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Archive for August, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

| August 30, 2013

townsquare logoTownsquare Announces Stations Acquisition; Deal Worth Approximately $281 Million.  Townsquare Media, LLC announces that it has executed definitive documentation related to three transactions with Cumulus Media Holdings, Inc. and Peak II Holding LLC which, upon consummation, will result in Townsquare acquiring assets including 71 radio stations in 15 markets. After the deal is consummated, Townsquare will own 312 radio stations in 66 markets and have operations in 25 states, making it the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States and the largest, “best-capitalized owner and operator of radio stations solely focused on small and mid-sized markets.”  In a press release this morning, Townsquare reports it is acquiring assets including 53 radio stations (three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust) in 12 markets (Battle Creek; Cedar Rapids; Danbury, Connecticut; Faribault-Owatonna, Minnesota; Kalamazoo; Lansing; Portland, Maine; Portsmouth-Dover-Rochester, New Hampshire; Quad Cities; Rochester, Minnesota; Rockford, Illinois; and Waterloo, Iowa) from Cumulus for cash.  Townsquare is also acquiring Peak, which owns assets including 11 radio stations in two markets (Boise and Fresno) for cash and equity units of Townsquare.  Finally, Townsquare will exchange certain assets including five radio stations, in Fresno it is acquiring from Peak, for Cumulus assets including 15 radio stations in two markets (Dubuque and Poughkeepsie) and a de minimis cash settle-up payment in favor of Townsquare.  In total, Townsquare will be acquiring 68 stations from Cumulus, three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust, and eleven Peak stations, five of which will be exchanged to Cumulus, resulting in a net increase of 71 stations.  Townsquare expects to finance the transactions with a mix of secured and unsecured debt financing, Townsquare equity units and cash on hand.  Townsquare has received debt financing commitments from its various financing partners in connection with the transactions and will complete its financing in compliance with the covenant package of Townsquare Radio, LLC’s existing Senior Unsecured Notes indenture.  “These transactions represent the continued evolution of Townsquare Media into one of the nation’s largest local media companies and allow us to reach a scale which opens the door to new strategic opportunities,” comments Townsquare Chairman and CEO, Steven Price. “The assets we are adding to our portfolio are market leading brands with strong competitive positions in their respective small and mid-sized markets. We are excited by the opportunity to deploy our differentiated local-media strategy across a broader footprint in order to better serve our communities and our advertising clients.”

cumulus logoCumulus Announces Expected Dial Global Acquisition.  Cumulus Media Inc. issues a press release this morning announcing “a series of strategic transactions that solidifies the company’s position as a leading producer of high-quality content and continues to reshape its footprint focused on the top 100 markets.”  The transactions announced today include:

• Acquisition of Dial Global, Inc. for $260 million in cash (consisting of approximately $45 million attributable to equity and the retirement of $215 million of debt)

• Sale of 53 radio stations in 12 small and mid-sized markets to Townsquare Media for $238 million in cash (inclusive of the acquisition of net working capital)

• Swap with Townsquare Media of 15 radio stations in two small & mid-sized markets in exchange for the receipt of five stations in Fresno, CA (market #68)

dickeylew“These transactions give us the necessary scale to provide the marketing and enterprise solutions our advertising and affiliate partners require,” said Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus. “Our goal is to be the leading producer of premium audio content distributed through multiple platforms while continuing to build our broadcast platform in the top 100 U.S. markets.”

