Archive for August, 2012
Talk Radio Wraps Up Major Week of High-Profile Broadcasting and News Gathering. The Republican National Convention week was a busy one for the country’s news/talk stations as well as more than 100 outlets that chose to broadcast live from radio row in Tampa and many more than that sent hosts, staffers and news people to the city to cover the convention and report back to their markets. According to a report issued to TALKERS by the Republican National Committee, this year’s radio row generated some 1,551 radio interviews smashing 2008’s record of 1,263. The convention radio row is not only fertile ground upon which to produce a live broadcast with a huge pool of political experts, candidates and surrogates available as guests in one compact location, but it is also an opportunity to get some national attention as Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt did on Fox News Channel (upper left photo). Talk hosts in major markets and nationally syndicated stars certainly have the ability to book big-name guests via phone but the chance to actually rub elbows with big political stars, speak with them face-to-face and chat in a “live” situation is unique to this political season. It also provides members of the talk radio community with a place and reason to meet and network in a working situation conducive to enhancing existing relationships and forging new ones. The Ernest Istook program, hosted by the former congressman and produced by WYD Media, also emanated from the convention site this week and gave Istook the opportunity to chat with U.S. Rep. and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (here at right).
Yankees Baseball Stays on WCBS, New York for at Least One More Season. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick reported it earlier yesterday and CBS Radio confirms it in a release. Apparently the Yankees have rejected overtures from ESPN to join the company’s new FM-enhanced sports talk outlet WEPN for they will stay with WCBS for the 2013 season. Numerous industry watchers had expected to see a big bidding war for Yankees baseball and perhaps we’ll see that next season but if this report is correct, it’ll be another year before CBS Radio and Disney/ESPN battle it out for Yankees rights.
Bill Rehkopf Returns to KDKA, Pittsburgh. The former morning news man at CBS Radio’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh returns to the Steel City after being involved in the start-up of the company’s Washington, DC all-newser WNEW-FM. Rehkopf was the featured morning drive anchor at the station. Now, he’ll anchor KDKA-AM’s “KDKA Afternoon News” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Current anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas remains with the station to work on the PM drive show. In a statement, Rehkopf says, “Working in the nation’s capital was extremely exciting and rewarding. However, my family and I have deep roots in Pittsburgh and this is a terrific opportunity at KDKA. It’s a perfect professional fit for me and works well for my family. I look forward to providing Pittsburgh with a quality program of essential news, information and entertainment to wrap up their work day.”
Reports of Mel Selling Sirius XM Shares Raises Eyebrows. In a release issued after yesterday’s closing bell, news from Sirius XM Satellite Radio that CEO Mel Karmazin will be selling an additional 30 million shares of the publicly traded company (Sirius XM SIRI) this fall has both Wall Street and radio industry observers speculating as to what it means. Considering the timing involved – Mel’s contract is up this year and major investor Liberty Media (LMCA) is closing in seeking control – there is evidence to support the educated guess that the company’s chief is heading for the door. Other possibilities include that Mel is simply cashing in his chips for a job clearly well done or that it is a maneuver to throw an obstacle in the way of Liberty taking control. The price to exercise the 30 million options shares is $0.43. This means the shares will cost Karmazin $12,900,000. If he were to sell them all at $2.50 the price would be a cool $75,000,000, delivering a profit of $62,100,000. Analyst Spencer Osbourne writes in the Seeking Alpha newsletter, “I can imagine that the news relating to an insider at Sirius XM selling 30,000,000 shares will not be well received by the market. Be prepared, because this news is going to cause some wild speculation and debate. I would not be surprised to see the stock price move down on this news. Between the Liberty cloud and now the Karmazin cloud, the uncertainty is building for Sirius XM.”
NBC Sports Radio Announces Affiliates for Next Week’s Launch. As NBC Sports Radio and partner Dial Global prepare to debut their late night and overnight sports talk radio shows and hourly sports news reports on Tuesday, September 4, the list of affiliates for the programming is being made public. The build-up to a national affiliate base with a big rollout is always a challenge and NBC is gearing up with a lot of medium and small market stations for its sports talk shows and has some major market clears on small or outlying signals. For example, The Amani & Eytan 10:00 pm to 1:00 am show will air in markets including Huntsville, Santa Barbara, Evansville and Roanoke. But it will also clear secondary signals in the Washington, DC, Denver and Charlotte markets. Both Amani & Eytan and the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm Erik Kusilias show will be heard on WPOP, Hartford. To see where the shows will debut, click here.
Emmis Delivers Good News to Staff in the Form of Bonuses. Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan issued an e-mail memo to staffers informing them that they would be receiving cash bonuses to reward their loyalty and dedication to the company during these tough economic times. Full-time employees will be getting a $1,000 bonus while part-time staffers will each get $250.
