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Archive for March, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

| March 23, 2012

Media Matters Begins Paid Ad Campaign in Eight Markets Against Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Talk Radio.  The Associated Press is reporting that Media Matters for America will spend some $100,000 on an ad campaign in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Macon, Georgia and Cedar Rapids, Iowa asking people who hear the ad to call the Rush Limbaugh affiliate in their market and say, “We don’t talk to women like that in our city.”  Clearly, Media Matters is not backing off its attack on conservative talk media and any success it can claim for harming Limbaugh’s program – or conservative talk radio in general – will help bring in more donations to its cause.  And, according to Premiere Networks spokesperson Rachel Nelson, therein lays the rub.  “This is not about women.  It’s not about ethics and it’s not about the nature of our public discourse.  It’s a direct attack on America’s guaranteed First Amendment right to free speech.  It’s essentially a call for censorship masquerading as high-minded indignation.”  As this ideological and tactical war escalates, more important voices are entering the fray with a variety of takes on the issue.  For example, leading progressive talker of radio, television and live performances, Stephanie Miller tells TALKERS, “I, for one, as someone in radio for over 25 years, know that advertiser boycotts can cut both ways and hurt everyone in the radio business.  The other side can just as easily take something I said, or Ed Schultz said, and goes after our advertisers and stations, and then where does it end?  ‘You send one of ours to the hospital; we send one of yours to the morgue’?  If advertisers decide that talk radio in general is too controversial, we all lose!”  Miller tells TALKERS that she intends to extend invitations to both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to appear as guests on her nationally syndicated morning radio program (simulcast beginning Monday on Al Gore’s progressive Current TV) to present their side of the story in a non-confrontational  setting.  Dial Global-syndicated progressive talk host Thom Hartmann is also bothered by the anti-Limbaugh campaign.  “The Limbaugh boycott is bad for all talk radio; it’s harming progressive talk radio by shrinking the pool of companies willing to advertise on any type of talk radio.  If people want to be activists “against” or “for” a show, they should call station management, not advertisers.”

America’s Radio News Network Gives CNN Radio Affiliates Free Trial of its 24-Hour News Service.  With the CNN Radio news service going away after April 1, Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters says his company is offering the more than 1,100 CNN Radio affiliates the chance to take the America’s Radio News Network 24-hour top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service for 45 days contract and inventory free so they can make up their minds about their new news service without having to make a “snap decision.”  Masters says, “This is a simple courtesy extended to those former CNN stations giving them a six week ‘pressure relief valve’ where they could sample our fine product inventory free without pressure, giving them extra time to make the best decision.  Obviously we think that we are the best choice, but this offer was meant as a thoughtful courtesy to those stations that have not yet made up their minds – we don’t want them to be ‘high and dry’ on April 2.”  Masters says because of the growth of America’s Radio News Network’s long-form programming and the demand for short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news brought on by CNN’s sudden departure from radio news ARNN recently announced that it had moved up its schedule for the launch of its second news network to accommodate the needs of radio stations looking for “agenda free” short-form news.  ARNN EVP John McCaslin says, “We’re so confident that this is the best top- and bottom-of-the-hour news product on the air, we are willing to allow stations to air it, without inventory requirement contract free through May 15.  So, all you have to ask yourself is, ‘What am I going to do with over 700 extra minutes of local inventory, if I take ARNN up on its free sample offer?’”

All-News KROI-FM, Houston Fires Morning Anchor Scott Braddock.  It’s an unusual case but not unheard of and certainly becoming more relevant as intellectual property issues become more common in the industry.  Radio One’s KROI-FM, Houston recently dismissed morning drive news anchor Scott Braddock after he appeared on crosstown, non-commercial outlet KPFT-FM to discuss the Texas sonogram law and play audio of an interview that also had previously aired on his employer’s station.  He tells the Houston Chronicle he did so without asking permission and believes he had the right to air the audio, equating it with a reporter’s notes.  Radio One disagreed, stating it violated the terms of his contract – a contract Braddock says he had not signed – and it had no choice but to let him go.  Braddock says Radio One is overreacting and wonders why a station that worked hard to get him to come to Houston from Austin for the job would let one of its prime talent go as it works to get the nascent all-news outlet off the ground.

