Archive for February, 2014
Congressman Greg Walden Intends to Kill FCC’s Critical Information Needs Study. It wouldn’t be out of line to suggest Oregon Congressman Greg Walden doesn’t trust the FCC not to step over the line regarding its Critical Information Needs study. The controversial study would send researchers into the field to determine how stations and news personnel are choosing and presenting news and information and whether the conclusions reached somehow create a barrier to entry into station ownership for minorities. Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler backed off the study as initially created and he has said the Commission has no intention of regulating the content of journalists or broadcasters. Walden is promising to craft legislation to end the CIN study permanently. He says “The very existence of this CIN study is an affront to the First Amendment and should have never been proposed in the first place. As someone with a journalism degree, I was alarmed from the moment I saw it, which is why we wrote to Chairman Wheeler in December to urge him to stop the study. To date, Chairman Wheeler has insisted upon only making small tweaks, and what he has proposed to do isn’t enough. The study should be eradicated completely. The potential for violation of the First Amendment is exceptionally egregious, but it is also concerning that the commission believes it can prescribe what ‘critical information needs’ are in communities across the country.”
Salem Names Joe Piscopo Permanent Morning Host at WNYM, New York. Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, comic and actor Joe Piscopo has been sitting in hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” since the beginning of the year. Now the company makes it official as he’s named morning host of “Piscopo in the Morning.” He is joined on the air by morning show producer Frank Morano and newsman Al Gatullo. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “One of the best things I get to do in this job is find talented people who have accomplished something on one stage and are ready to take on another one. Joe is extremely talented on the radio, bringing a level of entertainment to mix with the information that you seldom get to hear. This is a very connected morning show in the nation’s top market.” Piscopo has been involved in a variety of projects since he left SNL, and still does a number of nationwide tours with former cast members. In addition to numerous movie appearances, and comedy club gigs, he is soon to be featured in a national reality TV show for a major network. He comments, “I have my college degree in broadcasting. I remain a dedicated student of the most intimate medium, radio. And with legendary broadcast giants like GM Jerry Crowley and current day guru of all radio personalities past and present, Phil Boyce, this is the positively perfect storm of talk radio. I honestly believe that this is not only the reinvention, renaissance and revitalization of AM radio, (not to mention a totally new and exciting journey of my career) but the best thing to happen to NY radio since David Sarnoff.” Crowley says, “We have had a huge positive reaction to Joe, both from listeners and advertisers, since he joined us. This is going to be a true home run.”
Improve Your PPM Performance. Media consultant Walter Sabo offers five quick tips for improving your talk radio station’s performance in PPM (or frankly, any) markets. Sabo writes that one of the biggest gripes from general managers at stations which he consults is that the program director doesn’t coach the talent. That can lead to bad habits. To read his quick five-point prescription for getting on the track to better audience engagement, click here.
WFNZ, Charlotte’s Brittney Cason Tells Chilling Tale of Narrow Escape from Human Trafficking Ring. There’s no word how far the FBI is in its investigation of what happened – or almost happened – to media personality and WFNZ, Charlotte air talent Brittney Cason, but as the former NFL cheerleader writes in a column on XOJane.com, her dashed dream to cover the Sochi Olympics turned out to be a probable life-saving event. You can read her story here, but here’s a summary: After being recruited to cover the Winter Games by whom Cason thought was a legitimate agent, Cason discovered through her own dogged pursuit of answers to questions that bugged her that the man pretending to be an agent was likely involved in a human trafficking ring operating around the Sochi Games. Cason notes that one of the most common pretenses for abducting women for trafficking purposes is a modeling gig. Cason’s experience in the broadcasting and modeling business may have saved her life.