The acquisition of Dial Global will add sports, news, talk, music and programming services content – enabling Cumulus to provide a wider variety of options to approximately 10,000 U.S. radio stations, other media platforms and international platforms.  New content acquired through the Dial Global acquisition will include NFL, NCAA, NASCAR, Olympics, AP Radio News, NBC News and other popular programming.  Cumulus expects the transaction to be deleveraging based upon identified cost synergies of approximately $40 million, with additional upside from revenue growth potential through the creation of new content vehicles for broadcast radio advertisers.  Additionally, Cumulus believes the opportunity exists to distribute premium, curated audio content across emerging new media platforms.  Further, Cumulus intends to service broadcasters’ demands for premium content and enterprise solutions in Europe, the Americas and Australia.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Announces New Lineup.  Yesterday (8/29), TALKERS reported the reuniting of Chicago radio personalities Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago.  Now, the station issues a releasecochransteve detailing the programming changes – some of which were reported a few weeks ago – that take place on Tuesday, September 3.  As reported earlier, Steve Cochran assumes morning drive duties; he’s followed by Wendy & Bill from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; husband and wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano (pictured at left) air from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Garry sirottmurcianoMeier continues to host the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.  David Kaplan maintains his 7:00 pm show start but wraps at 11:00 pm when Pete McMurray, who expands his role with the station, starts hosting the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am program.  As reported earlier this week, Nick Digilio becomes a full-time host with the station on the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot.  Weekends are spotlighted by the return of Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (pictured lower right) to the station in the Saturday 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot beginning September 14.  Other changes include: “The Design Dude with Frank Fontana” airing from 6:00 am to 7:00 am, followedomalleymarkey by “Mr. Fix-it with Lou Manfredini” from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.  When not affected by sports preemptions, Bill Moller will follow Kathy and Judy from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Sports Central” will remain in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot.  The Sunday lineup will introduce a new show dedicated to the discussion of the Chicago political landscape.  Chicago Tribune writer Rick Pearson will host “Chicago Way: Politics with Pearson” on Sundays from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  “The Dean Richards Sunday Special” will follow at 9:00 am, extending an additional two hours until 1:00 pm.  In addition to his Saturday show, Bill Moller will air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Brian Noonan remains in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot, followed by the return of Chicago treasure, Rick Kogan, from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  Comedian and media personality, Patti Vasquez, will air from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am.  Playing a feature role in the future of WGN’s new lineup will be “720 Snackables.”  These spotlight segments will live online and on-air as interviews, video shorts, and podcasts.  They’ll feature the WGN family of experts including Dean Richards’ “A-List Interviews,” “Legally Speaking with Karen Conti,” “Bertrand on Books” with Steve Bertrand, “Flavor HD” with Hannah Stanley & Dane Neal, “Steve Dale’s Pet World,” Paul Green’s “Paul & The Politicians,” “Good Cents with Ilyce Glink,” and more.

rtdnagavelChris Carl New RTDNA Chair.  WDEL, Wilmington, Delaware director of news and programming Chris Carl is the new chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association.  Pictured here is outgoing chair Vince Duffy of Michigan Radio (l) passing the gavel to Carl (r).  Carl notes that for the first time in the organization’s history, the RTNDF chairman, RTDNA chairman and RTDNA chair-elect are all radio people as Duffy moves to the Foundation chair for the next year, and the membership elects Amy Tardif of WGCU-FM, Fort Myers as the chair-elect.

Odds & Sods.  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to make regular appearances on CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.”  Every Tuesday he’ll join the “Vinnie & Cook” show at 11:00 am…..Guaranty Broadcasting’s KYPY, Baton Rouge flips from classic country to a simulcast of sister sports talk WNXX “104.5 ESPN”…..New Jersey Devils hockey will continue to be heard on CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM and beyond.  The club signs a new, multi-year deal with the station to keep games on for the ninth straight season beginning in October…..Clear Channel moves Portland Trailblazers basketball from news/talk KEX to sister sports talk KPOJ for the coming season to avoid preemptions…..Bob Smith retires from his post as host of “1370 Connection” at pubcaster WXXI, Rochester, New York after a 25-plus-year career with the station.  Smith suffered a stroke in April and is still undergoing rehabilitative care.

jimmyfundcheck13More Than $3.3 Million Raised in Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon.  Entercom sports radio WEEI and regional cable sports channel NESN have teamed up for 12 years to air a two-day radio-telethon to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This week’s event helped raise more than $3.3 million – about the same amount raised the year prior.  This puts the 12-year total at more than $34 million.   Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “The outstanding generosity of our listeners across New England year after year not only supports a great cause but betters the lives of those who need it most.  These past two days have been the most emotionally rewarding for the entire WEEI and Entercom Boston family this year.  We remain both humbled and thrilled to have played a role in helping the selfless team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in their fight against cancer.”  A check was presented at last night’s Red Sox game.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Red Sox owner John Henry, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, Entercom Boston VP/market manager Jeff Brown, Jimmy Fund director Suzanne Fountain, WEEI executive producer Joe Zarbano, WEEI director of marketing Adam Ralston, NESN president Sean McGrail, and Wally the Green Monster.