Denver Woman Charged with Felonies After Telling Tale of Escaping Jury Duty on KOA.  Last October Susan Cole appeared on KOA, Denver’s Dave Logan program and told the story of how she got out of jury duty by dressing bizarrely and pretending to suffer from mental illness.  Unfortunately, Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield was listening and, due in part to Cole’s memorable performance in court, investigators were able to figure out who she was.  According to the Denver Post, Cole used the name “Char from Denver” on the radio program and investigators linked her to her pen name Char Cole. She published a book that details her struggles with domestic abuse under the name and offered it to investigators to prove her life story and the mental illness claim, but she was unable to show she suffers from PTSD which she claimed at her jury appearance.  It’s unclear what penalty, if convicted, the 57-year-old Cole faces.

Sales: H&H Communications’ Al Herskovitz Announces the Winners of His 2012 Hersky Awards for Talk Radio Sales Excellence.  For the fifth year running, sales and marketing pro and TALKERS columnist Al Herskovitz recognizes some of the industry’s shining stars in the sales, commercial and ad copy arenas.  Read Al’s humorous yet insightful piece here.

KILT, Houston AM Drive Co-Host Marc Vandermeer to Leave Radio Show.  The NFL’s Houston Texans are taking their broadcasts in-house and current KILT morning drive co-host Marc Vandermeer will leave the CBS Radio sports outlet to become director of radio broadcasting for the team.  KILT serves as the flagship for the Texans and Vandermeer tells the Houston Chronicle he’ll still be affiliated with the station.  “It’s awesome to be able to work for an NFL team and to be involved in all aspects of their radio programming.  I’m not saying goodbye to Sports Radio 610, so I will still maintain my relationships there.  It’s the best of everything for me.”  Program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper Vandermeer will exit in late May or early June and he will begin looking for a replacement to work alongside co-host John Lopez.

KKFN, Denver Re-Ups with Talk Host Alfred Williams.  Lincoln Financial Media sports talk host (and former Denver Bronco star) Alfred Williams signs a contract renewal to remain in the co-host seat alongside Darren “D-Mac” McKee on the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  In a statement, Williams says, “I am excited to continue to be a part of ‘The Fan.’  I love getting to interact locally with the Denver sports fans everyday and am happy to know I’ll be able to do it for many years to come.”

WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach Host Tara Servatius Exits Blog Position After Controversial Image Draws Criticism.  Morning drive co-host Tara Servatius has left her position as a blogger for the non-profit John Locke Foundation after she used a doctored photo of President Obama in drag with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in front of him to accompany the piece about the president’s opposition to the North Carolina marriage amendment.  Servatius apologized for the photo stating, “I am genuinely sorry my inclusion of the photo along with my blog post has caused controversy for the John Locke Foundation.  If it has offended anyone, I sincerely regret that.  That was certainly not my intention.  It was meant to illustrate Obama’s southern political strategy, nothing more.  An honest reading of the piece itself shows there is nothing offensive in it.”  WRNN-AM/FM owner Next Media Group says the issue will not affect Servatius’ status with the station.

Los Angeles Sports Talk Personalities Joe McDonnell and Doug Krikorian to Host Daily Internet Show.  Southern California sports talk personality Joe McDonnell, who’s been doing sports update work at KNX, Los Angeles, will begin a daily internet sports talk show with former radio partner Doug Krikorian, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.  The McDonnell-Douglas show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on a yet-to-be announced URL.  McDonnell was a major presence in the Los Angeles sports media scene going back to the 1980s but he disappeared from sports talk radio after leaving KLAC in 2008.  He made the local news after undergoing gastric bypass surgery and losing some 400 pounds several years ago.  The new show debuts on April 9 with a live broadcast from Legends Sports Bar in Long Beach.