Cape Cod Broadcasting Names Reckford News Director. General manager Beverly Tilden announces that Cape Cod Broadcasting is naming Laura Reckford news director for the company. Tilden says, “Cape Cod Broadcasting has been a trusted resource for local Cape Cod news and information. Laura’s experience and leadership will assure that we continue that tradition as we grow and expand our news offerings.” Reckford most recently worked in the communications & development department at Housing Assistance Corporation. She is also the founder of the new online magazine CapeCodWave.com where she currently is editor and publisher. Cape Cod Broadcasting says it will partner with CapeCodWave.com as part of its development of its website CapeCod.com. She has worked at Cape Cod Life as managing editor and served with The Falmouth Enterprise in the same capacity. She began her media career in New York City at Entertainment Weekly, Good Housekeeping, Viacom and 20th Century Fox. Reckman comments, “After working in film, television, magazines, and newspapers, I am excited to be working in radio, a medium I have long admired. In addition, I am looking forward to bringing local journalism to CapeCod.com and also enhancing that website with the magazine-style journalism of Cape Cod Wave.”
Political Ad Season Is for Everyone. Media sales maven Al Herskovitz, president of H-and-H Broadcasting, writes about the already-upon-us political advertising season and what radio stations can do to get their fair share of the pie. Herskovitz notes that political is a busy category at major and large market stations but that smaller market stations and shows that may have considered themselves too small or “unconnected” can follow some strategies to make sure they are exhausting all possible sources of revenue in this category. Read Herskovitz’s column here.
Dean Adds Nightly Show to GCN Lineup. “Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean is hosting his own nightly show distributed by Genesis Communications Network beginning Monday, March 10. In addition to the weekly “Freedom Feens” program he hosts with Neema Vedadi, “Michael Dean After Dark” will air from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT. Dean says the program will feature him and a rotating cast of co-hosts for the two-hour show.
Weighing in on Net Neutrality. Nationally syndicated talk show host, columnist and digital expert Kim Komando (right) is seen here in this screen shot during an appearance on the Fox Business Network’s “The Willis Report” hosted by Gerri Willis (left). During the segment, Komando discussed the net neutrality issue and a potential deal between Netflix and AT&T for faster download speeds.
Arizona Religious Rights Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, Hagel Army Reduction Plan, Defense of Marriage Laws Controversy, Bitcoin Exchange Troubles, and Ukraine Turmoil-Russian Influence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25). The controversy over the Arizona bill that would allow business owners to discriminate against customers based on their own religious beliefs; the plan of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to downsize the Army to its lowest level since after WWII; the edict from Attorney General Eric Holder that state attorneys general do not have to enforce “defense of marriage” laws; the question of the solvency of bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox; and the political turmoil in the Ukraine and Russia’s influence in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mark Levin to Be Honored at CPAC. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will receive the inaugural Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, March 6. According to a story on Breitbart.com’s Big Journalism, Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow will introduce Citizens United president David Bossie, who will present the award to Levin along with Breitbart News president and CEO Larry Solov and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon. Solov says, “Mark Levin fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence. And like Andrew Breitbart, Levin has a way of cutting through the mainstream press’s filter with his words and is never afraid to have arrows slung at him by the institutional left on the front lines of the fight.” David Bossie comments, “Levin is not only a friend, but supports and defends the vision of our Founding Fathers on his nationally syndicated radio program daily. There is nobody better to receive this inaugural award and I am happy that he will be joining us at CPAC to accept it.” Levin’s show is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.
Programming Additions at LFM’s Denver Sports Outlets. At Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver cluster, changes are taking place beginning Monday, March 3 that will put Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick on KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” moving over from sister sports station KEPN “1600 The Zone.” To make room, Sandy Clough leaves the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot where Patrick will air and joins Drew Goodman and Scott Hastings for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Program director Nate Lundy states, “Like many in Denver, I’m a big fan of Dan Patrick. As we take the next step in our evolution, it only makes sense to bring the number one national personality to ‘The Fan.’ His perspective and top-level guests will further solidify our commitment to the best sports talk in town.” KKFN is also debuting a new evening show called “The Fan Late Night with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar” that is airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Lundy adds, “Sandy Clough has been part of The Fan’s success for over 17 years and putting him alongside two other outstanding Denver sports veterans will make for a great show for our listeners. ‘The Fan Late Night’ will give fans of Denver’s four major pro sports teams a chance to sound off as part of their postgame experience.” Lundy says a new lineup on KEPN will be announced in the near future as Patrick’s show transitions to “104.3 The Fan.”