Salem Communications to Pay Q3 Dividend. The board of directors of Salem Communications declares a dividend for the third quarter of 2012 that will pay shareholders of Class A and Class B common stock 3 and ½ cents per share. The dividend will be paid to all shareholders of record as of September 14 and will be paid on September 28.
Katie Couric’s TV Talk Show to Debut on September 10. The show, titled simply, “Katie,” will be broadcast in syndication beginning on Monday, September 10 and all media eyes will be on the television legend as she begins a new chapter in her career. She was once the most popular personality in morning talk television but Katie Couric left to take the helm of the “CBS Evening News,” a job that even her harshest critics would admit is probably beyond anyone’s ability to succeed in this day and age. But as Howard Kurtz examines in his excellent piece in the Daily Beast, the question is whether Couric’s newsy approach to issues and distant personality will grab daytime TV viewers. Couric clearly appears to be bucking the trend in what makes successful daytime talk TV but she appears determined. Read Kurtz’s piece here.
Attention Radio Sales Staffers! Your Job Was Born 90 Years Ago This Week. This week marks the 90th anniversary of the first sale of radio time. It was back in 1922 when New York radio station WEAF – owned by Bell Telephone Company – sold a 10-minute commercial to the Hawthorne Court Apartments in Jackson Heights, New York for $50. At about 5:00 pm on August 28, 1922 a pitch for the apartment complex was made to anyone who happened to be listening and the business of commercial radio was born. It didn’t take off like a rocket, as radio historians will tell you, but it certainly was the beginning of an industry. NPR produced a fantastic segment commemorating this event. Listen to the segment or read the transcript at NPR’s site here. (Photo: MTM Enterprises)
The Economy, Health Care and Foreign Policy Issues Topped the Talkers TenTM for the Week of August 27 – 31. These issues, as related to the presidential campaign and set against the backdrop of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the RNC speeches. At #3 was the mainstream media’s coverage of the RNC and the firing of Yahoo! News bureau chief David Chalain and at #4 was Tropical Storm Isaac. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top talk topics as discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon and “Jill on Money” join the program lineup at WZKT, Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland…..Benztown Radio Network morning show “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire” hosted by Mike Tyler and Todd Brandt replaces the syndicated version of Mark & Brian at KXFM, Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo…..“Malcolm Out Loud” is added to the programming at KKYT, Ridgecrest, California.
Fisher Communications Re-Aligns News and Talk Programming in Seattle; KOMO to Air More News, KVI to Return to Conservative Talk. After 20 months away from conservative talk programming, Fisher Communications’ KVI, Seattle – reputed to be the first station to intentionally program all-conservative talk in America – returns to that format with local talk host John Carlson moving over from KOMO to host morning drive at KVI. When the lineup is finally in place, Carlson will be followed by TRN’s Laura Ingraham; Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt; Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin; Compass’ Lars Larson; TRN’s Michael Savage; and Cumulus Media’s “Red Eye Radio” and Don Imus will round out the overnight period. PD Paul Duckworth states, “KVI stands for the best in conservative talk in Seattle. This is going to be one of the most hotly contested elections in history and people need a place to hear about it and talk about it. Get set for an exciting ride!” Meanwhile at KOMO-AM/FM, Bill Rice anchors the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart and Brian Calvert anchors the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Ken Schram – who had been hosting a talk show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm—remains with Fisher in his role as commentator on KOMO 4 television. Both Carlson and Schram will continue to provide daily commentaries on KOMO Newsradio.
Is Jim Rome Leaving Premiere Networks for CBS Radio Sports? That’s what Deadline.com is reporting. Jim Rome has been syndicated by Premiere Networks since he debuted nationally back in 1996. Recently he left ESPN – the cable giant that produced his television program – and signed on with the upstart cable venture CBS Sports Network. Now, Deadline is reporting Rome will leave Premiere when his contract is up and join the CBS Radio Sports network when it debuts in January and that the deal will also allow him to cover NFL, NCAA basketball and U.S. Open Tennis Championships, and other events.
Dial Global Responds to Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit — Calls it “Frivolous,” “Spurious.” In a statement issued to the radio industry trade press, Spencer Brown, co-chief executive officer of Dial Global, states: “Despite the comments in Mr. Masters’ e-mail to the press distributed yesterday in which he announced his company Talk Radio Networks (TRN) is suing Dial Global, at this time, Dial Global has not been served a complaint. We have provided outstanding service to TRN for over 10 years and continue to represent several of TRN’s programs today. Based on the information contained in the complaint distributed by Mr. Masters to the press, which complaint was filed by a law firm run by Ron Severaid, TRN’s own internal legal counsel, we believe the complaint is entirely frivolous. We are confident we will defeat these spurious claims, assuming they are ever heard in a court of law.”