Republican Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign Again Tops Talkers TenTM News/Talk Chart.  The GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign again tied for the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio during the week of March 19-23 landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for another straight week .  Coming in at #2 was Iran’s nuclear weapons program tied with U.S.-Israel relations.  At #3 was soaring gas prices tied with President Obama’s approval ratings and at #4 was the controversy over the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the most-talked-about stories and people of the week as heard on news/talk radio across American based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge picks up major market affiliate WWRL, New York…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish adds Boise affiliate KYWN.

The 2012 Hersky Awards

| March 23, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON, Fla. — Those minor, frivolous awards shows – the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, etc. – have come and gone and are mostly forgotten.  Can anyone tell me who won the sound editing award for the best foreign language documentary?  Who won what for what is but a dim memory, if that.  All of this has been swept out of the way to make room for the most important of all: The 2012 Hersky Awards!

These are honors given to the very best in sales orientation in the talk format.  Keep in mind there is no fancy ceremony with the ripping open of envelopes followed by the inevitable pregnant pause.  No need to bring back Billy Crystal to salvage the event.  There is no red carpet to walk in fancy, designer clothes where focus is put on how much “pupick” you can expose. There is no need to hire some expensive accounting firm to verify the honesty, authenticity, secrecy of the judging.

The process is very simple.  There is only one judge.  (See name above.)  The judge reviews as much talk radio as he can hear and peruses as many talk station websites as he can view over the preceding 12 months.  Keep in mind that the awards go only to national entities since it would be impossible to assess all the local ones, many of whom would be quite worthy in their own markets.  There is one exception: local station website.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

| March 22, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Camp Fires Back at Media Matters with Scathing Statement.  Embattled Premiere Networks talk radio star Rush Limbaugh, via his spokesperson Brian Glicklich in a commentary in Politico, yesterday afternoon issued an official response to the campaign being waged against the show by Media Matters.  This is the first lengthy, official statement made about the advertising issue by Limbaugh’s organization since the controversy began and it has the industry buzzing.  In Glicklich’s scathing attack on Media Matters’ tactics he writes the end result of the campaign hurts more people than Rush Limbaugh.  “By putting small business in the crosshairs of their war on expression, Media Matters is causing real harm.  They are hurting these businesses, their employees and their families.  As a business owner, imagine waking up one morning and being assaulted by hundreds of coordinated attacks from operatives who never were or will be your customers.”  Read Glicklich’s entire commentary here.

Los Angeles City Council Passes Resolution to “End Racist and Sexist Language” on Radio.  On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council – by a vote of 13 to 2 – passed a resolution that read: “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that by adoption of this Resolution, the City Council urges all management of radio and television stations in Los Angeles to do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over public airwaves in the City of Los Angeles.”  The wording of the resolution was broadened with an amendment.  The original intent and much of the discussion was targeted at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk KFI.  Though language on the radio was discussed by the council, other discussion involved accusations by critics that lack of diversity in staffing – too few minorities and women in on-air roles, specifically – is to blame for occurrences of what they call racist and sexist slurs.

WTOP, Washington VP News and Programming Jim Farley Named 2012 Recipient of Freedom of Speech Award.  The TALKERS editorial board has selected legendary radio news director Jim Farley as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award.  The award will be presented to Farley at the New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Farley, recently interviewed by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (see Talkers TV at right and story below), will address “the renaissance of journalism in the new digital broadcasting era” following the presentation of the award.  In a statement released Wednesday, March 21 Michael Harrison states, “We are witnessing the rebirth of committed journalism in America on the radio airwaves and its associated digital platforms.  WTOP proudly shines as the inspirational example of this positive movement, and Jim Farley’s visionary leadership in bringing it to life on a day-to-day basis would make even Thomas Jefferson proud.  The First Amendment is alive and well at WTOP.  Jim Farley is a remarkable broadcaster.”  The Freedom of Speech Award is a non-partisan honor that has been presented to a wide variety of talk media figures since 1990 whose work has demonstrated the First Amendment in action and raised awareness of its principles.  Past recipients have included Brian Lamb, Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Jack Anderson, Norm Pattiz, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Bob Grant, Alan Dershowitz, Bill O’ Reilly, Gene Burns, G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Stern and more.  Last year’s recipient was Juan Williams.

