Archive for January, 2013
Free Speech Isn’t Always Pretty. The jury that heard arguments in the case of Todd Schnitt versus Todd Clem (Bubba the Love Sponge) didn’t believe that the actions by Clem on his radio program rose to the level of reckless disregard for the truth that would have been required to find him guilty of defamation. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that because all parties were public figures by virtue of their occupations, the bar is set higher for them than it would be for private citizens. “Clem’s attorney argued to the jury that the case was a matter of free speech and that no one listening to a radio talk show host who specializes in bombastic rhetoric would take what is said as a serious representation of fact,” states Weisman. Schnitt’s legal team tried to make the connection that some incidents in which Schnitt and his wife felt physically unsafe during and after encounters with Clem’s fans – members of the Bubba Army as they are known – but apparently the direct connection to Clem’s on-air rhetoric was not strong enough. Read Weisman’s analysis of the case here.
Newsmax Broadcasting’s Steve Malzberg Program to Air on SiriusXM. The new radio and internet talk program developed by Newsmax Broadcasting and featuring talk personality Steve Malzberg will also be featured on SiriusXM’s America’s Talk channel from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning February 4. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “Our surveys show a very significant part of the Newsmax audience subscribes to SiriusXM. This new outlet will allow SiriusXM subscribers and our online viewers to easily enjoy ‘The Steve Malzberg Show’ in their car anywhere through America’s Talk.” Newsmax recently announced the launch of this program – a new nationally syndicated radio show that will be simulcast on Newsmax TV, an online media station that features news, commentary, lifestyle and entertainment programming.
The Super Bowl Means Wing Bowl for WIP, Philadelphia. This is the 21st year that CBS Radio’s sports talk WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” will present the “Wing Bowl” chicken wing eating contest. The promotion begins this afternoon at 5:00 pm when WIP’s Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes host the official “weigh-in” for all 27 contestants live from Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The actual contest takes place Friday at 6:00 am at the Wells Fargo Center. What started as a smallish radio promotion 21 years ago has developed into one of the world’s largest wing eating contests and provides WIP with enormous visibility. A portion of the proceeds from the sold-out event will go to charity. Here’s the list of prizes in this year’s competition: $20,000 cash prize, a one-of-a-kind Wing Bowl Champion ring and a gold medal from Steven Singer Jewelers; a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder S-L from Montgomeryvillle Acura; a new Harley Davidson 883 Sportster Motorcycle from Barb’s Harley Davidson, West Collingswood, NJ; earrings and necklaces from Steven Singer Jewelers; and all inclusive Apple Vacations to the new Barcelo Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Jay Mohr Broadcasts Virtually from Super Bowl Media Week. That’s Fox Sports Radio Network personality Jay Mohr on the video monitor chatting with NFL Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith who’s seated on the Fox Sports set in New Orleans. Mohr is on the road this week on a comedy tour and he’s taking advantage of his travels to visit some affiliate stations while doing his program virtually from the media center at the Super Bowl. Mohr’s program – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on FSRN – has reached the 100 affiliate mark adding stations including WDFN, Detroit; WINZ, Miami; KRKO, Seattle; KGME, Phoenix; KLSD, San Diego; WDAE, Tampa; KPOJ, Portland; KTKR, San Antonio; WSAI, Cincinnati and more.
KJR, Seattle Moves Dave “Softy” Mahler to PM Drive. Clear Channel’s Seattle sports talk duo of KJR, Seattle and KNBQ, Centralia announces midday personality Dave “Softy” Mahler moves to the PM drive slot that opened up when longtime station personality Mike Gastineau retired from the station in December. Taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program are Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer and former Gastineau co-host Elise Woodward.
KDKA, Pittsburgh to Hold 5th Annual Warmathon. CBS Radio’s news/talk KDKA, Pittsburgh is broadcasting the 5th annual Warmathon – a live, two-day broadcast in conjunction with Dollar Energy Fund, Inc. on February 7 and 8 – to benefit Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program. The program helps limited-income families maintain or restore basic utility service. The event has raised more than $1.15 million since 2009 and more than 3,500 limited-income families in the greater Pittsburgh region have benefited from the generosity of Warmathon donors.