catenaccijoeWilmington, NC Sports Talk Show Adds Saturday Edition.  The weekly “Sports Connection” show hosted by Port City Daily sports writer Joe Catenacci adds a Saturday edition that begins a run on Sea-Comm-owned rock WBNE, Wilmington “103.7 The Bone.”  Joe Cat’s show began as a co-operative effort between the Port City Daily and Sea-Comm news/talk WNTB and WLTT airing Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Beginning tomorrow (8/31) Catenacci and co-host Cori Stukes will broadcast live every Saturday from Hell’s Kitchen on Princess Street in downtown Wilmington.  He says in the Port City Daily, “Over the last eight months, we have connected the local community with some of the top names in sports from across the country.  Even with a focus on local, we continue to get some of the household names when it comes to industry.  Locally, every high school football, basketball and baseball coach has made an appearance on the show at least once, as well as UNCW coaches and players.”

freemanedgeTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by a number of new affiliate stations, including: WCKG-AM, Chicago; WBAT-AM, Marion, Indiana; KENT-AM, Parowan, Utah; WRSB, Canandaigua, New York; WASB, Bridgeport, New York; W286AE-FM, Fairport, New York; and WNZS, Bangor, Maine…..“Late Night Health Radio” with host Mark Alyn joins the programming lineup at KABC, Los Angeles…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom” with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is added to WFPA, Fort Payne, Alabama…..The “Unlock Your Wealth” feature by Heather Wagenhals is added to affiliate stations WPGR, Pittsburgh; KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton, California; and WEZO, Augusta, Georgia.

U.S. Syria Action Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 26-30.  The question of whether the United States should take action against Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the March on Washington anniversary tied with American race relations.  Following at #3 was Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs and at #4 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

| August 29, 2013

wendybill1997Wendy & Bill Reunited at WGN, Chicago.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the pairing of Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff is back at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago headed for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on the station.  As newly installed president and general manager Jimmy de Castro makes moves to re-build the heritage Chicago news/talk outlet, this latest change puts back together a team that many Chicago radio watchers says was broken up just as it was about to reach its potential.  Feder recounts that the duo first worked together doing nights at WLUP-FM in 1994 and moved to mornings at WKQX in 1996 (where they are pictured here).  But just two years later management ousted them in favor of Mancow.  Now, vice president of content for Tribune, Todd Manley, tells Feder, “It’s one of the best pairings to ever happen on the radio.  It was just about to explode [at Q101], and here we find ourselves in a place where we can breathe new life into it and watch it grow.  They’re two really special people who have great stories to tell about their life together on the radio and since then.”  Leff has been doing overnights at WGN and Snyder has been doing the morning traffic reports at Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM – a position she just resigned.  The new “Wendy & Bill” show debuts next Tuesday on WGN.

barbieriralphFormer KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri’s Unlawful Termination Suit Against Cumulus and Management Wins First Round.  The case is not at trial just yet and it may very well be settled before it ever gets there, but former KNBR sports talk host Ralph Barbieri won the first “round” after California Superior Court Judge Marla Miller denied certain defendants’ motion for summary judgment.  She also granted in part and denied in part summary adjudication.  Basically, Barbieri is claiming that he was fired from his position at KNBR for being too old – a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act – and for being too sick (Barbieri has Parkinson’s Disease but claims it didn’t prevent him from doing his job).  In short, some of the 11 causes of action were granted summary adjudication but others were not.  Judge Miller rules that Barbieri has enough evidence to send the case to trial.  Whether that happens or not, only time will tell.

wtmj logoWTMJ, Milwaukee Promotes Eric Brooks to Executive Producer.  Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee ups Eric Brooks to executive producer at the station.  VP of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer states, “Since joining the station two years ago, Eric has worn many hats – producing Jeff Wagner‘s program, anchoring news, and handling imaging and commercial production work.  In his new position, in addition to continuing as producer of ‘Wisconsin’s Afternoon News,’ he’ll lead our talk production staff, assist in the oversight of weekend programs, hire and train new producers, manage producer schedules, oversee on-air promos and more.  Our internal organizational structure, communication and quality of our multi-platform brand are key to the success of WTMJ.  We look forward to Eric’s continued contributions toward our goals.”