Scarborough Research Releases Study of Entertainment Spending by Baby Boomers.  It’s probably not too surprising that the favorite radio formats of the Baby Boom generation are, in order, AC (30%), news/talk (28%), and classic hits (25%).  The study includes statistics about how Boomers like to spend their free time – a nod to the types of ad clients likely to benefit from being heard on their favorite stations.  It notes, “In the past 12 months Baby Boomers have attended a professional sporting event (36%), attended live theater (22%), visited an art museum (14%), attended a rock concert (12%) and gone to the symphony or opera (9%).  And Baby Boomers don’t just have a hunger for entertainment – they are 11% more likely than all American adults to have eaten at a seafood restaurant or steakhouse in the past 30 days.”  EVP of commercial development Brian Condon says, “Baby Boomers remain an essential demographic since they reap the rewards of having had long careers and no longer have young children to care for.  Baby Boomers represent a segment of the American population that has a thirst for adventure, and the financial freedom to explore that passion.”

KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Billy Beane and Bob Melvin to A’s Coverage.  Entercom’s sports talk “95.7 The Game” – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces the addition of A’s general manager Bill Beane and manager Bob Melvin to the station’s coverage of the team.  Beane will become part of the Thursday PM drive show with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis and Melvin will join “Rise Guys” Whitey Gleason, Mark Kreidler and Dan Dibley every Monday morning.  PD Jason Barrett states, “Bill Beane is one of the smartest baseball minds in America and has a unique perspective about the game that Bay Area baseball fans won’t want to miss.  Bob Melvin has his pulse on the finger of the Athletics and he’ll give Bay Area baseball fans a weekly glimpse inside the clubhouse like no one else.”

“Free Talk Live” Gets Major Market Clear on WWRL, New York.  The independently syndicated evening and weekend program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge enters the New York City market with a Sunday morning clearance on Access.1 Communications’ progressive talk WWRL.  Freeman says of the addition, “There aren’t many issues-oriented talk shows that can cross talk platforms.  However, we’ve been doing it for years with conservative, progressive, business talk and hot talk stations all airing ‘Free Talk Live.’  I’m excited to announce that ‘Free Talk Live’ welcomes our newest affiliate in America’s largest market: WWRL 1600 in New York City.  Thanks to program director Rennie Bishop for allowing us the opportunity to entertain the people of NYC on the country’s most prominent progressive station.”

Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno Celebrates 90th Anniversary Tomorrow.  1922 was a big year for the U.S. government granting radio station licenses and another heritage station is celebrating its 90th year on the air this week.  KMJ, Fresno is the 38th oldest licensed continuously operating radio station in the country.  It was originally licensed to San Joaquin Power and Light Corporation but was sold to McClatchey Newspapers in 1925.  CBS Radio bought KMJ in 1987 and then sold it to Peak Broadcasting in 2006.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “Monsters in the Morning” Sponsor Habitat for Humanity House.  The morning drive crew at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WTKS-FM, Orlando led by Russ Rollins is kicking off its First Annual Monster House project in conjunction with the Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka and the City of Sanford.  Rollins and Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, who on behalf of the City of Sanford, donated the property for the project made the recent announcement.  Rollins says, “This is a huge project with our national radio program teaming up with local government and Habitat for Humanity to benefit the community.  For every $1 spent on construction, $7 will go back into the local economy.  ‘The Monsters’ are looking forward to helping a local family fulfill their dream of home ownership with the First Annual Monster House.  We hope to make The Monster House an annual project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.”