Lincoln Financial Media’s Sports WAXY Takes Over 104.3 in West Palm Beach. As reported last week, the announced sale of WMSF, West Palm Beach to Lincoln Financial Media for use as an FM signal for sports talker WAXY would give LFM the right to operate under an LMA until the sale is approved by the FCC and that happened yesterday at 5:00 pm ET. The 104.3 signal remains in the West Palm Beach market while the application to move it to the Miami market sits in Washington, DC with the commission. Until the time that move happens, the station cannot broadcast Marlins or Heat games on the FM signal as Good Karma’s WEFL, Tequesta, Florida has the rights in the West Palm Beach market.
Crawford Broadcasting to Purchase Non-Comm WNED, Buffalo. Western New York Public Broadcasting Association announces it is selling WNED-AM, Buffalo at 970 to Denver-based Crawford Broadcasting for $875,000. The pubcaster purchased WBFO-FM, Buffalo from the University of Buffalo in March for $4 million and president and CEO Donald K. Boswell says the corporation no longer needs the AM frequency for its programming. He also states the cash from the sale will go to pay down debt on the WBFO-FM purchase. WNED also owns WNED-FM that airs a classical music format and WBFO-FM carries the corporation’s news and information programming. Crawford programs both Christian and secular programming and has not signaled its intent for WNED-AM after the sale is approved.
Entercom’s 95.7 The Game Names Ric Bucher PM Drive Co-Host. With Eric Davis leaving KGMZ, San Francisco to join The NFL Network, Entercom’s 95.7 The Game brings Ric Bucher aboard to co-host the PM drive show with Brandon Tierney. Program director Jason Barrett states, “Ric Bucher’s credentials in our industry speak for themselves and he’s instantly recognized locally and nationally for his great work with ESPN. Bay Area sports fans are going to learn quickly that he’s a 20-year Bay Area native and his passion and knowledge for our local teams is outstanding. Ric and Brandon Tierney will be an absolute must-listen during afternoon drive for Bay Area sports fans.” Bucher will continue his role with ESPN as a Bay Area NBA reporter and senior writer covering hoops for ESPN The Magazine. He begins at KGMZ on September 6.
WFAN, New York Crowns Fantasy Phenom 3 Winner. CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York announces the winner of its third annual local talent search who receives a weekly sports talk program on the station beginning in September. Joe Giglio of Howell, New Jersey bested his competitors to claim the prize in the summer-long promotion. WFAN operations manager and CBS Radio New York vice president of programming Mark Chernoff says, “We’ve been very pleased with our first two winners and look forward to Joe doing a great job this time around. We thank all of our participants and special kudos to our five finalists, who had to perform both for a huge radio audience on WFAN, but also to our online listeners at WFAN.com, our YES TV viewers and the few thousand people who saw them live at Bar A.”
Hubbard Radio’s ESPN 101 St. Louis Presents Inaugural Speaker Series Event with St. Louis Rams Today. WXOS, St. Louis is launching its speaker series with today’s “Game-Day Luncheon” with the St. Louis Rams from 11:30 to 1:30 at the local Patrick’s Restaurant & Sports Bar. Fans can pay $25 per head to attend and hear St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Sneed, and executive vice president of football operations/chief operating officer Kevin Demoff talk about the new season. Rams Radio personalities and NFL commentators D’Marco Farr, coach Rick Venturi, Tony Softli and Steve Savard – along with other 101 ESPN on-air personnel – will be on-hand at this special game day gathering with the Rams. The event takes place on the same day as the Rams’ last pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Odds & Sods. Former Miami Dolphin great Jason Taylor begins a stint on WAXY, Miami’s Dan Le Batard PM drive show. He’ll join Le Batard each Monday to talk NFL football during the season…..David Todd is the new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm host on Clear Channel’s sports talk WBGG, Pittsburgh…..“Watchdog on Wall Street” host Chris Markowski begins a regular guest shot on the “Butler on Buisiness” program on WAFS, Atlanta. He’ll join the program each Wednesday at 11:35 am…..Washington, DC-based talk host Chris Core – for years a star on WMAL and currently doing commentary on WTOP – will fill in for Michael Castner, host of “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” tomorrow…..Retired NFL star LaDainian Tomlinson signs on with SiriusXM to host weekly shows on the SiriusXM NFL Radio and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channels.