muicciodeanWLW, Cincinnati Newsman Dean Muiccio Exits for Florida Teaching Gig.  Radio personality Dean Muiccio – once successfully partnered with Randi Douglas on Cumulus Media’s AC WRRM “Warm 98” in morning drive – is exiting his most recent gig as news anchor on Clear Channel’s news/talk WLW, Cincinnati to move to Florida to teach at the Miami Media School.  According to a piece in the Cincinnati Enquirer by John Kiesewetter, Muiccio will do his last news anchor shift at WLW today (8/29).  In addition to his radio work in the Queen City, Muiccio also created, produced and hosted a local program on WXIX-TV “Fox 19” called “Cincinnality.”

patrickdanSiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio Squeezes Dan Patrick into Lineup.  The Chris “Mad Dog” Russo-led sports talk channel on SiriusXM makes some moves to fit the DIRECTV Entertainment/LABC Radio Group-produced and syndicated Dan Patrick show into the schedule.  Beginning Tuesday, September 3, Evan & Phillips shave an hour off their morning show to end at 9:00 am ET and Russo moves his “Mad Dog Unleashed” show from a 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET start.  That allows Dan Patrick to air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Adam Schein to move from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.

sturmleslieLeslie Sturm to AdLarge.  Former three-year United Stations Radio Networks senior account executive Leslie Sturm joins the sales staff of AdLarge Media.  The 1987 Rutgers graduate will be based in New York, where she will report to chief revenue officer, radio sales Don Wachsmith, who comments, “Leslie has a terrific combination of radio sales and advertising agency experience that gives her exceptional insight into advertisers’ needs and goals.”  Co-founder/chief executive officer Gary Schonfeld remarks, “Leslie has exhibited an ability to pinpoint the core objective of an advertising campaign and identify the right platforms and environment for reaching and engaging a client’s target audience.”  Meanwhile Sturm adds that she was “attracted to AdLarge as a growth company” and because of “its extensive array of premium sports and digital properties.” She adds, “AdLarge’s strong content and digital partnerships provide advertisers with customizable options for deep integration and multi-media campaigns.”  Sturm previously was senior account manager at SiriusXM Satellite Radio; spent 10 years in ad sales for Premiere Radio Networks and MJI Broadcasting; and she was NW Ayer/MediaEdge‘s vice president, associate director of Network Radio.

radioshow2013Radio Show Super Session Focuses on Athletes Turned Radio Hosts.  Dubbed, “Jocks on Jocks,” and moderated by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Jim Rome, the Super Session will take place on Thursday, September 19 at 11:00 am at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.  As its title implies, the session will feature former athletes who’ve become radio talk show hosts.  Appearing will be: Bobby Hebert of “SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia” on Entercom‘s WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans; Tom Tolbert, host, “The Mr. T Show” on Cumulus‘ KNBR, San Francisco; and Amani Toomer, co-host, “Amani and Eytan” on NBC Sports Radio.

comedy1031Lincoln Financial Media Appoints Andy Juett Sales Manager for ‘Comedy 103.1’ in Denver.  Stating that the comedy format on KYGO, Denver’s HD 2 channel and translator K276FK, Denver (103.1 FM) “has grown into a significant brand in the Denver market in less than a year,” Lincoln Financial Media Denver SVP and general manager Bob Call names Andy Juett sales manager for the station.  “His deep experience combines years of radio sales with a passion for comedy.  Andy’s production of the first-ever High Plains Comedy Festival brought sponsors and comedians together for a very successful event.”  Juett’s strong radio background includes sales management positions at Max Radio, CBS Radio, Wilks Broadcasting and Clear Channel Radio in Denver.  He began his career as an account executive for Liggett Broadcasting in Lansing, Michigan, and Citadel Broadcasting.  In addition, Juett owns Denver’s High Plains Comedy Festival.