Michael Harrison Speaks at NRB 2014 in Nashville. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (c) participated as a keynote speaker yesterday afternoon (2/24) at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Nashville in a general session focused on “Values in American Popular Media.” The presentation included an opening address by Harrison followed by a spirited panel discussion in which he was joined by DeVon Franklin, SVP of production, Columbia Tristar Pictures (l) and Russell Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (r). Harrison used the platform as an opportunity to espouse his personal and professional philosophy that the combination of vigilant community service and high ethical standards equate to good and successful business strategy in the media industries – especially radio. Harrison told the conference, “Radio of all formats – not just Christian specifically – should never miss an opportunity to be a hero and serve the true needs of humanity within its local, national and even global market reach. Why wait for a hurricane or natural disaster to suddenly go into emergency mode? Why limit our potential to just being the ‘Sterno’ of media? Day-to-day life provides a nonstop series of emergencies, pain, fear, sorrow and loss on a very human scale that we have the power to calm and alleviate in addition to providing our regular menus of music and talk entertainment, information and discussion. If we do this with sincerity and authenticity on a consistent level, the communities we serve will amply reward us with both ratings and financial support and the self-fulfilling prophecy about radio being a dying medium will be forestalled for decades to come.” Harrison warned the crowd that “Christian and religious broadcasting has a head start on fulfilling this role because it is woven into the basic fabric of its service – however, in its passion and zeal to compete in the same marketplace of ideas and commerce co-occupied by secular media, it should be careful not to fall into the trap of stifling the First Amendment rights of dissenting voices and lifestyles nor succumb to the present-day widespread practice to seeking victory at the expense of truth for commercial and political advantage.”
Steven Meyers Heads Digital Strategy at Greater Media. This is a promotion for Steven Meyers who joined Greater Media Philadelphia in 2012 as digital manager. Now, in this new director of digital strategy role for all of Greater Media, he will be responsible for helping to grow Greater Media’s audiences and revenue by developing new digital platforms that deepen listener engagement while providing new opportunities to the company’s commercial partners. He comments, “Greater Media understands that ‘digital’ isn’t just a separate line of business, but a foundational component of our brand experiences and client value. I’m very excited to become a larger part of shaping that vision.” Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth adds, “We look forward to having Steve share his valuable knowledge and insight with our teams as we continue to grow and drive our company’s interactive efforts into the future.”
Hubbard’s WFED, Washington Names Fornicola Director of Custom Media. Coming to Hubbard’s Washington, DC talk and federal news outlet WFED is Jason Fornicola in the new position, director of custom media. Fornicola recently worked as communications specialist for the American Federation of Government Employees. He also hosted the weekly AFGE radio program “Inside Government.” In a statement, director of federal sales Ralph Renzi comments, “We have worked with Jason for seven years and are impressed with his experience and success in journalism, as well as his innovative outreach. Our investment in providing greater resources for our clients will help us solve more complex marketing objectives.”
Edison Research to Present ‘Infinite Dial 2014’ Next Week. In a teaser for the free webinar from Edison Research and new partner Triton Digital, the companies report that data from this year’s study shows “31% of Americans 12+ report using the internet radio service Pandora on a monthly basis, up from 27% one year ago. iHeartRadio is used by 9% monthly, while iTunes Radio, which debuted in 2013, comes in third with 8% monthly usage, followed by 6% using Spotify.” The webinar takes place Wednesday, March 5 at 2:00 pm ET. Edison says this is the 22nd study in “The Infinite Dial” series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms. The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino. Topics covered will include: An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services; recent growth in podcasting; the growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior; updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more; and the connected car, and in-car usage of digital media.
Financial Talk Host Convicted in Fraud Case. A federal jury convicted Barbra Alexander Monterey, California on 28 counts of conspiracy and fraud for her role in a Ponzi scheme. Sixty-four-year-old Alexander worked with APS Funding partner Michael Swanson to host “Money Dots” on Clear Channel-owned KION, Monterey and other outlets. Prosecutors had alleged Alexander and Swanson bilked investors of some $4 million. Alexander is expected to get a lengthy prison term. Swanson was previously convicted.