Republican National Convention, Isaac Stalls Over Gulf Coast, SEAL’s Bin Laden Book and Syria Among Top News Talk Stories Yesterday (8/29). The Republican National Convention and election issues dominated the news/talk radio airwaves yesterday. However, other topics that were discussed included Tropical Storm Isaac stalling over the gulf Coast and bringing devastating rain to the region, the Navy SEAL’s book about the death of Osama bin Laden and the ongoing strife in Syria.
Other Defendants Named in Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit Against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices. As reported yesterday (8/28) by TALKERS, these companies, referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc. They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting antitrust, anti-monopoly and other claims. The complaint, which demands a jury trial, is titled “Complaint for Violations of the Sherman Act and the Cartwright Act, and for Fraudulent Inducement, Interference with Contract and Interference with Prospective advantage.” In addition to Dial Global, it specifically names: Excelsior Radio Networks, Triton Radio Networks, Triton Media Group, Oaktree Capital Management, Verge Media Companies, Courstide, LLC, Compass Media Networks, Compass Media Marketing, and WYD Media Management. Individuals named include Spencer Brown, David Landau, and Ken Williams of Dial Global, Ron Hartenbaum of WYD, Peter Kosann of Compass, and Norm Pattiz of Courtside. To see the entire complaint click here.
Big Staffing Changes at Federated Media in Fort Wayne. Last week TALKERS reported the departure of WOWO, Fort Wayne program director Gregg Henson and his replacement by Woody Zimmerman. Now, after almost 18 years with Federated Media, chief operating officer Mark DePrez announces his departure from the company. Brad Williams, who had been overseeing the Indiana markets of South Bend, Elkhart and Warsaw, will also be in charge of the company’s Fort Wayne and Auburn, Indiana markets as he becomes COO. But that’s not all, as Indiana Radio Watch reports national sales manager Mary DePrez, production director Steve Starbrelz (this November would mark his 35th year there), classic hits WMEE, Fort Wayne middayer Zack Skyler, country WQHK, Fort Wayne GSM Suzee Leavell and several sales staffers have also left the building. IRW also reports Clint Marsh becomes GM of the South Bend properties. On his tenure with Federated Media, DePrez states, “After almost 18 years I’m leaving Federated Media. We accomplished great things in Fort Wayne but all good things must come to an end. I am grateful to the Dille family for the four promotions over those 18 years including my recent tenure as COO. For a decade it has been my distinct honor to be the custodian of such iconic brands as WOWO, WQHK (K-105) WMEE and more recently WBYR (98.9 The Bear). I am immensely proud of the talented team we assembled and know they will continue to do great things.” DePrez is available for his next challenge. He says, “For employers looking for an executive obsessed with top line performance and profit optimization they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-385-2574.”
ESPN and Major League Baseball Agree to $5.6 Billion Deal. The new contract between ESPN and MLB goes through 2021 and runs an average of $700 million per year for TV, digital, radio and other rights. ESPN is currently paying about $305 million per year for TV and about $50 million for radio rights. The new contract would almost double that but gives ESPN more flexibility, some playoff game rights as well as international rights. For radio it means increased ESPN Radio rights, including the additional right to co-exist during two Saturday windows per team, per year.
Patt Morrison’s Southern California Public Radio Show Cancelled. The popular Southern California public radio figure will remain with the organization but Patt Morrison’s six-year-old afternoon program will end on September 10. The move is part of a series of programming changes at KPCC, Pasadena that include the expansion of the Brand & Martinez program and the addition of the “BBC News Hour” and “The World.” KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton is quoted telling the Los Angeles Daily News, “While the show may be leaving, Patt isn’t. What we’re trying to do is take a lot of the segments that she’s produced – which are very popular with a large part of our listening audience – and spread those a little more throughout the programming day when there are a lot more listeners than there are in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.” SCPR notes Morrison will still cover the Democratic National Convention for the organization.
NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Announce More Sports Talk Hires. As NBC Sports Radio continues to prepare for the September 4 launch of the new network, more hosts and sports anchors are being hired. Former NFL star Amani Toomer will team with Eytan Shander (most recently with SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) for a 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET sports talk show. Dan Schwartzman — who’s worked for WPEN, Philadelphia and ESPN in New York – will host an overnight show from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET Tuesdays through Saturdays and Kay Adams joins the network as sports anchor working the 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm shift Monday through Friday. Dial Global is NBC’s partner in ad and affiliation sales and distribution.
Forbes Releases New Highest Paid Celebrities List. Four radio stars landed on the Forbes list of the most recent Highest Paid Celebrities. Of the 21 celebs noted this time around, Howard Stern is the highest at #7 (although he makes a ton of cash from his SiriusXM gig, the NBC TV job helps!); Glenn Beck comes in at #11; Rush Limbaugh lands at #15 and Ryan Seacrest follows at #19.