degregorionickNick DeGregorio Joins Sun Broadcast Group.  His previous gig was with Cumulus Media Networks where he was the senior director of affiliate sales and special projects.  Now, Nick DeGregorio signs on with Sun Broadcast Group for the vice president affiliate sales and programming position.  The company states that “in his new role based at Sun Broadcast Group’s New York office, he’ll be heading the affiliate sales team, enhancing Sun’s product and programming and strategizing the growth of the network.”  Sun EVP Steve Gallagher says, “At the core of Sun Broadcast Group is the belief to always be different and strive for a new way of thinking.  We were blown away with Nick as soon as we met him.  Nick is a wealth of new ideas and has a refreshing perspective on the network radio business for today and the future.  Nick is a creative thinker and energizes anyone around him!”

deanmichaelwHome Studio on a Budget.  In a piece published recently by TALKERS, “The Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean wrote about giving your home studio a decent sound for absolutely zero dollars.  Yes, it works but it’s not very attractive.  In this second column, Dean shows talk hosts working out of their homes how to get that studio-quality sound for about $250 and in less than three hours’ time.  Dean says the added benefit to his method is your studio will still maintain a homey feel for those who don’t have a dedicated studio space and helps make guests feel, well, at home!  Read it here.

donnellanOdds & Sods.  CBS Radio‘s Tampa sports talker WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” moves The Fabulous Sports Babe (Nanci Donnellan) to weekends.  There’s been no announcement about a permanent program for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  Donnellan began in the overnight slot when the station debuted and moved up to the evening show…..Former Chicago Bears defensive end Alex Brown becomes a featured analyst on the Bears pre-game show on CBS Radio’ s WSCR, Chicago…..Entercom San Francisco sports talk outlet KGMZ “95.7 The Game” adds Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice to its stable of football experts.  Rice will make weekly appearances on the afternoon drive show hosted by Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend…..Tribune‘s WGN, Chicago enters into a partnership with Radiate Media for the latter to provide up-to-the-minute traffic information to its audience.  The multi-year deal begins September 1…..New Hampshire Public Radio announces Rebecca Lavoie — formerly senior producer on NHPR’s midday show “Word of Mouth,” is promoted to the newly created position of digital director.

risingwomen20 Complete RAB/BMI Scholarship Training Seminar.  On August 20 and 21, 20 scholarship recipients were welcomed at the BMI offices in Nashville to complete the Sixth Annual Rising Through the Ranks, Women in Radio Management & Leadership Training Program, presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau in conjunction with BMI and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group.  The two-day course emphasized the specific needs of women in management roles, including enhancing their overall management knowledge and skills.  Some 15 executives working in the radio business presented courses to the scholarship attendees.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “The future of our industry is in good hands with this year’s class of scholarship recipients.  With the help of the RAB, BMI and MIW, these women are poised to lead their teams and our business.  They are energized, empowered, and ready to implement the lessons learned at this seminar.”  The group of 20 plus instructors are pictured here.

gallaghermikebaldMike Gallagher Transforms into ‘Daddy Warbucks.’  As TALKERS reported on Monday, Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher – appearing in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre production of “Annie” as Daddy Warbucks – agreed to forego the skullcap and actually shave his head if listeners to home base affiliate WGTK, Greenville, South Carolina “Conservative Talk 94.5” would donate at least $5,000 to the Gallagher’s Army Fallen Officers Fund.  They came through and Gallagher appeared at Frank’s Gentleman’s Salon yesterday afternoon to have his dome “chromed.”  About 100 WGTK listeners showed up to watch the shearing.  Gallagher commented to the crowd, “Telly Savalas and Yul Brynner have nothing on me!”

VirtualNWS Weather Reports’ ‘Big’ John Wetherbee AMS Board.  VirtualNWS Weather Reports’ chief meteorologist “Big” John Wetherbee has been appointed to the American Meteorological Society’s Board of Broadcast Meteorology.  During his three-year term on the AMS Board of Broadcast Meteorology, the 30-year radio and TV veteran Wetherbee will help award the coveted AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval to broadcast meteorologist candidates who maintain AMS standards of excellence, pass extensive testing in a series of exams, and can show documented community service.  VirtualNWS Weather Reports are syndicated by Envision Radio Networks.