Romney Wins Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Iran Nukes Program, Saints Staff Penalized for Bounty Program/Tebow Traded to Jets and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/21).  Mitt Romney’s decisive win in Illinois on Tuesday and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 presidential race; uncertainty over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; the NFL’s Saints, coaches and former coach penalized severely for ‘bounty program’; Tim Tebow is traded to the Jets; and continuing tensions in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

| March 21, 2012

WTOP, Washington’s Jim Farley: “We’re Engaged Across All Platforms.”  Hubbard Broadcasting’s Jim Farley, vice president of news and programming at WTOP, Washington, speaks with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison in this TalkersTV video interview.  Farley tells Harrison that although WTOP is a heritage radio station, they think of it differently, “We don’t think of it as a radio station; we think of it as a digital news organization…we compete with everybody who does news.”  Farley praises WTOP ownership – both current and past – for having the foresight to invest in staff and equipment to compete in the 21st century news game.  Farley says they recently added a digital editor for the overnight shift so the organization has a radio and digital editor on the clock at all times.  “Whenever there is a story – middle of the night or on weekends – we’ll be engaged across all platforms.”  See the TalkersTV video in the box on this page.

Former WCCO, Minneapolis Talk Host Don Shelby Joins BringMeTheNews.  Longtime Twin Cities TV and radio personality Don Shelby (pictured at left) begins a new position as morning drive news anchor at BringMeTheNews – the radio news network and online news site for Minnesota founded by Twin Cities news pro Rick Kupchella (pictured at right) in 2009.  Shelby, a longtime WCCO-TV newsman who retired from his midday talk show at WCCO radio in 2010, will be morning anchor for the service heard on some 30 stations around the state.  He’ll also handle original news reporting.  Shelby states, “I am so pleased that I’ll be back in the game – not just to be back in the game, but to satisfy the needs of people who, for 32 years, trusted me to tell them the truth.  I miss them and I miss the opportunity to do that.”

Sports Talk Talent Moves in San Diego; Rosenberg and Williams to XEPRS.  Josh Rosenberg and Charod Williams jump from KLSD, San Diego “Xtra Sports 1360” to crosstown (actually, cross-border) XEPRS XX 1090 for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift beginning Monday, March 26.  The move pushes Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton to the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot, Darren Smith to the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm shift and John “The Coach” Kentera to the 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm show when Padres baseball is not airing.  KLSD has not announced who will replace Rosenberg and Williams in the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm shift.

Asheville, North Carolina Talk Host Matt Mittan Returns to Air in the Market.  Talk show host Matt Mittan left Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville five months ago.  Now, after continuing to produce his program along with co-host and producer Agnes Cheek online and self-syndicating it in various formats to a number of stations in the region, the program returns to Asheville on gospel WZGM.  More than that, Mittan and Cheek have taken operational control over the HRN Broadcasting-owned station.  Mittan tells the Asheville Citizen-Times the station will still air gospel music in the morning plus Dial Global’s Clark Howard, his program from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Dial Global’s Neal Boortz from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Eventually, he’d like to add more local talk to the station.

Beasley Broadcasting Names Rafe D’Amico NSM for Las Vegas Cluster.  Rafe D’Amico already serves as national sales manager for Beasley stations on Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware.  Now he’s named NSM for the entire Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KDWN.  Beasley Las Vegas director of sales Cory Cuddeback says, “I’m thrilled that Rafe is joining our Vegas team.  Rafe has an impeccable reputation along with a solid background in the industry and will be a tremendous asset for our cluster moving forward.”

Promotions at Clear Channel Toledo.  A number of staffers at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Toledo cluster are being promoted including news/talk WSPD executive producer Katie Hileman who is named assistant program director for the station.  Sports WCWA program director Tom Riggs also takes on the cluster’s digital content director responsibilities.

WLW, Cincinnati Celebrates 90th Anniversary This Week.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s venerable WLW, Cincinnati is celebrating its 90th year in operation this week.  The station was put on the air on March 23, 1922 by Powel Crosley, Jr.  In 1934 WLW would receive permission to broadcast at 500,000 watts – the only station to do so – and for the next five years earned the nickname “The Nation’s Station.”  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter details a very cool, quick history of WLW in his column here.

KABC, Los Angeles To Give Away New Sidewalk in “Sidewalk Insanity” Promotion.  In an affectionate nod to Los Angeles’ notoriously decrepit sidewalks, Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is running a “bracket-like” contest in which one lucky winner gets a new sidewalk courtesy of sponsor Capital Construction.  The station says, “L.A. is world famous for having the world’s worst sidewalks – more than 4,000 miles of jagged cliffs of cracked and tree-root-raised barricades – making walking, skateboarding or wheelchair access virtually impossible.”  Contestants are encouraged to send a photo of their lousy sidewalk to AM drive host Doug McIntyre (pictured here holding a chunk of broken concrete) for their chance to enter the bracket and have listeners vote on the worst of the worst.