Larry King to Host Coverage of the RNC on YouTube’s Elections Hub Channel; Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Joins King on Panel. Longtime CNN star and broadcasting icon Larry King is now working with Ora TV – the digital on-demand TV network funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu – and Ora TV is partnering with YouTube to produce the Elections Hub channel. Tonight, King will host coverage of the Republican National Convention live from Los Angeles featuring a roundtable of well-known celebrities and guests on the special series “Ora 2012 with Larry King” from 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean will take part on the panel.
Entercom and University of Florida Enter into Sales Agreement. The college and Entercom Communications have struck a deal which will have Entercom provide sales for the school’s two radio stations – country WRUF-FM and sports talk WRUF-AM. It’s a seven-year deal that begins in September. The university notes that the deal “will provide the College with a guaranteed monthly revenue. Additionally, the stations will participate in a revenue share agreement with Entercom that allows for additional revenue to flow to the stations based on monthly sales performances. In addition to the joint sales agreement, Entercom is launching an academic enhancement initiative to create internships and student opportunities for the College’s students at the company’s stations in Gainesville and around the country. These student involvement opportunities, subject to faculty approval, will include sales, digital marketing programming, news, sports, public relations, strategic communications and promotions.” The stations’ operations director, Jerry Butler, will stay on and co-ordinate the relationship between the stations and Entercom.
Hundreds of Talk Show Hosts from Across Country Broadcasting from RNC. The invention of the “radio row” – largely developed in the modern talk radio era by Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service – has really come into its own at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Numerous networks and syndicators have set up shop in elaborate clusters of tables, microphones, remote equipment, banners and, of course, big talking personalities on both sides of the mic. One of the biggest of these assemblages is again hosted by Talk Radio News Service for its affiliates which include the likes of Rusty Humphries, Phil Valentine, Roger Hedgecock and many more. TRNS bureau chief Ellen Ratner tells TALKERS, “We have more stations than ever – about 40 stations and programs. The RNC gave us a prime spot, right next to their booking office. We are not in the arena but in the building next to it that houses all the press. Other than press conferences, some longer television interviews and hall confrontations between the news media, radio row is the only place to have an in-depth conversation. Radio might have lost some of its audience to the internet, but you would never know it from radio row. Big time politicians want to be there and obviously feel they will get a chance to say what they want. It is still the spot to be and the place to be heard.”
WMAL Morning Hosts on the Scene in Tampa. The final day of the Republican National Convention is today and talk radio and the national press have been busy bringing the political talk home to their constituents. Pictured here are WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive team Brian Wilson (c) and Bryan Nehman (r) interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (l).
Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Iran-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). The progress of tropical storm Isaac and the activity from the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay were two of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. The growing connection between Iran’s military and the violence in Syria was also a major topic.
Mark Masters’ TRN Companies File Lawsuit against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices. These companies, (usually referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc. They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting anti-trust, anti-monopoly and other claims. In announcing that action, Mark Masters, CEO of the plaintiff companies, states, “This is a sad but necessary day for us. But the steps we take today are for the sake of the entire community of independent spoken word syndicators, and independent radio networks who depend on outside sale representation for their very financial survival. These independent producers, syndicators and networks serve America’s over 10,000 commercial radio stations, helping them save costs, and increase quality at a critical time to those stations’ survival in the current difficulties they face in navigating today’s national economic environment. Today, we reluctantly are forced to bring this action, as the largest group of independent spoken word syndicators/networks in the United States. In doing so, we hope this signals a beginning of the end to active monopoly and anti-competitive actions within radio’s independent spoken word syndication markets.” In the suit TRN lists a variety of marketplace operational grievances against Dial Global citing the recent demise of CNN Radio News as a prime example: “The plaintiff companies note in particular that the recent destruction of CNN Radio (which was on over 1,100 radio stations in the US and had been operating for over 20 years), going into a presidential election, in favor of its immediate replacement by a branded news operation, at the election of its sales representatives, is a telling example of the threat posed by the ability of a small handful of unelected Wall Street executives who have achieved sufficient dominance in one sales market to force changes in the separate independent spoken word market, and the threat posed to other independent spoken word syndicators absent prompt corrective actions.” Masters goes on to state, “The sudden death of CNN Radio News, after 20 years, and in a presidential election year besides, is a veritable canary in a coal mine for independent spoken word syndication in radio.” The idea to file this lawsuit has obviously been brewing in the mind of Mark Masters for some time now. Attendees at the recent industry gathering presented by TALKERSmagazine, “The New Media Seminar” in New York on June 7 might recall the TRN CEO hinting during his luncheon address about the possibility that his company might be taking unprecedented legal action against an alleged radio industry monopoly. Seems he meant it. TALKERS contacted Dial Global CEO David Landau who said, “No comment.”