U.S. Action on Syria, Miley Cyrus VMAs Performance, ObamaCare Implementation, and March on Washington Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28).  The continuing talk about whether the United States and its allies should strike Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons; the aftermath of Miley Cyrus’ performance on the MTV VMAs show on Sunday; the costs of implementing the Affordable Care Act; and the anniversary of the March on Washington were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Permanent Sound Conditioning
in Three Hours for $250

| August 29, 2013

By Michael W. Dean
The Freedom Feens
Genesis Communications Network
Co-Host

1 - Driver's seat in final studio designDriver’s seat in final studio design

CASPER, Wyoming — In my August 1st TALKERS article “Quick-and-Dirty Three-Minute Sound Conditioning,” I showed you how to greatly reduce reverberation in a room at a cost of zero dollars. That solution is simple and quick, and it works. However, it doesn’t look very good. The Quick-and-Dirty Three-Minute Sound Conditioning method is excellent if you’re doing an afternoon of one-off remotes, or for temporary sound conditioning when you’ve moved into a new location and have a show to do. But you’re probably not going to want to keep it that way.

My more permanent method of sound conditioning won’t set you back a lot, and it looks nice enough to leave it up as long as you’d like. It also has the advantage of having a homey feel, as opposed to a “studio” feel. This is nice if you do a syndicated show from home. It can also work in a radio station, especially if you have a room where you often interview guests who’ve never been on the radio before. People who’ve never been on radio can often feel overwhelmed by the experience. You can get a more natural interview out of people who are not radio pros simply by making a room at your radio station feel more like a cozy room in a home. Your interview subjects may forget they’re “under the microscope” and open up more.

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V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N (or is it?)

| August 28, 2013

Thoughts and observations about some of the best in the West: Ron Owens, K-EARTH 101, and listening to a transmitted signal on hallowed ground

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

cookeBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Vacation and I tend to elude each other.  Although I live in a summertime destination, I bug-out JUST as seasonal funsters invade.  The natural travel cycle for radio consultants is after-the-Spring-book and as-we’re-planning-for the Fall survey and budget-planning for the new year.  OK, OK, it’s also convenient that my perennial seven week non-stop station visit trek occurs during baseball season.  I see the Red Sox everywhere BUT Fenway Park.

And like anyone self-employed, in any industry, I feel like I never stop working!  But I did last week…or at least I intended to.  As I’m sure you do when you hear radio elsewhere-in-your-travels, I couldn’t help listening critically…yet I still experienced radio more like a consumer than a vendor to my client stations.

Three radio notes from my trip, and not just so I can write-it-off, honest…

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

| August 28, 2013

whptlogoCox Media Trims Two Positions at Hot Talk “102.5 The Bone” in Tampa.  The Tampa Bay TimesEric Deggans reports the firing of two air personalities at Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” – evening host Matt “Spice” Lloyd and early morning personality Chris Fisher.  Fisher tellsspice Deggans he wasn’t surprised by his dismissal saying he didn’t believe Cox was going to continue to pay him a full-time salary to host the 3:00 am to 5:00 am “The Fisher Experiment” program.  “I knew overnights were just a placeholder until they could figure out what to do with me.  It wasn’t about performance…I just realized this is part of the business.”  As for Lloyd – a former member of WHPT-based Bubba the Love Sponge’s morning show – he Tweeted that his ratings were good (#1 in his demo and time slot) but that his contentious relationship with Bubba may have led to his departure.  “Revenge is the best revenge…right Bubba? Just checking…”  How much influence Bubba has over the station’s lineup is unknown.  Regardless, there’s a hole in the station’s lineup from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on the WHPT website for now.