3 Daughters Media Files Petition to Deny in WLNI, Roanoke-Lynchburg Acquisition. Gary Burns-led 3 Daughters Media has filed a petition to deny with the FCC contesting the pending acquisition of talk outlet WLNI, Lynchburg by Mel Wheeler Inc. from Centennial Licensing LLC. Burns contends that if Mel Wheeler is allowed to acquire WLNI, it will put him in control of 48% of the market revenue – well over the 40% rule. The fact that the two cities of Roanoke and Lynchburg are some 60 miles apart but are part of the same market for sales purposes adds confusion to the situation but Burns maintains the designation is flawed and points to the Commission’s forcing Cumulus to spin off stations in Flint, Michigan and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as comparable examples.
Cool Job Opportunity. Talk Radio Producer/Guest Booker extraordinaire required. The successful candidate has access to A-level guests, stars and newsmakers. They have demonstrated initiative delivering breaking news in context and have shown innovation generating unique angles to Topic A stories, as well as original topics that connect with target listeners or viewers in personal ways. They have major market experience producing entertaining news and talk programs in television or radio stations or network newsrooms. They live and breathe current events, business, politics, pop culture, social media, new technology, etc. Please send resume & cover letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not attach audio files. Los Angeles-area applicants with a giant Rolodex are strongly preferred. We are an EOE.
Immigration Reform, 4th Quarter GDP Drop, Giffords Gun Testimony, Chuck Hagel Confirmation Hearing, and Israel-Syria Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/30). The debate in Washington over immigration reform; the unexpected drop in the U.S.’ GDP in the fourth quarter of 2012; former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ testimony at gun legislation hearing in Washington; Chuck Hagel’s pending Senate confirmation hearing; and Israel’s attack on suspected weapons inside Syria were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Steven J. J. Weisman
TAMPA — The circus has left Tampa, Florida. Four years after statements by Tampa talk show host Bubba The Love Sponge (Todd Clem) ignited a lawsuit by rival morning show host MJ Kelli (Todd Schnitt) and two weeks of trial, a jury took a mere three hours to reject Schnitt’s and his wife’s claims of defamation and dismissed all 24 counts of the complaint.
The bizarre case became even more bizarre when during the trial, one of Schnitt’s lawyers, Charles Campbell Jr., was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. A motion for a mistrial was denied when the judge was satisfied that the jury had not heard of the charges. It was even alleged by the Schnitt legal team that Campbell had been set up for the arrest after drinking with a paralegal who unknown to him worked for the law firm that represented Clem.
More Thoughts from the Recent New Media Expo
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — In olden times, radio, like other ad media, sold exposure, audience tonnage. Sales reps would show-off ratings rankers… which I always thought was daffy. Would you go to a job interview with nine other applicants’ resumés?
• But there our call letters were, in black and white, atop the page of whichever-demographic-we-sorted. Reps recited the Reach + Frequency spiel, promising that a radio ad schedule would help the retailer “build brand.” “We’ll make you the best-known” among all-who-sell-what-you-sell. Repetition, y’know?
• Fast forward to present day: Mere message exposure doesn’t do it anymore. The E-word en vogue is engagement, and money is flowing to digital opportunities that talk-with customers, rather than simply talk-at-‘em.