KOIN-TV, Portland News Anchors to Fill In on KPAM Radio.  Pamplin Media Group program director Dennis Glasgow reports KOIN-TV, Portland news anchors Jeff Gianola and Kelly Day will fill in for talk host Bob Miller on the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show today.  Glasgow states, “Not only is this going to be great radio, but this is a great example of sharing talent and resources.  We value this important and exclusive local partnership with KOIN and look forward to having Jeff and Kelly grace our airwaves, I know our listeners will feel the same way.”

Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Federal Budget Debate, Florida Youth Slaying, Iran Nuke Ambitions and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20).  The GOP primary election in Illinois and the larger 2012 presidential campaign issues, the ongoing debate over cuts to the federal budget, the controversial killing of an unarmed Florida teen, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and continuing tensions for U.S. troops in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

| March 20, 2012

Peak Broadcasting Emerges from Chapter 11.  The pre-packaged Chapter 11 restructuring plan Peak Broadcasting entered into in January has been executed and the company comes out of it with new owners: Oaktree Capital Management and GE Capital.  CEO Todd Lawley and CFO Tim Lyons remain in their management positions.  In a statement, Lawley says, “By significantly reducing the amount of debt outstanding on our balance sheet, this transaction provides Peak with the flexibility to invest in our business to ensure that we continue to provide best-in-market audio programming to our consumers and marketing solutions to our clients.”

New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards Extends Entries Deadline.  The world-renowned New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards is extending the deadline for entry submissions for the 2012 contest through April 2.  The 30-year-old competition honors the most innovative work in radio broadcasting, with entries from radio stations, networks and independent producers from around the globe.  Executive director Rose Anderson says, “Even as distribution platforms multiply across the airwave spectrum, one thing remains constant: the power of the individual voice.  Just this past year, winners in our talk categories – a diverse group from Howard Stern to Marvin Kalb in the U.S. to Radio Pasfarda (Iran) and Writers & Company (Canada) – engaged their audiences’ curiosity with intensity.  We here at New York Festivals are very proud to recognize the creativity, innovation and quality exhibited around the world in radio today.”  Categories in the talk radio realm include: Best Regularly Scheduled Talk Program, Best Talk/Interview Special, Best Radio Personality: Local Market, Best Radio Personality: Network/Syndicated, Best Talk Show Host, Best Information/News Talk Show (AM drive), Best Two-Way Telephone Talk/Interview Show (AM drive), Best Online Talk Program, Best Satellite Talk Program, Best Satellite Radio Personality, Best Radio Personality (student), Best Artist Interview/Performance (student), Editorial or Viewpoint Program, plus numerous awards in the radio news and sports categories.  Find complete information about the awards, categories and how to enter by visiting http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/.  New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards Grand Jury enlists jurists from all over the world, representing some of the most recognizable voices and captivating programming producers in the industry.  Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity and use of the medium.  The International Radio Program & Promotion Awards will honor 2012’s winning entries on June 18 at an awards ceremony at Manhattan Penthouse in New York City.

Michael Smerconish Visits Boston Affiliate WTKK-FM for Movie Premiere.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish is bringing his ‘Book Club’ live event series to the silver screen and he’s in Boston today for a premiere screening for Greater Media affiliate WTKK-FM.  “Book Club with Michael Smerconish featuring Chris MatthewsJack Kennedy: Elusive Hero” premieres at the Showcase Cinema De Lux in suburban Dedham.  Smerconish will welcome the crowd and conduct a curtain call speech prior to the movie.  Smerconish states, “Over the last several years, I have hosted many A-list authors for live gatherings of what I call my ‘Book Club.’  Never have any of these made it to the big screen.  My interview with Chris Matthews concerning his New York Times bestseller Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero was recorded in High-Def and I am thrilled it will be shown on screens all across the country on March 20.  Where can you find me that night?  Boston!”