cumulusRumors of the Biggest Radio Deal of the Year Wake Industry from End-of-Summer Doldrums.  Numerous industry sources and trade journals are speculating that Cumulus Media is very close to announcing a deal to acquire Dial Global.  The enticing story is further enhanced by rumors that the Dial Global programming could soon be heard under one of its previously-owned and utilized banners, Westwood One – the name to which Dial Global still has the rights after the high profile “merger” of the companies back in 2011 in which parentDG-logoHorizontal company Triton Media Group absorbed Westwood One into its Dial Global property – and that Cumulus Media plans to offset some of the cost of the acquisition by selling some of its small- and medium-market stations to Townsquare Media which has been in an acquisition mode.  If consummated, Cumulus would have the sports play-by-play that’s been the bread and butter of the former Westwood One and would also obtain the Dial westwoodoneGlobal 24/7 music formats, some of which would be duplicative of its own music formats that came with the acquisition of the old ABC Radio Networks.  This is not to mention, of course, the sales and programming staff that come with each.  The big question on everyone’s mind is what does this all mean in terms of a master business strategy and how implementation of that strategy will influence jobs and the various players’ control over the marketplace?  First of all, everything already published in the industry about this has been based on rumor and speculation with little clarified information being directly provided by the principals involved.  That being acknowledged, should such a deal or set of deals come to fruition, it is highly likely that the answers to these questions will come as an afterthought…or certainly after the deals are consummated.  As for now, the main impetus at work is the intense need on the part of both Cumulus and Dial Global to avoid or at least forestall the debt crisis facing each of them in a mutually advantageous way and, hopefully, make some sense out of the pieces after the new configuration resulting from such a deal fall into place.  As far as Townsquare is concerned, if all of this is true, they are being intelligently opportunistic in their move to build a larger and more potent ownership of viable radio broadcasting outlets and are probably staying up late at night sharpening their pencils.  Stay tuned!

cookehollandHOLLAND COOKE: The Best of the West.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s end-of-summer vacation to California provided him the chance to pocket some consultant “gold nuggets” in the form of in-market observations of some the best radio in the West.  There’s a lot of good radio being done in the Golden State but Cooke offers up three examples that really stuck with him and that apply to practitioners of both talk and music formats.  Take a few minutes to dig into HC’s thoughts about KGO’s Ronn Owens; CBS Radio’s “K-Earth” and baseball on the radio here.

gloverhelenHelen Glover Out at WHJJ, Providence; Ron St. Pierre to Take Over AM Drive.  The Providence Journal’s Andy Smith reports that Clear Channel news/talker WHJJ, Providence has let morning host Helen Glover go and will replacestpierreron her with Ron St. Pierre.  Though the hiring of St. Pierre for the morning show has not been confirmed, Glover – a 2002 “Survivor” finalist – confirms to Smith she’s out, “I always knew this would happen one day, I just didn’t know it would be today.”  Glover had been with WHJJ for almost eight years.  Ron St. Pierre exited WPRO earlier this year.  He had served as program director at WPRO for many years, hosted morning drive and was executive producer of the Buddy Cianci program at the time he left the Cumulus Media news/talk station.

piattstanStan Piatt Announces Retirement from WNIR, Akron After 36 Years.  Morning drive personality Stan Piatt will retire from Media Com’s WNIR, Akron at the end of July next year – or earlier depending on the success of the station’s search for a replacement.  The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Piatt has a girlfriend working in Pittsburgh to whom he’d like to be closer and that he’s finally decided to leave for the Steel City.  As for WNIR, program director Bill Klaus is beginning the hiring process for the next morning show host at one of the country’s first FM talk stations.  He says, “We are seeking a morning drive personality or team with the skills to be fun, funny and engaging in a live ad-lib environment.  Applicants should email a resume and aircheck to wnirradio@gmail.com.  Media-Com is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

ktrsMissouri Governor Jay Nixon Fires at Texas Governor Rick Perry Via Ad on KTRS, St. Louis.  Regarding the story TALKERS reported on Monday (8/26) about CH Holdings-owned news/talk outlet KTRS, St. Louis pulling the ads purchased by the state of Texas after it was discovered they were not promoting tourism but were touting reasons Missouri businesses should consider moving to Texas, there’s been a development.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixonmilhavenmcgraw voiced his own spot that’s been airing on KTRS that counters many of the arguments Governor Rick Perry tries to make in support of Texas’ business-friendly atmosphere.  According to a transcript published by KDSK-TV, St. Louis, Nixon states: “One: Missouri has lower property taxes than Texas.  And lower sales taxes.  Two: Our students score higher on standardized tests.  Graduation rates are higher. Three: Missouri’s unemployment rate; below the national average for 4 years.  And unlike Texas, Missouri has a perfect Triple-A credit rating…And as for the Governor of Texas, he’ll learn you don’t mess with folks here in the Show Me State.”  Nixon says the money KTRS received for his spot makes up for what it lost by cancelling the Texas ad.  KTRS morning drive host McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS he will have Rick Perry on his program Thursday morning to discuss the issue.