Broadcasts and Interviews Abound as Talk Radio Shows Emanate from Tampa. The official activities at the Republican National Convention may have been put on hold for a day but the skies cleared and planned broadcasting activities went on pretty much unabated at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Convention Center where the RNC will officially resume today. Talk hosts, news professionals, celebrities and political commentators gathered and took advantage of the day to talk about the presidential race and all that goes with it. Pictured here is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher (r) speaking with actor Jon Voight (l) who spoke with Gallagher on the record for his nationally syndicated program. Voight told Gallagher, “Much of the Hollywood community has ‘blood on our hands’ for taking leftist positions in the 60s and 70s.” He says he’s “atoning” for that by supporting Mitt Romney’s campaign for president. “He’s serious, he’s a problem solver and he’s been in public service all his life.” Meanwhile, XtreMedia president and nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough (l) had the opportunity to chat with Minnesota Senator and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (r) on radio row inside the convention center at the Talk Radio News Service booth. Cumulus Media Networks syndicated talk host – and career journalist – Geraldo Rivera (r) meets up with news colleague Sam Donaldson of ABC News (l) at the news organization’s booth inside the convention center. Meanwhile, as Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast and moves straight towards New Orleans…
Gulf Coast Radio Stations Prepare to Keep Citizens Informed. The people of Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast are understandably nervous. It has been seven years since Hurricane Katrina roared through this region making history and leaving an indelible mark on the lives of millions of people. During that natural disaster — and a number of others both before and since – good ol’ terrestrial radio has risen to the occasion, in many cases putting competitive barriers aside, and served the community. In preparation for the coming storm, Entercom’s WWL-FM/AM went into wall-to-wall coverage mode preparing its listeners with updates on the approaching storm’s direction and progress. The radio station’s website this morning looks like something you would expect to see from the Weather Channel. Guaranty Broadcasting Group reports to TALKERS it is all over the storm today with simulcasts on their various formats in the market that began at 5:30 am. Talk 107.3 FM began live simulcast coverage on Eagle 98.1’s 100,000 watt signal. Matt Kennedy and Brian Haldane are leading coverage with the Talk 107.3 FM morning show. Darren Gauthier and Scotty Drake will provide mid-day coverage. The husband and wife team of Bill and Karen Profita will anchor afternoon coverage. 104.5 ESPN’s Charles Hanagriff and Matt Moscona will take on coverage until midnight on the Talk 107.3/Eagle 98.1 simulcast. Bill and Karen Profita will return with the overnight shift beginning at midnight. The Talk 107.3 FM/Eagle 98.1 simulcast will continue throughout the hurricane as proves to be necessary. The simulcast will also feature live coverage from Guaranty’s TV partner WAFB Channel 9 with continuous updates from chief meteorologist Jay Grymes. Guaranty VP/market manager Gordy Rush tells TALKERS, “We are thrilled to bring unprecedented 24-hour live and local coverage to South Louisiana with the names and voices that carried this region through the likes of Katrina and Gustav.” (Image courtesy of NASA)
CBS Sports Radio Names Eric Spitz Director of Programming; Chris Oliviero to Supervise New Division. WFAN, New York program director Eric Spitz is named the director of programming for CBS’ new sports talk radio network and the company announces CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero will take on a supervisory role in the new sports talk venture. Spitz is a longtime WFAN employee, beginning his tenure there as a desk assistant back in 1987 when the station first debuted. Spitz split from WFAN for a period in 2002 when he was named vice president, operations and programming for Westwood One’s Shadow/Metro Traffic but returned to WFAN in 2005. In a statement, Oliviero comments on the new management structure. “Eric has a unique skill set ideal for building a sports radio network as proven by his tremendous success at WFAN. Eric has been involved with the pioneering radio station since the beginning and watched the format grow from its infancy to what is now one of the most successful in the industry. His perspective is exactly what’s needed to launch a sports radio brand that can stand the test of time. And his selection for this critical position proves the value we are putting on leadership with a strong editorial track record in sports programming. We are also fortunate to be able to call on the expertise of Mark Chernoff, who is without a doubt the most successful sports radio program director of all time. Mark has been one of the principals helping to lay the foundation for CBS Sports Radio and his continued guidance will be a huge advantage as we craft programming we are confident will be of great interest to our affiliates around the country.” The 24/7 sports programming network will launch on January 2, 2013 with Cumulus Media Networks as syndicator and sales partner.
