Entercom’s Sports WEEI Splits AM and FM Signals Today. The AM and FM signals of Entercom’s Boston-based sports talk radio giant WEEI split earlier this morning with the Boston FM signal at 93.7 continuing the local talk with the established lineup of Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni, “The Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, and “Planet Mikey” with Mike Adams. The AM signal at 850 is now “ESPN on WEEI” and features the lineup of ESPN Radio sports talk shows beginning with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” SVP & Russillo, “ESPN Today,” Hill & Schlereth or play-by-play, “SportsCenter Tonight,” and “SportsCenter All Night.” Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are broadcasting from Gillette Stadium this morning to celebrate their arrival in the Boston market. ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller states, “We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England. This move, coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com, provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”
Cox Media Group to Debut Georgia News Service in January. The multi-media service will be based out of Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta studio and bring together the assets of WSB, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and ABC TV affiliate WSB-TV to produce news content. Scott Smith – market manager for Cox Media in Athens, Georgia – is being charged with heading the operation. Cox Media Atlanta vice president and general manager Ben Reed says, “The Cox name has long been synonymous with excellent news coverage throughout the state of Georgia. This gives us the opportunity to bring our experience and assets together in order to provide a high-quality news service to outlets across the state of Georgia. We believe the Georgia News Service will very quickly become an invaluable audio, visual, and digital resource for news outlets across the state. We look forward to providing them with the high-caliber news coverage that has become a Cox tradition.” Clear Channel has been operating the Georgia News Network out of former news/talk WGST’s studios but is closing down the bureau.
ESPN Radio Extends Contract of Ryen Russillo; Changes Name of Afternoon Show to ‘SVP & Russillo.’ Ryen Russillo has been the co-host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET Scott Van Pelt show on ESPN Radio since May of 2009. Now, the sports entertainment giant extends Russillo’s deal and, to give him more visibility, changes the name of the show from “The Scott Van Pelt Show” to “SVP & Russillo.” He says, “Over the last three years ‘The Scott Van Pelt Show’ has been my number one priority, and I couldn’t be happier that, for the next few years, it will remain my priority. I believe in the direction of this show and am really looking forward to where we are going.” In addition to his co-hosting duties with Van Pelt, Russillo also hosts the 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm ET edition of College GameDay during the football season.
Dave Ramsey Goes West. Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey was in Phoenix and Fresno this week for two live events. First, Ramsey presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Fresno for the benefit of the audience and affiliate KMJ-FM. Ramsey discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-FM saw the direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station. PD Skip Essick says, “Dave Ramsey has an incredible, loyal following, and selling out Saroyan Theater not only speaks to the quality of talent we have in him, but the drawing power of ‘105.9, The FM KMJ.’” Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Phoenix on Wednesday for a packed house at Central Christian Church. Brett Rogers is the sales manager for affiliate KTAR-FM and he says, “KTAR is proud to be a part of bringing this unique training to Arizona’s business community. Through this event, we’ve been able to bring some of our best local partners and provide them the opportunity to change their business and also personally meet Dave Ramsey and have a money-can’t-buy experience. This event has given us the opportunity to engage with our clients in a unique, personal environment.” Dave Ramsey is pictured here with the sales staff of Bonneville’s KTAR-FM.
Brown Corners Hickenlooper. That’s KHOW, Denver talk show host (and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration) Michael Brown in the center with the microphone trying to get Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (left) on the air on KHOW during the live broadcast prior to Wednesday’s presidential debate at the University of Denver. Brown co-hosts “The Rundown” with author, columnist and talk host David Sirota during PM drive on KHOW and program director Dan Mandis tells TALKERS the duo have had a hard time getting Governor Hickenlooper to appear on their program so Brown took advantage of the governor’s appearance at the event to ask some questions. However, shortly after this photo was taken the governor had to make other appearances and promised to stop by the KHOW remote broadcast booth later but did not.
WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Donates to Heart Association. Making good on his pre-season pledge to donate $10 to the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania in honor of Richie Ashburn Memorial Homeruns for Hearts for each home run hit by the Phillies this season, WIP morning drive host Angelo Cataldi is pictured here writing the ceremonial check for $1,580 dollars matching the Phillies’ 158 homers. The Homeruns for Hearts event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease in 2009.
Stitcher Launches Podcast and On Demand Radio Awards. The web aggregator Stitcher has announced the launch of the Stitcher Awards, to celebrate the best of on demand radio and podcasts for 2012. Listeners can nominate their favorite shows across 20 different categories – from Best Comedy to Best New Show. Stitcher now has over 10,000 different shows streaming on demand. Nominations will be open until October 19th. Fans can nominate their shows every day for the next two weeks at www.stitcher.com/stitcherawards or on the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stitcherradio. The finalists will be announced shortly afterwards for each category and the winners will be named live in San Francisco in December.
Rick Kaplan Joins NAB as EVP, Strategic Planning. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that former top FCC staffer Rick Kaplan has been hired as executive vice president, Strategic Planning. In this newly created position that will deal primarily with television, Kaplan will lead NAB’s efforts related to spectrum and innovation policy. His first day is Oct. 22. “We are delighted to announce the hiring of Rick Kaplan, whose credibility and integrity are well-recognized both at the Commission and in telecom circles in Washington,” says NAB president/CEO Gordon Smith. “His expertise on spectrum issues will benefit broadcasters greatly as we work with policymakers to ensure a robust local television business for decades to come.”
Odds & Sods. Mixed martial arts is a big draw for the young male demo and “UFC on FX” has been good to the Fox-owned cable channel. Fox Sports Radio Network has been simulcasting “UFC on FX” and continues with tonight’s “UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot” live from the Target Center in Minneapolis. After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe hosts a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 7 pm to 10 pm PT…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces he’s ending his daily live internet talk show due to financial considerations but will continue with various multi-media projects including his new YouTube channel, podcasts and blog. Donahue says he remains available for guest hosting and for guest interviews…..Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan are out as the radio play-by-play announcers for Houston Astros baseball. The club announces it is beginning the search for their replacements immediately. Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston is the club’s flagship station.
NJBA Comments Incorporated into Federal Legislation. Pro-radio crusader Paul S. Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, reports positive progress in his organization’s efforts to influence the interests of the radio industry in government circles. The House of Representatives recently passed the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2903), which authorizes the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and makes improvements to the system including language that broadcasters requested in several key areas: 1. The bill creates an IPAWS Advisory Committee to ensure that the various federal agencies that have a part in the governance of the IPAWS are conducting an ongoing dialogue with message disseminators. (Broadcasters will be represented on the IPAWS advisory committee); and 2. The bill establishes a comprehensive and periodic training program to instruct and educate Federal, State, Tribal, and local government officials in the use of the Common Alerting Protocol enabled Emergency Alert System. Importantly, the bill requires that this training be integrated into the National Incident Management System, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s emergency management doctrine used across the United States to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response. By incorporating the NJBA’s comments regarding EAS training into the National Incident Management System, state and local emergency managers will have to participate in EAS training in order to receive federal homeland security grant funding. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has been considering its own IPAWS bill.
14.8 Million More Americans Watched the Presidential Debate. According to a report from TVbytheNumbers, the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign on Wednesday evening saw a big spike in the number of people who tuned in compared to the first debate in 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain. Then, 52.4 million Americans tuned in. On Wednesday, 67.2 million people watched the debate on one of the 12 networks that carried it. Of the big three networks that carried it, ABC grabbed the most viewers with 11.2 million.
First Presidential Debate Victory Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 1-5. The build-up to the first presidential debate and the post-debate analysis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM. The investigation of the Libya consulate attack that claimed the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others was #2. At #3 was the controversy over President Obama’s 2007 speech before a black audience in which he questions why the largely African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina didn’t receive the same assistance as victims of other disasters. Following at #4 was analysis of the presidential campaign polls. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week, based on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.