CCME Names Radha Subramanyam EVP of Sales and Marketing ResearchClear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan says Radha Subramanyam is “recognized as an industry leader in consumer insights and research and I am excited to have her on our team.”  She previously served as senior vice president of media and advertiser insights and analytics as a thought leader across media forms for The Nielsen Company.  In her new role with CCME, Subramanyam will be responsible for “developing, aggregating and analyzing consumer data to help illustrate and support the unique ability Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has to provide advertisers with national reach and local activation.”

WHAS, Louisville Talk Host Terry Meiners Sued by Local Cop for Slander.  Longtime Louisville talk radio personality Terry Meiners is facing a civil suit for slander by the Louisville Metro Police officer who gave him a speeding ticket in March of last year.  Meiners contested the ticket and was found not guilty in October.  The officer, Sam Cromity, alleges Meiner took to the airwaves where he called him “Black Barney,” he played belittling songs about the highway patrol and called him a liar at least 15 times.  Meiners says Cromity was threatening during the traffic stop – something Cromity denies.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WHAS is also named in the suit.

C-SPAN Founder and CEO Brian Lamb Steps Down from CEO Post.  The man who founded C-SPAN 33 years ago is stepping down from his day-to-day role as chief executive officer of the cable TV federal government news channel that reaches some 100 million homes.  Brian Lamb, who was honored with TALKERS’ Freedom of Speech Award, will become executive chairman of the board at C-SPAN and will still host the weekly “Q&A” interview show.  He will hand over the CEO reigns to Rob Kennedy and Susan Swain effective April 1.

KWTX, Waco, Texas Hosts Debates for Local Races.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned KWTX, Waco reports the recent debates it sponsored and broadcast drew some 450 citizens to the University High School auditorium on March 7.  The races were the GOP primaries for McLennan County Sheriff and the Texas House of Representatives, District 56.  Morning drive host Shane Warner moderated the debates and states, “To have this many people show up in the middle of the week to hear some local politicians talk about local issues is quite an accomplishment.  We were hoping for a good turnout but the interest from the community was beyond anything we could have imagined – and this was just for a primary election!  As the only local talk show in the Waco market, I felt this was the kind of event that only News Talk 1230 and talk radio could pull off.  This illustrates the power of local talk radio to help inform the community about what’s going on in their own backyard and bring voters and listeners access they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Dave Ramsey Live in Orlando…and Beyond.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey is pictured here at the University of Central Florida arena delivering his “Total Money Makeover Live” program before 7,500 people on March 17.  This was also simulcast to 200 other locations.  Ramsey spent the weekend in Orlando and presented his “EntreLeadership 1-Day Event” to nearly 1,000 business leaders.  He also met with sponsors of the event and affiliate WFLA staff.  Clear Channel Orlando market manager Linda Byrd says, “The personal attention and customer service we get from Dave Ramsey and his team is nothing short of stellar.  It’s amazing that in spite of having 500+ affiliates he makes us feel so special. Truly feels like he’s a member of our local team.  Dave does syndication the right way.”

Phil Hendrie Distributes Content Via Pandora.  Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated radio personality Phil Hendrie can now be heard on Pandora.  Hendrie’s bits, including characters Jay Santos, Chris Norton, Bobbie Dooley, David G. Hall and Ted Bell, are now available on the content distribution service.  Hendrie joins Premiere NetworksBob & Tom, Steve Harvey’s Nephew Tommy and The Jerky Boys, all of whom rotate in the user-created “Phil Hendrie Radio” station.  Hendrie’s tracks will also come up on user-created stations for morning radio artists, comics and political satirists.

GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Afghanistan Tensions, Iran Nuclear Weapons Program, Syria Violence, and Peyton Manning to Denver Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/19).  The GOP primary race and the issues in the 2012 presidential race, the continuing tensions in Afghanistan after a U.S. soldier is charged with killing 16 civilians, Iran’s nuclear weapons program, continuing Syrian violence and Peyton Manning’s joining the Denver Broncos were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.