russochrisSiriusXM and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Extend Contract.  Sports talk host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo extends his deal with SiriusXM for another three years.  The extension means the Mad Dog Radio channel will continue through the end of 2016.  In addition to the extension, Russo – who gained his fame as a sports talk host working alongside Mike Francesa on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York – will also host a program on the MLB Network that will be simulcast on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM.  In addition to programming the Mad Dog Radio channel, Russo hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed,” – a three-hour afternoon program.  Russo states, “I’ve always loved the on-air freedom that comes with being on SiriusXM.  I can do the kind of show here that I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else and I’m fortunate to be able to continue to give my listeners my kind of sports talk radio each and every day on ‘Mad Dog Unleashed.’  I’ll also get to emphasize my passion for baseball with my new role on MLB Network Radio and MLB Network, where I’ll be talking to dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans like me throughout the year.  This is a terrific opportunity that allows me to do what I do best, while also reaching new audiences.”

aguilerachristineWestStar MultiMedia Entertainment Turns to Aguilera. In this case, we are referring to the parent company of “The Kim Komando Show” appointing Christine Aguilera chief operating officer of WME and president of WestStar Merchandising.  As part of Aguilera’s duties in this brand new role, she will oversee network advertising and digital sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, and communications.”  Christine’s unparalleled marketing, advertising, direct response, and consumer experience make her a natural fit for our company’s future,” comments Kim Komando, who in addition to her high-profile, on-air capacity, is WestStar’s chairman/chief financial officer.  Aguilera previously was president of SkyMall, where she spent 16 years.  On the board of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Christine – not Christina Aguilera – mentioned in a Huffington Post interview that she frequently has to “explain” her name so she is not confused with the famous pop star, whose string of hits includes “I Turn to You,” “Beautiful,” “Genie in a Bottle,” What a Girl Wants, and “Feel This Moment.” Christine jokes, “That happens a lot.”

TalkersLA2013Erica Farber to Moderate “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  In what promises to be a “don’t-miss” sequel to one of the highlights of the recent Talkers New York 2013 June convention, RAB president/CEO Erica Farber will follow-up her excellent performance as moderator of the panel discussion, “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10 in  Hollywood, California.  Only this time around, it will be with a new set of panelists and the focus will be on the local level of radio station and program operations.  Scheduled to joining Farber on the panel are Terry Fahy, VP/GM, Salem Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO/president, WYD/WYM Media;farberericanew Christopher Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany, NY; and one more to be announced.  The panel will take a sweeping overview of the issues facing radio sales today including concerns about commercial quality and clutter, selling in a PPM world, maximizing ratings-credit, the image of talk radio on the agency level and marketing across multi-media platforms, among others.  The gathering is already closing in on being an advance sellout so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now.  A sellout is expected by the end of this week.  It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone.  So don’t wait – avoid being shut out.  For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.

schultevalerieNAB’s Valerie Schulte to Retire.  National Association of Broadcasters announces the retirement of NAB general counsel Valerie Schulte, effective Friday.  Schulte has served with the NAB since 1980 and, according to EVP of communications Dennis Wharton, “has worked on many of the most important issues before the FCC for free and local broadcasters – including children’s television regulations, the digital TV transition, digital radio issues, and legal issues related to satellite radio.  The NAB family wishes Valerie nothing but the best in her retirement.”

Curtis Media Buys Greensboro Translator CP.  Through Eastern Airwaves LLC, Curtis Media purchases the construction permit for FM translator W228CM in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Curtis is buying the property for $125,000 from Wake Forest UniversityBob Heyman of Media Services Group was the exclusive broker representing Curtis.

U.S. Weighs Syria Attack, March on Washington Anniversary, Fort Hood Verdict, Miley Cyrus MTV VMAs Performance, and Spokane Vet Beating Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27).  President Obama’s looming decision whether attack Syria; the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington; the verdict in the Fort Hood slayings; ongoing commentary about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs on Sunday; and the aftermath of the beating death of a Spokane WWII veteran were some of the most talked about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.