often the avenue Rick Santorum uses to dispel those false accusations.  We have been on talk radio probably more than any of the other candidates combined.”  With the Michigan and Arizona primaries tomorrow, Talk Radio Network-syndicated “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills is the beneficiary with interviews with  Mitt Romney at 8:15 am today and Rick Santorum at 8:30 am.

INNOVATIVE MODEL SET FOR NEW MEDIA SEMINAR 2012.  Plans have been set for the 15th annual installment of the New Media Seminar, the longest-running, largest and most important annual talk media industry convention.  This year’s version marks the innovative launch of an updated model sensitive to the tough economic and stressful conditions of the times. Significant restructuring has been applied to lower the costs of registration, accommodations and travel as well as moving the event from the weekend to a weekday.  According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Both conferences will be national in scope and regional in flavor, a recipe that worked amazingly well at last year’s successful experiment, the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.”

NMS 2012 will consist of two one-day conferences.  The first will be held in New York City on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  The second – presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club – will take place on Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.

According to Harrison, “We learned a tremendous amount at last year’s ‘happening’ in L.A.  There is something very exciting, fulfilling and productive about one single, power-packed day with no time-wasting fat or money-wasting frills.  It was executed purposefully under the radar to test the waters for this new model on a national scale and it succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching maximum registration capacity in a matter of days.  Although the New Media Seminar has actually grown consistently larger and has been a sell-out every year of its existence, we recognize that conditions are such that a change would eventually be necessary as well as beneficial to the working person in our business – at least during this stressful period of tight budgets and high industry economic uncertainty.  At TALKERS we insist on being ahead of the curve.  Industry conferences need to include and be accessible to professionals in the trenches as well as the corporate elite.  This new model is a gift to the business.”

Because quick sell-outs for each event are expected, registration will be limited to working media.  For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at barbara@talkers.com.  Further details, agenda updates and hotel information will be announced in the coming days here at Talkers.com and in the TALKERS morning headlines e-mailer.  Stay tuned!

NPR Announces Promotions and New Executive Structure.  NPR promotes Kinsey Wilson to the position executive vice president and chief content officer and makes Margaret Low Smith the senior vice president of NPR news, a position she’s been serving in the “acting” vein since last January.  NPR president and CEO Gary Knell states, “This is a time of great opportunity for NPR and our member stations.  In Kinsey and Margaret we have two journalists, strategists and leaders with a keen understanding of the craft that distinguishes NPR – and how we must continue to innovate and evolve.  Our collective aim is to work with stations to become an unrivaled leader in news and cultural coverage that reaches all Americans, no matter how they tune in.”  Wilson has been with NPR since 2008 as SVP and general manager of digital media.  NPR also announces Eric Nuzum steps permanently into the vice president for programming role.  Plus, vice president of diversity in news & operations Keith Woods is charged with broadening with member stations to support public radio’s drive for greater diversity in its audience, staffing and content.  Woods will work closely with vice president for membership and audience partnership Joyce MacDonald.

Ric Edelman’s Weekly Financial Talk Show Clears KFI, Los Angeles.  “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” – the nationally syndicated financial talk show hosted by one of the nation’s top-ranked financial advisors – is added to the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles airing Sundays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Edelman’s program is now heard in 54 markets, including 25 of the top 30 markets.  Edelman says. “I’m excited to join KFI’s outstanding lineup and look forward to bringing financial education to so many people in Southern California.”

KGO, San Francisco Makes Changes to Weekend Schedule; More News Content Added.  Responding to listener feedback, the Cumulus Media Group station announces changes to its weekend schedule that includes the addition of traffic reports every 10 minutes plus live weather reports with ABC 7 meteorologists to serve listeners out in their cars on the weekend.  News and program director Brian Hosley announces two new programs: “Cooking with Ryan Scott,” airing Saturdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and “The Monty Show,” hosted by Tim Montemayor and airing from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.  Hosley says Montemayor’s show will address local and timely issues.  Montemayor is an East Bay resident who has worked in Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis as well as being syndicated nationally with Sporting News Radio.  “He is a self-proclaimed ‘news junkie’ and is excited to talk with listeners about the stories that matter to them most.”

Cox Media Group’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia Prepares for Martha Zoller’s Congressional Run.  The station positioned as “Bulldog 103.7” – Cox Media Group’s talk and sports hybrid WXKT-FM – is running a contest for a fill-in for “one of our most popular hosts” who “will be occupied for a few months.”  The station doesn’t mention Martha Zoller by name but the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host has said she’ll run as a Republican for the new congressional seat created by population changes and redistricting.  The station is asking, “Do you have strong ties to the Gainesville area?  Do you keep abreast of local, state and national issues?  Can you have civil discussions with those who hold differing viewpoints?  Can you keep talking and keep it interesting for hours on end?  Then Bulldog 103.7 has a microphone with your name on it.”  Applicants must write the station and in 100 words or less tell why they should get the gig.

Clear Channel’s Hartford Sports Talkers Split Affiliation.  The new FM sports talk station Clear Channel Media and Entertainment put on the air recently – WUCS 97.9 FM ESPN – has been simulcasting with AM sister WPOP.  Beginning March 5, WPOP will break off from the simulcast and affiliate with Fox Sports Radio.  It will also carry the DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Dan Patrick show.

Opinion: Richard Neer Responds to Phil Valentine.  Regarding the debate over the use of terms or phrases on broadcasts or in print historically regarded as ethnic slurs, TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer responds to Dial Global Nashville-based talk host Phil Valentine who wrote this opinion piece called “Controlling the Language” published by TALKERS on Friday (2/24).  Valentine was responding to Neer’s original column published last week here.  In his response, Neer contests the notion that “words can’t hurt” and points out humanity’s tendency toward ethnic pride as one of the underlying reasons why ethnic slurs exist in the first place.  Read Neer’s piece here.