WRKO, Boston Promotes Bill Cooksey to Assistant PD. Morning show executive producer Bill Cooksey will keep his duties managing the production of the Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee morning drive show at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston as he adds the assistant program director tag to his business card. Cooksey will effectively take over the day-to-day operations of WRKO with this promotion. WRKO PD Jason Wolfe says, “Bill has more passion for WRKO than anyone and has earned this promotion. He’s smart, aggressive, and a true leader. His efforts over the past several years have been outstanding and I’m really looking forward to working with him in this new capacity.” Cooksey started at WRKO in 2006 and became executive producer of the morning show in 2010. Of his promotion, Cooksey states, “I’m honored by this promotion and couldn’t be more excited about the future of WRKO. We’ve made several big changes in recent months and top to bottom WRKO is a stronger radio station today than ever before. WRKO has been home for me for the last six years. I am proud of what we accomplished and I look forward to building on those accomplishments in the future.”
Cincinnati Talk Host Eric Deters to Surface at Rock Trimulcast. Just days after leaving Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Cincinnati due to clashes with management, talk host Eric Deters (who has also worked at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati subbing for Bill Cunningham and hosting his own weekend show) will take over the morning show at Class X – the classic rock trimulcast that’s heard on WMWX, Miamitown, Ohio; WKCX, Crittenden, Kentucky; and WYNS, Waynesville, Ohio. No official start date for Deters has been given.
Local Fan Wins Eagles Season Tix in Celebrity Call-In Contest on WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia. Kristin Lee of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania won Eagles season tickets in PM drive host Mike Missanelli’s Celebrity Call-In Contest in which listeners had to work their connections to urge a celebrity to call in to Missanelli’s program on 97.5 The Fanatic. Lee convinced P-Diddy to phone in and she was awarded the tickets on Friday, August 24. The impressive list of celebrities to call in during the contest included: actor Colin Quinn, actress Anne Hathaway, golfer Gary Player, model Cheryl Tiegs and musician Alicia Keys, to name a few.
Fox Sports Radio Develops Weekend Golf Show with Hank Haney. The program will air live from 8:00 am to 10:00 am ET beginning Saturday, September 8 and FSRN has nabbed SupremeGolf.com as the title sponsor for the show. Hank Haney – legendary golf instructor and author of a recent best-selling book – “will take listeners beyond the green to provide expert analysis on today’s players and events, talk with celebrities, insiders and golf fans, and provide insight on how to become a better golfer.” Senior vice president, sports programming for Premiere Networks, Don Martin, states, “We’re excited to give listeners the opportunity to interact with one of the best golf instructors in the world every weekend. Hank’s many years of experience and expertise in golf will provide our listeners with tremendous insight into the sport, and access to the best players on the course today.”
Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac and the Death of Neil Armstrong Were Among the Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). The Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay; the effect of Tropical Storm Isaac on the convention and its path toward New Orleans; and the death of legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Hosts and News Operations Deal with Logistical Issues and Weather as Republican National Convention Begins in Tampa Today. The Republican National Convention, a huge “radio row” and live broadcast draw for many radio stations and networks around the country, begins today and talk hosts, programmers and news staffers are dealing with what is already a complex couple of days of remote broadcasting being amplified by the threat from Tropical Storm Issac. Today’s first day of the RNC is being canceled due to the storm and broadcasters are having to make contingency plans as a result. From a logistical standpoint, hosts and news staffers may be forced to cram planned interviews and guest appearances originally scheduled across three days into two days on Tuesday and Wednesday. As for live broadcasts scheduled from the convention center for today, that will depend on how quickly the storm moves through the area. Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS SRN’s equipment on radio row is set up but its two early Monday shows – Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager – will originate from Salem Communications O&O WGUL, Tampa and the Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt programs will broadcast from the convention center radio row later today.
Lincoln Financial Media Buys Miami FM for Sports Talk Simulcast with WAXY. West Palm Beach FM WMSF at 104.3 will change hands from Palm Beach Broadcasting to Lincoln Financial Media for a reported $13 million and the latter will use the signal to give sports talk “790 The Ticket” WAXY an FM presence in the South Florida market. Palm Beach acquired the station from CBS Radio earlier this year. Palm Beach has applied to move the 104.3 signal from West Palm Beach to Miami and that application is still pending the FCC. LFM will begin operating the station under an LMA prior to FCC approval of the sale.
Program Director Jay Bohannon Exits Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh. When Clear Channel fired up the Pittsburgh FM talk outlet in January 2004, Jay Bohannon was named the program director. During his tenure at the station, he was responsible for working with morning show team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent and bringing the program into syndication. He also led news/talk branding and imaging for the company. Bohannon is available for his next opportunity. Reach out to him at email@example.com.