New Maternity Leave Policy for Cumulus Announced. Radio giant Cumulus Media announces a change to its human resources policy by adding “the implementation of an industry-leading maternity leave policy providing new mothers with six weeks of fully paid time off in addition to the paid time off and disability benefits currently provided to employees.” The company says the policy takes effect immediately and is available to all full-time, non-commission employees with at least one year of service. Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey states, “Cumulus continues to grow and innovate thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country. We are committed to providing benefits that recognize employees’ health and family needs, and providing fully paid leave to new mothers after they give birth is the right thing to do.”
NAB Crystal Award Finalists Announced. The 50 finalists for the 2014 Crystal Awards have been announced and that list can be found here. The National Association of Broadcasters states that since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. Winners will be announced and the finalists will be honored at the NAB Radio Luncheon. The Luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas. During the luncheon, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue will present a keynote address and popular national radio personality, television host and best-selling author Steve Harvey will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
This Brand New Car Is No Mirage. Well, actually it is. It’s a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage and it’s now the property of Anita Gowing of Whittier, California (right). She was the winner of the KFWB, Los Angeles giveaway that took place at South Coast Mitsubishi on Sunday, February 23. Gowing is seen reacting as her key starts the car. Inside the car with her is KFWB afternoon news co-anchor Maggie McKay (left). As part of the contest, 124 listeners won a pair of tickets to an upcoming LA Clippers game and got a key for a chance to win the car.
ObamaCare Criticism, NFL N-word Penalty, Arizona Religious Rights Bill, Ukraine Unrest-Russian Influence, Hagel’s Proposed Military Cuts, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NFL’s new rule penalizing teams for players’ use of the n-word during games; the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons; the political turmoil in Ukraine and the influence of Putin’s Russia; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed shrinking of the Army to its smallest size in 74 years; and a new round of winter weather for the East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CC Goal: ‘#1 Multi-Platform Media Company in Revenue and Earnings.’ Radio giant Clear Channel reiterates its corporate goal at yesterday’s Q4 conference call through president and CFO Rich Bressler who says the deals and partnerships it has entered into over the past 12 months are all geared toward that goal of being the “#1 multi-platform media company.” Much of the focus on the Media + Enterainment sector was about iHeartRadio and Bressler spoke glowingly about it, saying, “iHeartRadio reached 43 million registered users by the end of 2013, climbing 84% year-over-year. To put that growth in perspective, iHeartRadio surpassed its 20 million registered user milestone faster than any other digital service and reached 40 million faster than Facebook, Twitter or Pandora, second only to Instagram. Importantly, iHeartRadio’s total listening hours went up 29% over the year, with mobile representing 54% of iHeartRadio’s total listening hours during the fourth quarter of 2013. Our brand awareness climbed nearly 70%, slightly behind Pandora but above Spotify. We also continue to lead with Facebook engagement, having over 6.7 million likes for our iHeartRadio page, surpassing Pandora, Spotify and even Netflix.” The large number of promotional events the company has produced has affected the expense side of the ledger. Bressler reported, “Operating expenses increased $80 million year-over-year, driven mainly by continued investment on national sales and programming capabilities, special events, promotional costs, compensation and higher streaming and performance royalty expenses during 2013 due to increased listenership on iHeartRadio platform…Expenses were up $36 million due mainly to increased costs associated with our special events and higher streaming and performance royalty expenses.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole call here.
More Moves in Chicago Sports Talk World. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Chicago White Sox television broadcaster Steve Stone is signed by CBS RADIO to be WSCR’s go-to baseball expert this season. Feder writes that Stone – who worked for “The Score” before joining Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM for baseball correspondent duties last year – was also being wooed by Tribune’s sports start-up WGWG “The Game 87.7″ but since WSCR is the flagship for White Sox games, CBS was able to prevent Stone from working for a direct competitor. Speaking of Tribune’s WGWG, the station is preparing to announce that former Cub Todd Hollandsworth – who’s worked for the MLB Network and Comcast Sports Net Chicago – will join “The Game 87.7” as its baseball expert. Read Feder’s column here.