Blogging to Grow Your Tribe. Radio personalities and station programmers have great opportunities to use social media and blogging to build more interactivity and loyalty with fans and P1s, writes radio consultant Holland Cooke. In today’s piece, Cooke passes on some very salient points from the recent New Media Expo. He notes that the old paradigm of radio sales is passé and radio personalities are positioned to take advantage of the new paradigm. “The E-word en vogue is engagement, and money is flowing to digital opportunities that talk-with customers, rather than simply talk-at-‘em.” Cooke states that blogging has concrete benefits for anyone in the personality business. “If you’re an on-air host, blogging can deepen your connection with listeners, especially if you’re working music radio, and keep hearing ‘keep it moving.’ Blogging can also become the digital ‘inventory’ that agencies now expect to see included with on-air spots…or for you to monetize yourself.” Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
Chris Duncan Returns to WXOS, St. Louis After Near Four-Month Absence. Former St. Louis Cardinals star and current member of “The Fast Lane” PM drive program on Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN,” Chris Duncan returned to his full-time position after almost four months. Duncan has been dealing with intensive surgeries, treatments and physical/occupational therapy for a brain tumor, which was diagnosed in 2012. He has been absent from his full-time co-host seat since October 8, 2012 but recently has been appearing on “The Fast Lane” for brief interviews during his treatment. He expresses his gratitude for all of the listener and fan support during his ordeal. “I’m really excited and grateful to be back on ‘The Fast Lane’ with Randy [Karraker] and D’Marco [Farr]. I’m blessed to work at a great place like ‘101 ESPN’ with such outstanding people, and the timing couldn’t have been better with spring training a couple of weeks away.” Program director Kent Sterling states, “Having Chris back makes the station whole again. He’s such a positive person on ‘101 ESPN’ and in the halls that he was missed on many levels. To have him back every day makes everyone smile around here, and hopefully the same is true for listeners of ‘The Fast Lane’.”
Dave Ramsey Takes Over Evenings in Memphis. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey will be the evening talk talent at Clear Channel’s WREC, Memphis on April 19 when “The Daily Wrap” from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network ends. WREC program director Forrest Goodman states, “Dave has a powerful track record on radio. I am excited to add him to the station, where we feature the strongest names in talk, like Rush, Hannity and Beck.”
Welcome Back to Mike Gallagher After Recent Hospitalization. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher returns to the air today after being hospitalized in Greenville, South Carolina for double pneumonia early last week. The Salem Radio Network host tells TALKERS, “It was like Christmas in January for Piers Morgan, Bill Maher and Alan Colmes — Mike Gallagher with no voice. But I’m tanned, rested and ready to fight the good fight again starting Wednesday.”
Mapleton Shifts KYNS, San Luis Obispo from Progressive Talk to All-News. Mapleton’s KYNS, San Luis Obispo has been a progressive talk outlet since the days of Air America but now the signal is airing an all-news format under the brand “SLO Radio News 1340.” The station is using the long-form news blocks from America’s Radio News Network.
Odds & Sods. Talk personality Joe Madison will be the host for SiriusXM’s “Roots Town Hall” featuring original cast members from “Roots,” the groundbreaking television mini-series. Madison will interview LeVar Burton, Leslie Uggams, and Louis Gossett, Jr. before a select group of listeners at the SiriusXM studios in New York City. The program will commemorate the start of Black History Month and air live Tuesday, February 5 at 2:00 pm ET…..Buckley Radio names Mary Lou Gunn general manager of its Bakersfield cluster that includes hot AC KLLY, news/talk KSMJ, news/talk KNZR, and rhythmic oldies KKBB…..Clear Channel’s WTAM, Cleveland renews its agreement with Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians to be the flagship station through the 2017 season. As part of the deal, CC will air 144 of the games on FM rock station WMMS…..ESPN Audio prepares to debut a new podcast on February 4 featuring Michael Smith and Jemele Hill called, “His & Hers with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill.” Smith is host of “Numbers Never* Lie,” and Hill is an ESPN.com columnist and frequent contributor on various ESPN shows.
Immigration Reform, Kerry Confirmed/Hillary in 2016?, New Pro Athlete Doping Probe, North Korea Nuke Threat, and Gun Control Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). The debate over immigration reform legislation; John Kerry’s succeeding Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016; the latest pro athlete doping probe; North Korea’s nuclear threat; and the controversy over gun control proposals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.