Salem Communications to Buy WMUU, Greenville from Bob Jones University. The station – owned by the Christian college’s Gospel Fellowship Association – currently programs a combo of Christian teaching and beautiful music but that will end when Salem Communications takes over and turns the Greenville, South Carolina FM at 94.5 into a news/talk outlet using programming from the Salem Radio Network. No price has been announced nor has a start date for an LMA.
WOR Low Price Tag Cause of Angst for AM Radio Owners. As the dust settles in the aftermath of the recently announced sale of Buckley Broadcastings’ heritage outlet WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the cold hard reality of the low price tag is beginning to settle in and it is being perceived as a seriously bad indicator about the value and future of AM sticks. Industry observers and players alike remember stories about the late Buckley Broadcasting CEO Rick Buckley turning down offers as high as $150 million for the station as recently as a decade ago. In 2001, Disney paid then-owner The Forward newspaper $78 million for WEVD (1050 AM) to find a New York City outlet for ESPN Radio – a station with a significantly inferior signal than WOR’s. An article in the New York Daily News reports on the topic: “One of the many nervous discussions in radio these days revolves around the future of AM stations — that is, if they have a future.” Perhaps the revelations of the WOR deal will usher in an industry station deal cycle marked by what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as the “lesser fool” theory.
Former Eagles Star Brian Dawkins Joins 97.5 The Fanatic for NFL Coverage. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins will be part of the Friday coverage of NFL football on Mike Missanelli’s program each week at 4:10 pm on Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia. Program director Matt Nahigian says, “There is no one that Eagle fans love and relate to more than Brian Dawkins. We had him on our air about a month ago and the response we received via Twitter and Facebook about wanting to hear him each week was staggering. I am thrilled to bring his passion and insight to the Delaware Valley on a week to week basis.”
KLIN, Lincoln Nebraska Names David Dwinell AM Drive Co-Host; Kevin Thomas Promoted to PD. Dwinell has been working at KLKN-TV, Lincoln as promotions director. He leaves that position to return to radio where he’ll take the radio moniker Dave Miller as he sits beside Jack Mitchell on NRG Media’s Lincoln news/talker. The slot on the station’s morning show opened up when John Bishop left the show to go across the hall and join NRG’s 1620 The Zone for its “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program. At the same time, KLIN PM drive host Kevin Thomas takes on the program director duties at the station that were previously held by John Bishop. He’ll continue to host the 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” show. Also, the sports director post – also previously held by Bishop – goes to Chris Whitney.
Buckley Broadcasting Flips KYZZ, Salinas, California to Sports. The classic hits format disappears from KYZZ as the former “Z97.9” becomes part of the simulcast of “630 ESPN” KIDD, Monterey and becomes known as “97.9 ESPN Central Coast.”
Programmers Owe it to Themselves to See Obama Movie. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says of the new movie “Obama’s America 2016,” “If you work in talk radio, you owe it to your audience to understand what all those network commercials in your show are selling. And as an insider, you’ll recognize the event you’re attending as a theatrical ‘infomercial,’ a rented theater.” Cooke says that regardless of your personal political viewpoint, as a content creator the film is instructive in numerous ways. Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Cuts Ribbon at NJ 101.5 Studio. Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 celebrated the opening of its refurbished main studio on August 23 and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on hand to cut the ribbon. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson reports the main studio got some brand new carpeting and – more important – new broadcasting equipment to bring the station into the digital era. PM drive hosts Deminski &Doyle were on the air when the switch was made and the monthly “Ask the Governor” program followed. Christie was there for the program and made the new studio “official” with his gubernatorial ribbon cutting and he even worked the new digital board (pictured here) during the station’s 8:00 pm newscast.
Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers Dies at 68. The cause of death is not yet public but Dale Sommers had been dealing with unspecified health issues since he left the WLW, Cincinnati overnight program in 2004. Although he retired from the show at that time, he resumed the program on satellite radio and hosted it until earlier this year when he again gave it up. As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports, Sommers’ program made national news twice when it helped solve crimes. The first time was in 1984 when he was talking off the air with a regular caller who went by the name of “Mississippi Lady,” a convenience store clerk in Camilla, Georgia “when he heard her tell someone, ‘You can’t come back here’ before quickly hanging up the phone. Sommers called Camilla police, who were familiar with his ‘Bozo Show’ and a store clerk known as the ‘Mississippi Lady.’ Within minutes, an officer apprehended the robber.” His program was also credited with assisting police is catching the DC sniper in 2002 after a listener heard Sommers give the car’s license plate number over the radio.