Kerri Kasem Helps Introduce Bill to Provide Access to Sick Parents. Yesterday, RadioInfo reported that radio personality Kerri Kasem – daughter of legend Casey Kasem – would appear with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto at a press conference on Thursday to introduce legislation that would give judges the ability to allow adult children to see sick to dying parents in cases where they’ve been kept away in the past. Industry watchers are aware of the public battle Kasem’s children have been waging with his second wife, Jean Kasem, over visitation with Kasem who is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease. Kasem appeared at Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday to bring attention to the introduction of the bill. She commented, “It’s not just me – the daughter of a famous person. There are so many families, so many sons and daughters going through what I’m going through right now.” Kasem said she used the power of her radio show to talk about it and received a lot of feedback from people in similar situations and that’s part of her motivation for working with Gatto on this legislation. “No child deserves to go through what I’m going through and no loving parent deserves to be left alone to die with nobody by his side.” You can view video from the press conference here. Working as district chief of staff for Assemblyman Gatto is radio business veteran Jason Insalaco who’s been involved in the programming and agent ends of the industry during his career.
“The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum” Launches on TalkersRadio This Weekend. TalkersRadio – the experimental talk radio platform operated by TALKERS magazine at www.talkers.com/talkersradio — announces the launch this weekend (2/22) of “The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum.” Hosted by veteran talk show host, Washington-insider, and former member of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, Blanquita Cullum, the one-hour-per-week show will cover the hottest and most-pressing economic, environmental and political issues facing the country from a non-partisan, non-ideological perspective. Cullum tells TALKERS, “I’ve been in this business too long to mess around playing the old right-versus-left game that is quickly getting us nowhere. It is time to get serious – especially having this marvelous platform upon which to perform – and dust off the old journalism skills. Just as the name implies, I will be asking big shots and policy makers from the worlds of energy, finance and government the hard questions. None of that easy, puff-piece stuff. This show is going to get down, dirty and real!” The new program will air each Saturday morning at 10:00 am ET with repeats scheduled throughout the week.
KRG Appoints Chenault-Qawwee to VP of Health Care Strategies. Radio rep firm Katz Radio Group (a Clear Channel subsidiary) announces the creation of a new department to “take full advantage of radio’s massive reach and scale in order to deliver compelling health care media solutions for advertisers.” The new Health Care Strategies group, headed by vice president LaTonya Chenault-Qawwee, will “provide a higher level of focus and expertise in the health care category.” The company says that in her new role, Chenault-Qawwee will “oversee all sales operations, developing strategic plans for advertisers by leveraging KRG’s unmatched reach, research and expertise in developing innovative media solutions. She will work closely with the nation’s leading health care companies, as well as federal and state exchanges, to incorporate the latest health care reform needs into high-impact advertising packages. This new position underlines KRG’s continued commitment to be the leading advocate for radio, and to further expand its business by providing advertisers hyper-focused expertise in specific categories.”
Odds & Sods. The Washington Times announces it has partnered with California-based BT Software’s Kaliki Audio Newsstand to provide content for the app that allows users to stream news and talk content. The newspaper’s editor John Solomon says the radio lineup will launch in early March with five daily shows and several weekly shows, anchored by the midday program “Live from The Washington Times” starring Andy Parks…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles announces the next stop on its “KNX in Your Neighborhood” remote series will be South Orange County on Friday, March 14. The station says its “award-winning news team will explore O.C.’s southernmost communities, including Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Hills and Dana Point. Civic and business leaders from these areas will be featured throughout the day live from the Mission Grill in San Juan Capistrano…..CRN Digital Talk Radio debuts a new show called “Wall to Wald Sports,” a hybrid of sports and politics. The show is hosted by Ronnie Wald and Fred Wallin and airs Fridays at 1:00 pm ET. The company says, “Wald and Wallin discuss sports in what they term their own ‘novel’ way before shifting to politics – an area in which they differ significantly. The duo says that ‘to Wald, Ronald Reagan is a hero – but to Wallin, he was a bad actor.’”
Final Round of January PPM Data Released. PPM data from the fourth and final group of 12 markets for the January 2014 period (January 2-29) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains at Top of Talkers TenTM. The scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of February 17-21. Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the executive power controversy surrounding President Obama. At #3 was a tie between a possible Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016 and the infighting taking place in the Republican Party followed by the winter weather and the global warming issue at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.