Is Alec Baldwin MSNBC-Bound? Mediaite was first to report that outspoken liberal Alec Baldwin is reportedly in talks with MSNBC to do a possible talk show on the progressive-leaning cable channel. It is not known if the eldest of the Baldwin Brothers would do a daily/nightly program or a once-a-week offering. While Baldwin is widely known for film and television work (including his role as Jack Donaghy on TV’s “30 Rock”), he does have a radio connection. The self-described “public radio junkie” has filled in on New York City’s WNYC; had his own radio interview show/podcast (is a member of the TALKERS Frontier Fifty 2013); and since 2009, Baldwin has hosted “The New York Philharmonic This Week,” the Orchestra’s year-round nationally broadcast radio series.
Paul Finebaum Launches Nationally Next Monday (8/12). Produced by ESPN Radio and distributed by Cumulus Media Networks, Paul Finebaum‘s daily, four-hour program will feature “The Voice of the SEC,” as well as plenty of caller interaction. Finebaum will be based in ESPN’s Charlotte studios and is scheduled to make appearances later this year on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” “College Football Live,” and “College GameDay.” A television simulcast of Finebaum’s radio show will be part of the lineup when the SEC Network starts up next August (2014). Finebaum began his radio career in the mid-1980s with morning commentaries on Birmingham’s WAPI-FM, where two up-and-comers – Mark & Brian – were the wakeup team at the time.
ALEX BENNETT is a True Radio Pioneer. The 73 year old iconoclastic talk show host has been marching to the beat of his own drummer and paving the way to new programming territory on AM, FM, cable, satellite and now internet since the 1960s and — in spite of his recent departure from an excellent 10-year stint at Sirius/XM — Alex Bennett remains undaunted and un-slowed. The young-sounding gabber who is credited by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as being “one of my main inspirations way back in the sixties to view news/talk radio as pop culture and to get into it myself as a talent,” is now in the process of developing an internet talk program called the “Great American Broadcast” and although it is only up and running for several weeks, the multi-media attraction clearly has legs. In a TALKERS profile posted today (8/9) special features correspondent Jeff McKay catches up with Alex Bennett — delving into the past, present and future of one of talk radio’s most unsung treasures. To read it, please click here.
Lars Larson and “Lazy” Are Not Synonymous. An especially elite group of talk hosts has the ability and stamina to do two long-form shows each weekday. It puts a person in extremely rarified air though if he or she even considers adding a third. That situation actually happens next week with Lars Larson, although it will only last Monday through Thursday (8/12 – 8/15). The Portland-based personality has accepted program director Paul Duckworth‘s invitation to fill in for Sinclair-owned KVI, Seattle “Talk Radio 570” 5:00 – 9:00 am (PT) talent John Carlson (“Carlson’s Commute”). The timing is a bit serendipitous, as next week marks Larson’s 10th anniversary of his national show. “After Laura Ingraham left Westwood One, I filled in for a couple of weeks and was told I could start calling it “The Lars Larson Show” on August 11th; it officially launched the show September 1,” he tells TALKERS. Four years ago when former Westwood One CEO Peter Kosann formed Compass Media Networks, he hired Larson to continue the national show. In addition to that daily 3:00 – 6:00 pm (PT) broadcast, Larson oversees a 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm (PT) regional one that airs on 17 Oregon and Washington State affiliates. “The Northwest Show” celebrated its 16th birthday this past May. “I usually get to [flagship station KXL-FM, Portland] at around 6:30 am to prep for my two shows,” Larson explains to TALKERS. “This just means getting here a few hours earlier. I’ll sleep when I get old.” According to Larson’s calculation, he has done 6500 shows in the past 26 years, which he estimates to be, “roughly 20,000 hours of talking.”
KESN, Dallas Afternoon Drive Host to Retire. As we reported here yesterday, a local sales agreement will be in place to have Cumulus program ESPN-owned all-sports outlet KESN, Dallas “ESPN 103.3,” when the pending sale of similarly-programmed KTDK-FM “The Ticket” is complete. Now comes word that KESN afternoon drive talent Randy Galloway (“Galloway and Company”) will retire from the sports station when his contract expires at year’s end. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist, however, remarks to his newspaper colleague Robert Philpot that his departure and the Cumulus arrangement are not related. “I want to give them plenty of notice to get a replacement in place,” Galloway states. “There is now basically five months to go on the contract, and nothing has changed about my plans to retire.” Galloway has been with KESN for the past 10 years.
Cowherd’s Voiceover Career Takes Off. Disney’s 3D-animated comedy “Planes” arrives in theaters today (8/9). If the voice of the blimp, “Colin Cowling,” sounds familiar, it is because that really is Colin Cowherd, the host of ESPN Radio’s daily 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (ET) “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.” According to the script, “Cowling” attended Zeppelin Broadcasting School and he began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast Balloon Races. He got his big break when producers of Racing Sports Network noticed his weekly “Eye-In-The-Sky-In-Sports” recap show. “When you work for a company like Disney, one of the best perks is opportunity for growth,” Cowherd states. “This was like nothing I have ever done – I really enjoyed it. This will be the first time my children will enjoy what I do. My family usually pays no attention to my career, but this time, dad’s job is awesome.” His ESPN colleague Brent Musberger (“Brent Mustangburger“) is also in the film.
ObamaCare Implementation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 5 – August 9. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost of the program was the top news/talk topic during the week. Following at #2 was the Mideast Uncertainty. At #3, the G-2 Summit flap between President Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Michael Harrison Conclave Keynote Now Posted on TalkersTV. TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison delivered the Keynote Address at the recent Conclave in Minneapolis. The sweeping speech titled “Radio in the Digital Age: Where Does Talent Fit In?” covers the great distance between Harrison’s early experiences breaking into radio as a DJ some 45 years ago and his view of where the industry will be heading over the next 25 years. In the spirit of “learning” that marks the Conclave, Harrison pulls no punches and spares no details in describing the radio industry and the institution of “radio” as reaching an existential juncture in its quest for ongoing relevance during the cultural, technological and generational sea change of modern times. He maintains that “talent” is the most important element that radio has to offer past, present and future. He passionately suggests that music radio take a lead from news/talk radio and sports talk radio which have taken “ownership” of their respected slices of life during the past quarter century and reclaim its “ownership” of the music culture that it relinquished during that same period of time. He says we should not be arguing whether AM and FM are “radio” versus services such as Pandora, but rather prove it through deeds and action. Harrison discusses the importance of developing prestigious platforms – even in the digital era – saying that simply broadcasting on the internet is not enough — any more than just broadcasting on the airwaves in the 20th century was enough — to maintain radio’s position as an iconic social institution. Couldn’t make it to the Conclave? To see and hear Michael Harrison’s historic address, please see the TalkersTV box on the upper right hand column on this page.