Mark Simone Begins Late Morning Show on WOR, New York. Longtime WABC, New York personality Mark Simone is heading downtown to begin a new chapter in his career with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR. Simone tells TALKERS he’s excited to begin hosting the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program. He says, “It’ll be a fast and fun daily look at what’s going on in the world, the city, entertainment, politics, tech, gossip, food, nightlife, my life, lives and whatever else they want to talk about. Lots of great guests and listener calls, too.” Simone says his 13 years at WABC were great. Management was always good to him and he’s finding it hard to leave his fellow co-workers but he’s encouraged to be re-joining general manager Steve Borneman who recently left WABC and is now with WOR. “He’s a great leader and the best GM we ever had on the 17th floor at WABC and everyone on the air there would tell you that they would follow him anywhere. He’s also hiring the best and smartest programming mastermind around. This is just the beginning. So, while I hate leaving the best co-workers in radio, it may not be long before many of them decide to join me here.” Simone’s program fills the slot on WOR previously held by Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.
WPRO, Providence Makes AM Drive Change; Gene Valicenti to Anchor. Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence announces WJAR-TV co-anchor Gene Valicenti (pictured at left) is the new host of its “WPRO Morning News” program. The station says “Gene brings more than 20 years of Rhode Island news broadcasting experience to the ‘WPRO Morning News’ each and every weekday. With an intimate knowledge of Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts, the ‘WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti’ will help listeners get their weekday started with news, traffic, weather and the unique touch of Gene Valicenti.” For more than two years Valicenti has been hosting his eponymous Saturday morning show on WPRO. He says, “Rhode Island has been waking up to WPRO since the days of Salty Brine. It goes without saying that hosting the ‘WPRO Morning News’ is a real honor for me.” TALKERS columnist and respected industry consultant Holland Cooke, who happens to be a longtime resident of Rhode Island, comments that he believes this to be a very good move. “I’ve been a big Gene Valicenti fan for years, but who here in Rhode Island isn’t? His NBC10 newscasts have consistently led the ratings. Beyond those impressive news chops, Gene’s approach to talk radio demonstrates what I hear as a welcome new trend, an antidote to the format’s caricature. His Saturday radio show SMILES more than most other talkers I hear; and, though topical, he’s not obsessed with politics. Gene strikes me as ‘a next-gen Salty Brine.’” In related news, current morning news host Tara Granahan is promoted to assistant program director for the station.
TALKERS magazine’s Sports Radio Feature, Part 3. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian wraps up a special three-part sports talk radio feature with a look at the December 2012 PPM ratings for sports talk stations in those markets. Numbers freaks will enjoy checking out how some of the nation’s most prominent sports talk outlets performed during that period. Peruse that data here. Mike Kinosian’s three-part feature kicked off with a thorough look at the new CBS Sports Radio Network that debuted on Wednesday. If you missed that, read it here. The second part of this piece covered the new sports talk venture from NBC and Dial Global that premieres its weekend programming tomorrow prior to a full launch in April. You can read that piece here.
George Noory Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ It was 10 years ago this weekend that George Noory took over the permanent host gig at Premiere Networks’ super-successful overnight program “Coast to Coast AM” and he plans a special show Sunday evening to celebrate. The show will feature appearances by many fan-favorite guests, including paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren and internationally known psychic Joseph Jacobs. Noory will also share memorable interviews and highlights from the past decade. Of the anniversary, Noory says, “It’s amazing how fast 10 years goes by and I’m looking forward to 10 more. We have grown the affiliate base from 445 stations when I came on to 564, and have increased our digital, multi-platform audiences tremendously. I want to thank my staff of dedicated producers and engineers, our affiliates, as well as the entire Premiere Networks team – they are the best in the business.” Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “After 10 successful years, George continues to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ to new heights. His ability to not only entertain and engage his loyal following of sleep-deprived listeners across multiple platforms, but also deliver positive results for stations and sponsors, is what makes him a stand-out star in the world of talk radio. We look forward to celebrating many more milestones together.”
Big NFL Weekend for Dial Global Sports. The first round of the NFL playoffs is here and Dial Global is providing radio broadcasts of the four Wild Card round games this weekend. Play-by-play of the NFL playoffs has been a successful venture for Dial Global (and Westwood One before that). Last year, the company commissioned a study by Edison Research to calculate listenership to the playoff games and the Super Bowl which, according to Edison, pulled in 23.1 million unique listeners to last year’s championship game, underscoring how many Americans aren’t able to be near a TV and turn to the radio to hear the big game.
SNL Kagan Reports Current TV-Al Jazeera Deal a Challenge for Middle East Operator. The pending $500 million sale of Al Gore-founded cable news/talk channel Current TV to Qatar-operated Al Jazeera is a bounty for Al Gore and Joel Hyatt but will likely be a big hurdle for Al Jazeera. SNL Kagan states, “We think Al Jazeera may have to drop the license fee to zero in order to gain widespread support for carrying the channel in the U.S., a move that would certainly imperil its economic model, which relies upon license fees for 80% of the network’s revenue. But maybe this is the only way for Al Jazeera America to gain a solid foothold in the U.S…In the U.S., the channel is available only in New York; Washington; Burlington, Vt.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bristol, R.I., versus 250 million households across the world in 120 countries.”
Entercom’s WEEI Expands Its Brand in the Granite State. New England’s Boston-based WEEI sports talk radio brand expands in New Hampshire adding its eighth affiliate – Great Eastern Radio’s WZEI, Meredith. WZEI is a class A FM covering the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. The station will carry the entire WEEI daily sports talk lineup, its weekend programming and Boston Celtics basketball. Great Eastern CEO Jeff Shapiro says, “We are very excited to bring coverage of everything New England sports to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with 101.5 WZEI. Great Eastern Radio and WEEI have a great partnership that has been key to great sports programming in northern New England for the past few years, and we look forward to extending that for years to come!”
KGO, San Francisco Wins Regional News Awards. Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco picks up two 2012 awards for broadcasting excellence from the NorCal Radio Television News Directors Association. The station won “Best News Broadcast” for the in-depth coverage of the Occupy protest and closure of the Port of Oakland anchored by Bret Burkhart and Chris Brecher; produced by Linnea Edmeier and Laura Podolak. The judges said it “grabs you right out of the box (with) passionate and engaged reporting (and) paints a good word picture of what was going on.” KGO reporter Scott Lettieri won “Best Light Feature Reporting” for his “Spotlight 810” piece on inmates performing Shakespeare in San Quentin. The judges said it was “interesting and meaningful,” with a “great mix of dramatic Shakespeare readings, music, (and) inmate reflections on what they’re gaining personally by taking part.” KGO program director Paul Hosley says, “We’re humbled by these awards. The 5:00 pm hour is highly popular with listeners and features contributions from the entire news team. We’re thrilled to have Scott Lettieri recognized for his remarkable work as well. Scott is a master story teller and it showed in this report about inmates performing Shakespeare behind bars.”
Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York Celebrates 20th Anniversary. Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York is celebrating its 20th anniversary as Bloomberg Radio – the 24-hour business and financial news outlet in the Big Apple. To mark the occasion, anchor Tom Keene and reporter Charlie Pellett will join staffers at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Legislation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 31 – January 4. Debate over and passage of the laws designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, putting it at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the Boehner House Speaker vote. At #3 was financial markets activity followed by Hurricane Sandy aid legislation at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.